Raised Garden Beds

I have always liked the clean look of raised garden beds, and after doing some research I found there were a lot of benefits. I decided to design and build two for the corner of my backyard.

SketchUp

I started the project out by designing the concept with dimensions in Google SketchUp. All of the wood is rough-sawn cedar which should hold up to the elements better than standard lumber and won’t have any chemicals in it like treated boards would. I designed the raised garden beds to optimize the wood as cedar is not exactly cheap. The plan is to use 13 – 2″x6″x8′ boards, 2 – 4″x4″x8′ posts, and 2 – 2″x4″ cedar boards (picked these up later).

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Picked up the lumber along with a few extra boards for some other projects. The smell of cedar is unbeatable!

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Cut up all 8 legs to their 2′ length on the chop saw. My 6′ workbench is the same height as my saw base so it supports the weight of the heavy posts.

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Laid out the 8′ boards on the posts and marked them for pre-drilling and attaching. I didn’t glue anything on this project to make it easier to replace at some point if it rots. I stacked two boards to make the walls 12″ tall.

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Went a little crazy with the screws here, probably overkill but at least it won’t move! I used 3″ triple coated deck screws on the whole project.

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Attached the 4′ sides to the posts and ends of the 8′ boards.

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Added the center “railing” supports cut from the 2″x4″.

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I ripped 1 3/4″ strips to use as the railings and supports for the railing on the corners and centers.

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Cut 20 supports out of some of the strips.

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Set up a stop block on the drill press to quickly and accurately predrill for screws.

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Each corner gets two supports, as well as the centers. The railing then attaches to the top. I thought this made for a cleaner look and later allowed a flat area to attach the fencing.

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There are always rabbits running around my neighborhood so I thought I’d play it safe and add a foot of rabbit fencing around the perimeter of the raised garden beds. I picked up this hardware cloth then cut all 25′ it in half with a Dremel, pretty time consuming but the edges came out nice, no sharp edges. If I were to do this again, I would use a grinder with a metal cutoff wheel.

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Dry fitting to make sure they fit.

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Used a pneumatic staple gun to attach the hardware cloth. to the frame. So glad I had this tool, wouldn’t have been fun punching that many staples with the manual stapler.

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After hauling the raised garden beds out to where they will be, I realized the ground was not as level as it looked. I put them in place and spray painted around the perimeter.

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I used some boards and a level to trench everything out, ended up going a couple inches deep on one side.

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Nice and level. Notice I left the fronts off, this made it easier to shovel dirt in.

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View from the deck, they don’t look quite as big as I had imagined.

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Rather than cutting all of the sod out and dealing with it, I covered it with landscape fabric to kill it off and protect against future weeds.. I overlapped all of the pieces, stapled them to the sides, and pounded large landscape staples through the overlaps.

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Both beds settled in place with the fabric secured.

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I had a lot of excess dirt from a previous project, this was a great time to use it up.

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Picked up a cubic yard of garden soil from a local landscape company. After one wheelbarrow trip from the front yard I decided to drive back there so I could just heave it over the edge of the trailer.

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Filled to the brim! My cubic yard guess was spot on, I was able to overfill a bit to account for settling.

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Front frames and fencing on. We let them sit for a few weeks until it was warm enough to plant.

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Looking like a real garden! One bed has cucumbers, bell peppers, lettuce, and pole beans.

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The other is all tomatoes of different types.

We don’t have any gardening experience, so hopefully this works out and I didn’t drop a load of cedar and dirt in my yard for nothing!


Update!

A couple of months later it looked like a jungle!


Tools and items used in this build

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Power tools

The rest

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