Have you considered growing herbs or vegetables, but just don’t have the right place for a small garden? A raised bed may be just what you need. For less than $75.00 and a few hours of your time, you can unplug from electronic distractions and spend some quality time with family or friends.
Determine the Size
Before you start, determine the size of bed you want to build in order to plan how much lumber you should purchase. The spot should get a good amount of direct sunlight. That was a determining factor for our project. Our finished build was 19” x 36” and took one and a half bags (3 cu.ft.) of garden soil to fill. You can find soil for around $7.00 a bag.
Here’s a picture of the space before the install:
Gather the Right Tools
After you pick a space, make sure you have the right tools and that they are in working order. You’ll need the following:
- Drill with freshly charged battery
- A small (5/32) drill bit
- Tape measure
- Cultivator or shovel
- Star bit (probably included in the box of T-Star screws)
- Circular or Table saw
Most hardware stores will cut your lumber to size for a small fee if you don’t feel confident using a circular or table saw. Call ahead to make sure.
Head to the Store
Next, make a quick trip to your favorite hardware store to purchase:
- 2″x 6″x 12′ Untreated Cedar Planks
Choose untreated lumber to avoid chemicals leaching from the wood into your bed. Cedar is naturally resistant to rot and makes a great choice for a raised bed.
- 1 box of T-Star Flat Head wood screws
- Garden soil
If your hardware store doesn’t carry soil or plants, you’ll need to make a trip to your local nursery. Similarly, get in touch with a gardening club to ask for advice in your area.
Begin your Build
Start your build by using a tape measure and pencil to mark where you will cut your plank. You can save yourself some time and have the hardware store make the cuts for you, just call ahead and ask if that’s a service they provide to customers and what it will cost.
Now use the 5/32 drill bit to make 3 pilot holes in the ends of two of your boards. This is where they will be attached with screws. The screws listed above state that pilot holes are not required. We erred on the side of caution and chose to use pilot holes because the screws are so close to the end of the board. The pilot holes will help to prevent the end of the plank from splitting.
Next, attach the walls of your bed using hex or star head screws. When using a longer screw, a star head screw provides more surface area for the bit to get ahold of. As a result, this helps prevent slipping that can strip a typical Phillips head screw. Our screws included a free star bit and cost less than $8.00.
Have your helper prepare your spot for placement, removing unwanted materials. If your children are helping out, this is a great job for little hands.
Level the bottom of the bed if needed. We used a cultivator to loosen the packed clay.
Fill with soil and stage your plants.
You can purchase seedlings at your hardware store or local nursery. If you’d like more variety than the store has to offer, start your own plants from seeds!
With everything in the bed, all that’s left is to water and feed your new plants. You’ll be harvesting fresh herbs, vegetables or enjoying beautiful flowers in no time!
For larger, more extensive builds check out Sunset’s post: Build the ultimate raised bed.