How We Built Our Raised Garden Bed – You Can Build One Too

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Some of my fondest memories as a child are of the times spent with my grandparents in their raised garden bed. I remember my grandfather pulling carrots out of the dirt and washing them off with the hose. We would eat them right then and there. I remember the sweet juicy taste. I have never had a better tasting carrot since. I also remember my grandmother sending me out to pick strawberries. She had to know that more than half of the strawberries went directly in my mouth instead of the basket but she didn’t seem to mind. My grandmother made her own rhubarb preserves, pickles and other jarred fruit and vegetables, which were all grown in her garden. I love all these memories and have always dreamed of having my own garden. Finally over the summer I decided to stop dreaming and start doing. So I picked an under utilized section of our yard, that received at least 3 hours of sunlight a day, but was easy to access (right by the kitchen door). Now to implement:

  • We began with a sketch
  • Measured the area we wanted to place our raised garden bed (appx. 8ft x 8ft)
  • Found and bought 12 cedar beams (my grandmother’s garden was made with old railroad ties) and 2 lattice (for cucumbers and tomatoes)
  • We built the enclosure for the raised  garden bed with the cedar beams, stacking them 3 levels high, the ends overlapping (log cabin style), drilled holes (at the edges and center) through the top of the beams, and lastly secured the beams by screwing lag screws into the pre-drilled holes
  • There was already an existing drip line in the area, so we cut the drip line, used 90 degree elbows, and laid the drip line in a u-shape through the raised bed area
  • We then broke up the existing dirt, mixed in organic garden mulch, ammonia sulfate, and organic garden soil (we live in the desert and need to condition our soil before planting…your needs may vary)
  • Stapled plastic lining to retain and protect cedar beams from soil moisture
  • Since our raised garden bed is so large we decided to lay concrete blocks and cement pavers on top in order to create a path.

Materials List:

    • 12 Cedar 8 ft beams – $23.64
    • 12 Lag screws – $12.24
    • 20 ft Half inch hose $5.59
    • 6 Elbows (to raise the line up and 4 to make the u-shape) – depends on your individual needs – $1.97
    • 1 Roll of plastic lining (not necessary…up to you) – $9.98
    • 2 bags of Organic Garden Mulch – $8.94
    • 5lbs (1 bag) of Ammonia Sulfate (to condition soil) – $7.48
    • 8 bags of Organic Garden Soil – $55.76
    • 3 Concrete blocks – $4.41
    • 3 Pavers – $4.80
    • 2 Lattice – $59.94 (not necessary…your choice to add)

Total cost of materials (we bought at Home Depot):

Cost to build enclosure – $53.42

Cost of mulch, soil, pavers, lattice, etc. – $141.33

Not handy? Home Depot sells ready made raised garden beds enclosures. You still have to buy the rest of your garden supplies (mulch, soil, seeds, and plants) so it’s not any cheaper than building your own, in fact most are more expensive. Here are the pictures of our raised garden bed so far. In the first picture you can see the original drip line that is exposed:

Ceder Beam Garden

Placing the 8ft x 8ft Cedar Beams

water line

Removing old drip line

Laying Drip Line

Laying drip line in u-shape

Till Dirt

Breaking up the soil

compost soil

Mixed in organic compost

Organic Garden Soil

Added 8 bags of organic garden soil & cement blocks

Stone Walkway

Added pavers on top of cement blocks

What’s next? We still have to add the drips to the line, anchor down the 2 lattice, and cement the pavers to the concrete blocks. Then finally we will be read to plant. So stay tuned for our next post. Another great how-to resource for building a raised garden bed is this Popular Mechanics article.

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3 responses to “How We Built Our Raised Garden Bed – You Can Build One Too

  1. Pingback: Building A Raised Garden Bed: Install Garden Beds | Green Grow Box

  2. Pingback: Building a Raised Garden BedHow to Vegetable Garden

  3. Pingback: Building a Vegetable Garden |

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