Building Raised Beds

Category 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 page about building raised beds.
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June 23, 2005

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. Its insulating capacity, helps to keep the earth cool. The first picture was taken before the topsoil was added. The second picture, taken a few days ago, shows the results of our Mother's Day planting date.

We are about to start picking squash and tomatoes... at least for fried green tomatoes. :)

By Harlean from Arkansas

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We would love to have a garden in our backyard, but supposedly there are gophers. We decided on having a raised garden bed and after looking at the costs of already built raised garden beds and ready to purchase and install yourself garden beds, they were definitely out of our budget!

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If you are planning to make a raised garden bed, take a trip to your local home improvement store, you can browse the wood selection and take down the measurements and then draw a layout while in the store or at home. Your project will cost less than purchasing a raised garden bed. Also, you can save even more money if you have any home improvement coupons.

What wood should you use? Use wood that is untreated. What type of wood can you use? Good choices are redwood, cedar, or Douglas fir.

The cheapest and most affordable option would be Douglas fir (which we went with). Douglas fir still has great qualities, resistance to rot and insects, and should last at least 5 years+. If you're willing to, you can spend more on cedar or redwood, but we figured since this is our first time building a raised garden bed, we'll try the Douglas fir out!

Tip: Select home improvement stores may have a clearance section where there is a slight defect to the wood, return, or cut up wood extras for a discount! I actually found the large piece at 85% making this project a steal deal!

Supplies:

Steps:

  1. We went with a 20' foot x 12" inches x 1.5" inches Douglas fir wood. We asked the employee to cut our measurements. We had them cut the 20' into (2) 3' foot and (2) 7' foot lengths. (The wood cutting is complimentary.)
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  3. Optional for extra support, I bought another piece of wood and had them cut (4) 1' foot x 4" inches x 2" inches. (Note: The person cut these pieces incorrectly so it's a little more than 1 foot, but it should be 1 foot. However there is no harm to the final result)
  4. Attached is the set up of how the raised garden bed will look. You will want to pre-drill the holes and screw in place. We used 2 1/2" screws for wood.
  5. This step is optional, if you do not have any moles or gophers - you can skip this step and save more money if it's not required in your area. Once all the screws are secured, flip the frame over to install the steel welded wire rolled fencing, we bought 3 ft x 10 ft (ended up with left over fencing). We used shorter screws with washers to keep the fencing in place. Tip: Roll out fencing over garden bed frame then place extra piece of wood over the top to hold in place and screw on as you go so that the fencing is straight. Cut off excess fencing.
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  7. You are ready to move your wooden raised garden bed to your desired spot, fill up with dirt/soil and it's time to plant your vegetables and herbs.
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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.

Raised bed vegetable garden.

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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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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.

A easy raised bed from a bag of soil.

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October 9, 2008

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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In the summer of 2011, I had raised beds made to accommodate a wheelchair and my short arm width necessary to reach across to weed. They have landscape fabric to control weeds on the bottom, a layer of sod face down, then layers of newspaper and leaves that will decompose and on top, regular soil.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

October 30, 2008

My husband and I are looking for a platform bed. Does anyone has a good suggestion? Where can we find a good deal on a good quality platform bed? Thanks.

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Peggy from Mcallen, TX

Answers

By mel (Guest Post)
October 30, 20080 found this helpful

I have seen some cute ones on walmart.com. There are reviews so you can judge for yourself. I don't know if there is an ikea where you live but they also have them or ikea.com.

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November 2, 20080 found this helpful

Sometimes people just plain want to get RID of a frame for a water bed. They get tired of it, or the mattress leaks, or whatever....Free for just hauling it off.
You'd be surprised what people want to give away!!
And what people are asking for too.

Do you have "Free Cycle" in your town ?
(You can check the list and see if yours is there, then your state, Subscribe) Free Cycle is full of things that people don't want anymore.

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Just as it says, it's Free.And they are yours if you tell'em you want it, and agree to pick it up when they tell you to.
And of course, there is also "Craig's List." It isn't all Free tho. There is a category of " Wanted", you list what you want. People "talk" thru the Craig's List e-mail. And there is a "Free" category too.
But, a platform for your bed isn't a difficult thing to build. There is probably a How-To that you can Google,and find.

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By Tim (Guest Post)
December 5, 20080 found this helpful

A VERY INEXPENSIVE PLATFORM BED
When I was still in grade school, my parents put their mattress on plywood that was laid on travel trunks. This may sound cheap, but they slept on it for years.

Mom like it because she was able to store things underneath the slipcovers. We used to play hide and go seek.

Dad did drill some holes in the board for air circulation. We lived in Japan, and the moisture gets so bad, you end up having to clean clothes that are in the closet. THINGS GROW MOLD.

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By Amy (Guest Post)
February 2, 20090 found this helpful

IKEA has some really nice ones for less than $300.

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April 26, 20090 found this helpful

We bought our bed from llbean.com, it comes in several flat pack boxes that are shipped FedEx. I put it together myself and have slept on it for over 3 years.

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June 25, 20100 found this helpful

Fake one like we did. I wanted one too but couldn't afford it. So we took 2x12's sanded, stained to match bedroom furniture, put the box spring on the floor and boxed it in. Mattress on top no headboard. Looks like the pretties you see in the magazines. I also wanted Asian furniture like the Mino collection which cost about 2500.00 for livingroom set. We made a couch,settee and two chairs for under 300.00 which included all materials. We reused our old cushions and I sewed covers for them. This stuff is stout and can withstand active children and all the cushion are removable to be washed.

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June 25, 20100 found this helpful

babbles5,
We'd love to see photos of the furniture you've crafted. :)
Marz

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January 4, 2011

I am looking for an economical way to edge my raised beds. I have a large garden and lumber is just way too expensive to do all of the beds. Any ideas?

Hardiness Zone: 6a

By Heidi from PA

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November 1, 2013

I have read how straw bales are used to build a raised garden. I was wondering if straw could be used to line the bottom of a wood build raised garden? I was thinking that the straw would decompose and provide nutrients for the soil as well as help to maintain moisture. Please help out.

By Faye B.

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October 24, 2011

Can you turn an old fridge into a raised veggie bed? I would need to put drainage holes in the back and lay it back on ground. What are potential hazards?

By Bec B

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August 22, 2014

I would like to construct a raised bed garden on a hilly area. The best plan would look like 3 beds of 3 feet by 10 feet. Any suggestions? The is soil is poor and possibly rocky so I think just placing the boxes on top and filling with good soil is best. To avoid tons of soil I am thinking of raising the bottoms up on the lower box. I need advice on drainage too.

By Nancy

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Photos

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Here is my raised garden.

By Ross from Merryville, Louisiana

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