DIY / Grow

How To Build a Raised Bed

Build a raised bed in your yard and grow your own food!

How To Build a Raised Bed
Scott Sporleder, Photographer

Whether you have a big yard or a small patio, a raised bed is one of the best ways to start growing your own food. A raised bed makes it easy to increase your yield in a limited space. Not to mention, it allows for better drainage, helps to control pests and weeds, and makes it easy to amend, plant, weed, maintain, and harvesting.

To build the perfect bed, almost any wood will work. We recommend picking up some untreated framing lumber from your local hardware store. Using treated wood can cause chemicals to leach into the soil, and eventually the plants. Not yummy!

Once your bed is complete, fill it with organic potting soil and compost, and plant a seed! The instructions below will get you started on building a bed that is 4×8 ft. That’s enough space to grow 75 heads of lettuce in just one year!

Raised bed

Materials needed
  • Three 2×12 boards, 8 ft. long
  • One 2×4 board, 8 ft. long (optional)
  • 21/2 inch galvanized deck screws (28 total)
  • Power drill
  • Paint and paintbrush (optional)
Instructions
  1. Head to the hardware store! When purchasing your lumber, inspect if first to ensure straightness for a nice fit. Douglas Fir and/or Redwood will provide strength and a beautiful aesthetic.
  2. Cut one of the 2×12 boards in half to make two 4ft boards. These will be the end pieces.
  3. Optional: Cut the 2×4 board into one 4ft board. This will be a center brace. With the remaining 4ft, cut four 1ft lengths for corner supports. (With a  2” thick frame, center and corner supports are not necessary, although do provide additional support.)
  4. The two 2×12, 8 ft long boards remaining will remain uncut. These will be the sides of the raised bed.
  5. Position the boards on the ground to create the frame of your raised bed.
  6. Drill pilot holes (three will suffice) on either end of both side boards (that’s twelve holes total).
  7. Optional: If working with supports, place on of the corner supports in the the angle between the sides and ends of the boards. Attach with three screws and repeat for the remaining three corners.
  8. Optional: Working with supports? Attach the center brace to join the two sides at their midpoint. Use a square to position the brace at a right angle to the sides. This brace will help the sides from bending under pressure.
  9. That’s it! Get excited! Your raised bed is ready for soil to grow healthy vegetables. If you’d like, grab a brush and add some paint.