Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Easy DIY Raised Garden Bed Tutorial

UPDATE:  To see photos of my completed beds with lots of veggies and flowers, follow me on Instagram ( 33shadesofgreen ) where I use the hashtag #DKUlakehousegarden to share photos of my raised beds.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen the photos I posted of the raised garden beds I built a few weeks ago.  They were so easy to build and I absolutely love how they turned out!  

A Few Notes:
1.  The finished size of my beds is 3'x6'.  This was a manageable size for me since the space where the beds are located is very narrow and I can only access each bed from one size.
2.  I used cedar lumber for my beds.  You don't want to use any treated wood because you don't want the chemicals to leach out into your soil  and into your vegetable garden.
3.  We live on a dune so the area where the beds are located is all sand.  Because of this, I decided to build the beds 18" deep so I could get in lots of good soil and nutrients for the plants.  If you will be placing your beds on an area with soil, you could build them 12" high.  I've even seen beds as low as 6" or 8".
4.  In the materials list, I am only listing enough materials for one bed.  Multiply quantity of supplies by how many beds you would like to build.
5.  Each bed cost around $100 to build (cedar isn't cheap!).
6.  I bought all my lumber at Home Depot and they cut all my boards to size for me (Big shout-out to Erik at the Grandville, MI Home Depot who probably spent 2 hours with me!).  I can't recommend this enough!  The project would have taken me so much longer if I had to measure and cut myself.

Supply List:
- (4) 18" high cedar 4x4's 
- (6) 5/4" x 6" cedar boards cut to 6' (I bought 12' boards and had them cut to 6')
- (6) 5/4" x 6" cedar boards cut to 3' (I bought 12' boards and had them cut to 3')
- (2) 5/4" x 6" cedar boards cut to 18" (These will be used for the intermediate supports)
- Deckmate screws (very important, you don't wan't your screws to rust).  I used the #9 x 3 in size for screwing into the 4x4's and 8 x 1-5/8" for screwing into the intermediate support boards.
- Drill (I used my Dad's trusty Makita and it worked great).

Easy DIY Raised Garden Bed Tutorial:
1.  Lay out two of your 18" 4x4's on a flat, level surface.  Next, lay 3 of your 6' boards on top of the 4x4's, making sure to align the edges with the 4x4's along the sides and the top edge.  Because the 5/4 x 6" boards aren't truly 6" high, you will have a small amount of your 4x4's at the bottom.  I thought this was OK because it makes a nice base for the beds.  Screw in all boards into the 4x4's.  I used two screws at each end of the 6' boards.

2.  Repeat with the boards you need for the other 6' side of the bed.  Since I made 4 beds total, I put together all 8 of my 6' side panels first.

That's me - proof that I built these.  All by myself, I might add :)

The photo below shows all of my finished 6' panels.  They went together so quickly!

3.  Take one of your 18" long 5/4 x 6 boards and place in the middle of one of your 6' side panels.  Screw in using the smaller size screw.  I installed these on what would become the inside of the beds so that it wouldn't be noticeable once the bed had dirt in it.  Repeat will all 6' long end panels.

Below is a better shot:

4.  Stand up 2 of your 6' end panel sections.  If you are doing this on a flat surface, they will stand up on their own.  Place approximately 3' apart so you can screw in the 3' boards.

5.  Starting at the bottom, screw in one 3' board to connect the side panels.  Now, go to the other side and repeat.  Repeat with the other two boards on each side.  That's it...Your raised beds are complete!

Can you believe how easy that was?  Four beds took me approximately 2 hours to build. Like I said - It was so much easier that I thought it would be.

Here are the beds installed in our side yard:

The beds are now filled with soil (I used a mixture of soil, peat moss, and vermiculite) and are just waiting to be planted.  I will be back to post more photos and progress shots of the garden!

To see finished photos of the raised beds, follow me on Instagram @33shadesofgreen where I use hastag #DKUlakehousegarden to share garden photos!


  1. they look great!! I want my husband to build me some, I'll have to pass on this tutorial!

    thanks for sharing!

  2. Gardening with a view....what could be better!!!!!!! Alissa your raised beds came out so great, and it sounds like they weren't that challenging to put together for newbie woodworkers out there! I love how they look and can't wait to see them filled with your plantings!!! Thanks so much for sharing this tutorial on BOTN!!

  3. This is definitely on my to-do list for some day! Pinning so I can use in the future, your beds look great. Thanks for linking up with us at Best of the Nest!

  4. Hi there I was wondering if you forgot to put the 3' wood into the needed list. I don't see it in there and was confused

    1. Yes, I did! Thanks for noticing - I have added it to the supply list :)

  5. Thank you. My husband just came back from the lumberyard with the material for three of these boxes. He has dreaded doing this but your instructions made it look so easy. They look very nice and I love the hight. Thanks again.

    1. That is fantastic, Hellen! I'm glad you enjoyed the tutorial. I hope you are happy with how your new raided beds turned out!

  6. This looks so easy! My boyfriend has the last name of Carpenter and he promised me one day he would live up to that name, so we are going to start with some small projects such as this! Thanks for sharing. One question - do raised beds not need to have a bottom?

    1. I do apologize if that is an uneducated question. I am learning the process of gardening and am trying to figure out what I would need if I want to grow bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, jalapenos, onions, leaf lettuce, etc.

    2. Hi Nicole - No, you do not need a bottom on your raised beds. If you are putting your beds over a lawn, you will want to remove the grass first. Good luck with your project!

  7. Do the deck screws leak any
    Chemicals into the soil?

    1. Sorry, I'm not sure. You would need to do some research on the screws you select for the project.

    2. You can use coated deck screws - they are more expensive, but they last and solve this problem. I used:Deckmate Coated All-Purpose Screws 9 X 2-1/2" Star Drive Screws

    3. Great idea - thanks for the suggestion!

  8. These look great! Thanks for sharing. Question on wood thickness. Are your planks 1" or 2" thick? Cedar is hard to find in my area and the only option I'm finding is 1" which I'm not sure will be sturdy enough. Thank you!

    1. Hi Traycee - The boards I used are 5/4" thick by 6" H. I used intermediate vertical supports in the center of each 6' section to reinforce. Hope that helps - good luck!

  9. Hi there! We are getting close to building similar garden beds with our students at school. We will be putting them onto of a concrete compound. Just wondering if you will be lining your beds with some sore of plastic to keep the dirt in in case of a heavy downpour? Also, since we are putting these over concrete, what do you suggest to put on the bottom?

    1. What a fun project! My beds don't have a bottom since they sit on top of soil. You may need a solid bottom made out of wood if your beds will be on top of concrete. I wouldn't want to use plastic to line the beds since chemicals from the plastic could leach into the soil where you will be growing vegetables. Good luck with your project!


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