Today I’ll be discussing a very simple DIY raised garden bed to help get your green thumb going. We’ll be focusing on a small 8in (height) x 3ft (length) x 2ft (width) starter bed, just enough to get our hands dirty. If you have a screw driver or a drill (and know how to use it) then you can put together this DIY garden bed.
In this article you will learn:
Raised garden beds present many benefits over traditional garden beds. Raised beds are generally easier to keep free of weeds, and certain ground pests such as slugs and snails are less likely to get in. Raised garden beds may also be a solution to effective gardening in locations where soil quality is less than desirable. The fact that you will have to supply your own soil in a raised bed gives you the power to customize and control the soil quality.
- As you can see in the picture below, I’ve already “trenched” out the perimeter of where my garden bed is going to be. If you know the dimensions of your garden (which you should!) you can use a tape measure to mark off where it will go. You can then use a trencher or a shovel to mark the perimeter of the bed. Your goal here is to dig down about 1/2 an inch so the raised garden bed will fit snug into the ground.
2. You’ll want to “weed-wack” or mow down any grass within the perimeter of your garden bed. Even though covering the grass with dirt will essentially kill it, it’s better to trim down as much as possible. You can remove it totally by digging off the top layer and replacing it with some top soil, if you prefer. If the area you are planting in does not have grass then there’s no need for this step.
3. You’ll also want to make sure the area is as flat as possible to prevent water from collecting in one spot or draining to the same corner all the time. This may cause the garden bed to warp or break from constant pressure and water buildup. By ensuring the area is level you can rest assured that any rain water will go directly down into the ground.
Once the area is prepared we can start on our DIY raised garden bed. (Scroll down)
Tip: Leaving little rocks and pebbles that you find in the dirt. They are good for soil drainage. If you live in an area that gets frequent rainfall, be sure to have efficient drainage to avoid over-watering and fungus growth.
- (2) Cedar plank – 1/2in x 8in x 2ft
- (2) Cedar plank – 1/2in x 8in x 3ft
- (4) Cedar/Fir posts – 2ft x 2ft x 6in
- (16) Wood screws – 1-2in length
Cedar is the best natural wood to use for garden beds due to it’s rot resistant characteristic.
- Screwdriver or power drill
- Tablesaw (optional) – only if needed to cut lengths of wood planks and posts to specified lengths.
1. Line up one Cedar/Fir post on the edge of one of the 3ft Cedar planks. (refer to picture)
2. Screw in two Wood screws evenly spaced into the cedar plank. Be sure to drill them in at least 1/2in from the edge of the cedar plank to avoid splitting.
3. Line up on of the 2ft Cedar planks so that it covers the edge of the Cedar/Fir post and 3ft Cedar plank. Drill in two more Wood screws into that plank. (refer to picture)
- Screw in another Cedar/Fir post flush to the open edge of the 2ft Cedar plank you screwed in, in step 3. Continue to work your way around to each corner.
Tip: Each side should have one corner that is flush with the inner post and the other corner which is overlapping. This will ensure that you have a perfect 3ft x 2ft bed.
- Once the bed construction is complete, place it into the trenched outline you created in the “Area Preparation” section above. Be sure to check that the bed is level to avoid uneven stress and water accumulation which we discussed earlier.
Once the bed is in place, you’re ready to start filling it up with soil! (Scroll down)
If you haven’t already, I’d like to encourage you to read up on an article I wrote on different types of soil – in this article I talk about the different types of soil and what type of environment they should be used in.
I live in an area that rains every day. For this reason, I formulated a soil that would not only supply my plants with nutrients and provide favorable conditions for bacteria to cultivate, I also needed to make sure I had sufficient drainage so roots wouldn’t suffocate in undrained water.
You’ll need about 2 cubic feet of each ingredient.
- 1 part black cinder
- 1 part organic compost
- 1 part organic top soil
NOTE: In the mixture you’ll notice I choose to go with black cinders instead of vermiculite or perlite. Both have aerating characteristics but I like cinders more because they create larger air pockets and have tiny pores for bacteria to colonize. Just my personal preference.
- Pour soil ingredients in a large tub or container (I used a cooler).
- Mix together with a shovel to ensure soil ingredients are evenly mixed.
- Pour or scoop soil mixture into the garden bed. You will need to make about four or five mixtures in order to fill the garden bed to about six inches. If the soil level is about the same height as the corner posts, then you’ve got enough soil. Be sure to spread the soil around evenly in the garden bed with your hands or a shovel.
- Water the bed but do not compact the soil. Let the soil settle on it’s own and refill as needed. You don’t want to destroy any small air pockets within the soil.
NOTE: You need to adjust soil composition based on your climate and environment. If your climate is dry think about adding peat moss or coconut coir into the soil to help retain moisture.
Well, you’re all set! I hope you found this article informative. Be sure to post a comment and let me know how your DIY raised garden bed is coming along!
Author: Brennan Young
Thank you for stopping by! I started The-Urban-Farmer.com to share my love for creative gardening, healthy living, and home DIY’s. If you enjoy the content on this site, I encourage you to follow The-Urban-farmer.com via social media (below). I’d also love to hear from you so feel free to contact me!