Picture of DIY Raised Bed Planter
While the title of this DIY suggests that I made a raised bed planter, what it doesn't tell you is how raised it actually is.  This planter sits about 30" off the ground, and actually has legs on it.  I know, right?  That's really tall!

This DIY was inspired by Ana White's Plan for Counter Height Planter Boxes.


2 - 4"x4" Fir or Cedar post (fir is cheaper and lasts nearly as long)
2 - 1"x6"x8' Cedar boards. Select the boards that have the least amount of knots in them.  You'll thank me later.
2 - 1"x4"x8' Cedar boards. Select the boards that have the least amount of knots in them.  You'll thank me later.
1 - 1/4" Hardware cloth that is at least 24" wide.  This can be found in the landscaping section. 
16 - 2" Long hex bolts. You will likely find these in a bin in the hardware aisle.  Make sure you check every single one you choose to make sure they are all the same.  Some may have been placed there accidentally.
16 - Washers.  Make sure that these fit around your 2" Hex Bolts. Make sure you check every single one you choose to make sure they are all the same.  Some may have been placed there accidentally.
16 - 3/8" Threaded Insert Nuts. If you shop at Lowe's, these will be in one of the drawers of inserts in the Hardware section.  This is what they look like.
24 - 1.5" Galvanized Screws

1/2" Wood bit
Miter or Table Saw that has the capability of cutting a 4"x4" post.
Wire Cutters or Heavy Duty Shears
Staple Gun
1/2" Staples for Staple gun

Hex wrench
Measuring Tape
Safety Glasses

Cut List:

Lowe's has a wood cutting service, as do most hardware stores.  They can cut the smaller pieces of wood for you for an additional cost, but it's really cheap. They currently do not have the capability to cut pieces of wood larger than 3" thick. 

Legs - Cut the 4"x4" into 4 - 32" posts.  Lowe's will not be able to make this cut for you. Their saws will not fit this size.  You will need a miter saw or a table saw to make these cuts.
Sides: Cut one of the 1"x6"x8' into two 48" pieces.
Ends: Cut one of the 1"x6"x8' into two 24" pieces.
Bottom slats: Cut the two 1"x4"x8' into six 24" pieces.
Bottom hardware cloth: Cut the hardware cloth into a 24"x50" rectangle.

Full tutorial and other information can be found here: http://rhodylife.blogspot.com/2013/04/diy-repair-hole-in-wood.html
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kealil made it!1 month ago
awesome instructable. Very well written.
tallone443 months ago
I made it except I made an 8' x 6' "L" shaped planter 35" high so as to accommodate my power wheelchair. I am also adding a ground based raised planter on the two long arms of the planter 12"wide to accommodate tall plants like tomatoes. Layer I will add irrigation to the project.
hirokomusic4 months ago

It's exactly what I want to make. I will keep you posted! Thank you for posting these instructions.

JohnSawtelle made it!5 months ago

I used 42" long legs cause we are tall people...:)

used left over for a small shelf on the front too...

planter box.jpg

6 foot long as well.....:)

Rosstoland5 months ago
Hello, I built this yesterday with a 12" deep bed, but before I filled it with soil I wanted to see if there was a recommended max load i.e. 6 cu ft of soil weights 120lbs?
Rosstoland5 months ago
Hello, I just made this yesterday with a 12" deep bed, but before I fill it with potting soil I wanted to see if there was a recommended max load i.e. 6 cu ft of soil weights 120lbs, can this structure bare that weight?
singerbeth5 months ago

My husband and son made this together. Actually they made 2 of them. They made them with a few changes: Ours are 2'x4', and they actually had enough material leftover to make a small 2' squared one, a little shorter. I'm thrilled with them and can't wait to plant my garden! Thank you. By the way, found this on Pinterest! :-)

(3rd attempt at posting this. Hope there aren't multiple posts.)

