Building a raised garden bed is the best way to expand the growing space in your garden, especially if your yard conditions are not ideal or you have a small yard. You can place them wherever you like, fill them with your ideal soil mixture, and plant them more densely than a regular garden, which results in fewer weeds. You can build a DIY garden bed in a single weekend and start growing your fresh vegetables, fruit, cut flowers, and even small trees.
In this blog, our gardening experts will teach you step-by-step how to build a DIY raised garden bed from scratch. You don't need any special skills to make it.
Let's figure out what kind of material to use, how large or deep a bed should be, and how to construct the bed itself. We will also discuss how to fill a raised bed after construction and plant your garden.
What is a Raised Garden Bed?
A raised garden bed or raised bed is an enclosed, freestanding box that is built above ground level with no top or bottom. They are filled with high-quality soil and placed in sunny spots. Raised garden beds add beauty to any garden and are well-known for growing fruit, vegetables, shrubs, cut flowers, and alpines. In addition, they are used to improve growing conditions and make growing crops easier than in ground.
Tools & Materials Needed for Raised Bed Construction
Here is a list of materials and tools you will need to build a raised garden bed.
- Drill/Driver and bits
- Screws or nails
- Measuring tape
- Stacking Joints
- Landscape or weed barrier fabric
- Topsoil and compost
Crucial Things to Consider Before Building a DIY Raised Garden Bed
When building a raised bed, there are a few essential things to consider. The things include:
Choose several shorter beds instead of one long bed because smaller beds are easier to manage. Raised garden beds should not be wider than 4-5 feet so that you can reach the plants easily without stepping into the soil. In addition, the length of raised beds is not as crucial. You can make a bed 4x4, 4x8, or 4x12. Although you can build the bed as long as you want, it is best to make shorter beds than long beds.
Your raised beds should be between 12 and 18 inches deep to be safe. For deep-rooted plants like tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, salad leaves, and strawberries, a soil depth of 30 cm (1 ft) is enough. However, most plants like shrubs, small trees, and fruit bushes need 45cm (18in) depth or more.
Selecting the Right Area
Choosing the right area for your raised garden bed is the most important step. They need to be placed in a sunny location. Most fruits, flowers, and vegetables thrive in full sun, requiring 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily. Choose a location that is easily accessible for watering, weeding, and harvesting. Additionally, the area should be level to prevent water runoff. Do not place your bed in a frost pocket, windy, or marshy area.
Choose the Right Material
Choosing the right material is key to building a quality raised garden bed. Choose untreated lumber such as untreated cedar, redwood, locust, or cypress. Avoid pressure-treated or painted wood because these materials may release chemicals into your soil. Untreated cedar wood is the best choice for garden beds. It is rot-resistant, chemical-free, and naturally insect-repellant.
Building the Raised Garden Bed
Now, let's start building a DIY raised garden bed.
Cut the Board to the Length
Measure and cut your wood to the required lengths for the sides of your beds. Common bed sizes are 4 x 4 or 4 x 8 for easy management.
Build Your Frame
Connect the sides of the beds with stacking joints to form a rectangular frame. You will only need a screwdriver and hammer to stack beds together. Stacking joints also add height to your raised beds, and these corner joints can be adjusted to any angle.
Remove the Grass
After building the frame, set it aside with the help of someone and prepare the ground. Remove the grass and weeds to create a clear area. To help the roots of your plants grow deeply into the soil, loosen the soil with a shovel or spade.
Attach Hardware Cloth to the Bottom
Before setting the raised bed in its place, lay weed barrier fabric or hardware cloth at the bottom of the frame to prevent weeds from growing up into the bed.
Fill the Bed
Once the cloth is attached to your box, place the frame in an area you chose for it. Now, fill the raised bed with nutrient-rich topsoil and compost, leaving 1-2 inches at the top for planting. Organic matter will nourish your plants.
Now comes the fun part- your garden bed is all set for seeding and planting!
Plant Your Garden
It's time to plant your favorite vegetables, flowers, or herbs. Keep the soil around plants loose to allow water to reach their roots. Consider companion planting for higher yield and pest control. However, it is also important to follow planting depth and spacing guidelines for each plant.
Salad greens, lettuce, radishes, spinach, strawberries, thyme, and other annual flowers grow well in 6" soil depth. In addition, plants that grow well in 12" soil depth include cabbage, beans, cauliflower, beets, cucumber, carrots, etc. Peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, okra, and watermelon thrive in 18" soil depth.
Once you have planted your favorite crops, water them regularly and keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Add a layer of mulch as it helps retain moisture and suppress weeds. Morning is the ideal time to water because less water evaporates during this time.
A drip irrigation system is the best method to irrigate your garden bed. A drip system can save money, time, and water by 30-50% compared to other watering methods.
At DripWorks, we have a wide selection of raised garden bed drip irrigation kits available in small, medium, and large sizes. Each irrigation kit includes everything you need to start watering and flourishing your garden beds. If you are looking for a unique kit that accommodates your garden beds, contact us at 1-800-522-3747 and let our irrigation experts help you choose the perfect one according to your garden bed needs.