Making a Raised Gardening Bed

Raised beds add to landscapes and make gardening easier. image by Photo by Paul Sayer: Flickr.com, Illustrations by MJ Logan

Overview

Raised garden beds make it easier to plant, weed and harvest. They provide the gardener with the opportunity to have the best soil without spending years amending it to make it perfect. Displaying flowers or vegetables in the midst of a lawn or garden is another use. One option for a raised bed uses landscape timbers.

Step 1

Measure and mark out the area for the new raised bed with marking paint. Remove the sod from the marked out area.

Step 2

Cut the first layer of timbers to length with the chainsaw for each side of the raised bed, making each timber's length shorter by the width of the timbers. For example, an 8-foot wide bed using 8 foot, 6 by 6 timbers. 96 inches - 5 1/2 inches = 90 1/2 inch long timbers. The actual dimensions of a 6 by 6 are 5 1/2 inches by 5 1/2 inches.

Step 3

Drill holes for landscape spikes with a long spade bit or other long bit. Make sure the bed's corners are square by measuring across the diagonal corners. Both measurements will be the same if the bed corners are square (90 degrees). Pound in spikes to anchor the bed to the ground.

Step 4

Cut timbers for the second course the same length as the first course. Stagger the joints as you lay the timbers on top of the first course. Mark the locations of the landscape spikes with a pencil or piece of chalk on the second course of timbers to avoid hitting them.

Step 5

Drill holes for landscape spikes and anchor the second course to the first by driving the spikes through the second course, into the first.

Step 6

Add additional courses until the desired height of the raised bed is reached. Line the sides of the timber bed frame with 6 ml thick plastic to prevent dirt from escaping and to protect the timbers from rotting.

Step 7

Fill the raised bed with top soil, add amendments like compost and fertilizer and you are ready to plant.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always wear safety goggles and a dust mask when cutting wood. Wear gloves when handling timbers to prevent slivers. Timbers can be heavy, especially pressure treated timbers. Get help lifting and maneuvering the timbers.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Marking paint
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • 4 by 6, 6 by 6, or 6 by 8 landscape timbers
  • Chainsaw
  • Drill
  • Spade bits
  • Landscape spikes
  • 6 ml thick plastic sheeting
  • Top soil
  • Gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Safety glasses

References

  • Raised Bed Gardening

Who Can Help

  • Permanent Raised Bed Gardening
  • Texas A&M Extension
Keywords: building making, raised garden bed, gardening beds

About this Author

Michael Logan is a writer, editor and web page designer. His professional background includes electrical, computer and test engineering, real estate investment, network engineering and management, programming and remodeling company owner. Logan has been writing professionally since he was first published in "Test & Measurement World" in 1989.

Photo by: Photo by Paul Sayer: Flickr.com, Illustrations by MJ Logan