Building Raised Beds

There are a variety of reasons to build raised garden beds, from poor soil to creating a more orderly garden space. This is a guide about building raised beds.

March 22, 2016 Flag
2 found this helpful

I live in Tahiti and we have a lot of rain year-round. This can be a problem when it comes to planting flowers or plants in your garden. Therefore, I decided to raise my flower beds so when it rains the water doesn't flood my plants.


Unfortunately, when the water drains from the garden it started to erode the dirt in my flower beds and they started to crumble and wash away. In order to stop the erosion and the dirt from washing away, I needed to find a solution for this problem.

I have a river that runs in front of my home. I gathered the rocks from the riverbed and brought them into the garden. I used the rocks to start building a barrier for my flower beds.

Materials needed:

  • small to medium sized rocks
  • wheelbarrow
  • small hand shovel
  • large shovel
  • dirt

Start by digging a small trench along the line of your flower bed. Place a row of medium sized rocks in the trench.


Afterwards, fill the back side of the trench and rocks with dirt. You'll need to pack the dirt down around the rocks to hold them in place.

Continue adding rocks and dirt as you build your rock wall. You're basically stacking the rocks on top of each other. You'll need to find a rock that fits well on top of the bottom rock. Adding dirt to the back of the rocks holds them in place and supports the rock wall. Furthermore, it fills and replaces the dirt in your flower bed that has washed away from the rain.

I continued adding rocks and dirt until I had made a nice rock wall that would protect my plants. Now when it rains the dirt in my flower beds is protected and no longer erodes or washes away. Furthermore, the rock wall flower beds add to the natural look of the garden.

My garden is tropical and has a lot of flowers and plants. I keep the center of the yard open for the animals and walking around. Here on the islands, it's better to have a gravel yard than a yard with a lawn. Around my garden I have different areas that I have built raised rock flower beds.

Anonymous Flag
April 23, 20160 found this helpful

very nice!

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May 14, 20160 found this helpful

March 4, 2011 Flag
8 found this helpful

There are several advantages to using raised beds when gardening. They provide excellent drainage, warm soil earlier in the spring, prevent soil compaction, maximize yields in a minimum amount of space, and for gardeners with limited mobility, they can be built to any height. Perhaps best of all, raised beds also keep your garden looking neat and tidy.

Gathering Your Supplies

Materials you will need:

Determining Size

Length & Width: A convenient size is 4 x 4-foot box, because lumber is readily available in 4-foot lengths. This also allows you easy access to the center of your beds from either side. Set the beds end to end to create larger gardens (4 x 8-foot or 4 x 12-foot, etc.) or arrange them in interesting patterns. If you are planting vegetables, building 3 to 4 raised beds of this size will allow for adequate crop rotation. If the bed will be positioned against a wall or fence (accessible only by three sides), limit the width to 2-3 feet so you can easily reach the plants growing in back.

Depth: Most plants need at least a 6-12 inch root zone, so your boxes should be at least 12 inches deep to allow plenty of room for roots. Using 12-inch wide lumber to construct the boxes makes this easy.

Constructing the Box

Construct your beds on a firm, flat surface (e.g. driveway, patio, or garage floor). Set the boards up on their sides and nail the ends together to create a box. Use 4 to 5 nails on each board in an off-set pattern to help prevent the wood from splitting. If you're doing this project alone, it's helpful to brace one board against a wall to hold it steady while you pound in the nails.

Optional: If you line the bottom of a raised bed with chicken wire, you can easily control gophers and other marauding rodents. Cut a piece of chicken wire/hardware cloth so it's a few inches larger than the inside dimensions of your box. Lay the wire inside of the box. Bend the excess wire up the inside walls and use a staple gun to attach it securely it to the box.

Tips for Positioning the Box

Preparing the Box for Planting

Use a sharp spade to loosen up the top few inches of soil at the bottom of the box. This will help ensure good drainage. Fill the beds with equal parts of compost, topsoil, and well-rotted manure. Water well. Allow a few days to a week for settling to occur and add extra soil if necessary.

