How to Build a Landscape Timber Box


The process is straightforward, but the timbers are heavy, so making a landscape timber box takes physical strength. Timbers come in 8-foot lengths and 5x6-, 6x6- and 6x8-inch dimensions. Pressure treated timbers and railroad ties are commonly used. If you don't intend to make a box that's 8 feet long on each side, you'll need a chain saw to cut the timbers. Plan on spending a weekend building this box and enlist some helpers.

Step 1

Use a string and stakes to create the outline of the future box.

Step 2

Dig trenches along the string line 3 inches deep and 2 inches wider than the landscape timbers you'll use. Level the bottom of the trenches.

Step 3

Pour gravel into the trenches to about ½ inch from the top of the trench. Smooth it out.

Step 4

Using a 3/8-inch extension bit on a drill, bore holes through four of the timbers at about three-foot intervals.

Step 5

Lay the first row of timbers in the trenches, creating the bottom of the box.

Step 6

Place a 2-foot-long reinforcing bar into each hole and pound them into the ground until the top of the bar is flush with the top of the timber.

Step 7

Make 3-inch pilot holes in the ends of the remaining timbers with a ¼-inch bit.

Step 8

Set a timber on top of the first course (or layer) of timbers and drive a 12-inch spike through the pilot hole and into the timber beneath it.

Step 9

Continue until you've built a box that's three timbers tall on each side.

Tips and Warnings

  • Wear safety gear when operating a chain saw.

Things You'll Need

  • String
  • Stakes
  • Shovel
  • Gravel
  • Drill
  • 3/8-inch extension bit
  • 12 landscape timbers
  • Reinforcing bar (how much depends on the size timbers you use)
  • 1/4-inch bit
  • Sixteen 12-inch spikes


  • A Simple Landscape Timber Box
  • A More Complex Landscape Timber Bed

Who Can Help

  • Installing Landscape Timber Edging
Keywords: landscape timber, pressure treated timbers, reinforcing bar

About this Author

Meg Jernigan has been writing for more than 30 years. She specializes in travel, cooking and interior decorating. Her offline credits include copyediting two full-length books and creating marketing copy for nonprofit organizations. Jernigan attended George Washington University, majoring in speech and drama.

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