DIY: How to Make Raised Garden Beds

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/18/15 8:00 AM

Topics: Home Ownership

Raised garden beds, also known as garden boxes, have been gaining popularity due to their beneficial environment for flower and vegetable gardens to thrive and accessibility and adaptability. The contained boxes provide:


  • Protection from weeds and pests
  • Prevention of soil compaction and erosion
  • Proper water drainage
  • Ease of access to plants for gardeners who want to avoid the pain of constant bending and kneeling

You can purchase raised garden beds at most home improvement stores or garden supply centers, but building one is a relatively simple and cheap task. With a few hours out of your weekend, you'll have a 10x4-foot garden bed full of luscious soil ready for planting.

What You'll Need


  • One 8-foot length of 2x10 cedar
  • Two 10-foot length of 2x10 cedar
  • Two 10-foot lengths of 2x4 cedar
  • 3-inch deck screws
  • Garden soil
  • Compost


  • Jigsaw or circular saw
  • Drill
  • Framing square
  • Edger or spade
  • Sod cutter
  • Pitchfork
  • 4-foot level
  • Sledgehammer
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Handsaw

Step 1

Using a jigsaw or circular saw, cut an 8-foot length of the 2x10 cedar in half. Holding one of the 10-foot 2x10's on edge, butt the end of a 4-foot 2x10 up to is so the face of the longer board overlaps the end of the shorter board.

Use your drill to sink three 3-inch screws through the face of the long side into the end of the short side. Attach the other sides together, continuing to use three 3-inch screws on each corner, overlapping the long sides over the short sides.

Step 2

After the four sides of the bed are assembled, use your framing square in each corner to adjust the fram until the corner lines up square. Leaving the corners perfectly square, tack scrap lumber across each corner with 3-inch screws to hold the frame in position.

Step 3

Move the frame to the spot you wish to place it. Raised garden beds need to be placed in sunny areas. Using your edger or garden spade, mark the ground around the perimeter of the bed frame.

Step 4

Set your frame aside and use your sod cutter to skim away the grass layer within the marked perimeter. To increase drainage for your bed, turn the soil beneath the bed area with a pitchfork or rotary tiller.

Step 5

Place your frame back in place over the tilled area. Using your level, check the position of the frame. If uneven, dig the soil beneath the frame until it sits level on all sides.

Step 6

Cut ten 2-foot-long pieces of 2x4. Make two diagonal cuts on one end of each piece, creating a point. With your sledgehammer, drive the stakes at leach 18 inches into the ground along the outside of the long sides of the frame at 2 ½-foot intervals. Secure each stake to the frame with three 3-inch screws.

Remove the temporary corner braces from step 2 and drive a stake inside each corner. On one short side of the bed frame, secure the stakes with screws driven through the frame on both sides of each corner. Leave the screws off on the other short side.

Step 7

Remove the opposite unscrewed short side of the bed so you can fill the frame with a mixture of soil and compost. Level out the soil and continue filling until it is 2 to 3 inches from the top of the frame.

When finished filling, replace the short side of the bed and use your drill to secure it with the long sides and to the corner stakes. Using a handsaw, cut the top of each stake even with the top of the frame.

Tips for Successful Planting

Once your raised garden bed is complete and you've planted your flowers, vegetables, plants, etc., water the bed thoroughly and then cover the soil with approximately an inch of mulch made with grass clippings. This will help keep the soil most and prevent weeds from growing.

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