How to Create a Raised Planting Bed


According to the University of Missouri, a raised bed is a popular choice for gardeners because raised beds provide a solution for challenges raised from gardening in poor soil. Raised beds provide better drainage in areas with clays soil. Additionally raised beds can provide a higher yield by giving plants a place where their roots will develop better. Raised beds are not hard to construct using treated landscape timber.

Step 1

Measure out your 4 foot wide by 8 foot long bed using a measuring tape. Drive stakes into the ground just beyond the perimeter of the bed. Tie string between each stake to mark the walls of the bed.

Step 2

Dig out the foundation of the raised planting bed with a shovel. Use a carpenter's level to ensure that the foundation is level.

Step 3

Drill a hole crossways through each end of your landscaping timber using the ½ inch drill bit. Make sure the holes are in the exact same location in each timber.

Step 4

Place your first row of landscaping timbers on the ground around the perimeter of your raised bed. Use 4 foot sections of timber for the ends, and 8 foot sections of timber for the sides. Abut the ends of the landscaping timbers where they meet.

Step 5

Drive a section of ½ inch thick rebar through the holes in the landscaping timber and 1 foot into the ground with the rubber mallet.

Step 6

Lay the second row of timbers over the first row, threading the holes at the ends of the timbers through the rebar in the corners. Stagger the ends of the timbers so that the end of a 4 foot section covers the end of an 8 foot section and vice-versa. Repeat this with the third row of timbers.

Step 7

Drive the rebar further into the ground so that the tops of the rebar are flush with the tops of your raised bed.

Step 8

Fill the raised bed 2/3 full of topsoil. Fill the remainder of the bed with compost. Add 1 cup of balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer. Mix the contents of the raised bed with a small rototiller.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Stakes
  • String
  • Rubber Mallet
  • Carpenter's level
  • Shovel
  • 6 landscape timbers that are 4 foot long
  • 6 landscape timbers that are 8 foot long
  • Drill
  • 1/2 inch drill bit
  • ½ inch rebar that is 2 foot long
  • Topsoil
  • Compost
  • Balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer
  • Small rototiller


  • Missouri University Extension: Raised-Bed Gardening
  • Washington State University: Building Materials for Raised Beds: Comparing Costs and Performance
  • Texas A&M University Extension: Building a Raised Bed Garden

Who Can Help

  • Purdue University Extension: Building a Garden Bed
  • N.C. State University Extension: Making Raised Beds
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Raise the Bed, Plant Your Garden
Keywords: building a raised bed, raised bed construction, using landscape timbers in the home garden

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."