How to Build Raised Planting Beds for Vegetables


Raised planting beds are the most convenient type of vegetable gardening structure. There is no back-breaking, continuous stooping to the ground, as there is with ground-level gardening. As an added benefit, raised beds keep the soil warmer, allowing for earlier seeding. It also makes for a moister soil, which means less watering is needed.

Step 1

Choose a garden location that receives sun for most of the day, at least 6 hours. This means there should be no large trees or bushes that will obstruct vegetable plants from receiving sunshine.

Step 2

Prepare the soil in the garden area. Even though you will be constructing raised beds, the soil beneath them needs to be worked so the tender roots can grow into it. Dig down, with a shovel, to a depth of about 1 foot. Loosen the soil by breaking up all dirt clods. Remove any weeds, rocks or other litter. Rake the soil even.

Step 3

Draw out raised bed locations in the worked soil, using the corner of your hoe. The length of the beds should go from east to west for the vegetables to get the most sunshine throughout the day. Draw pathways between the beds, for working and walking.

Step 4

Measure the width and length of your raised beds. They should be 2 to 3 feet wide and up to 12 feet long.

Step 5

Cut two pieces of 1-by-12 lumber for the length of the raised vegetable bed. Cut two pieces for the width of the bed, but reduce the measurement by 1½ inches to take into account the thickness of the longer boards.

Step 6

Place the longer boards parallel to one another. Put the shorter boards crosswise, inside the front and back, at the ends. This should create a frame-shape.

Step 7

Attach the screwdriver attachment to the drill. Use about five screws on each of the four sides of the longer boards, at the end. Screw through the thickness of the longer board and penetrate the sides of the shorter boards.

Step 8

Put the wood frame atop the worked garden soil. Tap on each side until it is set evenly.

Step 9

Fill the wood frame with a nutrient-rich garden soil from the nursery, to about 4 inches from the top. Spread a 2-inch layer of compost on top of the soil. Work the compost into the soil. Rake the soil even. You are ready to plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Hoe
  • Rake
  • Lumber (1-by-12 inches)
  • 1½ inch screws
  • Screwdriver attachment
  • Drill
  • Garden soil
  • Compost


  • The Gardener's Helper: How to Build and Maintain Raised Bed Gardens
  • Texas A&M University: Building a Raised Bed Garden
Keywords: raised garden beds, raised vegetable beds, vegetable garden

About this Author

Karen Ellis has been a full-time writer since 2006. She is an expert crafter, with more than 30 years of experience in knitting, chrocheting, quilting, sewing, scrapbooking and other arts. She is an expert gardener, with lifelong experience. Ellis has taken many classes in these subjects and taught classes, as well.