DIY Raised Garden Beds
I’ve recently gotten a lot of questions and comments about our raised beds, so I thought it was time to share the steps we took so that you can build these same beds yourself!
Don’t let the word “build” scare you off. One thing that I have learned since moving to the farm is to not be afraid to build things on our own. I promise you it is easier than you think, and the best part? You will save a lot of money in the process.
We built 4 raised beds - 12x4x24 (L' x W' x H") in just 1 day. Not only are they cost-effective, but they are also aesthetically pleasing and the perfect height for working in the garden, which means no more bending down to pick weeds - Hallelujah!
First things first, let’s get organized. Before you do anything else, make a list of the materials you are going to need. I have created this template to help keep you organized and on budget.
We typically buy our lumber from Home Depot or Lowe’s, but we always price shop between the 2 before we purchase anything. From my experience, Home Depot is geared more towards contractors, where Lowe’s is more consumer driven. One thing to be aware of is Home Depot’s Volume Pricing Program. To qualify, you need to become a member of their Pro Xtra loyalty program - it is free to join. If your total adds up to $1,500 or more, you may be subject to receive VPP savings. Once we have our list of materials written out, we will go speak to the “Pro Desk” to see what, if any discount we can receive.
LUMBER PER BED:
We buy longer boards and cut them to size because it is less expensive. If your local hardware store does not carry 16 ft. boards, or you don’t have a way to transport them, you can substitute the 16 ft. boards with: 4 -2x12x12 pressure treated boards and 2 – 2x12x8 pressure treated boards. If you’re doing more than one bed, you can purchase longer 2x4s and cut them to size to save money too!
SOIL PER BED:
Total soil needed - 3.5 cubic yards
We filled the bottom 14 inches with organic matter (compost) and fill dirt sourced from our property. The top layer (roughly 10 inches) is organic topsoil sourced from a third party - it is more cost-effective to buy in bulk and have the soil delivered than to purchase topsoil in bags.
Wood screws - 3" coated deck screws
Impact driver or power drill
Now that you have everything you need to build the beds, let’s get started:
* Plan to build your beds where you want them permanently placed- once they are built, they are extremely heavy and will be very difficult to move.*
1. If you are using 2x12x16 boards: cut boards to 12ft. with a circular saw (you will use the remaining 4ft. pieces for the width of the bed).
If you are using 2x12x12 boards and 2x12x8 boards. Leave the 2x12x12 and cut the 2x12x8 boards in half so they are each 4ft. long.
2. Next, you will cut the 2x4x12 board into 6, 2ft. pieces – these pieces will serve as the bed’s support.
3. Now that all of your lumber is to size, lay 2 2x12x12 boards side by side (pictured).
Then you will connect the 2, 12ft. boards together by screwing 3 of the 2ft. pieces in on top of the 2x12x12 boards, one on either end and one in the middle. I recommend placing 8 screws in each board to ensure everything is secure. Repeat steps to build the other side of the bed.
4. Once you have 2 12ft. sides that are 24 inches tall, lift the boards upright, and using a 4ft. board, secure the 2 boards together (starting at the base). Repeat on the other side.
5. Now that your bed can stand upright on its own, add the second 4ft. board to each side. Check all sides of the bed before adding soil to make sure everything feels solid and is square. Add in extra screws if a board appears to be loose.
Your beds are now complete! Now, just add dirt and start planting!