Building Raised Beds

Raised beds can be a great addition to any garden. One great thing is that you can control your soil content. If you have soil that isn’t good for gardening, i.e. heavy clay, raised beds allows you to manipulate it so that you have great soil. This was my main reason for building raised beds, so I wanted to share with you how we did it.

Materials:

Tools used

We put down a layer of landscape fabric to keep weeds and grass out.

We put down a layer of landscape fabric to keep weeds and grass out.

  • Lumber*
    • 4 x 4, treated
    • 2 x 10 x 8, treated
  • Wood Screws for Outside
  • Cordless Drill
  • Tape Measure
  • Pencil
  • Skill Saw*
  • Wheel Barrow*
  • Soil*
  • Sharpie
  • Mulch
  • Landscape Fabric

*Lumber: The amount and size of the lumber you need will depend on what size beds you want to make and what depth. It is recommended to not go wider than four feet since two feet is the average length a person can reach comfortably from each side. Depths range from 8-12 inches. It depends on what you plan to grow (i.e. carrots vs. lettuce) and how much soil is available to fill in the beds.

*Skill Saw: We used a skill saw to cut our lumber to the desired lengths. Some hardware stores will cut the lumber for you if you are not able to, just ask.

*Wheel Barrow: We used a wheel barrow to transport the soil from the truck to the raised beds. Some companies, including the nursery we bought from, will deliver the soil to you, but sometimes for a fee.

*Soil: The soil I chose to use was from a local nursery in Pass Christian, MS that mixes it themselves. It is made up of peat moss, mason sand, ground bark, aged bark, compost, dolomite lime and trace materials.

Directions:

This is the area before we built the raised bed.

This is one of the areas before we built the raised bed.

Choose the area you wish to the build the raised bed. Some things to think about include: available sunlight, sizes of the desired raised beds and if the area needs leveling. Once we knew where we wanted the raised beds we measured (twice!) to make sure we knew exactly what we wanted and how much lumber we needed to get at the hardware store.

This is the original garden area before we added the raised beds.

This is the original garden area before we added the raised beds.

We mowed and raked up the area we planned on building the raised beds in before we started so to give it a fresh clean slate.

We bought our lumber and then had to cut it to size.

We bought our lumber and then had to cut it to size.

After getting our lumber and other supplies, we came back to the house and started measuring (twice!) and cutting our lumber. Once cut, we could screw the pieces together with a drill. This part was easiest with two people so that one could adjust and hold while the other could drill. We used the 2 x 10 x 8 for the sides and the 4 x 4 as braces for the corners. Before we placed the finished beds, we put landscape fabric on the ground to cover the area. This is the help prevent weeds and grass from growing through the soil once the bed is filled. Once the lining was laid, we put into place each raised bed as we planned.

We put together the small bed and placed it where we wanted it.

We put together the small bed and placed it where we wanted it.

I made sure that there was enough room on either side of the beds to get by and be able to work.

We assembled the large raised bed and placed it where we wanted it, also placing the stepping stones beside it to make sure we aligned it correctly.

We assembled the large raised bed and placed it where we wanted it, also placing the stepping-stones beside it to make sure we aligned it correctly.

Once the beds were built, we went to pick up the soil.

We bought a soil mixture from a local nursery that mixes it themselves.

We bought a soil mixture from a local nursery that mixes it themselves.

We used shovels and a wheel barrow to move the soil from the truck to the raised beds. It took a little time since our fence gate isn’t large enough for the truck to fit through, but we managed. Once we filled all three beds, we leveled them.

We filled in the boxes with soil.

We filled in the boxes with soil.

I marked every foot of the raised beds using a sharpie so that I can easily use the square foot gardening method. This isn’t necessary, but if you plan to grow vegetables I think it is a good idea.

Here is one of the raised beds we built. This one is 4 x 8 ft, 10 inches high.

Here is one of the raised beds we built. This one is 4 x 8 ft, 10 inches high.

The finished product looks great! I was so excited.

The finished product with both beds filled with soil.

The finished product with both beds filled with soil.

The lengths of lumber that we had to buy and the size of the beds that we built left us with a few spare feet of lumber. I cut and screwed it together to make a garden seat. It’s the perfect size and since it was scrap wood, nothing went to waste!

We had a few feet of lumber left so we made a small stool - the perfect height for picking weeds from the beds.

We had a few feet of lumber left so we made a small stool – the perfect height for picking weeds from the beds.

Over the next day or so, I picked up some mulch and put it in the walkway of the garden area. I had already laid the landscape fabric down. I found this mulch on sale, but you can use whatever mulch you have available and is good for your environment, i.e. wood chips, straw, pine needles, etc.

I added mulch to deter weeds.

I added mulch to deter weeds.

I hope this how-to post helped you and inspires you to build some raised beds of your own. There are many ways to build raised beds, but these I believe are one of the easiest!! It only took one day and I had seedlings planted! Let me know what you think and feel free to share any advice or experience you may have as well. I’d love to hear it.

Get your Head in the Garden,

Sarah

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One Response to Building Raised Beds

  1. Pingback: Building Raised Beds | Head in the Garden | WORLD ORGANIC NEWS

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