Raised wooden beds provide gardeners a viable alternative to planting fruits, vegetables or flowers where soil quality is poor or does not drain well, where pests such as rodents are a problem or where there is not enough space. Beds enhance the appearance of the garden and landscape, and provide visual interest at different eye levels. Raised beds can be made from wooden boards, concrete blocks or bricks and railroad ties. Wooden boards are aesthetically pleasing and complement any landscape.
Select the level spot in your garden or yard where you want to install the raised bed. Make sure it gets at least six to eight hours of sunlight if you want to plant vegetables, herbs or sun-loving flowers.
Decide the shape, height and width of the raised bed by drawing it on graph paper. Beds are usually rectangular in shape and not more than 3 or 4 feet wide so you can easily access the middle growth from both sides without stepping on the plants. Ideally, a height of 12 to 15 inches with a thickness of 3 inches is sufficient. The length of a raised bed varies according to personal taste and space available. However, two smaller sized raised beds with a little path in between look more appealing than a single long one. Continue drawing different shapes, heights and spacing between beds on paper till you get the desired result.
Demarcate the area with spray paint or powdered chalk. Wear your gloves to strip any weeds and sod, and remove any stones and debris from the site. Use a shovel to remove 6 inches of soil from the bed to provide a suitable depth for vegetable or plant growth. Collect in a wheelbarrow for disposal.
Depending on how many beds you want, purchase lengths of precut rot-resistant 2-by-6 lumber from your local hardware store. You can even cut boards to size at home with a circular saw. You will need 4 lengths of wood per single raised bed, where all the lengths are equal for a square bed, or 2 are long while 2 are short for a rectangular bed.
Place one length of your board on the ground and place a corner of another board flush against its corner. Adjust the heights one final time to make sure they are level, and then drill the corners together with galvanized woodscrews, one at the top and the other at the bottom. Your frame will now resemble an L-shaped structure. Repeat the same procedure for the other two lengths, and finally join both the L-shaped frames with screws to form a rectangle or square box.