How To Build Raised Garden Beds | Easy DIY Design!

by Ashley

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 to 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!)

raised garden beds with text overlay "How to build Raised Garden Beds - step by step tutorial by Joyfully Growing Blog"

DIY Raised Garden Beds

How To Build Raised Garden Beds

(Affiliate links are provided below for convenience. For more information see my disclosure, here.)

Building Materials & Tools

We chose to use untreated 2″ x 10″ construction lumber but build the frame for the raised garden beds.  The untreated lumber is cheap, contains no unwanted chemicals, and will last 5-10 years depending on climate. In a drier climate, the wood should hold up for 10+ years.  In wetter climates, the wood 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, chemicals used in the pressure treating process can seep into the soil.

RELATED: How To Install Drip Irrigation In A Raised Garden Bed

We love eating home grown vegetables, so we used untreated lumber to minimize any risk of contaminating the plants with chemicals. Each of the 4′ x 8′ raised garden beds require three 2″ x 10″ boards.A stack of lumber used to build Raised Garden Beds

How To Build Raised Garden Bed Frames

Only the boards for the short sides of the garden bed frames needed to be cut.  The long sides of the frames are 8ft, so we were able to use full length, un-cut 2″ x 10″ x 8FT boards. To make the boards for short sides of the frame, we needed to cut the boards down to 4FT.

To get started, we used a Swanson Speed Square to mark the boards at 4′. Next, we cut the boards using our favorite Dewalt 60V Circular Saw. Battery powered tools are great, but they tend to be expensive.  If you are looking for a cheaper option, then checkout this cheap circular saw on Amazon.

An overhead view of measuring and marking lumber

Using a speed square to mark 2" x 10" lumber

Man Using A Dewalt circular saw to cut a 2" x 10" board

Using a Dewalt Flexvolt circular saw to cut lumber

Once all of the cuts were made, it was time to assemble the raised garden beds. We placed three 3.5″ deck screws along each corner to secure the frames into place.

Assembling DIY Raised Garden Beds with a drill for a how to tutorial

Psssttt..

Want to know which plants do BEST in raised garden beds? Grab my free cheat sheet!

 

Moving The Garden Bed Frames

After the raised bed frames were finished, we moved them to the back yard to fill them up. Some gardeners recommend placing cardboard or landscape cloth at the bottom of the raised garden bed frames before filling with soil.

This step only seems to be necessary if you are using shorter frames that will not hold as much soil to choke out the grass or plants at the bottom.  We used a Dewalt weed trimmer to cut the grass down extremely short and left the clippings as our base.

We will see how well this method works and may opt for something different next year. (UPDATE: this method worked great for us, there was no need to add an extra barrier.)

RELATED: How to Build a Rustic DIY Patio Table

Two empty raised garden bed frames sitting in a grassy fenced yard

A raised garden bed frame with grass that has been cut on the inside of the frames

Filling The Raised Garden Beds

We were able to get some free top soil from a friend to fill in the bulk of the capacity.  After doing some gardening research on Better Homes and Gardens, we decided to try to improve the quality of soil by adding some bags of All-Purpose Garden Soil Plus Fertilizer.

The mix is specially blended for the soil in garden beds and can continuously feed for up to 9 months.  We used 4 bags per raised bed.

How Much Soil To Fill A Raised Garden Bed?

Each 4ft x 8ft raised garden bed (10″ tall) has a 24.22 cubic foot capacity, or .9 cubic yards.

RELATED: Small Patio Makeover On A Budget!

A wheel barrow dumping soil into a raised garden bed

(Don’t forget to pin this post to your Garden Ideas board on Pinterest!)

An overhead view looking down on a raised garden bed full of raked soil

Two raised garden beds full of soil ready to be planted

Planting The Garden

After the two beds were filled, it was time for the fun part – planting!

Grab my free cheat sheet to know which crops thrive in raised beds! Enter your name & email below and I’ll send you the cheat sheet instantly!

I used Popsicle sticks and my favorite DYMO embossed label maker to make simple (and cheap!) labels for my crops.

Popsicle sticks used as garden crop label stakes

UP NEXT: DIY Automatic Drip Watering In Your Raised Garden Beds

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

>Raised garden beds with dirt piles being dumped out of wheel barrow

Best Crops for Raised Garden Beds Cheat Sheet

Best crops for raised garden beds cheat sheet

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18 comments

Rochelle May 26, 2017 - 7:15 am

I love your garden map diagram. Ha!! Very organized. ??

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Abby Darlington May 30, 2017 - 3:21 pm

You guys are so handy!! I wish I could build my own little garden. Great post babe!!

xx,
Abby

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Joyfully Growing May 31, 2017 - 10:43 am

Thanks! Luckily I had my husband around to do all the hard work 😉

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Debbie June 7, 2018 - 3:47 pm

What kind of flowers grow well in a raised bed? What about perennials?

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Ashley June 14, 2018 - 10:59 am

I think perennials would do great! I have lavender in mine, but I’ve seen other people grow marigolds and daffodils too!

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Debbie June 14, 2018 - 4:39 pm

Thanks for the info. Since it’s getting late in the season, I’m just going to throw a few annuals in and see how they do. Practice makes perfect!

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Natascha January 23, 2019 - 2:36 pm

These look great and simple! How’d the depth do for you? Would you recommend going deeper or did your plants do well at that soil depth?

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Ashley January 23, 2019 - 4:40 pm

The depth worked great! I don’t think you’d need to go any deeper than this.

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Mary Vicens February 10, 2019 - 6:47 am

how did you not get grass growing up from below? don’t you need to kill the grass before the dirt?

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Ashley February 14, 2019 - 12:15 pm

By cutting the grass down to almost nothing and filling in with soil, we didn’t have any issues with grass growing up through the soil. If you are worried about that, I would recommend putting a layer of weed barrier down to be safe.

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Lisa March 29, 2019 - 9:25 am

Hello Ashley, I love your raised garden bed, I want to use this for my vegetable garden this yea. Last year I used weed fertilizer on the lawn and black mulch is on so parts of my lawn that fell out from the edging garden against the house. I need to know if this will effect my vegetable garden, even if i try to clean it up and use your advice of soil, reg soil, miracle grow and peet moss. Thanks, Lisa

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Ashley March 29, 2019 - 4:17 pm

Hi Lisa! I wouldn’t worry about the weed killer you put on the lawn last year, all of it should be gone at this point. I would just trim the grass inside the bed down really short (we used a weed wacker on ours), and then put your soil mix right on top. It should be fine! Happy gardening!

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Marie Antionette July 30, 2019 - 6:31 am

Thanks for the A-Z tutorial! I will definitely be doing this, and laying weed barrier. Can’t wait!

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Ashley July 30, 2019 - 9:37 am

You’re so welcome! And that’s a great idea 🙂

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Bala July 31, 2019 - 4:56 am

Nice and detailed instruction to build a raised garden bed. I think it is late for this year to build and grow veggies, I will get myself prepared for next year.

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Ashley August 1, 2019 - 3:57 pm

Glad you found this tutorial helpful, Bala!

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Frenchie August 1, 2019 - 8:31 am

Great idea! Do you have any recommendations for building these on a cemented (ground) backyard? Thinking maybe there should be a bottom…Maybe?

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Ashley August 1, 2019 - 4:11 pm

Thanks Frenchie! The biggest issue I foresee with building these on top of cement is that the soil would not be able to drain properly… I would not install a bottom, and I would recommend drilling several small holes around the base of the frames for water drainage.

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