How to Build a Raised Garden Bed

My parents have had a garden for as many years as I can remember. I can tell you firsthand that planting/tending a garden is hard work but you will never taste a vegetable as good as one you’ve grown yourself. Period. It’s why they do it. Year after year. I have had a container garden for the past few years with herbs, cherry tomatoes, peppers and small vegetables. This year we’ve decided to take the plunge and expand our garden to include raised beds. I can’t tell you how excited I am. I am finally a farmer!


We’ve decided to build beds because our soil is full of rocks boulders and if we’re going to do the work we’d like to reap the harvest. We looked online for a little inspiration before getting started. Now when I say we built these of course I mean Mr. bell’alimento. After we decided on the size, we headed out to our local home improvement store and picked up our supplies.

The initial investment isn’t cheap. The beds costs us about $175 each when it was all said and done. Then there was still the cost of the the actual plants (or seeds if you prefer) and any special needs (cages, etc.). We plan on using the beds year round so we’ll be getting our money’s worth.

What you can’t put a dollar amount on is what you get out of growing your own food. You know what you put in and what comes out. We’ll be involving the kids in the gardening too. The plan is maybe they’ll actually eat more of those veggies if they get their little hands dirty growing, harvesting them. A girl can dream right? I’ll keep you posted.

Our bed was slightly adapted from this one on Sunset
Supplies you’ll need to make 1 raised bed:

  • One 6′ long 4 x 4
  • Six 8′ long 2 x 6
  • One 10′ long 1″ PVC pipe
  • Wood Screws: 32, 3″ #14  & 16, ½ ” #8
  • One 4 x 10′  roll of ¼” garden cloth
  • Eight 1″ galvanized tube straps
  • 12 bags MiracleGro Garden Soil  (which are HEAVY btw, a wheelbarrow came in handy)

To assemble:

  1. With a table or power saw, cut the 4 x4 into four 12″ tall corner posts. Cut two 2 x 6′s in half. Cut the 1″ PVC pipe into eight 12″ long pieces.
  2. Take 2 corner posts lay them parallel 4′ apart. Take 4′ 2 x 6 lay flush with top and outside edge. Secure with 2 3″ screws. Take 4 ‘ 2 x 6 lay it underneath. Secure with 2 3″ screws. Repeat for other side.
  3. Join short sides with 8′ board. Secure with two screws. Add other long side. Add second layer of 2 x6′s.
  4. Line the bed with garden cloth to keep; trim the cloth with shears to fit around corner posts if necessary.
  5. To hold hoops (we’ll make hoops in the fall/winter by using 1/2″ PVC pipe – the hoops are used to protect the beds from weather  and small animals), attach four 12″ pieces of 1″ PVC pipe inside the bed: On the long sides, space pipes 2′ apart. Screw on two tube straps to secure each pipe.
  6. Fill the bed with soil; rake, and gently water (how cute is our water boy? Of course I’m completely partial.)

Now all that’s left to do is plant your vegetables (or fruits or flowers if you’re so inclined) ! We filled our first bed with 8 tomato plants:

2 Big Boy
2 Celebrity
2 Solar Fire Tomatoes
2 Mr. Stripey

Which join the 6 cherry/Roma tomato plants that reside in our deck container garden. That’s a whole lot of sauce in our future ! And of course a post on canning tomatoes will follow. How could it not?

Baci!

31 Comments

  1. 1

    This has been on my to-do list for a while! I know! How about you come out and help me do it? I like that plan!! ;)

    • 1.1

      I think that sounds totally fair as long as sushi is involved during breaks : )

  2. 2

    This is very awesome, Paula. I have been wanting to do this forever. I’ll put it on the list for this year but next year for sure. Seriously, this is so awesome!! Thanks for spelling it out and making it look so easy.

    • 2.1

      Thanks Julie. We’ve been wanting to do it for a while too. We already built a 2nd and I want at least 3 more. I have the farmer bug : )

  3. 3

    What exactly is the PVC pipe for?

    • 3.1

      Hi Barbara! Those are there to add hoops/nets to cover the bed to protect from weather or small animals! We plan on adding 1/2″ pvc pipe to make hoops during the colder months.

      • Oh great idea! Something ate up all my beets last year. I’ll have to do this.

  4. 4

    Your raised garden bed looks wonderful! We put raised beds in our garden this year, too… But, I have to admit that I cheated and bought the pre-made ones at the Home Depot that could be assembled with no tools. :)

    • 4.1

      Thanks Jen! The pre-made ones are a great option if you don’t want to build : )

  5. 5

    So much fun! I can’t wait to make one of these for our family garden.

  6. 6

    I love gardening and it is so difficult in Wyoming. I don’t think I could do it without the raised beds. Love this post!

    • 6.1

      Thanks Milisa! Our soil is horrific so raised beds were the only option.

  7. 7

    Paula, I really, really, REALLY want raised beds. Unfortunately it’s a few notches down of the home repair/upgrade list. :(

    • 7.1

      I totally understand we’re still in the middle of our kitchen renovation (counter tops & tile are next)!

  8. 8

    Thanks for this post! My husband and I are seriously planning on doing something similar in the fall. Our soil down here in Mississippi is all red clay – not the best soil for growing things in!

  9. 9
    Fred Rickson /

    Best tomato support……the fencing with 6 inch square openings. Make a circle about 24″ across by 4 ft high. Much stronger than those wimpy rings, and you just reach through the squares for the fruit. Thirty years on someofmine. Enjoy.

    • 9.1

      Hi Fred. Thanks for sharing. I didn’t see any square supports when we were shopping. Always nice to have options though.

  10. 10

    Your raised bed looks great!! I built one this year too! It was hard work, but I can’t wait for all the fresh veggies that I will be getting from it. I can’t wait to read about your canning; I’ve never done that before, but you have already inspired me!

    • 10.1

      Thanks Jenny. Canning is wonderful and much easier than you think, just a little time consuming but so worth the effort.

  11. 11
    Hostageek /

    A cheaper and more ecofriendly alternative to gardening cloth is cardboard. It will keep weeds out and eventually decomposes. You can use multiple layers if you wish.

  12. 12

    this is just so awesome paula! thanks for sharing! pinning for the future when i actually have a backyard i can do this in!

    • 12.1

      Thanks Lynn. Maybe you could come over in the meantime and help me : ) Mwah!

  13. 13

    Yay! :) So glad you’re a fellow farmer now :)

    • 13.1

      You are my farming mentor! Maybe one day I’ll know 1/4 as much as you do about farming but I’m SUPER excited to be joining in the fun!

  14. 14

    Great job! You’ll love having a raised in-ground garden! This was our first year having a full fledged garden and so far we have done great minus the few squash casualties! Right now we have tons of cherry tomatoes, peppers, and even an eggplant growing! I can’t wait to see the progress of your garden!

    • 14.1

      I can’t wait for the raised beds to start producing. In our second bed we added: peppers, okra, squash. We have: cherry tomatoes, herbs, hot peppers in our container garden that are already producing well. Next up to build a fence around the raised beds to keep the DEER out : )

  15. 15

    DS built me three a few years back and I just love them. But shhhh…don’t tell him, I’m rearranging them while he is Cali this month ;D Love the photo of cuteness!

  16. 16
    Rust /

    Nice, Paula! We’re in the process ourselves. Thanks for the link to sunset also, I got some neat ideas there.

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