Building our Raised Garden Beds

To maximize sun, minimize weeds and back pain, and to control our soil conditions, we decided to build raised beds for our vegetable garden. I found these plans and used them for inspiration, although we ended up spending a lot more money on lumber (I’m almost positive no-one can buy that much cedar for $10) and made our beds deeper. Our yard is full of rocks and roots and isn’t the best kind of soil for growing vegetables (mostly clay). Here’s what we did – making it up as we went along!
Dave cut three of our 1x6 boards in half, leaving us with six 3' pieces.

Dave marked and cut three of our 1″x6″ boards in half with the circular saw, leaving us with six 3′  long pieces.

We cut the 1x6 pieces in 18" lengths to make the corner supports.

We cut the 1″x6″ pieces in 18″ lengths to make the corner supports.

We used screws (pre-drilling the holes) to join the corner pieces together. Dave said he'd used nails next time.

We used screws (pre-drilling the holes) to join the corner pieces together. Dave said he’d use nails next time because the wood still split, even with the pilot holes.

The next step was to nail the corner support into the first cedar plank. We had to work carefully as cedar tends to split.

The next step was to nail the corner support into the first cedar plank.

Here's one finished end of our bed.

Here’s a finished end piece. Never-mind the post-moving garbage behind Dave.

Winnie, eager to help.

Winnie’s “helping”.

We fit the 6' cedar board into the end piece and nailed through the pine to fasten them together.

We fit the 6′ cedar boards into the end piece and nailed through the corner supports to fasten them together.

Nailing the pieces together

Another shot of the nailing process.

Putting the final nails in - it was easier to nail the last boards in place when the bottom pieces were already in.

Putting the final nails in – it was easier to nail the last boards in place when the bottom pieces were already in.

The (mostly) finished product!  We made three in total.

If we built these again, we’d do a few things differently. Next time we’d use nails instead of screws and nails to fasten each piece together – the cedar and pine seemed to be prone to splitting, and nails just seemed to work better. I would also use a table or bench to nail the smaller pieces together so the whole process was more comfortable. However, I think they still turned out well. We’re pretty proud of ourselves!  Now we have to put them into position, hammer in our support stakes to prevent the sides from bowing, and fill them with soil.


Materials/Tools  (for one 6′ long by 3′ wide by 1.5′ deep garden bed):
9 – 1″x6″x6′ cedar planks (cedar can be pricey, but it’s rot-resistant)
2 – 4′ pine stakes
1 – 1″x2″x6′
2 1/2″ finishing nails
2″ deck screws
Measuring Tape
Pencil
Hammer
Cordless Drill
Reciprocating Saw or Hand Saw
Circular Saw
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