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.
They have complete raised bed kits or you can order corner connectors
if you want to use your own planks.
If what you really need is a DIY raised bed that lets you
garden without bending or kneeling,
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.
Plans for building raised beds 4x8x1 feet in size
Materials when Using 2x6 Boards
|4-in. x 4-in. post - 6ft
|2-in. x 6-in. boards - 8 ft
#14 wood screws
|4-ft x 10-ft roll of hardware cloth (metal
mesh) or chicken wire
rigid white PVC pipe - 10 ft
flexible white PVC pipe - 10 ft
#8 wood screws
- Electric drill
- 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.
Constructing Raised Bed Gardens Step-by-Step
1. Cut 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
- 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
- Assemble the boards on a hard, flat surface
- Pre-drill three holes slightly smaller than the screw several
- Set a 4-foot 2x6 on its edge, and place a 12-inch post at
- 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.
3. Prepare the Site
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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