Elevated Planter Raised Bed





Introduction: Elevated Planter Raised Bed

I couldn't find an instructable for a raised bed planted that we liked so I decided to make one. Will try to be as thorough as possible but keep in mind this is my first instructable and first major woodworking project. The planter itself is 6ft wide, 2ft deep and 3ft tall. The bed portion is roughly 18 cubic feet. I am creating this instructable as an afterthought, and I didn't fully keep track of the supplies I bought. I had also bought enough to do 3 planters at the same time but will try to calculate the actual materials from memory. Will also add some happy plant pics when I get around to it. Some of the materials are optional as I decided to go big and add trim around the boxes as well. I used cedar for its resistance to rot properties and also attempted to hide all screws with trim.


9 - 1"x6"x8' cedar boards. Look for straight ones with smaller amounts of knots

2 - 2"x4"x8' rough cut cedar

2 - 1"x2"x8' cedar for trim

screws, 2 sizes. I think I used 1.25" but could be wrong, and 2.5"

Step 1: Wood

Since I am trying to condense everything I've learned about woodworking over the previous 3 days before I started this project this may get rough. First, went to the hardware store to pick up the lumber. I had enough room in the SUV to bring enough for maybe 2.5 planters. I layed it all in the garage to start the following day. I'm sure everyone has heard measure twice, cut once... apparently you've been doing it wrong all these years. From what I was reading, it's easier to measure once, cut twice, etc. By this I mean instead of taking into account all of the inaccuracies of the measuring tape and measuring each board you will be cutting, to measure the first board, mark it and use that one as a pattern for all subsequent boards of that size.

Start off by checking all of the boards for staples. Be sure to pull the ones from the end of the board holding the label on. Once you measure the first board, mark a line across it with a straight edge/square. If you don't have a square, be sure to make your mark on the middle of the board, that way when you bring the saw down you can line it up. When measuring, make a 'V' shave where the point of the v is the measurement you want. Draw and x on the discard side of the board, that way you know which side of the line to bring the blade down onto. Apparently the thickness of the blade/the amount of wood it removes is called the "kerf". Once you have the first board cut, mark "pattern" on it so you don't mix it up with the others. Use it to mark all further cuts of that size.

Step 2: Construction - Legs

I used the 2x4's to make the legs. Start off with 2 of them and butt them up against each other. Use the drill to start a pilot hole for the screws. Cedar is a very dry wood so without the starter holes (even with them) you have a good chance of splitting the wood. I lined the two boards up in an "L" shape and then drilled the first hole and finished it with a screw. Next I was able to line both sides of the board up and went down the board drilling about 5-6 holes. I then put a screw in each hole.

Step 3: Constructing the Sides

To construct the sides, I layed out all the wood I would need for making them. I chose 6ft lengths and also used some leftover 1x2 to hold the layers in place until it could be fastened the the legs. I layed the three six foot 1x6's to make the wall. Then I butted a level up to one size to make sure they were even. Use one of the 1x6 pieces to screw into the three boards to lock them in place. Be sure to leave some room, maybe 2 inches or so from the bottom of your wall to where the vertical 1x6 will go. This gap will be for the bottom of the container and the support. Do the same for smaller side walls as well.

Step 4: Joining the Walls to the Legs

We're getting closer! take two legs and be mindful of the position the "L" faces. I laid them both down to where the longer part of the "L" went with the longer sides. Put them about 6 ft apart, lay the side across both legs and square everything up. Predrill and then screw the walls to the legs. I used 3 screws per board.

Once you have the walls screwed in, then take a 1x2 piece, roughly the same length as the walls and screw it into the side, this support the bottom slats. Hopefully you left enough room under your side braces to fit the 1x2 support as well as the thickness of a slat, if not you can get a circular saw, set the depth and trim it up a bit without having to unscrew anything. I could joined all 4 walls to the legs by myself but I asked if my stepdaughter would give me a hand. We were able to knock it out fairly quickly.

Step 5: Final Steps

Finally, once the box is complete, you can insert the slats. Most will fall into place, some you will need to slide under the middle braces. I also for some reason couldn't the last 1x6 to fit, to I ended up using some left over 1x2. Once you're done you can add a little trim work to it, trim gives it a little something extra.

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2 Questions

It looks great. Did you have any problems with wood rot after watering?

How did you attach the trim on the top?


Nice work! I will follow this fairly closely! Question, what did you line the planter with before you filled it? And, medium did you use for soil?

1 reply

I just used the empty bag from the soil. It's big enough to keep the soil in but there was room so water would drain if needed.

Very nice build it looks great.

how has this project held up?

I am looking to build a couple with cedar boards similar to yours. I was thinking of a 5x3 or 6x3 size and same depth but wondering about stability.

Thanks for the great write up!

4 replies

Its held up nice. If I were to do anything different I would have used pocket holes to do the joinery. I may be making another for my MIL soon using my kreg jig

oh wow. that was actually the method i was going to use. I've seen so many versions and yours is the closest I have seen to the idea in my head. I thought you used the 1x6 for legs and was wondering how sturdy, then today noticed they are 2x4s.

*sorry to ask yet another question....Did you buy your wood from a box store or lumber yard? I am looking at both places and it seems the price of cedar isn't much different ...maybe quality is different.

Oh One more...did you apply any type of conditioner to these or are they naturally weathering? I was thinking of Mineral Oil mixed with Beeswax to help protect it slightly.

I bought my lumbar from HD I believe, and I haven't treated it with anything, although some oil on the lighter wood would look nice.

Thanks for the replies.

Again, awesome job on the piece and the Intractable. really helpful.

water hose. I plan on maybe adding a soaker hose inside of it in the future.

Awesome job! I made a planter very similar to this. Just use caution with cedar if you are planting vegetables or herbs.

1 reply

Great job, I would recommend lining it with landscape fabric.

Nice! Congrats on posting your first instrucable, as well as for tackling your first wood major wood project :)

I hope we see more projects from you soon!