Elevated Planter Raised Bed

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Introduction: Elevated Planter Raised Bed

I couldn't find an instructable for a raised bed planted that we liked so I decided to make one. Will try to be as thorough as possible but keep in mind this is my first instructable and first major woodworking project. The planter itself is 6ft wide, 2ft deep and 3ft tall. The bed portion is roughly 18 cubic feet. I am creating this instructable as an afterthought, and I didn't fully keep track of the supplies I bought. I had also bought enough to do 3 planters at the same time but will try to calculate the actual materials from memory. Will also add some happy plant pics when I get around to it. Some of the materials are optional as I decided to go big and add trim around the boxes as well. I used cedar for its resistance to rot properties and also attempted to hide all screws with trim.

Materials:

9 - 1"x6"x8' cedar boards. Look for straight ones with smaller amounts of knots

2 - 2"x4"x8' rough cut cedar

2 - 1"x2"x8' cedar for trim

screws, 2 sizes. I think I used 1.25" but could be wrong, and 2.5"

Step 1: Wood

Since I am trying to condense everything I've learned about woodworking over the previous 3 days before I started this project this may get rough. First, went to the hardware store to pick up the lumber. I had enough room in the SUV to bring enough for maybe 2.5 planters. I layed it all in the garage to start the following day. I'm sure everyone has heard measure twice, cut once... apparently you've been doing it wrong all these years. From what I was reading, it's easier to measure once, cut twice, etc. By this I mean instead of taking into account all of the inaccuracies of the measuring tape and measuring each board you will be cutting, to measure the first board, mark it and use that one as a pattern for all subsequent boards of that size.

Start off by checking all of the boards for staples. Be sure to pull the ones from the end of the board holding the label on. Once you measure the first board, mark a line across it with a straight edge/square. If you don't have a square, be sure to make your mark on the middle of the board, that way when you bring the saw down you can line it up. When measuring, make a 'V' shave where the point of the v is the measurement you want. Draw and x on the discard side of the board, that way you know which side of the line to bring the blade down onto. Apparently the thickness of the blade/the amount of wood it removes is called the "kerf". Once you have the first board cut, mark "pattern" on it so you don't mix it up with the others. Use it to mark all further cuts of that size.

Step 2: Construction - Legs

I used the 2x4's to make the legs. Start off with 2 of them and butt them up against each other. Use the drill to start a pilot hole for the screws. Cedar is a very dry wood so without the starter holes (even with them) you have a good chance of splitting the wood. I lined the two boards up in an "L" shape and then drilled the first hole and finished it with a screw. Next I was able to line both sides of the board up and went down the board drilling about 5-6 holes. I then put a screw in each hole.

Step 3: Constructing the Sides

To construct the sides, I layed out all the wood I would need for making them. I chose 6ft lengths and also used some leftover 1x2 to hold the layers in place until it could be fastened the the legs. I layed the three six foot 1x6's to make the wall. Then I butted a level up to one size to make sure they were even. Use one of the 1x6 pieces to screw into the three boards to lock them in place. Be sure to leave some room, maybe 2 inches or so from the bottom of your wall to where the vertical 1x6 will go. This gap will be for the bottom of the container and the support. Do the same for smaller side walls as well.

Step 4: Joining the Walls to the Legs

We're getting closer! take two legs and be mindful of the position the "L" faces. I laid them both down to where the longer part of the "L" went with the longer sides. Put them about 6 ft apart, lay the side across both legs and square everything up. Predrill and then screw the walls to the legs. I used 3 screws per board.

Once you have the walls screwed in, then take a 1x2 piece, roughly the same length as the walls and screw it into the side, this support the bottom slats. Hopefully you left enough room under your side braces to fit the 1x2 support as well as the thickness of a slat, if not you can get a circular saw, set the depth and trim it up a bit without having to unscrew anything. I could joined all 4 walls to the legs by myself but I asked if my stepdaughter would give me a hand. We were able to knock it out fairly quickly.

Step 5: Final Steps

Finally, once the box is complete, you can insert the slats. Most will fall into place, some you will need to slide under the middle braces. I also for some reason couldn't the last 1x6 to fit, to I ended up using some left over 1x2. Once you're done you can add a little trim work to it, trim gives it a little something extra.

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39 Discussions

0
Ted3298
Ted3298

5 months ago on Step 1

Thanks for the plans. I needed 1 more 1x6 and 2x4 to complete, and 1x4s and 1x2s to make top piece and exterior bottom trim. I lined the inside with a plastic tarp I stapled to the sides and added 3 2” pvc drains in the bottom.

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6
CharlieR63
CharlieR63

Question 2 years ago on Step 5

How did you attach the trim on the top?

