ArticlesBuilding a Raised Bed Garden

This year I've committed myself to doing some gardening and decided on using raised bed gardens. I looked into buying kits online, but the cost ran over a thousand dollars for the size I was looking for. Luckily, there are several good resources online for building your own.

I based my design off a great article from with a few modifications. I'm using 4 of these beds staggered together to create a 4'x32' raised garden that is 15" deep. It provides plenty of room for all of my basic garden plants.

The whole thing only cost only a few hundred dollars for the materials. The savings were well worth the several hours it took to build all four raised beds. However, buying a kit is always an option if you do not have the time or tools to make your own.

Raised Bed Equipment and Materials

  • 4 2"x4"x8' Douglas Fir Boards
  • 4 2"x4"x4' Douglas Fir Boards (most places will cut the boards to length for you)
  • 4 4"x4"x2' Douglas Fir Posts (most places will cut the posts to length for you)
  • 48 3" Wood Screws
  • 1 Roll of 3'x12' Wire Mesh Cloth
  • 1 Roll of 4'x8' Gardening Cloth

Raised Bed Tools

  • Power Drill
  • Clamp
  • Staple Gun
  • Wire Cutter
  • Scissors
  • Shovel / Post Hole Digger

Raised Bed Instructions

1Lay one 2"x4"x8' board on top of a 4"x4"x2' post, making sure the sides are flush on the top and left side. It can help to support the other end of the board with a 4"x4" to keep it level.
2Drill 3 holes through the board into the post, making sure it stays lined up.
3Screw in the 3 wood screws.
4Lay another 2"x4"x8' board next to the one you screwed in. Make sure it's flush with the end of the other board and lined up with the post.
5Holding it securely, drill the holes and screw in the screws.
6Repeat steps 1-5 to attach the post on the other side of the board.
7Repeat steps 1-6 to assemble the other side of the bed.
8Stand one side of the raised bed upright and attach one of the 2"x4"x4' boards to it using a clamp. Make sure the bottom is flush with the ground and the side is flush with the end of the side boards. Drill the holes and screw in place.
9Lay the other 2"x4"x4' board on top of the one you just attached and hold it in place with a clamp. Making sure that it is flush with the sides of the 2"x8"s. Drill holes and screw in.
10Attach the other end of the 2"x4"x4' boards to the side you build in step 6. You should now have a bed with 3 sides on it. In order to fill it with dirt more easily, I'm holding off on attaching the final end until after I have dirt in there, that'll allow me to take the wheelbarrow of dirt all the way into the bed.
11Measure the width of your bed, and cut the mesh to the 3 pieces of that length. Attach them to the garden bed using a staple gun, overlapping a little. This mesh will help keep any underground critters from burrowing up into your raised garden and stealing your veggie.
12Measure the length of your bed and cut a section out of the gardening cloth that will fit that area, or use two pieces if that's easier. Attach it with the staple gun. The cloth will help keep out any weeds that might come up from below the raised garden bed.
13You're now all set to put the raised beds in the ground! The first step is to dig the holes for the corners of the bed. You can either measure them or if you're bad at measuring like I am, just set out the bed and mark where the posts are. You can either use a shovel or a post hole digger if you have one.
14Now set the raised bed into the holes and fill the post holes with dirt. If you're adventurous you could use cement to hold them in place. Also, my wire mesh was buckling upwards some so I laid down the unattached end board on top to hold it in place while I fill it.
15Fill the garden bed with dirt until you get to the open end. It's ok to have the dirt stacked above the sides of the bed since you'll be compressing it down.
16Finish the final short end of the garden bed in the same way you did the one in steps 8-10.
17Fill in the rest of the raised bed with dirt. Now you now need to stamp it down. You could probably use a scrap piece of wood, but I just climbed into the bed and walked around in it until it was pretty evenly packed. Top the bed off with soil until it's about 1/2" from the top. You can use a piece of scrap wood to help level it off.

You're now all set to get started gardening with your new raised beds!

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