Introduction: Build a Raised Garden Bed

About: Creating DIY projects

Springtime is here and it's time for some gardening. I spent a day building a raised garden bed, and this Instructable describes how I did it.

When I was designing this raised garden bed, I didn't want just a basic design, so I added some decorative elements to it also. This Instructable starts with a basic design, so if that's what you're looking for then this Instructable will still work for you! Just like with all of my Instructables, it's important to check out the picture that I've added. I like adding relevant info whenever it seems necessary.

I used cedar wood for this project. I recommend using something that is rot resistant, and NOT a chemically treated wood.

Also, if you would prefer to see this Instructable as a video, you can check that out here:


(ALL of the boards I used started as 8 feet long)

Safety Equipment



Cedar Boards for Part 1

  • 7 - 1x8 (3/4" x 7 1/4")
  • 4 - 2x4 (1 1/2" x 3 1/2")

Cedar Boards for Part 2

  • 2 - 2x4 (1 1/2" x 3 1/2")
  • 4 - 1x4 (3/4" x 3 1/2")
  • 18 - 1x2 (3/4" x 1 1/2")

Deck Screws

Step 1: Using the 2 Different Size of Screws

For this project I used 2 different sizes of screws. Anytime that I add a screw through a 2x4, or even into a 2x4 from another board, I used a 2 inch screw. Whenever I screwed a thin board to another thin board, I used a 1 1/4 inch screw.

Step 2: Start With the Long Sides - the Outside

(All screws for this step are 2 inches)

First of all I need to mention that since these boards will have joints connecting boards end to end, it's important to stagger these joints between each layer so that there isn't a weak point.

For each of the 12 foot long sides, I use 3 of the 1x8 boards. One of them I cut in half to 4 feet. I lay them out with a 4 foot board next to an 8 foot board, making 2 rows of these boards. I cut 2 pieces of 2x4 and screw them to the 1x8 boards to hold them together at the joints. These 2x4 pieces were about 14 1/2 inches long.

Step 3: Start With the Long Sides - the Inside

(All screws for this step are 2 inches)

I flip the group of boards over and screw a full 8 foot long 2x4 to the top row of these, and also a 4 foot long 2x4 next to that.

For the ends of these sided I measure the distance between the long 2x4 and the bottom of the side, and add a vertical 2x4.

Repeat this to make both of the long sides.

Step 4: Add the End Boards

(Screws for this step can be 1 1/4 inches or 2 inches.)

For the end boards I took a 1x8 board and cut it into 4 equal sized boards, giving me 2 foot long boards. I screw these boards onto the 2x4 boards that are attached to the sides.

Step 5: Finished With Part 1

This is all that it takes to make a basic raised garden bed. I wanted to improve the appearance so I added more boards to this. (See the picture for the additional boards that I used.)

Step 6: Add the Corner Boards

(All screws for this step are 2 inches)

For the corners of the box, I added some 2x4s cut with a 45 degree angle so that they fit together nicely. To make this cut easily, I screwed the board that I was cutting to a longer 2x4, just to hold it in place. I used the screw holes for this to also screw these boards to the box. (No extra holes made!) One screw I put in 2 inches for the end, the other was 1 1/2 inches from the other end. My thought for this was to stagger the screw so that they don't collide during assembly.

After cutting 2 of these boards at 45 degrees, I added a few screws to hold these together. Then when screwing the corner to the box, I used the same screw holes that I made to hold the board down while cutting it.

Step 7: Add the Horizontal Slats to the Side

For the horizontal pieces, I measure between each of the vertical 2x4s and cut pieces of 1x2 boards. For each section I cut 5 boards. For the long sides I use 3 screws for each board. Since these boards are so narrow, I drill pilot holes for the screws into the 1x2 boards with a 1/8 inch drill bit.

For the top board only, I use 2 inch screws. For the other 4 boards I use 1 1/4 inch screws.

Step 8: Make Sure the Screw Line Up

In order to save time from measuring and also to make sure the screws are all lined up, I measure the holes for the first board, then I used that board as a template for drilling the holes into the other boards.

For the long boards, I drilled 3 holes: 4 inches in from each end and one in the center.

For the short boards, I only drilled 2 hole: 4 inches in from each end.

Step 9: Add the Horizontal Slats to the Ends

Before adding the horizontal pieces to the end, I add a section of 2x4 to the inside-top of the box.

Just like with the longer horizontal boards, I measure and cut 5 boards for each end. I drill the pilot holes, then add the screws.

For the top board only, I use 2 inch screws. For the other 4 boards I use 1 1/4 inch screws.

Step 10: Add the Top Boards

Now it's time for the final boards. Along the top surface I add some 1x4 boards. The end of the boards that will be at the corner of the box I cut at 45 degrees. The end of the boards that butt-up against the next board I trimmed off the end to get rid of the rough surface. I drill pilot holes and add enough screws to hold down the boards.

Step 11: And That's It!

And that's it! I moved the box where I wanted the garden to be and filled it with dirt. Any questions/comments/advice are always welcome! If you build a raised garden bed, I would love to see how it turns out.

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