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How to Build DIY Raised Garden Beds [Easy Guide]

Proper, well-built DIY raised garden beds can protect plants from nasty weeds and pests like slugs and snails.

Choose a proper location and sturdy frame (wood, metal, or concrete) fastened to preferred dimensions to build ideal DIY raised garden beds. Also, add a landscape fabric before adding the appropriate soil mix (organic and inorganic matter).

Remember, your choice of raised garden bed is limited by your budget, space, and creativity. Read more to learn how to build different raised garden beds at home.

Benefits of Building DIY Raised Garden Beds

Raised garden beds are often more productive and used to grow crops such as tomatoes, herbs, strawberries, etc.

The ample height of the raised bed provides enough room for plant roots to expand and prevents soil compaction.

Many gardeners prefer raised beds as they are easy to maintain and monitor.

However, consider the space and initial construction cost before creating one.

Here are the four most significant benefits of building DIY raised garden beds.

1. Budget Friendly

The surmounting cost does not come as a surprise, considering the price of cinder block, brick, steel, and wood.

Generally, building a professional-looking, aesthetic raised garden bed costs anywhere between $104 to $210.

However, you can save half the cost if you build one yourself.

Swiftly create DIY raised garden beds with your chosen materials, such as reasonably priced cedar boards, galvanized metal material, landscape fabric, and cardboard.

Keep in mind that the project cost will depend on the type of raised garden bed’s size and quality.

2. Frame Materials of Your Choosing

A raised garden bed can be built from various sturdy, eco-friendly, cost-effective materials.

Wood boards and lumber are the most preferred choices as they are cheap to obtain, build, and break.

Some other choices include stone, bricks, patio pavers, concrete pieces, cinder blocks, corrugated metal, etc.

MaterialAvg. Cost (Per sq. ft.)
Corten Steel$11.20
Cinder Block$13.25
Rammed Earth$17.50
Poured Concrete$22.80

Raised beds made of stone, bricks, and cinder blocks are expensive but more durable, while woods are cheaper yet reliable.

Make your estimate of the choice of material, but also decide whether it is solid and durable enough to endure your raised garden bed.

3. Plant Crops Earlier in the Season

A significant advantage of building raised garden bed is that you can plant your crops earlier than usual.

The soil in the raised garden beds warms up quickly and stays risk-free of cold temperatures and soil compaction issues.

Therefore, you can plant your seeds or saplings earlier than the growing season to witness quick yields.

Raised garden bed
Raised garden beds make your garden look aesthetically pleasing.

Consider growing petunias, basil, lemongrass, and vegetables like peppers, squash, and onions in the raised garden bed.

However, remember to cover the bed with a plastic sheet to lock in a warm temperature if the risk of frost is still looming.

4. Keeps Weeds and Pests Away

Building a raised garden bed will be handy if weeds and pests regularly infest your garden.

The raised garden bed is elevated from the ground and covered with robust material, preventing weeds and pests from infesting the raised bed’s soil.

It will prevent weeds and pests like aphids from moving into the raised bed soil effectively.

Factors to Consider Before Building DIY Raised Garden Beds

Although making DIY raised garden beds is not very complicated, remember to plan well to avoid minor nuisances.

Here are a few essential factors to consider when building DIY raised garden beds.

1. Budget of Raised Garden Bed

Building DIY raised garden beds would depend on the project’s materials, size, and purpose.

A typically raised garden box kit costs $145 on average, but you can also build one for under $100.

Some high-end raised garden box kits may go over $200 as well. Remember, working around with unfamiliar materials will likely rake up your bill.

2. Size of Garden Bed

A sizeable raised garden bed will typically cost more to acquire materials than a small raised garden.

Moreover, the larger raised garden frame will take longer and more effort to complete.

Long raised garden bed with minimal paths makes irrigation easier, such as one measuring 6, 8, or 10 feet long and 3 to 4 feet wide.

However, you can always consider the size of your garden before building one or more raised garden beds.

3. Layout of the Garden Bed

A raised garden bed layout is crucial as too short can limit the plants’ root growth.

Meanwhile, the raised garden beds with higher heights will take in more soil and effort during irrigation.

Thus, aim to build a raised garden bed with at least 8 inches of soil to accommodate healthy root growth.

