Raised Garden Plans:
Constructing Raised Bed Gardens

On the positive side, using raised garden plans for constructing raised bed gardens is less expensive than purchasing raised bed garden kits. On the downside, doing it all on your own takes time, and you need to have the proper tools and carpentry skills…

Materials Used in Raised Garden Bed Design

Building a raised bed garden at home with supports can be done with a few materials, each of which has pros and cons…

IMPORTANT

Do NOT use wood that is treated with chemicals as the chemicals will end up in your garden soil and crops.

  • Wood (lumber or logs) - The least expensive and most common route, although it will eventually rot and require replacement. Logs last longer than lumber and are free if you’ve got extra trees on your property. Choose wood that is naturally resistant to rot such as cedar, cypress or redwood.
  • Bricks or cement blocks - Cement and brick are longer-lasting and provide much better insulation than wood, but they’re much more expensive and may not be as attractive or natural- looking as wood.
  • Stone - Stone is attractive and long-lasting, but it’s a poor insulator. Depending on the size of the stones, solid construction may be difficult.
  • Plastic - Pre-cut plastic material is usually only available in raised bed garden kits. Despite its durability, it's a petroleum by-product, and we prefer the more natural materials mentioned above. It's also more expensive than the other options.
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Simple Raised Garden Bed Design and Constructing Raised Bed Gardens

This section gets into the details for all of you do-it-yourselfers out there. If starting from scratch is a little too daunting, raised bed garden kits make the process much easier.

The standard simply-designed raised garden plans call for a rectangular bed made of lumber and includes the following parts, all of which are held together by galvanized screws...

  • Two sides
  • Two ends
  • Four corner supports (placed inside the corners to add stability; 2 inch by 2 inch boards, length matches the height of your raised bed supports)
  • Two stabilizers (will brace the middle of the box; 2 inch by 2 inch boards, length matches inside width of box)
raised garden plans

Recommended Raised Garden Plans e-Book

If you want a better looking, taller or differently shaped raised garden bed design, the Raised Garden Beds Plans e-book provides several good options and clear instructions for each.

Required Tools

  • Drill
  • Garden fork
  • Garden rake
  • Level
  • Shovel

To make sure that your newly constructed supports match the size of your pre-determined yard space, build the supports before doing any digging...

  1. Choose your desired dimensions (completely up to you – you may want to base on price of lumber that you purchase or the size of the logs that you have available), drawing out the measurements on paper to ensure you order or cut the correct lumber dimensions.
  2. Arrange all lumber on the ground in the position in which your raised bed supports will be constructed. Space your two stabilizers so that there are three equally-sized openings between them and the end boards. Since the stabilizers are a specific length, you’ll need to make sure that the sideboards butt up against the end boards at the right location (i.e. if the sideboards butt up against the OUTSIDE of the end board, the stabilizers will need to be longer).
  3. Starting with one of the ends, use three galvanized screws to fasten the end to the two side boards. The ends should butt up against the sides, forming a flush right angle.
  4. Repeat with the other three corners, forming a complete rectangle or square.
  5. Using one screw on each end, attach the stabilizers so that they butt up against the inside of the side boards and are flush with the TOP of each side board.
  6. Attach the four corner supports, being sure to add screws on both the end and the side boards (2 screws per side).

Now that your support box is constructed, flip it over so that the stabilizers are on the bottom, then…

  1. Place it over your desired garden spot and mark the corners and sides with string and stakes or sprinkled flour.
  2. Remove the box and dig out the sod and top layer of dirt/soil, doing your best to stay within the lines. Your goal is to dig at least as deep as any existing grass roots.
  3. Break up the soil with a garden fork at least as deep as the tines on the fork.
  4. Place the support over the new garden spot, stabilizers facing down. Using a level, try to get the top of the box as level as possible.
  5. If you dug up any sod, turn it upside down, lay it out over the bottom of the box and break it up with your garden fork.
  6. Add a 2 inch (5 cm) layer of compost on top of the sod and churn it in with the fork.
  7. Fill the box with a mixture of healthy soil and compost, stopping a couple of inches before reaching the top of the box.
  8. Lightly water the bed, rake it smooth, then wait at least a week or so before planting.

Click here for more detailed raised garden bed designs.

If doing it yourself sounds like too much work, a raised bed garden kit can make the process much easier.

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