For casual and serious gardeners alike, raised garden beds offer several important advantages:
- Their raised height makes maintenance easier.
- The bed sides help keep out weeds and grass.
- The soil in the beds drains quickly so that it doesn’t become waterlogged.
- The soil warms earlier in spring.
- The soil doesn’t become compacted because you don’t step on the growing area.
You can construct a raised garden bed from a number of materials, including lumber (rot-resistant cedar or redwood is best), concrete blocks, sandbags, or logs. For a funky look, you can even use an old bed frame or old wooden boat. If you’re growing edible plants, avoid using creosote-treated railroad ties or chemical-treated wood. If you use wood treated with alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ), use an air-and-water-permeable landscape fabric screen to prevent soil contact.
Follow the below steps to construct a simple 4×8-foot raised garden bed out of lumber.
- Gather: three 2×12 boards (8 ft. long), one 2×4 board (8 ft. long), and 21/2-inch galvanized deck screws (28 screws).
- Cut one of the 2×12 boards in half to make two 4-ft. lengths for the end pieces.
- Cut the 2×4 board into one 4-ft. piece for the center brace and four 1-ft. lengths for corner supports.
- Drill pilot holes, and attach one of the sideboards (one of the two uncut boards) with three screws, evenly spaced.
- Position one of the corner supports in the angle between the boards, attaching it to the sideboard with three screws; repeat for the three remaining corners.
- Use a square to position the center brace at a right angle to the sides. Attach the center brace, joining the two sides at their mid-points.
(Flickr Photo by Paul Sayer)