There is more to planning a raised-bed vegetable garden than building enough wooden frames for the beds. Creating a plan ahead of time will save countless hours and mistakes that can cause reduced plant growth and harvested vegetables. Choose a location for your garden that receives sun for most of the day, at least 6 hours. Be sure the area is protected from wind, as too much wind can ravage and dry the plants. Most importantly, choose the size of garden by how much time you have to care for it. It's better to start with a small garden that will not cause you to feel over-burdened, rather than one that is too large to handle and will become weed-ridden and dry from lack of watering.
Measure the location of your future raised vegetable garden. Translate those dimensions onto a piece of graph paper.
Decide which vegetable seeds you want and how many plants you will grow. Choose vegetables that you know you already enjoy eating. However, a gardener should always be adventuresome. Choose one or two vegetables you've wanted to try, but haven't yet. A good choice for a beginning gardener might be a small raised garden of pole-beans (green beans) or peas planted in the north, tomatoes and green peppers for the center and lettuce and carrots on the south side.
Build your raised garden beds running lengthwise, east to west. This will give the vegetable plants the most amount of sunshine during the day, as the sun comes up in the east and sets in the west.
Plant the tallest vegetables, such as corn or pole beans, towards the northern end of the garden. This will assure that they will not pose a shadow over the smaller plants during the day.
Create raised beds for your medium-height vegetable plants in the center of the garden. Plant the smallest vegetables, such as carrots, radishes and onions, in the southern part of your garden. Raised vegetable garden beds are most often built from lumber by making an open frame that is placed on top of the garden area.
Use your ruler and pencil to draw, on graph paper, a depiction of the needed raised beds that you will build. Draw a square or rectangle, onto the paper, to outline the garden area. Further, draw rectangles within the outline to symbolize the raised beds. Make sure to write down the vegetables that will be planted in each one. Plan for paths between the raised beds, so you can move around easily.
Plan for any unwanted guests. If your vegetable garden is located where it might be visited by dogs, cats, other animals or children, plan for a fence of wire, wood or other materials. The height will depend on the type of intruders. It can be as low as a couple of feet or as high as 8 to 10 feet, if there are deer in your location. If you have bird problems, it may be necessary to install netting over the top of the garden. Purchase this special netting from your local garden center or nursery.