Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day Mini Project- DIY Raised Garden Beds!

Hey Everybody, Alex Here...The Holiday weekend is over and we managed to get a lot of little things taken care of around the house. Yesterday, Carla had her hands full with some front yard/curb appeal projects and I got my hands dirty in the backyard with the simple but fun project below. I hope you enjoy and maybe even try making some of your own.

These elevated garden boxes were ridiculously easy to build and install and the new “Cedar Toned” Pressure Treated lumber that I picked up at Home Depot made for a very classy look (at a fraction of the standard Cedar price) for our back yard.

Here’s a list of materials that you’ll need to make three of your own garden boxes measuring 8' length x 2' width x 1' height.

15 – Pressure Treated (Cedar Tone) 1x6x8’s
3 – Pressure Treated (Cedar Tone) 4x4x8’s
1 – 1lb box of #9x3” deck screws
1 – 4x50 roll of weed stop sheeting
??? – Dirt/Plants/Seeds of your choice!

To start with, my design would use five of the 1'x6'x8' boards for each box. Four of these would remain the full 8' length and the fifth gets cut into four equal 2' lengths. I then cut one of the 4x4x8’s into 5 chunks that were each 18” in length (only 4 are used per box so you will have some scrap lumber unless you decide to cut them all at 24”).

Next, I assembled what would become the box ends by screwing two of the 1'x6'x2' pieces level to the tops of two of the 4"x"4x18" “legs”.

The final construction step was simply connecting the two ends using four of the 1x6x8’ boards. To accomplish this, I spaced the ends apart and squared the 1'x6' boards in place and attached with the decking screws. Repeat this step for the remaining “long side” and then you’re ready to place in your desired location. So Easy!!

We chose to place the completed boxes along the southern fence border of our yard. This area should get plentiful sunshine and was in desperate need of a little pick me up anyway. Once our location was decided on, I cleared some existing vegetation and did a little work to level the ground before “dry fitting” the garden box in place. After the test placement, I grabbed my post hole diggers and dug out 4 holes for the 4"x4" legs to fit into. These are really just to stabilize the box and prevent it from shifting (If you’re in the mood for something more permanent you could always use longer legs and then cement them in place).

Before dropping the legs into place and filling with dirt, I dropped down a good double layer of the weed block fabric to prevent any unwanted plant life from sprouting up.

Now, simply add dirt and the fruit/veggies/flowers of your choice! We had quite a bit of fun planting our first garden together for this project and it is a great addition to our backyard! The relatively low cost of completion and seriously short amount of time required to build will be fresh in our minds later this summer when we have some great homegrown fruits and vegetables on the table!

What do you think of our DIY planter/ garden boxes?
What are some good tips/tricks for growing your own fruits and veggies? 

It's our first attempt at growing our own and I hope they turn out.  If you have any tips please let us know! 


  1. Is the fence running east and west along the south edge of your yard? If so, and the box /bed is against it you probably will not have enough sun, as it sounds like it is on the north side of the fence. I hope I am reading it wrong, but veggies need at least 6 hours of full sun to develop well.
    Aside from that, keep well watered and fertilize often and enjoy!
    Sue from Edina

    1. Hi Sue! The box is positioned as you described (I think) but it is the only part of our backyard that does get more than 6 hours of sun since we have a large tree that blocks other parts of the yard. Based on where we see the most sun in the yard, we agreed that it would be a perfect spot! But as I mentioned, we are learning and this is our first attempt with a garden of veggies so we'll see how it goes. If we have problems I'm sure we'll share, but I'm hoping all goes well and I can share pics of our veggies! Thanks for your help, I always like the extra advice on gardening/yard stuff :)

  2. Welcome to the world of raised garden beds, love it! Be sure to put a light layer of mulch on top so you don't have to water every other day - something natural and untreated. Judging from your pictures, you might want to consider adding more dirt. What you have will settle, and the key to good growth is having lots of depth for the roots. Looks great, good luck!

    PS - we really love lettuce plants. They're super easy and produce all summer long - we put in 6 plants this year. Bonnie

    1. Cool, thanks for the tip on the dirt! We might have to do some adding/rearranging from what we've learned since posting so we can add some dirt for sure!

  3. I love raised beds, good job. I'm not a green thumb kind of gal so I can't comment on what to plant. It depends on where you live I think. Thanks for sharing. Mary in NY

  4. Pressure-treated wood is full of dangerous chemicals. I really don't think that's a good idea if you're going to be growing food. (very pretty for a flower garden, though)

  5. Did you plant tomatoes in there? I can't really tell, but it looks like there is at least one tomato plant. If so, they get huge so it's not going to work to have them in there. It looks great tho.

    1. Hi Jo, thanks for your helpful comment. I think we picked ones that said "mini" or "mini patio" tomatoes thinking they would grow smaller but who knows? I think we will move them though just in case (we actually have to do a lot of plant moving based on what we've learned from comments). How much space do you think they need? Or should they be in a separate large pot or planter?

  6. At our house (in Northern Georgia) my dad and I garden just about everything we possibly can in our little piece of the country. Corn, peas, beans (of several varieties), peppers (again of several varieties), tomatoes, okra, yellow squash, zucchini, butternut, pumpkins, eggplant and sometimes carrots. Our fruit list includes apples (several varieties), strawberries, peaches, pears, 3 varieties of grapes, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, plums, kiwi, and pineapple (grown indoors). My dad has been doing this his whole life (he helped his parents, now I help him since I live next door) and he says if he had to go back and do it all over again... he would do raised beds. It IS so much easier than the traditional way... plowing up a garden, waiting, plowing again, planting, weeding, replowing when done... etc. Fruit is SUPER simple (bush and tree varieties are... blueberries, apples, pears). Once you get them established, they just go! All you have to do is prune them once a year and maybe fertilize every so often. You guys might want to check that out! Berries are some of the most expensive things in the grocery stores today!

    1. Yum, you comment made me want to plant more fruit/berries! And you are right, they are expensive at the grocery store. Maybe we will do just berries in the second raised garden box, let me know if you have recomendations on the smallest/easiest ones to grow and keep alive :) you know, since this is our first time doing it I don't wait to totally fail! Thanks for you comment!

  7. How did this turn out for you? It is exactly what I have in mind for this spring!


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