Build a Raised Garden Bed

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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: https://youtu.be/PFnF7CsTxwU

Supplies

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

Safety Equipment

Tools

Parts:

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.

Social Media:

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1 Person Made This Project!

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27 Comments

0
BenD166
BenD166

1 year ago

I’ve just finished making my own for a corner plot

0
How Do You - DIY
How Do You - DIY

Reply 1 year ago

That's awesome! It would be cool to see how it looks!

0
BenD166
BenD166

Reply 1 year ago

Here it is!

D7AB540D-9963-4171-9EB5-5515AA5B2F79.jpeg
0
How Do You - DIY
How Do You - DIY

Reply 1 year ago

That looks awesome! It kind of looks like the shape of Superman's emblem. Thanks for sharing the picture!

0
arkon476
arkon476

1 year ago

Any idea how much soil is needed to fill the box? Someone in my area is advertising 3 to 5 yards for delivery.

0
arkon476
arkon476

Reply 1 year ago

I did my own calculations but must have mixed up my units as my answer didn't make sense, which prompted me to ask. Breaking out the steps as you did, I saw my error right away.

This is a great design for a garden box and is the perfect size for my space.

And the tip on the soil/sand/compost mix is much appreciated!

My thanks to you both!

0
How Do You - DIY
How Do You - DIY

Reply 1 year ago

I added about 22.5 cubic feet (about 0.83 cubic yards) of dirt into it.

0
tgimages
tgimages

Reply 1 year ago

Length times Width times Height (or at least how much dirt you want.)
Measure the interior. If the inside space is 12' (144") x 2' (24") and lets say 2" below the top (14") = 48,384 cubic inches.
A cubic foot (12" x 12" x 12") = 1728 cubic inches.
So 48,384 / 1728 = 28 cubic feet.
In yards, 36" x 36" x 36" = 46,656. Which is just less than 48,384.

Essentially to fill the interior of a 2' x 12' to 14" with dirt would be 1 yard and about 1 bag (most bags are around a cubic foot or a little less).

However I'd be inclined to mix in some sand and compost into the dirt so if I got a yard of dirt I'd also get a half dozen or so bags of sand and another half doze or so bags of compost, mix, fill and then find somewhere else to use the left overs. I just built similar beds 12' x 4' and used this very mix in them. Last year I built a few too, used the mix and everything I planted in it grew fantastically. No science behind it, just 5 parts of top soil to 1 part sand to 1 part compost. It works well for me. I also cover the bottom with a double layer of cardboard to discourage any existing grass or plants from coming up through the dirt.

0
mickeyj737
mickeyj737

1 year ago

Can you complete the story with getting the dirt ready to support a garden

0
tgimages
tgimages

Reply 1 year ago

Scroll up a bit, I just posted a comment on what I've used in my raised beds and how to calculate how much you need.

0
How Do You - DIY
How Do You - DIY

Reply 1 year ago

That's a great idea! I've been thinking that same thing. I still need to research home composting methods, but I'll definitely make an Instructable about it. Thanks for sharing your idea!

0
Wallaman
Wallaman

1 year ago

Well done. So easy to follow. I think I found the raised bed Im going to make!!!

0
How Do You - DIY
How Do You - DIY

Reply 1 year ago

Thanks! I would love to see how yours turns out!

0
JoeW9
JoeW9

1 year ago

For those of us “cheap” DIYers, what was your total cost? In my area a cedar 1x8x12 is $38 each....

0
How Do You - DIY
How Do You - DIY

Reply 1 year ago

It wasn't cheap. The materials that I used for this added up to a bit over $300. I think that a cool, cheap DIY version could be made with scrapped pallets. I don't know how well that type of wood would hold up over time as a garden bed, but it could be interesting.

0
mwseniff
mwseniff

1 year ago

I’ve been growing all my veggies in raised beds for the last 17 years. The first thing I do is put cardboard down on top of any grass. This keeps grass from just growing up thru the bed. After the growing season is done the cardboard is gone unless there was tape and the tape remains. I know this because I had to move a two beds this year the ground was perfectly clean except for tape from a cardboard box. My ex-housemate put the bed in a year ago and I forgot to tell him to remove any tape.

0
How Do You - DIY
How Do You - DIY

Reply 1 year ago

That's an awesome tip! I didn't think about putting anything on the grass before adding the dirt, but I like the advice. And I'm glad you mentioned about the tape. That's something I can see being easy to overlook.

0
charlessenf-gm
charlessenf-gm

1 year ago

Lovely, impressive and well executed.

One point re: "I predrill the holes"

One either drills a hole or not. The process of drilling a hole in which one intends to drive a screw fastener to prevent (hopefully) splitting the material is "drilling a pilot hole" somewhat smaller than the diameter of the fastener used.

0
How Do You - DIY
How Do You - DIY

Reply 1 year ago

You're right, "drilling a pilot hole" is a better description. I've updated my Instructable. Thanks for the feedback! And I'm glad you like the garden bed!