Garrigus made it!1 year ago

Thank you for the idea. I made this but made it deeper. I used lag bolts with fender washers on the sides and added furring strips inside to hold the bottom slats. In addition to all this I added 2 layers of landscaping fabric. I used 2x4s for the feet because 4x4s are expensive. It is really solid.

MisterMacleod made it!1 year ago

thanks for the instructable! I deviated a bit on the hardware, but it turned out great :D

avenant2 years ago
Good and practical idea.
What I would add to this, is a similar "bed" low down between the posts to utilise as an earthworm farm. That way any run-off water will drip directly into the compost below, and not be "lost" into the ground below. And the compost will be close-by and ready to use.
And so a "square-yard" farm can be double productive.
gbaker52 years ago
Something like this would be very useful for the caster idea. Put 2 rigid casters on one end of the planter and 2 swivel casters on the other end. Then you would be able to "steer" it around the yard also. I used these on large sawhorses I built to move my VW Beetle body shell around the yard when I was restoring it, and they roll very easily, almost no effort once you get them started.

Hello! I made your raised bed planter, and wanted to share the excellent results! Ok, so actually my husband made the planter, and then my children and I picked out veggies, strawberries, and herbs to grow in it, and then planted them this afternoon. It was a wonderful project that the whole family got involved in. We can't wait to see how the plants grow over the next few months! Thank you for posting!!
Scatershot2 years ago
I am so glad you made this counter height. This is exactly what I need! Thanks for posting!
skoster2 years ago
Maybe add wheels on bottom so they are portable thru yard and can take them indoors in the winter for possible year round growing?? or use legs with casters like these: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30250257/ ??
rhodylife (author)  skoster2 years ago
I really like this idea! That would be so helpful for me! I may look for some large casters that are weather resistant and have rubber wheels versus plastic wheels for when I build my second planter.
metqa2 years ago
Great Instructible!! My Mom was having my Dad make up some raised bed planters. I have seen other tuturials, but yours looks so clean and simple. I like it.! I might see about making one for my Shade garden to grow lettuce in the shade of my tiny backyard.
Great photos. I have a question about the hardware cloth installation. I see how the boards attach it in the middle but on the short edges, is there another strip of wood that holds it up, IOW, how do you keep it from sagging on the very edges of the short sides. I can't seem to see a photo that shows it. Thanks for your reply.
rhodylife (author)  metqa2 years ago
The hardware cloth is stapled to the underside of the side boards and the sides of the legs at the corners. The boards that go across the bottom are meant for support, so without them the hardware cloth is still stapled to the side boards.
metqa rhodylife2 years ago
Oh, I see. I misunderstood about the staples purpose. Thanks. What do you have growing in your awesome raised bed? Is it so much easier than squatting down all the time? Is the newspaper working well enough to keep the soil in and moisture high enough?

