Instructables

Raised Garden Beds (and More!) from Reclaimed Wood

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The fence in my back yard was already half collapsed when I bought my house last year.  I figured I'd take care of it eventually, but this winter when a wind storm came through it went from one section already on the ground with two more halfway there to four sections (around thirty feet) down. 

There were lots of old rusty nails sticking out all over the place in a spot right next to my daughter's playground, so I decided I'd better do something about that.  Without a truck readily available, I decided I'd just remove all the nails from the lumber and make a pile of it somewhere until I had an opportunity to take it down to the wood recycling place.

As I was pounding nails out of boards, I realized that a lot of the pickets, posts and stringers, while not in great shape at the top or bottom, were in relatively good condition for most of their lengths.  After disassembling a couple of sections of fence I had a pretty good pile of cedar that, while not any good for building furniture or houses out of or anything like that, were still solid enough that the idea of just sending them away to be chipped and mulched kind of grated on me. 

My mind began to churn, what could I build out of all that still perfectly serviceable wood?  I later on decided I'd rebuild that entire fence and pulled down even more boards, until the pile got really big.  I settled on structures for my garden, and this instructable was born!

 
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veryken2 years ago
Looks great! Can I add that installing raised garden boxes like this would be perfect opportunity to install gopher/mole screens? That is, if your area has the problem (I wonder what areas don't). You wouldn't need to dig down to install it. Gopher/mole screen should be metal or vinyl-coated metal with openings no bigger than 1/2". I'm commenting because this is exactly what I'm planning to do, too!
depotdevoid (author)  veryken2 years ago
Thanks veryken, and thanks for mentioning the gopher screen. It's not a problem here, but I'm sure lots of people do have to worry about them!
Biodynamic3 months ago
Great job of repurposing those fence posts. Here's another idea for you (if you have any 2x4's hanging around). Build a black soldier fly compost bin to help amend the soil in those beds.

http://gardenpool.org/beneficial-insects/black-soldier-fly-composter-automatic-chicken-feeder

I'm going to be building a few with students to help feed our chickens at school.
katzcarol3 months ago

Excellent and clear instructions and photos. I've managed to garner quite a big pile of good (not chemical-soaked) shipping pallets and am embarking on several projects ... the regular raised garden beds for square foot gardening, elevated garden table/beds for my nearly-90-year-old mother, a fence around my raised garden beds to keep out the desert critters including deer, and then I have enough 2x4's of decent length to do all the studs and rafters for another 10 x 20 storage shed. I just have to get the OSB for the flooring, and plywood and shingles for the roof. I've got enough leftover pallet wood to side the whole shed as well. And over the next few weeks, I hope to get more pallet wood to do the framework of a small (8 x 10) greenhouse. My brother gave me plastic sheeting already for that (that's only fair ... he's currently using 90% of my current 10 x 20 storage shed!). There are lots of things you can make with your leftover wood ... benches, Adirondack chairs, a picnic table, etc. I'll try to take pix that are as clear as yours, and write down the instructions for my other projects and post them as I get projects done. They may take a while as this desert gets hot during the summer and I can only work outside when it is cool in the early mornings and late evenings. But, hey, I'm a girl after all! Daddy taught me well.

depotdevoid (author)  katzcarol3 months ago

Thanks, I'm looking forward to seeing the pictures!

Wow! Your garden is doing great!
PORKYMOORE1 year ago
hang some gutters on the fence and direct the water to the beds and make an auto water system..
Deb62051 year ago
What a great recycle project. Love the variety of projects especially using the left over as plant markers. You did a good job with your pictures with each step so people like me who have very little experience with building could follow. Thank you for the follow up pictures and may I say what a beautiful garden you have. I am sure your family is very appreciative of your work.
depotdevoid (author)  Deb62051 year ago
Well thanks very much Deb, those are kind words! It's been three years now and they're still holding up, and the family certainly loves all the fresh veggies each summer!
evad1 year ago
Awesome recycling project!! You used up almost everything!
Here's a tip if you ever do your square boxes again: since you chose to double the siding, a stronger joint would be to build with a single layer first- and overlap at the corners like you did with the 2x6's. Then put on the second layer, and overlap the corners the opposite way. See below:
| | |
_________| | |
_________|__| |
____________|__|