Furthermore, depending on what you plan to grow, the height of the raised garden bed can differ.

Deep-rooting crops such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and watermelons do best with 24 to 36 inches of depth.

Also, ensure the bed is large enough to accommodate plants without competition for nutrition.

On the other hand, herbs can be grown close to each other, requiring a small-sized raised garden bed.

4. Location of the Raised Garden Bed

Build a raised garden bed in an appropriate location, such as a warm and cool or sunny and shaded location, to benefit a wide range of plants.

Growing vegetables generally require at least 8 to 9 hours of full sun each day, with warm and less soggy soil.

You should place your raised garden bed from north to south to give it the most sun exposure and ample air circulation.
Proper location for raised garden bed
Find a proper location for your raised garden beds where plants get 7 to 8 hours of sunlight.

Plants like Coral Bells, Foamflower, Lungwort, and Foxglove are shade-loving plants that will benefit from shaded locations in the garden.

5. Type of Soil

Raised garden beds are elevated off the ground, requiring a more porous soil mix to retain water and nutrients.

Coco coir, vermiculite, perlite, and compost mix are appropriate for most houseplants that require both organic and inorganic potting mix.

You can also create a Lasagna method where you layer the bottom with leaves and grass clippings and top it off with wood chips, bark, and then potting soil.

Aim to get no more than 50% organic matter, with compost making up only 10 to 20% of the total soil volume.

Remember to use balanced plant food to give the soil an additional nutrient boost for obtaining healthy harvests.

Materials Needed for Building Raised Garden Beds

Before building DIY raised garden beds, ensure you have a tape measure, potting mix and fertilizer.

Other than that, here are the necessary materials and tools.

Material and ToolsSpecification
WoodCedar or cypress board, composite wood, and natural wood are considered the most versatile choices.
Concrete BlocksConcrete blocks are sturdier option but may leach toxic materials found in the fly ash that poisons vegetables fruits, and herbs.
BricksBuilding a brick raised garden would be best for strength and quite cost-friendly
MetalUse galvanized metal frames that does not corrode under intense humidity.
Landscape FabricLay the bottom with landscape fabric to prevent weed growth, stabilize soil, and help with moisture retention.
Heavy-Duty Plastic SheetingAttach the plastic sheeting on innersides of the raised beds.
Compound Miter Saw or Circular Saw and BladesTo cut and shape wood planks
Drill/Driver & BitsAppropriate for metal and concrete block frames
Magnetic hex screwdriver or drill bitTo attach wood planks in place
StainTo waterproof the frame structure and create base for painting

How to Build a Basic DIY Raised Garden Bed?

Building a raised garden bed is more straightforward than it may look; even a novice can make one from scratch.

Here is the breakdown of the instructions to create basic DIY raised garden beds within a few hours.

Step 1: Prepare the Wood Frames

  • Determine the bed frame sizes, which can be as small as 2×4 feet.
  • Measure and cut the frames for each side using a compound miter saw or hacksaw.
  • Drill pilot holes and attach the wooden post to the frame.
  • Next, drill pilot holes, and connect all sides with multiple hex screws to fix frames together.

Remember, the raised garden bed height will determine how many wood frames you need.

Step 2: Prepare the Location

  • Outline the garden area using a measuring tape and marker.
  • Otherwise, place the frame in position and outline it using a shovel.
  • Next, prepare the location by removing grass and weeds using a shovel.
  • You can level the garden by removing excess soil, especially when using the sloped garden bed.

Step 3: Strengthen Wood Frames

  • Add a landscape fabric to one end of the wood frame.
  • Otherwise, use mesh hardware cloth which keeps the raised garden bed away from the soil.
  • Consider stapling the inside frame walls with a heavy-duty plastic sheet if the wood frame is not rot-resistant or has significant gaps.
  • Make the garden bed sturdy by adding a stake in each corner and drilling holes through it to screw the stakes.
  • Consider drilling holes at least 3 inches apart to add two screws per stake.
  • Do not forget to use outdoor wood screws to avoid metal rusting.

If your raised garden bed is longer than 8 feet and taller than 18 inches, you should add cross bracing to prevent it from bowing outwards.

Take aluminum flat stock and drill holes on each side to attach the cross brace to either side of the posts using screws.

