How To Build Raised Garden Beds (That Will Last)

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I’ve been waiting two years friends, TWO YEARS! for my garden dreams to become reality. I’ve had GRAND PLANS FOR THE LAYOUT AND JUST HOW I WANTED EVERYTHING, INCLUDING MY RAISED GARDEN BEDS, TO BE. THE TIME IS NOW! MY DAYS OF COUNTING DOWN ARE OVER! Let’s build some beds!

Building raised garden beds is an easy, cost effective way to grow fresh fruits and veggies. Follow this simple how-to raised garden bed tutorial. #raisedgardenbeds #buildingraisedgardenbeds

Being responsible home owners, when we moved into our current place we attended to other house needs that were higher on the to-do list. Our home had been a rental, and there was a few projects that couldn’t be put off. Look at us being all grown up. Thankfully this year we finally get to build a garden fairytale, with raised garden beds as the main attraction, in our backyard!

You might be thinking, but Eryn, you could have made a simple garden on the fly to get by until building a huge garden. And you’d be completely right! Actually, I kind of did. The last two years I planted a few staple veggies and herbs in pots in and around our patio. They were fun, pretty, and functional. The pots produced enough to add to a summer salad or grab some basil or parsley for a kitchen dish. But, it wasn’t enough to can with. Friends, I love canning and preserving! I’ve got a whole spot dedicated to it here!

Building raised garden beds is an easy, cost effective way to grow fresh fruits and veggies. Follow this simple how-to raised garden bed tutorial. #raisedgardenbeds #buildingraisedgardenbeds

What type of raised bed should you make?

At first, in all my planning and dreaming, I had decided to go with galvanized steel raised beds. My father in law actually loved this idea when I shared it and made two just like them, so I was able to see them in action.

However, after thinking it over for a couple years, I decided they were just a little too heavy duty for me. First off, I don’t need them that high or deep. While tall beds would be great for someone with back problems, I didn’t see the needs to make them that large, and then also having to purchase all that soil to fill them.

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Secondly, the steel beds rang in at about $150 a piece, and although we’ve waited for two years so we could spend a little money on making our garden amazing, I’m still being as frugal as possible. The beds we ended up making came in at about $110 per bed. Maybe at first that doesn’t seem like much of a savings, but the beds we made were about double the length of the galvanized steel beds. And when you’re making four of them, that ends up saving a substantial bit of money and gives us much more space to plant!

Building raised garden beds is an easy, cost effective way to grow fresh fruits and veggies. Follow this simple how-to raised garden bed tutorial. #raisedgardenbeds #buildingraisedgardenbeds

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

Why we didn’t go with cedar raised beds

Soooooo many people make their raised garden beds with cedar wood, since it’s great for resisting mold and rot. However, cedar boards that are as thick and large as the ones we used would have cost much more money. Most cedar garden kits you find in stores are made with flimsy, thin boards. After a few summer and winters the boards begin to warp, and pull away from each other leaving you with garden beds you’re constantly trying to repair. The screws end up stripping out, and eventually you’ll have to put new beds in. Moral of this story: if you have the extra cash go with thick, 2″ cedar boards. If that’s not possible, using Ground Contact Hem Fir Pressure Treated Lumber is the way to go! Just our two cents!

lag bolts

liNKS TO What you’ll need to build raised garden beds

Yield: One, 12 foot by 3.5 foot raised bed

Raised Garden Bed Tutorial

Raised Garden Bed Tutorial
Prep Time 20 minutes
Active Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Difficulty Beginner
Estimated Cost 110.00

Materials

  • 4 2x8x12 Treated Ground Contact Hem Fir Pressure Treated Lumbar
  • 2 2x8x8's Treated Ground Contact Hem Fir Pressure Treated Lumbar
  • 1 4x4x8 Treated Ground Contact Hem Fir Fence Post
  • 36 2.5" Lag Screws with Washers

Tools

  • Chop Saw
  • Impact Hammer

Instructions

  1. Cut the two, 2x8x8's treated boards into four, 3.5 feet boards
  2. Cut the treated fence post into four, 20" sections (the four corners) and two, 16" sections. (two support braces in the middle of each bed)
  3. Use the 20" fence posts as the base for your corners. Starting with a long 2x8x12 board, line it up flush to the corner of the post and secure to post using lag bolts screwed into place with an impact hammer or socket wrench.
  4. Do the same thing with the 3.5 foot board on the other corner. Continue for all bottom boards, making sure you stagger the lag bolts so you dont hit one with the other when making the corners.
  5. Lastly, connect the two, 18" posts into the inside of the bed, directly in the centers of the 2x8x12 boards. See pictures in blog post.
  6. The posts on the ends of the four corners of the beds stick up 4" above beds. These are meant to be placed into the ground, securing bed into place. Essentially you made the bed upside down, and it will need to be flipped when putting into place.

We’ve made four beds in total, and now are waiting for the weather to improve (it’s currently snowing in March!) before we cut into the ground spots for all four, flip them, and secure them into the dirt. Make sure to follow along and check back for our garden progress. Also follow on Instagram as I do daily stories and share progress!

Building raised garden beds is an easy, cost effective way to grow fresh fruits and veggies. Follow this simple how-to raised garden bed tutorial. #raisedgardenbeds #buildingraisedgardenbeds

Need a few helpful tips for starting seeds indoors to later transplant into your beautiful new beds? I’ve got you covered! Check out this post on starting seeds indoors like a pro!

And, to see how we took these beds and made a beautiful garden layout, what dirt we put in them, and why we placed them where we did make sure to check out How To Make A Garden Plan that’s both Functional and Beautiful!

Also follow along on Instagram as I share daily what’s going on in the garden!

*Update: We added a cattle panel trellis to connect the back two beds in 2021. Check out that post here!

Happy gardening friends!

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14 Comments

    1. It’s just the box itself. Soil prices will depend on where you purchase from and the quality of soil you want. πŸ™‚

  1. The box looks great. I have one problem.. Living on the west side of the Cascade Mountains we have moles, burrowing animals. Suggestion before setting up your site. Before adding a layer of dirt., lay down small hole chicken wire. Therefore the moles can not burrow up under your beautiful garden. I wish I had known that before hand. Thanks

  2. Love the boxes! Cedar is so expensive, I’ve been wondering if I can use pressure treated. I was worried about the pressure treated chemicals leaching into my edible plants? Did you do something to prevent that?

    1. I did my own research and came to the conclusion it was safe for our family, but always do research on your own to come to your own conclusion! πŸ™‚

  3. The materials list says the lag bolts are 2.5 ” long, but it doesn’t state or I couldn’t find the diameter size. Are they 1/4″, 5/16″, 3/8″, or 1/2″? By the photos they look to be 5/16 or 3/8 I’m guessing. Thanks

  4. Love this! Are the middle posts 16″ or 18″? If the fence post is 8 ft wouldn’t that only leave enough wood for one 16″ post with the four 20″ posts?

    1. You have to buy an extra post to cut for the middles. They are 16″, the width of the boards! I hope that answers your question. πŸ™‚

    1. We just removed the turf from below where the bed was going, and till the soil a bit. However, we don’t have rodents that will dig up through the beds. If you do, chicken wire is a great idea to place at the bottom. The plant roots will be able to grow through, and the critters will stay out!

  5. Hello! For someone who is wondering about the chemicals used on ground contact Fir, one could always install heavy plastic liner to separate the veggies from the chemicals. Just a thought folks.

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