How to Use Recycled Building Material to Build Raised Garden Beds


A raised bed garden is one of the easiest to manage, according to the University of Florida. This type of garden allows you to cultivate the soil without bending over or stepping on the soil. Make a raised bed garden simply by mounding up soil or contain it in almost anything that will hold soil. Some of the simplest raised bed containers are made of materials you already have, such as lumber overage from a building project.

Step 1

Measure and cut the scrap lumber with a jigsaw. Cut each 24-foot piece of lumber into two sections that are 8 feet long and two sections that are 4 feet long. You will need six boards to build a 2-foot high raised bed.

Step 2

Cut the 2-by-2 board into 3-foot sections to make stakes. Use a jigsaw to cut one end of the board off at a 45-degree angle to form an angle.

Step 3

Measure the raised bed and place a garden hose into a square along the edges of the raised bed to mark it. Drive each stake one foot into the ground at the corners of your raised bed with a mallet and remove the hose.

Step 4

Align each board so the ends are up against the outer side of the stakes. Attach the boards to the stakes by driving two wood screws through the board and into the stake.

Step 5

Fill the raised bed two-thirds of the way with topsoil. Fill it the rest of the way with compost.

Step 6

Add 1 cup of balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer. Mix this together with a small rototiller.

Tips and Warnings

  • Lumber that has been treated with copper arsenate or railroad ties treated with creosote are not recommended for raised beds because the chemicals used to treat them can leech into the soil.

Things You'll Need

  • 6 Boards 2-by-4-inches
  • 2-by-2 board
  • Jigsaw
  • Measuring tape
  • Garden hose
  • Mallet
  • Drill
  • Galvanized wood screws
  • 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
  • Purdue University Extension: Building a Garden Bed

Who Can Help

  • NC State University Extension: Making Raised Beds
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Raise the Bed, Plant Your Garden
Keywords: how to build a raised bed, raised bed construction, scrap lumber garden bed

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."