From Dirt to Dinner: How to Build a Raised Garden Bed

Team McFly Sep 23, 2023
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garden bed
Table of Contents
  1. The Ultimate Guide to Building a Raised Garden Bed
    1. Introduction
    2. Step 1: Measure
    3. Step 2: Cut
    4. Step 3: Drill
    5. Step 4: Attach
    6. Step 5: Fill
    7. This Will Give You The Amount of Soil You Need
    8. Recent Related Posts:

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.  

The Ultimate Guide to Building a Raised Garden Bed


Gardening is not just an age-old hobby; it's an art, a therapy, and a pathway to sustainable living. Whether you have a sprawling backyard or a compact urban space, raised garden beds offer a plethora of benefits that traditional ground planting simply can't.

They provide better control over the soil, ease the strain on your back, and give a structured aesthetic to your garden. For those looking to maximize their yields, optimize space, or simply start a gardening project, raised beds are a game-changer.

Welcome to "The Ultimate Guide to Building a Raised Garden Bed." In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the steps, tips, and tricks to create a garden bed that not only looks impressive but also flourishes with life. Whether you're a green-thumbed enthusiast or a budding gardener, by the end of this guide, you'll be armed with the knowledge to build your garden oasis. Let's dig in!

Feel free to adjust the introduction to better fit the tone and style of the rest of your blog post.

Start by picking a location that receives a lot of sun and is clear of grass or weeds. In order for you to readily access the bed, it should be at least four feet wide.

Materials needed:

  • Wooden boards (2x10 or 2x12 inch)

  • Deck screws

Screw gun

  • Level

  • Measuring tape

  • Soil

  • Plants or seeds

tape measure

Step 1: Measure

It's crucial to estimate the area where you want to place a raised garden bed before you start construction. This will define how long and how wide your elevated bed should be.

In order to reach into your raised garden from either side without walking into the soil, width is crucial to its success. In general, a width of four feet is preferred, however, three can still be used.

Another crucial aspect of your raised garden's effectiveness is its height. It should ideally be high enough to support the developing plant roots without being too high to walk into the soil or compact it.

A decent rule of thumb is to construct your raised garden at least 18 inches high if you're unsure of its height. This will stop it from bowing outward and make it easier for your roots to reach the soil below.

You should think about how much dirt is needed to fill your raised garden in addition to its height. When bought in bulk, this is typically offered in yards or bags priced per cubic foot.

Use a soil calculator to determine how many bags you'll need after determining how many cubic feet of dirt you'll need to fill your raised garden. By doing this, you can reduce your expenses while still acquiring the soil your raised garden needs.

Maintaining healthy, well-nourished soil in your freshly raised garden is essential if you intend to grow vegetables there. This will guarantee that your plants receive the finest growing environment and that they will prosper. Compost should also be added on top of your soil to assist it in retaining more nutrients and boosting its general health.

man sawing

Step 2: Cut

Starting a vegetable or flower garden can be done quickly and relatively cheaply by building a raised garden bed. Plants can develop earlier and have a longer growing season because the higher soil warms up more quickly than the surrounding earth. It also gives you greater space for weed control and the ability to enclose a larger area than a regular garden.

It's crucial to pick wood that hasn't been chemically treated because these substances can seep into the soil and harm your plants. For your raised bed, strong, hardwoods like larch and douglas fir are perfect.

The timbers must then be chopped to length. Subtract 5 1/2 inches from the true width of the 6x6 lumber to get the length that the timbers need to be. Trim the timbers to the right length with a handsaw.

You might choose to edge your raised bed with bricks or stones. These are simple to locate and give your yard a touch of class.

Apply a layer of raw linseed oil or tung oil to the outside and inside of your wooden garden bed to protect it. The oil will aid in the wood's ability to "breathe" and dry, preventing decay.

The side walls can be built after the wood has been shielded. As you create the sides, make sure to alternate the orientation of the split logs as you neatly stack them.

Alternatively, you might lay the logs level and mark the inside corners of each end of the timber with a speed square. The ends are then mitered at a 45-degree angle.

Make a trench around the edge of the bed using a spade or trenching shovel once your timbers are set. Then, cover the bare area with 2 inches of gravel.

drilling wood

Step 3: Drill

You may grow more food by creating a raised garden bed, which also improves plant health and decreases soil compaction. Furthermore, it makes crop maintenance simpler.

