There is a long list of benefits to using raised beds in your garden. Raised bed gardening reduces much of the back-breaking work of gardeners, limiting the need for digging, tilling, weeding, and bending.You can enjoy more vegetables in a smaller area without the need for paths and extra reaching space because veggies can share space, creating ease of harvesting. Raised beds can even reduce weed growth, improve water retention, and create an essential barrier against garden pests.
Perhaps one of the most significant benefits which make raised garden beds so appealing is your ability to control the quality and health of your garden soil. The soil in your raised garden bed will remain loose, have better drainage, can be easily amended with organic matter, and the worms and other beneficial insects will work the soil naturally.
The healthy soil is above the ground and protected by the walls of the garden bed, allowing for an extension of the planting and growing season. You can even plant certain vegetables deep in the soil well before the last frost, leading to a quicker start the garden and larger plants.
Pre-made garden boxes and kits can be a considerable investment for gardeners, but you don’t have to break the bank to reap the many advantages that raised garden beds can offer. Building your own raised garden bed indeed requires much more planning than a traditional backyard garden.
You have to buy the wood and other materials, assemble them, and fill them with soil. But, it is well worth the setup cost and time investment involved in building your own raised garden bed.
Things to Consider
Raised garden beds are not permanent structures, but ideally, you don’t want to move them once you set them up on your garden site. So, before you start the building process, there are some essential things to consider.
- Survey your yard for a location that receives a lot of sunshine. Most vegetable gardens require full sunlight for best growth and yield.
- Plan the number of beds that you would like to build based on what you will be growing. It is best to group companion plants in one bed. It is more than okay to just start with one bed, but think things through for what your future garden might look like and establish room for adding other raised garden beds down the road.
- Keep garden beds to a size of only 3-4 feet in width for better manageability and easier harvest.
- Select what kind of material you would like to use. Wood is a lightweight and reasonable choice. Untreated pine, douglas fir, and cedar are all great options, but they vary in their durability. All wooden garden beds will have to be maintained or replaced at some point, but some varieties of untreated wood decay quicker than others.
It is essential to use untreated wood when you build your raised garden bed. Many varieties of wood are treated with chemicals to preserve wood from rot. These chemicals, if used in your garden bed, will seep into the soil and be absorbed into your vegetable plants. You do not want the foods that you are working so hard to grow, to be tainted with toxic chemicals.
This project is for a 4×4 foot raised garden bed with a depth of 12 inches. If you want to make a more expansive garden bed, simply adjust the size of your wood planks.
- 2-2x12x8 pieces of untreated douglas fir wood planks cut in half
- 2-2×4 cut into four sections approximately 11 ¾ inches in length each
- 1 Cordless Drill with a star drill bit
- Several 2 ½-3 inch outdoor deck screws
- Weed tarp
- Garden soil composed of 3 parts of well-decomposed compost to one part peat moss
Instructions for How to Build Your Own Raised Garden Bed
Before you get started, take a look at your yard and find a predominantly sunny location where there is level ground. Measure the area if necessary, to make sure that your raised bed will fit in the desired location. Build one garden bed or several and create a tidy and efficient garden that works for you.There are many designs that you can use when building a raised garden bed.
- For this project, we will explore how to build your own garden bed with a simple and easy method, creating a lovely four foot by four foot growing box. You can always add more beds and even more variety in shape and style as your garden grows.
- Cut both of the 2x12x8 planks of untreated wooden planks in half resulting in 4 pieces of wood that are 4 feet in length. You can also have the wood cut for you when you purchase it from a home improvement store for your convenience.
- Lay the boards out and take the short pieces of 2×4 and place one on each end of two boards. The segment of wood should be flush on the three sides of the board’s end.
- Use the cordless drill and the deck screws and slowly drill 3 deck screws into each of the ends of the two boards connecting the small sections of 2×4 to the ends of the larger flat planks.
- Assemble the garden bed on a flat surface. Stand the two planks with bolstered ends up across from each other with the blocks facing inward. Think of these blocks as the inside posts of your garden bed that will add support to your finished garden box.
- Line up the third plain four-foot plank across the outer edge of the two other planks.
- Slowly screw two deck screws into each corner to secure the third board to the other two at the corners.
- Take the fourth plain plank and secure it in the same manner to complete the square.
- Line the bottom of the raised garden bed with weed tarp and fill the bed with well-decomposed compost and manure.
As an optional addition, consider attaching a garden trellis to the back end of your raised garden structure for climbing and vining veggies to climb. Wooden raised garden beds make it easy to attach a trellis to the rear of your garden bed. Guiding your climbers upward is a wise use of space and can add visual interest to your landscape.