I imagine using corrugated cardboard as a bottom, cause that's what I used for my worm bin before. it holds up really strong but still breathable and holds water well.
Thanks again. Happy Spring!
rhodylife (author)  metqa2 years ago
I actually just did my plantings this weekend. I planted basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, chives, and garlic. And yes, the newspaper is holding up really well. I put in about 6 sheets in most places, and then they overlapped in others, so some spots are thicker than others.
chuggins1432 years ago
Another option for attaching everything would be to just use a staple gun. Quick, easy, and will probably hold up about as long as using any other hardware.
sandresen2 years ago
What was the total cost?
rhodylife (author)  sandresen2 years ago
The total cost came out to $110, however, that leaves you with a lot of extra supplies, including: 1/2 sheet less than a full pack of sandpaper, 50/75 screws since I bought a box, two extra legs from one of the 4"x4" posts, a third long side board, and enough hardware cloth for at least one more planter, since my roll was 10' long.
adunster2 years ago
Deeper sides would be more practical for growing a greater variety of plants, especially if this is intended for food plants. they will be much happier with greater room for roots.
rhodylife (author)  adunster2 years ago
Yes, I agree that for different plants and vegetables, deeper sides would be more practical. The nice thing about this plan is that you can easily use a 12" board instead of a 6" one without having to change much else in the design plan. I may decide to do that when I build my additional ones.
This is true depending on how intensively you want to care for your garden and what your climate is. In a hot, dry climate (what I have to deal with in the summer) a deeper bed and wider spacing between vegetables will result in less work and watering for the gardener and similar yield due to more vigorous plants.
I started Square Foot Gardening two years ago with great results. You only need 6" of soil mix. My rosemary plant turned into a bush and is still thriving from when I started two years ago. ; )
jtechian2 years ago
Good job. You may want to consider landscape fabric to hold the dirt as it drains well and keeps the dirt from passing. If you are going to be watering it often, set a plastic bin under your table to catch run off and re-use it.
rhodylife (author)  jtechian2 years ago
Both of those are great suggestions. Thanks!
kewlkiwi2 years ago
Great idea for the planter, I'll make one for my sister.
A small typo though: your part list says:
2 - 1"x6"x8"
2 - 1"x4"x8"
The latter two should be ...... x8' i.e. 8 feet, not 8 inches.
I noticed this when (further down) it says: "Sides: Cut one of the 1"x6"x8" into two 48" pieces" and of course you cant cut an 8" long board into 2 pieces at 48" long.
rhodylife (author)  kewlkiwi2 years ago
Thank you for pointing this out! I have made changes to the post to reflect the size the boards should actually be.
This is lovely! Perfect for square foot gardening. I made one similar to this last year, but yours looks much sturdier and nicer. I was just about to redo mine before planting the seedlings, so I saw this at the perfect time!
alan.h2 years ago
water crystals would be great for this garden planter, as this isn't that deep the water crystals will hold onto more water resulting in less watering
mrmiran2 years ago
We just cut the lumber for our self-designed but similar planter last night and we're using furring strips on the sides. We then laid the horizontal slats across the strips... and between the slats on the perimeter we placed 1" x 5/8" x 10" spacers. This way the wire has a flat area all the way around that we can staple the hardware cloth to without getting "wavy" on the edges. By ensuring the wire is secured and flat on top of the slats with the staples securing the wire facing DOWN gravity is always on our side.
KLester782 years ago
Thank you for posting this. Love this. I've tried to explain what I want for my garden, but no one seemed to think it could be done. You've shown it here. I have very bad back issues, and other health issues that make it imperative that I eat healthier. I can't afford to buy, and am unable to easily get the fresh products that I want/need. This is perfect for me. I can envision herbs, bush beans, peas, cucumber, zucchini, carrots, etc... growing in these. I've already found a way to grow potatoes in a barrel with a latched door at the bottom for harvesting them, and tomatoes are grown in a large pot with the cage fitting inside. I can see a slightly lower bed for the pole green beans.
nanaverm2 years ago
Looks great! I'd suggest coating the interior wood in either melted paraffin or (organic) beeswax to preventing rotting.
luckypalm2 years ago
I've been thinking about repurposing an old futon frame into a raised bed similar to this. It might save in materials but the labor would be about the same if not more.

Have you seen the vegtrug that is a v-shape for growing deep rooted plants in the center? It also uses ribs with landscape cloth.


Anyway, nice work!
Maxxron2 years ago
I see a problem with the design. Since the bottom slats attach to the bottom of the rails the weight of the soil and plants, especially when wet, will cause them to pull away eventually. It would have been much better to attach 1x1 furring strips to the bottom of the long sides and have the rails rest on top of them, that way they can't fall through.
You have a good point... the strips would really help out... and he could add more slats if needed too. Still, it's a good starting point for anyone that wants to do something similar.
askjerry2 years ago
I agree with kkreitman, lag bolts would have been quicker and work just as well. I like the design... it would be great for an elderly person who has a hard time bending down, or people in a wheelchair too. I can see lot's of ways this could be a useful design. Nicely done.
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