You'll need a few basic tools to construct a raised garden bed. You only need a drill or driver bit to begin, a miter saw or hand saw, and a hammer for nails.

For the frame, you will then need lumber. To support your soil's weight, it needs to be at least two inches thick and six inches wide. Use a non-toxic wood treatment on the wood to prevent chemicals from leaching into your soil and plant life.

You can cut the boards for your raised garden bed into various sizes if you have a lot of lumber to work with. However, bear in mind that the size you select will affect the amount of room you have to work with.

Each board is lengthened, then its ends are marked. Then, using a saw, cut the boards to that length. Cutting the boards will be considerably simpler if you have a circular saw.

You must join the pieces of wood once they have been cut to size. For this job, a range of fasteners can be used. To avoid staining your wood, use coated deck screws or stainless steel screws, but be careful to use them.

By combining lumber and construction adhesive, you may affix the bed's sides to the corner pillars. Concrete blocks, tubs, or metal feed troughs can also be used to edge the bed. Avoid painted or pressure-treated wood, though, as these materials may release toxins into the soil.

wood working

Step 4: Attach

If you want to use your garden for vegetables and flowers but have limited space, a raised garden bed can help maximize your backyard space while providing better soil conditions for plants. It also reduces soil compaction, makes it easier to care for your garden, and lets you plant your vegetables and herbs in a convenient location.

When preparing the ground for your raised bed, be sure to remove any rocks or soil particles that may be below your raised garden bed and add your best garden soil to fill it. Then, top off the soil with a layer of compost or screened organic matter. This should gradually become incorporated with the soil beneath, through the actions of worms and other beneficial microbes.

Before you start building, think about the types of crops you plan to grow and whether your soil is prone to rot or other issues. For example, if your area is prone to gophers and burrowing pests, consider using a galvanized hardware cloth barrier across the bottom of your raised bed.

Another option is to build a fence around your raised garden. You can make a simple fence out of chicken wire or a combination of hardware cloth and landscape fabric, both of which are durable and prevent weeds and other pests from invading your garden.

If you live in an area that's subject to frequent visits from wildlife, a fence is essential to keeping deer and other wild animals out of your garden. A raised garden bed with a fence near it helps deter them from making their way into your yard and stealing your food.

If you don't have the time, space, or inclination to build your own raised garden bed, a pre-fab kit is a great option. Many of these kits feature composite lumber that's easy to put together and long-lasting. They're also relatively inexpensive and require little maintenance.


Step 5: Fill

Any soil mixture that is suitable for your plants can be used to fill your raised garden bed. 60 percent topsoil, 30 percent compost, and 10 percent potting mix make up a decent base mixture. Depending on what your plants need, adjust the amounts of each of these substances.

Place a layer of cardboard or newspaper in the raised bed's bottom before you begin planting. This will aid in keeping weeds out of your raised bed. Additionally, it permits the soil to settle in the bed.

  • Fill the rest of the bed with soil

  • Use a rake to spread your mixture evenly

  • To determine how much soil you need

  • multiply the length x width x depth of your raised bed

  • Then divide by 27 (that’s cubic feet per yard)

This Will Give You The Amount of Soil You Need

You can purchase nutrient-rich mix from your neighborhood gardening store if you don't already have any native soil. Ensure that the soil mixture you purchase is devoid of pathogens and toxic substances that could harm your crops.

Add a little slow-release, organic fertilizer for extra nutrients. It's simple to accomplish and will promote healthy plant growth.

Mycorrhizae fungus can be added to the soil mixture, but it is not required. This fungus is frequently used in bagged soil mixtures because it improves root development and lessens weeding by motivating plant roots to look for nutrients on their own.

You can plant veggies and herbs in your garden once it is ready. Unless there is a drought or exceptionally hot weather, you won't need to water the plants more than a couple of times each week until they are established.

Recent Related Posts:

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Table of Contents
  1. The Ultimate Guide to Building a Raised Garden Bed
    1. Introduction
    2. Step 1: Measure
    3. Step 2: Cut
    4. Step 3: Drill
    5. Step 4: Attach
    6. Step 5: Fill
    7. This Will Give You The Amount of Soil You Need
    8. Recent Related Posts:

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.