0
pwmatthey
pwmatthey

Answer 7 months ago

Tacked on with stainless steel finishing nails. It’s largely decorative and essentially ‘floating’.
Box has to be perfectly level and square or the miters won’t come together

4
CalebA29
CalebA29

1 year ago

I know this post is 3 years old, but I made this pretty much as instructed the other day and I love it! My only question for anyone who may happen to read this, is what to line the box with before putting in my soil?? I've seen lots use plastic of some kind (and poke some holes in it for drainage) and some use landscape fabric. Some use nothing! Hopefully someone sees this and can help me out :)

0
pwmatthey
pwmatthey

Reply 7 months ago

I lined the sides with landscape fabric to limit soil coming through the sides. Used 1/4” hardware mesh and drilled lots of holes in the bottom for good drainage. Landscape fabric tends to get clogged with silt it clay if it’s in your mix and this seriously restricts drainage.

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1
nosybasket
nosybasket

9 months ago

Any Ideas on reinforcing the bottom??
Built two of these in one day. Filled one with soil/manure blend. 3 nights later I got to watch my backyard nest footage of the bottom giving out. Now I'm worried as to the integrity of the 2nd one and wondering what I could do to strengthen or maybe fix the bottom.

0
pwmatthey
pwmatthey

Reply 7 months ago

Loved the design so I built two.
Came home yesterday to see the bottom had collapsed right out of one of them. The rails had actually split the side walls. Suspected it might happen as it was filled with a heavy garden mix and we had a lot of rain.
Decided to build a cedar 2x4 subframe with lapped cross braces . Glued, screwed and bolted a support block under the new 2x4 rails and attached to the legs. You could incorporate a support that runs to the ground in a new build, but difficult in a repair as it has to be exactly the same length as the legs or else it won’t do its job.
The other one is temporarily braced for this season as it is already planted. Will empty it and do the same after harvest.
New mix is 1/3 each garden soil mix, compost and peat moss/soilless planting media with vermiculite with a little sand. Far lighter and much less clay than the original garden mix.
Sorry about the pics being upside down for some reason.

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0
jcharland42
jcharland42

Reply 9 months ago

Yikes! Did the boards going across break or what? I'm building on this weekend hopefully. I've seen other boxes with people taking chicken wire and stapling it to the bottom and sides to strengthen it.

0
nosybasket
nosybasket

Reply 9 months ago

the 2' pieces going across didnt break, but the 2x1 that holds them up was pulled out. causing all those 2' pieces to fall on one side; dumping all the soil and plants. I did staple chicken wire to the bottom before the garden fabric.

on the 2nd one I made, I added extra screws to the 2x1's, added another 6' 2x1 across the bottom middle (long ways), and a 2' 2x1 across the bottom as well. Hopefully that works.

0
jcharland42
jcharland42

Reply 9 months ago

Thanks for the update. I'll be sure to reinforce those. How much soil did you have to purchase to fill one?

0
Betviar4
Betviar4

Question 7 months ago on Step 5

What are the dimensions of your box?

0
LLSmithLL
LLSmithLL

8 months ago

We made 2 of the raised planter boxes this weekend. We added screening to keep it as a garden and not a deer feeder.

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0
dusekaudio
dusekaudio

9 months ago

Overall great design. Ran into the same issue as everyone else with the material call outs for the legs (had already made it home, oh well). As for the slats, I did three long ways with two extra 2x4’s for support underneath, and it feels sturdy as hell. I also added some corner bracings for stability. Threw on some casters for mobility. Thanks!

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0
Bucket_bc
Bucket_bc

Reply 8 months ago

With building and it collapsing in a few hours after filling with soil and plants I find these posts... In reading your post I also added the extra 2x4's along all of the bottom (along the outside and middle like yours. With "T" and "L" braces to mend together. Then with cut 2x4 pieces under the outside and new slats inside. holding up well now.

1
rat7979
rat7979

8 months ago on Step 2

this guys math is way off why would they put this up here

0
Penolopy Bulnick
Penolopy Bulnick

Reply 8 months ago

Do you know what the correct measurements should be?

1
ErinS111
ErinS111

Question 1 year ago

Am I the only one who doesn't understand how you can get 8 3' pieces of wood for the legs out of 2 8' 2x4s? Or is there something I'm missing?

2
brittanys87
brittanys87

Answer 1 year ago

Hey :) I just made one of these yesterday and required 4 2x4x8’ boards to make one bed.

1
CheckyCPSO
CheckyCPSO

Reply 9 months ago

I just bought everything. I was at the house calculating, and now headed back to get two more :(

1
rmorgado1
rmorgado1

Reply 9 months ago

Yep, me too. Ugh!