Inexpensive DIY Raised Garden Bed Design
Follow this easy tutorial on how to build raised garden beds! This DIY is cheap and will last for years! The tutorial will give you some great ideas on the best designs and layout.
The Benefits Of Raised Garden Beds
Raised garden beds are a great way to create an organized garden space, especially when you have limited space for planting a garden. Building raised garden beds yourself will save you money, and this DIY tutorial will show you exactly how.
The raised garden beds also provide easy drainage, and help keep pests out. We built 4′ x 8′ raised garden beds and they work GREAT! This tutorial will show you how to build raised garden beds that will last for years.
Ready to build your own raised garden beds? Below is the exact tutorial on how we made ours! (Short on time? Pin this post to reference later!)
How To Build Raised Garden Beds
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Building Materials & Tools
- 2″ x 10″ Lumber (Home Depot)
- Swanson Speed Square (Amazon)
- Carpenter’s Pencil (Amazon)
- Tape Measure (Amazon)
- Circular Saw (Amazon)
- Dewalt Cordless Drill (Amazon)
- 3.5″ Construction Screws (Home Depot)
We chose to use untreated 2″ x 10″ construction lumber to build our raised garden beds. Untreated lumber is cheap, contains no unwanted chemicals, and will last a minimum of 5-10 years depending on the local climate.
You can expect the wood to hold up for 10+ years in dry climates, however, in wet areas it may need to be replaced in as little as 5 years.
Many people chose to build raised garden beds with pressure treated lumber. While the treated lumber does last longer, it also costs about double! In addition to the added expense, the chemicals used in the pressure treating process can seep into the soil.
We love eating the home grown vegetables grown in our garden, so we used untreated lumber to minimize any risk of contaminating the vegetables with chemicals.
How To Build Raised Garden Bed Frames
Four feet by eight feet is an easy size for raised garden beds because you can buy 8FT lumber, and it allows for minimal cutting. Only the board for the short side of the frames (4FT) need to be cut.
The long sides of the frames are 8ft, so we used full length, un-cut 2″ x 10″ x 8FT boards. To make the boards for short sides of the frame, we simply needed to cut a board in half.
If you love Tools & DIY/ home renovation projects, you have to check out my tool guide. It has 17 tools that every DIY’er should own!
We constructed the wood frames on our driveway to make use of the clean, flat work surface. Having a nice work surface makes the project easier, and quicker.
Once the cuts were made, it was time to assemble the raised garden beds! We fastened the boards together by drilling three 3.5″ construction screws (Home Depot) into each corner.
Long construction screws will hold the boards snugly together for the life of the raised garden bed. You can choose to secure the frames together with nails, but they have a tendency to start coming apart after a year or two.
Moving & Prepping The Garden Bed Frames
After the raised bed frames were finished, we moved them to their spot in the back yard. The assembled frames aren’t super heavy, but they are a little bit awkward to move. Team work makes this step much easier.
Some gardeners recommend placing cardboard or landscape cloth at the bottom of the raised garden bed frames before filling with soil. This prevents existing plants from growing up through the soil.
This step only seems to be necessary if you’re using shorter frames that don’t hold enough soil to choke out the grass and plants at the bottom.
To get our beds ready for soil, we used a Dewalt weed trimmer to cut the grass down as short as possible. There’s no need to remove grass and clippings – once buried, they just become compost / fertilizer.
Filling The Raised Garden Beds
We were able to score some free top soil from a friend to fill the raised garden beds. You can usually buy inexpensive top soil at a nursery, or garden supply store if you have a pickup truck to haul it. You can also buy bagged soil to fill the beds, but it does cost a little bit more.
After doing some gardening research on Better Homes and Gardens, we decided to try to improve the quality of soil by adding bags of All-Purpose Garden Soil Plus Fertilizer from The Home Depot.
The mix is specially blended for the soil in garden beds, and can continuously feed for up to 9 months. We added 4 bags per raised bed to the top soil.
How much soil does it take to fill a raised garden bed?
A 4ft x 8ft raised garden bed that is 10″ tall has a total volume of 24.22 cubic feet, or .9 cubic yards. I’ve found that the soil in raised garden beds will settle over the first few months, especially when you start watering the garden.
To plan ahead for this settling, make sure to over-fill the beds by a little bit. Keep in mind, you shouldn’t try to compact the soil to prevent settling. This is because soft fluffy soil is perfect for young plants that are trying to grow roots.
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(Don’t forget to pin this post to your Garden Ideas board on Pinterest!)
Planting The Garden
After the two beds were filled, it was time for the fun part – planting! I planted all of our favorite vegetables, plus a few flowers, and some lavender. Raised garden beds are perfect for most plants!
For an easy way to get started with your raised vegetable garden, check out this Set of 30 Vegetable & Herb Seeds (Amazon). It has all the varieties you love and they’re all Heirloom and 100% Non-GMO!
Here’s my top picks for vegetable seeds. They are perfect for planting in raised garden beds.
- Black Beauty Zucchini Seeds (Amazon)
- Big Boy Hybrid Tomato Seeds (Amazon)
- Sugar Sweetie Cherry Tomato Seeds (Amazon)
- Giant Sweet Red Strawberry Seeds (Amazon)
- Purple Tomato Seeds (Amazon)
- Early Scarlet Globe Radish Seeds (Amazon)
- Sweet Potato Seeds (Amazon)
- Spacemaster Cucumber Seeds (Amazon)
- Early No. 7 Spinach Seeds (Amazon)
- Mammoth Sunflower Seeds (Amazon)
I used Popsicle sticks and my favorite cheap DYMO embossed label maker from Amazon to make simple, easy labels for my plants.
Watering A Raised Garden Bed
You can water a raised garden bed by hand or with a sprinkler, but I recommend installing an automatic drip watering system! This solution is so convenient, it’s easy to install, and it’s way cheaper than you would think. Having the watering duties handled automatically takes the hassle out of gardening.
Check out this post I wrote to learn everything you need to know to install your own drip irrigation system in a raised garden bed – DIY Automatic Drip Watering In Your Raised Garden Beds
Don’t forget the Miracle-Gro All Purpose Plant Food (Amazon)! For best results, feed your plants with Miracle-Gro (or any other plant food) every 1 – 2 weeks.
My Favorite Gardening Tools & Resources
You don’t need a ton of fancy tools to get into gardening, but there’s a few necessities. These are the gardening tools I recommend:
Looking for more outdoor inspiration? You’re gonna love these posts:
- DIY Outdoor Patio Table
- How to Style A Small Patio (on a budget!)
- 9 Outdoor Rugs on Amazon That’ll Transform Your Outdoor Space
How to Build Cheap Raised Garden Beds
Best Crops for Raised Garden Beds Cheat Sheet
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