I wanted a raised bed planter, but the best location in my yard is not close to a spigot for watering. I live in a hot climate and I wanted to find a way to avoid dragging out a long length of garden hose 3-4 times a week to water my garden. I finally settled on building "wicking" raised garden bed. While I still need to pull out the hose once in a while, the number of times is much less. This bed waters from the bottom up, which has many benefits but here are a few key:
- Less evaporation during watering
- Plants are encouraged to grow deeper roots
- Lower water usage because garden draws up water only when needed

This guide will show you the key steps to building your own backyard raised bed garden which needs less frequent watering and encourages deep-rooted healthy plants. The key to this garden is the "wicking" water system built into the bed.

Materials needed for 4'x6' garden.
- Wood for raised bed walls (adjust to fit your garden dimensions)
- 2 2x6x10'
- 2 2x10x10'
- 2 1x4x8' for corners (optional - mostly decorative)
- Galvanixed screws
- 1" PVC for fill pipe and holders for cover supports
- Weed barrier
- Poly liner
- 4" corrugated drainage pipe
- 2 end caps for 4" drain pipe
- drainage rock
- organic garden soil

I purchased everything at my local "big box" hardware store

Step 1: Build Raised Box Container

Begin by constructing your raised container. There are many options for this container, I chose a simple wooden box which is approximately 4' x 6' in size. You can choose to let the wood age naturally, but I decided to put a grey stain on the outside and along the top of the inside. There are many techniques and sites which will show you how to construct the box, and you can probably figure out my approach just from this picture.

Once you have your box located and leveled, dig out some of the soil to form a depression which is below the level of the box approximately 4 inches. (The deeper you dig, the more water it will hold.)

Note: Do not use pressure treated lumber if you will be growing vegetables.
<p>shamanic1, Your date of 1978 is a bit early.</p><p>On December 31, 2003, the U.S. wood treatment industry stopped treating residential lumber with <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arsenic" rel="nofollow">arsenic</a> and chromium (<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromated_copper_arsenate" rel="nofollow">chromated copper arsenate</a>, or CCA). This was a voluntary agreement with the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Environmental_Protection_Agency" rel="nofollow">United States Environmental Protection Agency</a>. CCA was replaced by copper-based pesticides, with exceptions for certain industrial uses.<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_preservation#cite_note-2" rel="nofollow">[2]</a> CCA may still be used for outdoor products like utility trailer beds and non-residential construction like piers, docks, and agricultural buildings.</p><p>The U.S. began mandating the use of non-arsenic containing wood preservatives for virtually all residential use timber in 2004.</p>
<p>Thank you for an excellent design! My 2 cents re pressure-treated wood. The toxic metals are no longer used - haven't been since 1978. I was thinking of not making mention of this fact, because those of us who scrounge pressure treated, here in Pudddletown (Oregon), are more than happy to enjoy our little secret! ;-)</p>
<p>Hello comment section, I have an emergency. I am using this design for my eagle project which is in 2 weeks but I didn't realize the instructions do not tell you how to build the actual box. If someone could please tell me how to build the box above with the same wood given in the instructions, that would be amazing. </p>
What type of soil do you use? Is it just topsoil or more of a potting soil mix?
What was your overall cost?
Nice design. Two suggestions. First, you want to cap the tube going into the container when not in use to avoid the odd rodent exploration possibility. I did this with my earthtainer clone. Second, I used a cork with piece of light plastic rod as a floating dipstick. The rod went thru a small hole drilled into the cap. I had one mark for full and another for empty and that way I could tell the level of water by looking at the height of the dipstick
<p>Clever idea. Do you have a picture of this?</p>
why is it a bad idea to use pressure treated wood for the bed?
Because of the chemicals in it. They can get into soil and into plants.
I wanted to ask specifics on this as the info I had found said the only chemical of concern with vegetables was arsenic which hasn't been in pressure treated wood since 2004. Are there other chemicals the plants will take up that my info maybe didn't cover? If so what am looking for? I ask because I am poor and my deconstructed deck is slated to make some nice raised beds for me before next season. Thanks.
<p>Using pressure treated wood is up to you, as you say, they haven't used lethal (that we know of) chemicals for treatment for some time. A friend worked at a saw mill, one day they were discussing this issue and calculated how much wood you would have to consume to get near problem levels. The amount of treated wood was in the measure of many cubic yards. </p><p>Treated timber isn't an issue if you are doing a wicking bed anyway, because you often use a plastic liner inside the bed which will keep soil away from touching anything leaching out of the wood. Check out some of the other wicking beds here on instructables to see what I mean regarding using a liner. Hope that helps. If it was me, I would be making good use of that decking timber and building a lined type bed.</p>
I have to agree about not using pressure treated wood. Perhaps Arsenic is the most toxic and worrisome, but if you are using this to grow food you will eat, then you are taking the risk that in 10 years research will demonstrate a link between illness and whatever is presently being used to treat wood. You can find untreated wood inexpensively at may places. Construction sites will often have dumpsters full of culls. My local big box store has nearly free pieces that are warped or odd-sized. We also have a place called Construction Junction that has recycled lumber. Finally Craig's List often lists free wood that you can take for the hauling. <br>

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