How to Build a Raised Garden Box


If you don't have the space to put in a large garden, don't let that stop you from growing and enjoying fresh vegetables. Make a small, raised garden bed instead, which is nothing more than a planter box made with rot- and weather-resistant lumber to hold the soil and plants. Making a raised garden bed is not difficult, and it's a project most do-it-yourself homeowners can tackle with confidence. It can be made of varying dimensions to fit any size backyard and, more importantly, help give your back a break.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Landscaping spray paint
  • Flat-edge shovel
  • Carpenter's level, 4-foot
  • Landscaping fabric
  • Carpenter's pencil
  • Chop saw or circular saw
  • 3 cedar boards, 8 feet long, 2-by-10
  • 1 cedar post, 4-by-4
  • Galvanized deck screws, 3-inch
  • Drill with bits
  • Utility knife
  • Garden soil

Select and Prepare the Area

  • Find a relatively flat area on your property for the raised garden. Measure and spray landscaping paint on the ground to indicate the perimeter of the box. Make the painted perimeter a few inches longer and wider than the box.

  • Remove the turf with a flat-edge shovel and compact the dirt with a hand tamper. Use a 4-foot carpenter's level and check several areas of the bed for level. Add or remove dirt as needed to level the area.

  • Spread landscaping fabric over the entire area. Allow a few inches to hang over the edges of the planting bed.

Construct and Install the Box

  • Measure and cut an 8-foot cedar board in half to make two, 4-foot sections. Stand two 8-foot cedar boards on edge, parallel to each other, and put one 4-foot section between the ends of the longer boards. Align the boards at each corner so they are flush with each other and attach them together with three or four 3-inch galvanized screws. Repeat the process with the two corners at the opposite side of the frame.

  • Cut four sections from the 4-by-4 post to attach to the inside of each corner. The length of each section should equal the height of the cedar frame. Don't assume 2-by-10 boards measure 10 inches wide. Take a measurement and cut the post sections to size.

  • Put one 4-by-4 post section on the inside of one corner. Position the section so the top is flush with the top edges of the 2-by-10 boards. Drive three or four galvanized screws through the boards on each side of the corner to attach them to the post. Repeat the process to attach a 4-by-4 section to the inside of the remaining three corners.

  • Ask an assistant to help lift and place the box on top of the landscaping fabric. Use a utility knife to cut and remove the excess fabric from around the box. Fill the box with enriched soil and plant your plants.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you plan to have your garden next to your house or a fence, make it at least 3 feet from the structure to allow easy access to both sides.
  • Avoid using treated lumber because the chemicals could leach out into your garden bed.

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  • Photo Credit arinahabich/iStock/Getty Images
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