How to Build Raised Vegetable Beds


Raised beds require an initial outlay of time and money to establish, but they offer advantages in growing and maintenance that justify the expense. Using a high quality soil in a raised bed creates an ideal growing environment. The beds drain well and have fewer problems with weeds and compaction caused by foot traffic. The raised beds are easier to maintain, requiring less bending and kneeling. Invasive plants are contained and controlled in a raised bed.

Step 1

Locate a sunny spot for the raised bed. Remove grass and weeds from the location and till or dig the ground below.

Step 2

Lay out the dimensions for the raised bed. A 4-foot wide bed is conveniently accessible from both sides. Leave walkways measuring at least 2 feet wide between beds.

Step 3

Construct a frame 12 to 16 inches high to surround the bed. Use nontoxic materials such as concrete blocks, bricks or untreated wood. Brace wood frames at the corner and fasten securely with screws. Overlap brick or blocks to strengthen the structure.

Step 4

Fill the bed with a mixture of compost and a commercial soil mix, or mix good quality top soil with peat moss, compost or composted manure. Most garden soil is too heavy and does not drain well. Commercial soil mixes are presterilized and light enough to provide ideal water retention and drainage.

Step 5

Space plants equal distances apart throughout the bed rather than in rows.

Step 6

Add a layer of organic mulch to the top of the bed after planting to hold in moisture and reduce weeds.

Tips and Warnings

  • Frames taller than 18 inches require additional support.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel or garden tiller
  • Wood, brick or concrete block
  • Braces
  • Screws
  • Soil mix
  • Organic compost, peat moss or composted manure
  • Organic mulch
  • Plants


  • University of Missouri Extension: Raised Bed Gardening
  • University of Illinois Extension: Build a Raised Bed
Keywords: build raised garden, build raised beds, raised bed gardening

About this Author

Diane Watkins has been writing since 1984, with experience in newspaper, newsletter and web content. She writes two electronic newsletters and content around the web. Watkins has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Clemson University. She has taken graduate courses in biochemistry and education.