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If you’re looking to start a garden soon, you’ll need to take the time to research the most common types of gardens and then you’ll need to figure out which is right for you. For our family, building a raised bed garden made the most sense. I don’t fancy digging up my backyard for several reasons, but mainly because that is a whole ton of work that I don’t have to do. Putting in DIY raised bed garden beds eliminates the need to do the back breaking work that putting an in ground garden requires. It might seem intimidating to build your own DIY raised bed garden beds, but don’t let it scare you. It isn’t as hard as it might seem and once you’re done, you’ll be able to plant yummy vegetables to help you save money on groceries!
The thing that I adore about raised bed gardens is that you can use any wood that isn’t treated. This means that if you’re trying to create a garden on a budget, you can do so quite easily. When we made the beds photographed in this post, we used left over fence posts that we were able to get free from a neighbor. I highly recommend fence posts since they are typically cheaper than buying the lumber itself but use whatever type of wood you want or need to. As I type up what we did, I’ll also give you the directions for using a regular piece of wood in case you’re using lumber and not reclaimed fence posts.
How to Build DIY Raised Bed Garden Beds
Just as a mention, the wood that we used was untreated wood. You can use treated wood safely since the EPA regulates treated wood pretty heavily, but keep in mind that anything grown with treated wood can not be considered organic even if you’re using organic gardening (Six Dollar Family) methods. If you’re planning on selling at a farmer’s market or something of that nature, you’ll want to pay attention to which type of wood you use.
We made our beds to a final size of 7’x3′ and that’s the size you’ll be making in this post, but if you need to make them smaller, do so. The steps are the same. The only difference you’ll find is the size of your boards. Just adjust your plans according to whatever size your own boards are. If you need to buy the boards, you can buy them at Home Depot for less than $0.50 per board.
You Will Need:
- 8 – 7 foot boards or fence posts
- 14 pieces of Wood scraps or 14 – 2 ” wood battens
- Cardboard boxes for weed blockage
To start, we needed to make sure that our boards were even. Since we used fence posts, we lined them up two at a time and cut off the ends using a hacksaw so that they were even. This brought each board to 7 feet long. If you’re using pre-cut lumber, you shouldn’t need to do this step, but I do recommend that you line them up and make certain they are the same size.
You will need (4) 7′ boards for each DIY raised bed garden bed.
Next, cut (2) of your boards in half. They’ll measure 3.5″ each if you used pre-cut lumber and around 3″ each if you used fence posts like we did. If you’re worried about that other .5″, go ahead and lob it off, but it won’t make much of a difference in your finished product.
You will need (4) 3′ boards for each DIY raised bed garden bed.
Use scrap wood pieces to create (14) 2″ wood battens. These go inside of your DIY raised bed garden beds to help create stability. If you don’t have scrap wood, you can use a regular 2×4 piece of lumber and cut it into 2″ pieces.
Lay (2) of the 7″ boards side by side like shown in the pic. Then, take a 2″ batten and nail it into both boards. You’ll want to make sure that you space each support about 1/3 of the way down the length of the boards. Each set of boards should end with (3) 2″ battens. If your supports are longer than your boards, that’s okay. Leave them hang off the edge and bury them for extra support once you place your garden bed.
Repeat the process with your 3′ boards. Add a third support to one end of the 3′ board to act as a corner support once you have put the garden bed together.
When you’re ready to assemble your DIY raised bed garden beds, place the long boards against the short boards. Nail the short boards into the corner support that you created like shown in the photo. If you don’t have a way to hold the boards up for support on their own, you will need someone else to help you.
Repeat with the other side them nail your two sides together making sure that each corner has a support in it like shown in the photo below.
Once your DIY raised garden bed is assembled, carry it to wherever you’re placing it in your yard. If your supports were longer than the boards, take this time to bury them a bit so that your bed won’t sit up off the ground. Now, to build a weed barrier, line the ground inside of your bed with cardboard that has been cut or ripped to fit. We used a medium sized cardboard box and it fit almost perfectly.
After you’ve laid down the weed barrier, add a layer of organic soil to your garden bed. If you’re planting seed, plant them now then cover with another shallow layer of potting soil. If you’re planting seedlings, add a thicker layer and plant them as you normally would! Once you’re planted, I highly recommend finding a good organic fertilizer recipe and mixing that into your soil too!