A raised bed is simply a mound of well-prepared soil, ready for planting, that is raised above the ground. Raised beds are especially useful when the garden soil is not ideal. You can even add a raised bed where there was no soil to begin with, on a patio or driveway where the beds can be contained with wooden boards or rocks. Planting vegetables and fruits this way can be advantageous as well as attractive because you can control the nutrients of the soil when it is contained, and weed, walk around, and access from all sides. It is also easy to practice crop rotation and succession planting in these well-contained garden beds. Because the space is smaller the soil warms up more quickly, which allows you to get a head start on planting. And because you are not walking on these beds the soil doesn’t become compacted, but stays nice and airy with good drainage. So today I’m sharing my tutorial on How to Build a Raised Bed. Try it this weekend!
How to Build a Raised Bed
This project results in a very simple frame that you can adjust to your desired dimensions. You will want to use pressure-treated wood so that it will age without rotting. Cedar is a nice option, though it can be pricey. Adding planter fabric to the base isn’t absolutely necessary, but it will be helpful in preventing runoff, especially if you place your planter in a driveway or uneven surface.
As shown below in the equipment list, there are a couple of routes you can take to build your frame depending on how much equipment you have. A power drill is not necessary, but will allow you to make a pilot hole to ensure that you don’t split the wood when hammering in nails or fastening screws.
The equipment below makes a 2 × 4-foot raised bed, but you can simply cut the wood to a size that works for you and follow the same instructions to assemble it.
- One 12-foot-long 2 × 8-inch piece of pressure-treated wood, cut into two 4-foot lengths and two 2-foot lengths
- 12 galvanized tenpenny nails or 12 decking screws (see correlating tools below)
- Plant fabric
- Organic soil
- Tools if the wood is not precut:
- Tape measure
- Pencil, to mark the measurements
- Carpenters square, to ensure a perpendicular cut line
- Wood saw
- Tools if you are using a hammer and nails:
- Power drill (optional if you want to ensure you don’t split the wood)
- 5/32-inch twist drill bit (optional if you want to ensure you don’t split the wood)
- Tools if you are using screws:
- Power drill
- 5/32-inch twist drill bit
- Driver bit to match screws
Step #1: Bring a 4-foot piece and 2-foot piece of wood together so they make a right angle. Allow the end of the 2-foot piece to meet, overlapping the end of the 4-foot piece.
Step #2: Hammer in three nails, or alternatively drill in three screws.
Step #3: Add the next 4-foot piece so that it is being overlapped by the 2-foot piece and hammer in three more nails.
Step #4: Finish your rectangle by hammering in the 2-foot piece at the other end.
Step #5: Line the bed with planter fabric and add high-quality organic soil.
*Tip: The best thing you can do for yourself is to ask the place where you buy your wood to cut it to size for you. Most of them will and you’ll save time and cut down on the number of tools you need.
Have any additional tips to share? Have you ever built a raised bed? Share pictures with us in our secret Facebook Group or on social media! Or leave your tips in the comments below. Happy Gardening!
Image source: pinterest.