Raised garden bed planning is just as important if not more important than planting in them. Sure, pre-made garden boxes and kits can be a considerable investment for gardeners, but you don’t have to break the bank to reap the benefits of raised garden beds! Although building raised garden beds does require more a bit more planning and time versus transforming a traditional backyard garden, it is well worth the extra time and money to build a raised garden bed of your own. Whether this is your first time building raised garden beds or not, we’ve got you covered! Our experts have pulled together everything you need to learn how to make a raised garden bed, including:
Things to Consider During Your Raised Bed Garden Planning Process
Raised garden beds are not permanent structures, but ideally, you don’t want to move them once they’ve been built. Therefore, make sure to consider the following items as you prep your raised garden bed design:
- Most vegetable gardens require full sunlight for best growth and yield. So, survey your yard for a location that received a lot of sunshine before you start building raised garden beds.
- Plan the number of beds that you would like to build based on what you will be growing. It is best to group companion plants in one bed. If you’re not exactly sure how many beds you’ll need, then there’s nothing wrong with building just one bed to get you started. Regardless, it’s a good idea to go ahead and picture what you’d like your future garden to look like in the end so that you can establish additional space if needed for building more raised garden beds down the road.
- When building raised garden beds, the pros recommend keeping your garden beds to only 3-4 feet wide in size for better manageability and easier harvest.
- When selecting what kind of raised bed materials you would like to use to build a raised garden bed, make sure you understand the pros and cons associated with each material. For example, wood is a lightweight and reasonable choice. Untreated pine, douglas fir, and cedar are all great options, but they vary in their durability. All wooden garden beds will have to be maintained or likely replaced at some point since some varieties of untreated wood might decay quicker than others.
Raised Garden Bed Planning: Supplies You’ll Need Before You Build
For this tutorial, we will guide you through how to build a raised garden bed that is 4×4 foot with a depth of 12 inches using the supplies below. If you prefer to build a larger raised bed, then you’ll just need to adjust the size of your wood planks!
- 2-2x12x8 pieces of untreated douglas fir wood planks cut in half
- 2-2×4 cut into four sections approximately 11 ¾ inches in length each
- 1 Cordless Drill with a star drill bit
- Several 2 ½-3 inch outdoor deck screws
- Weed tarp
- Raised bed soil or garden soil composed 3 parts of well-decomposed compost to one part peat moss like Kellogg Garden Organics All Natural Garden Soil for Flowers & Vegetables
*PRO TIP: If you plan to grow edibles in your new garden, it’s essential to use untreated wood when building raised garden beds. Many varieties of wood are typically treated with chemicals to help preserve it from rotting. These are the same chemicals that, if used in your garden bed, can seep into the soil and get absorbed by your vegetable plants rendering them toxic to eat. This is why it’s important to double check how your wood was treated ahead of time, so you don’t have to worry about letting all the foods you’ve worked so hard to grow go to waste!
Step-By-Step Instructions for How to Build A Raised Garden Bed
For this project, you will be creating a lovely 4 X 4 foot raised garden bed using our step-by-step instructions for how to make a raised garden bed listed below.
- As we mentioned earlier, you’ll first want to take a look at your yard to find a predominantly sunny location where there is level ground and measure the area. Taking these measurements before you start building is a quick way to make sure that your raised beds will fit in the designated
- Cut both of the 2x12x8 planks of untreated wood in half, which leaves you with 4 pieces of wood that are all 4 feet in length. *PRO TIP: You can also get your wood pre-cut for you when you purchase it from almost any home improvement store.
- Lay the boards out and take the short pieces of 2×4 and place one on each end of two boards. As you arrange them, the segment of wood should be flush on the three sides of the board’s end.
- Take your cordless drill and deck screws then slowly drill 3 deck screws into each of the ends of the two boards, connecting the small sections of 2×4 to the ends of the larger flat planks.
- Assemble the garden bed on a flat surface. Stand the two planks with bolstered ends up across from each other with the blocks facing inward. Think of these blocks as the inside posts of your garden bed that will add support to your finished garden box.
- Line up the third plain four-foot plank across the outer edge of the two other planks.
- Slowly screw two deck screws into each corner to secure the third board to the other two at the corners.
- Take the fourth plain plank and secure it in the same manner to complete the square.
- Line the bottom of the raised garden bed with weed tarp and fill the bed with your garden soil.
And just like that you’re done and you’ve mastered how to build a raised garden bed! Keep in mind that you can always add more beds and even more variety in shape and style as your garden continues to grow. There are many designs and layouts for you to choose from when you’re trying to figure out how to build a raised garden bed, but it’s all about finding the one that works best for you! For example, you could try attaching a garden trellis to the back end of your raised garden structure for growing climbing, and vining vegetables. Wooden raised garden beds make it easy to attach a trellis to the rear of your garden bed, plus guiding your climbers upward is a wise use of space that adds visual interest to your landscape. We hope you’ve enjoyed learning how to make a raised garden bed, be sure to check out more of our blogs to learn other great organic gardening tips!