Step 4: Add Soil and Plants

  • Place the finished frame in place and start adding soil mix.
  • Use a mulch and soil calculator to estimate the potting mix and nutrients you may need.
  • Next, place the plant in the appropriate space in the soil.
  • Finally, do not forget to water the soil to moisten the structure.

Some DIY Raised Garden Beds Ideas

Here are a few ways to create raised garden beds to give them a unique approach.

1. Pentagonal Garden Bed

The approach is the same as creating a basic wood-based raised garden bed.

However, instead of creating a rectangular or square shape, you will build a pentagonal-shaped raised bed.

Ensure to cut the frames to create six individual pieces and connect them using wood posts to create a sturdy structure.

2. Trough Garden Bed

If you own a horse or cattle farm, you will likely own a few troughs to feed the animal. Spare a few troughs to create a unique raised garden bed.

The metal troughs would be sturdy enough to hold potting soil and plants.

Remember to layer the inside walls with heavy-duty plastic to prevent corroded metals from leaching into the soil.

3. Spiraled Garden Bed

Create a spiraled garden bed by layering different sizes of rocks in a spiral shape.

This structure works effectively to create a sloped layer of the raised garden bed to give an effect of a fountain.

Otherwise, you can also layer bricks in the shape of a spiral.

4. Raised Garden Bed with Stands

Create a plain wood-raised garden bed and add a wooden stand underneath to keep it above the ground.

The garden bed with a stand works excellently if you live in a colder region to keep the bed elevated from the floor.

Raised Garden bed
The raised garden bed protects from weed growth and pests

It also prevents weeds and pests from invading the garden bed and works best for plants grown in crates, such as Strawberries.

5. Milk Crate Garden Bed

If you own a few wooden or metal wood crates, you can choose to convert them into a raised garden bed.

Repurpose the milk crate by layering the inside with heavy-duty plastic to avoid soil leakage.

The best part is you can stack one crate over the other two to create layered garden beds.

6. Cinder Block Garden Bed

Cinder blocks are heavy and may stack well against each other without the fear of being dislodged.

You can create multiple shapes of the raised garden bed with a cinder block.

Moreover, the hollow space inside each cinder block can be used as a pot to grow smaller plants, creating a unique mini-garden.

7. Galvanized Steel Garden Bed

One of the cheapest options, you can attach used or new galvanized steel frames to each other.

Use a wooden post to attach each frame and drill the posts to fasten it with a screw.

However, do not forget to layer the bottom with landscape fabric, cardboard, or newspaper.

8. Landscaping Timbers Garden Bed

Landscaping timbers work great as raised garden beds. All you need to do is stack two or three timbers to each other and use adhesive to glue the ends together.

It is usually inexpensive and beautiful to look at.

What to Plant in DIY Raised Garden Bed?

You can grow a wide range of garden and houseplants in raised garden beds.

Therefore, there are no limitations to what you can or cannot grow.

Here is the list of flowers, vegetables, herbs, and fruits you can grow in raised garden beds.

VarietyList of SpeciesSpecification
VegetablesArugala, Tomatoes, Beets, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrot, Celery, Collards, Cauliflower, Eggplant and rootsKeep a distance of at least 4 inches and at most 18 inches in-between.
Place them in location with 6-8 hours of full sunlight.
Flowering PlantsCardinal flowers, Sedges, Monskhood, Petunias, and PansiesSmall perennials (6-12 inches) and taller perennials (18-36 inches apart).
Place them in a location with 6 hours of full sun and some afternoon shade.
FruitsPumpkins, Gourds, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Muskmelon, and CantaloupePlace each plant 3-5 feet apart form each other.
Place them in a location with 8 hours of full sun.
HerbsRussian sage, Rosemary, and LavenderPlace them 3-12 inches apart from each other.
Ensure it gets at least 4 hours of sunlight each day.
SucculentsSedums and EcheveriasPlant them close to each other without worrying about spacing.
Leave as much as 1 inch in-between.
Provide partial sun and shade to prevent scorched leaves.

Final Thoughts!

Raised garden beds are a great way to induce a specialized garden for plants. Remember to start constructing the structure in late winter or early spring to kickstart the new growth.

However, ensure that the raised garden beds do not interfere with the rest of the garden plants.

All The Best!

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