March 4, 20110 found this helpful

In a 2 months I am moving out of city to home with a big garden. I am looking forward to planting and starting my vegetable garden. I love the idea of adding a chicken wire to the bottom of the box that I am planning to make myself. Great idea, thanks for sharing that.

I just registered with this site hoping to find some good tips and I got it right away. I'm so pleased I find it. :-) Thanks again.

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December 26, 20120 found this helpful

April 15, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

This year I want to try raised beds in my garden, but I don't want to spend any money on purchasing the wood necessary to make them, plus all the work involved. So I came up with this idea - why not use cardboard boxes from the grocery stores?

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May 31, 2009 Flag
5 found this helpful

How I made a raised garden out of cardboard boxes, a tub from an old washer and some lumber on top of my driveway. I had to haul in a pick-up load of dirt.

Raised Veggie Garden

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April 9, 2012 Flag
1 found this helpful

We were able to put these two 4 foot square raised garden beds together this weekend. It was an easy project for the kids to help with; and they will be able to plant whatever they want in them this spring.

Two Completed Garden Beds

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June 23, 2005 Flag
1 found this helpful

If your ground is solid rock, the best way to raise veggies is in a raised bed. My husband built a raised bed garden this year. The "blocks that hold the garden together are, believe it or not, Styrofoam. This was salvaged from boat docks a few years ago when they banned its use in the local lakes.

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September 7, 2016 Flag
0 found this helpful

This is a guide about making a raised be vegetable garden. There are a number of ways you can create a very successful raised vegetable garden, whether you build with new materials or use recycled items.

Several raised garden beds full of lush plants

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June 21, 2013 Flag
2 found this helpful

I thought I came up with it all by myself and that it was terribly original, but after patting myself on the back for months, my permaculture book has informed me that this wonderful, free-to-the-point-they-may-pay-you-to-haul-it-off building material is called "urbanite".

Urbanite Raised Garden Beds

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January 29, 2012 Flag
1 found this helpful

Small raised garden beds save energy, water, and growing medium! Looking for ways to conserve energy and not dig more than I have to, I covered a large rectangular area with old garden cloth, large pieces of corrugated cardboard, etc.

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February 8, 2007 Flag
0 found this helpful

If you're short on space or the soil in your area is riddled by sand or clay, building raised beds may be the best solution to your gardening woes. You'll trade the time, money and effort required amending poor quality soil for maximum yields in a minimum amount of space.

Easy Raised Bed

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October 9, 2008 Flag
0 found this helpful

This idea is very old, my grandmother used to have straw bale gardens. It was great for her not to have to stoop over to pick and weed her garden.

Straw Bales For Gardening

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November 20, 2008 Flag

We made a 30x20 foot garden in our back yard with plastic and cement blocks. You do not have to remove grass. Put down plastic or a thick layer of news papers, and place cement blocks on top around the edge of the space.

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August 19, 2011 Flag

I love my raised beds. It helps keep different gardens separated and makes it easier to keep weeds out. They can be watered separately, depending on what you are growing in them.

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January 31, 2008 Flag
0 found this helpful

I landscape on an angle from the house. I will make a three level planter; the first level is 8 feet wide and long, the sides are white rock or, preferably, pressure treated wood.

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April 2, 2011 Flag

I'd like to see some pictures of various raised veggie garden beds you have made from recycled wood or other recycled items. The ones I see in books and on line aren't recycled items (but rather made of recycled materials).

What I have made works, but is rather "ugly". I don't want to buy the beds, or buy the materials, but am hoping to repurpose items already here on the farm, trying to be thrifty!

So, I am hoping some of you can give me some good ideas! I plan on going 100% raised bed gardening this year for my veggies.

Hardiness Zone: 5a

By April from NW MO

April 11, 20110 found this helpful

My non-recycled raised beds are kind of boring. I live in Texas, so I was thinking about using some barn tin on the sides of my wood, and painting them with bluebonnets and other Texas wildflowers to cutesy them up.

Check out your local craigslist in the "free" section, or freecycle, for materials. I see a lot of fences taken down, the fence pickets looking quite nice but not useable for another fense, and other construction materials.

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April 12, 20110 found this helpful

July 2, 2010 Flag

I upgraded my boxes this year, bigger and taller.

Photo of raised bed made with wood.

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