How to Construct a Raised Planting Bed

How to Construct a Raised Planting Bed

Published on March 17, 2015 by The Beast
Written in How to


If your yields are disappointing, your garden space isn’t as productive as you’d like, or if you only have a small space to devote to gardening, building a raised bed may be the answer to all of your problems. Raised beds allow you to garden with more efficiency, less space, and harder soils.

Method 1 of 4

1. Use an old wooden boat









Using a wooden boat can be a great way to make your garden look unique but it can also help if you possess few few building or carpentry skills. Search online listings like Craigslist or inquire around at local tackle or sailing shops to find an appropriate boat.

2. Use an old wooden bed frame







You can purchase antique bed frames to make your gardening bed look quirky and unique. The downside, of course, is that it may end up at an awkward height for planting and it will be difficult to reach the center if using a very large led. A child’s twin bed is recommended.

3. Old wine crates


Wine crates, orange crates, or any similar crate can be turned into an excellent planting box. Simply drill holes for drainage if there are none, fill with dirt, and plant. Place them on your gardening beds or on a flat or angled table to display.

Method 2 of 4: Planning

1. Visualise and design


Luckily, a raised bed doesn’t take much! You basically build an open-topped and open-bottomed box, and you can do it in any shape that you want. Think of yourself as building a form to pour soil into (like one might pour cement or plaster into a form).

2. Draw plan


Draw your planned bed, measure your available garden space, and add the measurements onto your drawing. Now you’ll be able to determine how much material you’ll need to build the bed.

3. Decide on materials

Plank Tex

You can use just about anything that will hold dirt. Lumber, plastic, synthetic wood, railroad ties, bricks, rocks, or a number of other items are possible materials. However, using lumber is generally the easiest and most efficient method. This article will focus on making a raised bed out of lumber or synthetic lumber.

4. Gather supplies


All that you really require are sides cut to your desired length and at least 24″ (60 cm) in height. If you want a triangular raised bed, you will need three sides. If you want a square bed, you will need four sides of equal length. For a rectangular, bed you need four sides, with two of one length and two of another. You get the idea!

Method 3 of 4: Building

1. Place posts


Use 4x4s cut to twice the height of the intended raised bed. Dig holes and place the bottom half of the 4×4 into the ground, anchoring the post. Cover and ensure that the posts are level and in the correct place.

2. Attach side boards


Cut your intended siding to the length of the long side between posts, including the width of the post itself. Use nails or screws of an appropriate length and drive two at the end of each board into the posts. Place boards until the sides are the intended height of the bed. Cut boards to be narrower for the last piece, if necessary.

4. Attach short side boards


Measure and cut the short-side boards to the distance between the outer edge of the two long-side boards. Again, use two nails at the ends of each board, driven into the posts.

4. Create a lip


You can create a more attractive raised bed by adding a lip to the upper edge. First, cut and miter a picture-frame style lip from boards of the desired width for the lip. Acquire lumber posts which are half the width of the lip and use appropriate nails to attach these to the outer side, at the top of the bed. Fit the mitered lip together and nail those pieces at the inside corners from the top, down into the post and the brace beam underneath.

5. Footprint


Cut a piece of gardening plastic or weed mat to fit the footprint of your raised bed. By putting a barrier down, you will significantly reduce the weeds that will grow in your bed. Seven or eight layers of dampened newspaper will also keep the weeds from growing, as well as cardboard from appliance boxes (be sure to remove any tape on the cardboard).

Method 4 of 4: Using

1. Fill with soil


Once your bed is in its permanent position, fill it with soil. Add some composted manure into the bottom of the bed and then layer potting soil on top of the nutrient-rich compost. You can cut costs significantly by using some soil (up to 50%) from other parts of your property. Plan on filling at least 1/3 of your raised bed with compost or composted manure (available from nurseries or garden centers in 40-pound bags).

2. Start planting


Some people like to grow flowers in their raised beds. Some prefer to grow vegetables. The options are nearly limitless. If you do want to grow food, raised beds are excellent choices for salad greens, carrots, onions, radishes, beets, and other root crops.

3. Protect


Protect your raised bed from the elements. To build a miniature organic insect control spring/summer/fall “greenhouse”, add hoops to your raised bed by bending and connecting PVC pipe in an arch over the bed.