Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Build a Raised Bed - Andie's Way

My garden has 4 raised beds which I made myself. Luckily for me I spent many, many, many hours of my youth helping my dad as he worked in the garage fixing things or making things like family rooms and such. He taught me to use tools and so much more about life. I'm a lucky one.

This blog is geared toward the beginner with tips I've learned along the way, so parts may seem very basic to those who are experienced with tools. You veterans can skip those parts.

When I decided to put in my garden as a way of dealing with kids who grew up, I just jumped in and figured it out. After some internet research and planning I designed my garden with four beds that are 12 ft long by 4 ft wide. I chose those dimensions because I wanted to maximize my garden space and minimize the space used for paths. Having the beds 4 ft wide enables me to reach the bed from both sides so I don't need to step on the garden soil while working in the bed.

My beds are made of 2 x 6's so they are 6 inches deep. I used 2 x 4's for the posts which are long enough to extend 10 inches into the ground for stability.

Here is what you will need to make one raised bed that is 12 ft long x 4 ft wide x 6 inches deep.

Lumber: Use untreated lumber as treated lumber has chemicals that can leach into the soil.
(2) 2 x 6's 12 ft long
(2) 2 x 6's 4 ft long
(4) 2 x 4's 16 inches long for the posts

(16) Wood screws
Drill with drill bit and screwdriver attachment
Carpenter's square
I didn't take any photos when I made my beds so these pictures are a "reenactment" and I didn't have any 2 x 6's to use. In these photos I used 2 x 4's instead.

On a level area arrange the 2 x 6's. Use the carpenter's square to make sure the wood is at a 90 degree angle. Try to keep the dog out of the way.
Add the post. You are building the bed upside down. That post will be underground when placed in the garden. 
Now drill pilot holes for the screws. Hold the post steady so it doesn't move when you drill the holes. Try to keep the drill bit level so it goes straight into the wood, not at an angle. Drill 2 holes in each 2 x 6.
Drill 2 holes on the first side.
When you drill the holes on the second side, remember to off-set the holes because you don't want to run into the screws from first side.
Drill 2 holes in the second side.
Now remove the drill bit and put on the screwdriver attachment.
Use the drill to screw in the 4 screws. Take care to keep the corner square using the carpenter's square. You will need to really push hard on the drill to push the screw into the wood. If you don't push hard enough the drill bit will slip in the head of the screw and it will strip the grooves in the head of the screw and you won't be able to get the screw in or out. My method is to go slowly and push really hard. If the drill starts to slip then I switch to a screwdriver to finish.

After you have finished the 4 screws you are ready to repeat this at the other 3 corners.

Once the bed is put together you will want to level the area where the bed will be placed. My dad taught me to check if a large area is level you can lay a long 2 x 4 on the ground and place the level on top.

Next ask a friend to help you to lift the raised bed onto the area and lay it right side up. The posts will make a mark where the holes need to be dug. After the holes are dug, use the level again to be sure the bed is level. This is important so water does not run downhill.
Once it is level, fill in the holes and you are ready for your soil.


  1. I am not handy with tools so I really appreciated the photos and step-by-step instructions. I will put in raised beds to grow veggies this coming spring; the cost of eating healthy is getting to high.

  2. Thanks for the comment, and good luck with your garden! There's really nothing like fresh produce.