Sometimes a gardener finds himself in the unenviable position of living in an area that has less than ideal soil for sustaining the kind of garden he may desire. If this is the case for you, don't give up hope. Building a few raised planter boxes around the yard can give you nice spaces in which you can still flex your green thumb with a little bit of work and preparation.
Determine the size of boxes you will need to fit your available space. For this example, the box will measure 10 feet long, 3 feet wide and 12 inches deep. You can easily modify these dimensions to suit your own needs.
Cut the lumber to the desired lengths. You will want to purchase lengths of lumber as close to the desired size as possible. Many home improvement centers will cut the lumber to your specifications. If not, use a circular saw to cut the lumber to length. For this example, we need the two 10-foot lengths of 2-by-12 and two 3-foot lengths of 2-by-12.
Mark off the area that will serve as the raised planter's permanent home. Any level portion of your yard that gets plenty of sunlight will work just fine, as long as it doesn't attract standing water.
Dig out the area that has been marked off for the planter. Use a hoe and trenching shovel to create a 3-inch deep bed in this area.
Lay the two 10-foot lengths of 2-by-12 parallel with the 3-foot lengths of 2-by-12 acting as spacers between them. This should form a rectangular frame shape. Attach the butted pieces together using corner brackets, a drill and 2-inch screws.
Spread a layer of gravel 1 inch deep inside the newly erected frame. This will allow for proper drainage and will discourage burrowing animals from nibbling on the roots of your plants.
Fill in the bed with a mixture of nutrient rich top soil and compost. The types of soil and compost used, as well as the exact mixture, will greatly depend on the type of gardening being done.