Instructables
Picture of Tiered Garden Bed
Tiered garden beds are great for adding visual interest to a garden while also helping segregate different plants. This instructable goes through the step by step creation of my garden bed, but please take the basic ideas and expand. The design I used is fairly simple and symmetric but the same steps could be used to make an intricate abstract masterpiece. I didn't need a back to the boxes since it was up against a fence, but it would be easy enough to add those if needed.

While I have a decent amount of tools, there are certainly tools that would make this easier (a bandsaw could notch the ends with 10% of the work). Again, modify these directions to work best for you.

One last note is if you could get your hands on some old railroad ties, they would work great for this project as well. They'd add a nice green touch while slashing the costs of the project. Unfortunately, I couldn't get my hands on any.

The materials I used are:
11x Pressure treating landscape logs ($4 each at Lowes)
2x 10ft pieces of 3/8" rebar ($4.50 each)
Lots of dirt.

Tools:
Miter saw
Table saw
Reciprocating saw (with metal and wood blades)
Hammer
Chisel
Tamper
Shovel
Drill with 1/2" Spade bit
 
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Step 1: Cutting the wood to size

Each of the 4 main boxes is 28" long, 40" wide, and two logs high. I chose these because each 8 ft log cuts into exactly two 28" and one 40" section. I recommend waiting until you have the larger boxes set before cutting the connecting logs as this allows for minor changes in placement later on.
mpikas4 years ago
It looks nice, but isn't it a pain to mow around?

mpikas4 years ago
Next time leave the blade straight up and down and make a cut every 1/4" or so between your 2 side cuts.

You end up with a bunch of thin pieces that you can knock out with a hammer very quickly, and then if you care you can clean up the bottom of the cut with a chisel, plane or even a sander, since usually they break off pretty much flush with the bottom of the saw cuts.
kathynv4 years ago
Again, another nice instructable! I had the same thought as the previous writer, that you would need a liner to prevent leaching of chemicals into the soil and I also wondered if the fence is yours or belongs to a neighbor. If the fence is yours, a good heavy-duty liner will protect both the soil and the fence. If the fence belongs to your neighbor, you might want to think about putting a back on those planting beds before adding a liner. That way, you won't be held responsible for your neighbor's fence when it rots. Thinking of Buffalo, you might want to add a bracket or two to your planting beds, so that they can hold an old window frame (usually available free from people who are buying new windows). That will make the beds into cold frames, which will enable you to plant a good month before the last frost in Buffalo.
MrBippers (author)  kathynv4 years ago
I had the concern at first about the leeching. I did some research and seeing as how modern pressure treating is done with the more mild copper sulfate rather than the arsenic that used to be the standard, the consensus seemed to be it was okay.

As for the fences, it's a bit of a story. I guess the neighbors didn't like the old owners and put up a fence but had the finished side facing their yard. The old owners got really upset and after being told by the town that they didn't have to have the finish side facing out, it was just a common courtesy, built a second stretch of fence facing the opposite direction. Now there's two fences each facing the wrong way. Anything that rots through would only expose the 8" buffer zone between the fences. Still if I find a scrap of something that would work well as a liner, I might put it in.

The cold frame is a good idea. I actually built a greenhouse from old windows like this one so I'm looking forward to getting things started sooner next year.
scmtngirl5 years ago
Nice! My only concern would be planting vegetables or herbs in beds made with pressure-treated lumber. You would probably want to stick to ornamental plants only. Also, you might want to put some sort of liner between the fence and the dirt to avoid rotting the fence.