Easy DIY Raised Garden Beds

April 13, 2012

Two years ago, I was enlisted as the Project Coordinator for a new school yard garden project.  It was the first of its kind on school property and was started on a shoestring budget.  One way that we kept cost down was to build our own raised beds.  After scouring various gardening magazines and internet sites, I combined much of what I saw to form simple and easy gardening beds.  This project requires beginning woodworking skills.  Alone, it took me a just a morning to complete, including the time spent at Home Depot purchasing the supplies.

Here is what you need to create THREE 3’x6′ beds.

A good cordless screwdriver
1 box~3″ decking screws
6~ 2″x10″x12′ non-pressure treated boards (sometimes the boards do not equal 12′ exactly. This is what happened at my local store.)
2~4″x4″x8′ non-pressure treated posts


Did you know that Home Depot will do all the cutting for you?  Ask them to do the following:

1.  Cut 3 of the 2″x10″x12′ non-pressure treated boards in half creating SIX, 6 foot boards
2.  Cut 3 of the 2″x10″x12′ non-pressure treated boards into 3 foot boards.
You need a total of SIX three foot boards. There will be leftover.
3.  From the 4″x4″x8′ non-pressure treated posts cut TWELVE 9 inch post sections. There will be leftover.

Now that you have all of your pieces you can head home and start building.

On a flat level surface, gather the pieces you need to create one bed. I found a nice place in the backyard.
~2 Three foot boards
~2 Six foot boards
~4 Nine inch post sections.
~12 decking screws

Place a six foot board on the ground.  Underneath on the ends, line up your nine inch section to the edge of the each side of the board.  Be sure the bottom of the section is flush with the bottom of the board. There will be space a bit smaller than 1/2 inch at the top.  Screw each section into the board in three evenly spaced places.  Repeat these steps on the other six foot section.

Stand up your six foot sections.  Be sure the little gap is at the top.  The posts should face inside the box at one another.

Line up one three foot board on each end and use three evenly spaced screws to secure them into the sections of post.  Repeat this on the other end.

One bed is complete.  Repeat the above steps with the rest of your bed supplies to create two more.  Here is how all three of my beds turned out.

raised garden beds from Tilly's Nest

Before you fill the beds, move them around the yard and be sure that they receive plenty of sunshine, especially if you are going to be growing vegetables in them like me.  The wood that I used is non-pressure treated fir.  Sure, it will rot at some point but that will be years. Even though arsenic is no longer used to pressure treat wood and prevent rotting, I still do not want any of the currently used chemicals to leech into the soil and into the plants.  In a few years time, it is easy to replace a rotting board or two on one of these beds.

I felt so accomplished that I had only done this in one morning.  Once I determine a good sunny location, I will fill the beds with soil, compost and peat.  Stay tuned and I will share that with you in the weeks to come. I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial and I hope that you will try to make some raised garden beds for you and your family to enjoy.  Would make a great weekend project for the family.

Photo Credits:  Tilly’ Nest

This post is linked up to Deborah Jean’s Dandelion House Friday Farm Girl Blog Hop.



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20 thoughts on “Easy DIY Raised Garden Beds”

  1. We have one 12×6 (18 inches deep) raised bed that the kids grow veggies in, but this year the oldest (13) is going to rototill up a huge section of the yard for an even bigger garden…and the youngest (7) is going to grow peas and beans in the raised bed. Raised beds are pretty easy to pull together and get gardening!

    • Awesome! How wonderful that the kids are involved. My kids really enjoy gardening too. They have been tending to seedlings that are just waiting for the weather to warm up! Gardening is such a wonderful thing to experience as a family.

  2. I've printed this page and I'm going to do this! Thanks for the instructions. BTW, I went to the Delaware chicken show at the end of March thanks to one of your postings. I can't raise chickens where I live. There's a law that the living area for poultry must be 150 ft away from human living quarters, and real estate is really expensive, so I will have to move before I can raise chickens. Anyways, I'm living vicariously through your blog.

    • Hi Jenni, I am so touched. Thank you. Your words mean so much. I wonder if you and a few others in your town would be able to try and change that law. Huge things are happening with backyard chickens around the country. Sometimes it just takes a little educating a few who make the laws and changes happen. Let me know if I can be of any assistance. I know you would LOVE keeping a flock of your own.

  3. We did recycled raised beds using old aluminum siding panels cut into 3 , some 4x4s, and some deck paint cost us almost nothing to do 8 very large beds! Raised beds are so simple and so easy to upkeep etc

  4. Just used this post to make a bed instead of buying one, like we did last time. Way more fun, and a lot cheaper. Thank you!

    • You will need to determine the cubic feet of the beds. To do this you take the length x height x width of your bed. My mixture is 50 percent compost, 40 percent soil and 10 percent peat.

  5. Love this idea, but wonder how long will the wood last before it starts to rot. I live in St Pete FL area about 2 miles from the gulf if that makes a difference.

    • I do live by the ocean as well. In fact I am surround by the sea on all sides living here on Cape Cod. A carpenter friend tells me that I might get 5 years out of the beds, before I have to do a little tending to the wood.

  6. Thank you for the very easy DIY beds! I finished one today and will do the other two tomorrow. The only trouble I had was not realizing how difficult it is screwing nails into wood! I had to make a "pilot" hole with a drill first and then use the cordless screwdriver to put the screws in. This is my first woodworking project so it was all new to me. You didn't have a problem with just using your screwdriver? I have a whole new respect for those who build decks!


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Sharing an inspired life from the New England seaside. Chickens, Bees, Gardens, Art and Yummy Goodness.