How to Construct Raised Beds

Overview

In recent years, raised garden beds have attracted the attention of an ever-increasing number of gardeners. Raised beds can be used to create visual definition, control slopes and transform previously useless spaces into gardens. Raised beds are perhaps most attractive in their ability to spare the knees and backs of gardeners. A wide variety of materials, some in kit form, make constructing raised beds possible. To try out a new space economically, it is useful to know how to build a simple, durable raised bed.

Step 1

Choose outdoor-grade lumber but avoid treated lumber, especially if you are planning to grow vegetables. Organic gardeners and others warn that the preservatives used to weatherproof treated lumber contain chemicals that can leach into soil. Arsenates are no longer the issue they were, but treated lumber still contains copper salts. A box built of outdoor-grade lumber will last several years--perhaps longer.

Step 2

Arrange wood pieces, using corner clamps (or a helper) in a hollow square box shape. Mark positions of angle brackets on the inside of each corner; position one clamp 2 inches from the top on each corner of the box, the second 2 inches from the bottom.

Step 3

Remove clamps, lay wood flat and drill all screw holes. Reassemble the box by screwing in all clamps.

Step 4

Place box on the ground. For extra security, you may want to dig a 1- to 2-inch trench in which to seat your box, but the weight of the wood alone will keep it secure. You now have a simple 3-foot by 3-foot square raised bed. Fill it with garden soil, plant your favorite crop and enjoy your results!

Things You'll Need

  • 4 pieces outdoor-grade lumber, 12 inches wide, 2 inches thick, 3 feet long
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil or marker
  • 8 metal right-angle brackets, 2-inch size, 2 screw holes in each arm
  • Corner clamps
  • 32 screws, 1 1/2 inches long, to fit bracket holes
  • Screwdriver

References

  • Texas A & M University Extension: Building a Raised Bed Garden
  • Earth Easy: Raised Garden Beds
  • ATTRA: Organic Alternatives to Treated Lumber
Keywords: how to construct raised beds, measurements and materials, build a 3 foot by 3 foot bed

About this Author

Janet Beal holds a Harvard B.A. in English and a College of New Rochelle M.S in early childhood education. She has worked as a college textbook editor, HUD employee, caterer, and teacher. She is pleased to be part of Demand Studios' exciting community of writers and readers.