For the scrap and rotted wood leftover, look into huegalculture! -it will make nice black loam.
evad evad1 year ago
Arrrgg! the formatting messed up my drawing!
| | |
________| | |
________|__| |
__________|__|
depotdevoid (author)  evad1 year ago
I think I get what you're saying. It makes a lot of sense, thanks for the advice!
evad1 year ago
Note that grapevines love to wrap themselves around trees and bushes.
aimeee1 year ago
I think your garden looks wonderful. I hope to start a garden this year and this is the kind of instructable we needed. Oh, and cute cat too!
depotdevoid (author)  aimeee1 year ago
Thanks! I'd love to see some pictures of how your garden turns out!
aimeee1 year ago
I think it looks awesome. I like how you used reclaimed wood and your garden is thriving.
jhernand862 years ago
Lots of good tips and inspiration. Thanks!
depotdevoid (author)  jhernand862 years ago
Awesome, post some photos if you build something!
Dr.Bill2 years ago
I like this.
Its WAY Better than FarmVille on FaceBook cause you actually get something for your labor.
Then you have something nice every year to work on.
GOD I wish I had a yard !

I give you a 5.0 -
depotdevoid (author)  Dr.Bill2 years ago
I went for many years with just a 6 foot wide dirt patch instead of a backyard--it's really nice once you get one!
Joemeza3 years ago
nice job
depotdevoid (author)  Joemeza3 years ago
Thanks!
pickles433 years ago
nice job! your backyard is nicely improved!
makendo4 years ago
Nice work! But I think you'll owe me a hatful of patches :)

The picture is of the 8 raised beds I made from the neighbor's fence - a huge pile of cedar 1x8s, 2x4s and 4x4s. They had to fit in the only sunny corner of the garden, hence the funny shape.

The other two are a treehouse and a pirate-style treasure chest, both made from the same fence. And there's still some left over - a couple of hundred feet of 6' high fence goes a long way, all right.


P1000791.JPG
I really like how you have your boxes and bean poles set up! My husband just suggested building a tall narrow tool closet to keep your frequently used tool close to the area! I think your use of space is wonderful! Thanks for sharing the picture!
depotdevoid (author)  makendo4 years ago
Oh, very nice!  Thanks for posting, those look great!

My fence was in worse condition than yours, I think--I also wish they'd been using 1x8's instead of 5/8x4's when they built my fence.  If they had I could have planed down the lumber, and I suspect creations would have looked nicer.

Thanks for sharing, there's a patch on the way!  Also, please vote for me in the garden contest!
Thanks, and congratulations on the win!
inventorman3 years ago
I like the boxes. Very inspirational
depotdevoid (author)  inventorman3 years ago
Thanks inventorman!
5 stars...great project using the old wood and pretty simple design
depotdevoid (author)  explosivemaker4 years ago
Thanks explosivemaker, glad you liked it!
Did you enter the Garden Contest?

...this one would probably have my vote
depotdevoid (author)  explosivemaker4 years ago
I did, I think we have to wait until whoever is moderating the garden contest accepts it though.  I'd really appreciate your vote when the time comes!
Good to hear, I'll check back tomorrow to see if they updated the entry list
they finally added it to the list, just put in my vote....
depotdevoid (author)  explosivemaker4 years ago
Awesome, thanks a lot!
Hurray! you're a finalist....
depotdevoid (author)  explosivemaker4 years ago
And hey, now I'm a winner! Thanks again!
depotdevoid (author)  explosivemaker4 years ago
Oh crap, I am! I didn't realize voting had ended . . . thanks for your help getting me into the finals!
SinAmos4 years ago
I made some big beds out of some reclaimed wood recently.  I treated them with that green stuff and stained them.  Raised beds give you a better feeling about your garden.  It feels more controlled.:)
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