Constructing Raised Bed Gardens from Planks

The advantage to constructing raised bed gardens from planks is that the boards are more easily handled than other materials such as landscape timbers or concrete blocks. The pictures and details call for using 2-inch by 6-inch boards for the sides of the bed. If you have other size boards on hand it's easy to adjust the materials list for lumber such as 2x4 or 2x12 planks.

The steps presented are straightforward but do require the use of power tools. If you are looking for a quicker solution I recommend you check out the raised bed solutions from Gardener's Supply Company. icon They have complete raised bed kits or you can order corner connectors if you want to use your own planks.

I prefer to build a 12-inch high raised bed over taller beds to save on cost, though a 24-inch bed would be even handier for gardening while standing. With 12-inches of soil mix you don't necessarily have to dig out the soil underneath the bed, unless you're planning on planting root vegetables such as carrots or potatoes, and you want a little more depth of tilled soil.

Constructing Raised Bed Gardens

Plans for building raised beds 4x8x1 feet in size

Materials when Using 2x6 Boards
4-in. x 4-in. post - 6ft 1 each
2-in. x 6-in. boards - 8 ft 6 each

Required Hardware
31/2-in. #14 wood screws 24 each
4-ft x 10-ft roll of hardware cloth (metal 1/2-in. mesh) or chicken wire 1 roll
3/4-in. rigid white PVC pipe - 10 ft 1 each
1/2-in. flexible white PVC pipe - 10 ft 3 each
3/4-in. pipe straps 12 each
3/4-in. #8 wood screws 24 each

Tools Required

  • Hammer
  • Electric drill
  • Level
  • Power saw (mitre or circular saw)

Note: If kit assembly is more to your liking then building a multi-level raised bed garden has never been easier with a 4 x 8 Raised bed kit from well-known Burpee Seed Company. It can be purchased with or without sanded kiln-dried Maine white cedar lumber and includes six coated aluminum pivoting corners for multiple design flexibility.
Burpee Raised Bed Kit

Constructing Raised Bed Gardens Step-by-Step

1. Cut to Length

Cutting to Length

Cut the boards and corner posts

  • Cut the 4x4 post into four 12-in corner posts
  • Cut two of the 2x6 boards into four 4-ft lengths

Cutting the PVC Pipe for Hoops

Cutting to Length

  • Cut the 3/4-in rigid PVC pipe for the base into six 12-in-long pieces.
  • Cut the 1/2-in flexible PVC pipe to 8-ft lengths.

2. Assemble the Planks

Drilling holes

  • Assemble the boards on a hard, flat surface
  • Pre-drill three holes slightly smaller than the screw several inches apart.
  • Set a 4-foot 2x6 on its edge, and place a 12-inch post at one end.
  • Hold in place with 12-in bar clamps.
  • Secure the board against the post with three 31/2-inch screws. Repeat at the other end of the board. Repeat with the other short board.
  • Join the short sides with the 8-foot boards, overlapping the ends of the other boards; pre-drill and attach with three screws at each end.
  • Add the other 8-foot long side.
  • Add the second row of 2x6s.
Securing the board Adding the second row

3. Prepare the Site

Removing grass

  • Mark off the 4x8 site with stakes and string.
  • Remove any lawn grass or weeds (optionally you can just cover the ground with weed-control cloth).
  • Loosen the soil and remove any remaining weed roots.
  • If your site isn't level, dig out the high edges of the space to prepare for the placement of the frame.

4. Move the frame into place and level

Leveling sides

  • Move the bed into position in the yard.
  • Place a level on each side and dig out under the sides until all four sides are level.

5. Attach Pipe

Attaching Pipe

  • To hold hoops for bird netting or row covers, attach the six 12-inch pieces of 3/4-inch PVC pipe inside the bed.
  • On the long sides, space pipes 2 feet apart, 1 foot from each end and one in the center; screw on two tube straps to secure each pipe.

6. (Optional) Install Bottom Lining

Lining with Chicken Wire

  • Rake the existing soil at the bottom of the bed to level it, then tamp it smooth.
  • Line the bed with hardware cloth or chicken wire to keep out gophers and moles; trim the cloth with shears to fit around corner posts then tack in place with staples or bent nails.

7. Fill with Soil Mix

Filling the raised bed with soil

  • Fill the bed with good soil for tomatoes
  • Fill within 1 to 2-inches of the top
  • Rake smooth, breaking up any clumps
  • Let the bed settle for a few days before planting

Congratulations on building a raised bed! See, constructing raised bed gardens isn't too difficult. Next, for tomatoes and other vine-type plants you'll need to build some vertical supports like a tomato trellis.

Also check out the Double Level Complete Cedar Raised Bed Garden
from Burpee Gardening


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Burpee Gardening

Gardener's Supply Company