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My first project in our new house was to create a raised bed garden planter, using only reclaimed wood (since the previous owner have left literally a shed-load of wood).

The planter doesn't need a bottom as it will go directly on top of soil in the garden. These types of planters are great for growing vegetables with deep roots (potatoes, carrots or in our case, Kolrabi).

This was incredibly easy and took less than 3 hours to put together.

The dimensions required depends entirely on the space you have. For me, the front and back walls need to measure 105cm long by 30cm tall. The side walls need to measure 75cm wide by 30cm tall. The corner posts in this case only need to be around 5cm x 5cm (2inch x 2inch) and 30cm tall

What you will need:

  • A saw
  • A drill
  • Screws (I prefer 4,5 or 6mm)
  • Wood oil and a brush
  • Staple gun
  • Plastic or rubber sheeting
  • 2 x 2 (5cm x 5cm) wooden blocks for the 4 posts
  • Enough wooden panels for your sides - In this case I'm using reclaimed wooden panels that slot in to each other. This isn't a necessity but it really helps keep everything together.

Step 1: Cutting Your Wooden Panels

Saw your wood to the dimensions you require. In this example, each strip of wood was approx 10cm tall when laid down, so I only needed to connect 3 peices vertically for each wall

Front and back walls needed to measure 105cm wide.
The left and right sides needed to measure 75cm wide.

Step 2: Creating Your Posts

Cut 4 corner posts using something similar to a strip of 2x2 (5cm x 5cm), in this case each at 30cm tall.

I only had 2x1, so I used double-edged nails to bind 2 parts together to form a 2x2. This worked fine. Again this isn't strictly necessary, but the thicker your posts the more rigid your planter.

Step 3: The Walls of the Planter

Once measured and cut, I placed 3 panels together to make a wall. As mine slot together I didn't need to do anything else, but if not using slotted wood you may need to nail them together.

I repeated this to make all 4 walls.

Step 4: Fixing the Corner Posts to Front and Back Walls

Fix the corner posts to the larger front and back walls first.

Your 4 posts won't be screwed right to the edge of your front and back walls, because you want the side walls to connect nicely behind your front and back walls. So measure how thin your wooden panel is, in my case 1cm, and draw a line in at that distance from the sides of your front and back walls. Or cheat like I did and place a panel flush against your wall as a template (as per the first image here), and mark with a pencil how far in that comes from the side. This will be where your post needs to be placed.

The second image shows the resulting overhang at the end of the front and back walls. Drill 2 or 3 holes through the front and back walls, in to the posts, and screw your screws in.

Once completed your walls should look similar to the 4th image...

Step 5: Connect Your Walls Together

You should now be able to easily drill and screw your smaller side walls in to the corner posts as shown in the images.

Step 6: Support Your Structure

With all 4 walls now in place we need to ensure rigidity by placing a strip of wood between the front and back wall. Using any scrap wood that is long enough (I had a spare 2x1 strip of wood) cut it to measure the inner width between front and back walls. In this example the inner width measured approx 70cm.

Once the wood is cut, push it in place, drill a hole on the front and back wall to accommodate, and screw in place. It should now be much sturdier.

Step 7: Paint / Oil / Protect

We want to protect the wood from the elements. Use any water resistant oil for wood and brush it on. It usually takes a day or two to dry completely. Make sure you paint outside and inside.

Step 8: Inner Sheeting

To prevent the plants or soil from getting through the wooden walls of the planter we need to fix plastic or rubber sheeting to the inner sides of each wall. You can buy this in any DIY store. Don't use regular black bags as a substitute, they are too flimsy.

Cut to the height of the planter (30cm in this case) and use the staple gun to fix it in place.

Once the sheeting is in place you are ready to place your new planter in your garden and fill with soil :)

<p>I've built two raised garden planters for my back yard using similar techniques. If the wood species is selected correctly, you don't need to coat it or line it. Douglas Fir is decently rot resistant (I live in a place where 1.5 m of rain is common) and common where I live. I've got one that's 3 years old that is still solid. To tell you the truth, you could omit the liner all together. Roots want soil and moisture. The open air provides neither. I've got 1/4&quot; gaps because my son helped me build it (he was a toddler) and no soil has come through. Your planters, however, look a lot better than mine.</p>
Thanks for the comment. Coating and lining the wood is really optional, but I followed this rule based on other garden planters that already existed in our garden from the previous owner. Apparently hers are over 10 years old and still in great shape. I have no idea what type of wood I'm working with so coating it seemed to be a safer option ?
<p>Absolutely safer. If you don't know your species, you don't know it's resistance to fungal attack. </p>
<p>Thanks for sharing all the steps. This planter looks great. I am just wandering if chemicals in the (oil)paint is affecting the plants. I would be tempted to not use the paint. Maybe there are people who can/wants to say something about this</p>
Good question. I have no idea. The plants are growing nicely at the moment. The inner lining would probably prevent the oil from causing an issue, but I'm only guessing.
<p>That is a great looking raised bed planter. When the plants start growing, you should post a picture of the finished garden.</p>
<p>Thanks for the comment. I've planted my Kohlrabi now so will update when the roots have settled in (and when it stops raining)</p>

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