How to build a raised garden bed

A raised garden bed is a great idea to provide an ideal space where plants — from vegetables to flowers — will thrive. Here’s why a raised garden bed works so well and how to build one.


  • Customized, rich soil specific to the plants you want to grow
  • Less erosion from rain and wind
  • Controlled irrigation
  • Ideal sun placement
  • Fewer or no weeds
  • Easier on your back to maintain due to its height

Cedar wood is best because its natural protective oils will make the bed last longer. Although pressure-treated wood is considered safe, many homeowners have reservations about possible toxins. Don’t use railway ties as they are treated with creosote.


Here is what you need to build a 4’ X 8’ raised garden bed that’s 12” deep:


  • Cordless drill
  • Hammer
  • Framing square
  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles


Ask your home improvement store to cut the wood boards for you so you don’t need a circular saw:

  • (2) 2” X 12” X 8’ wood boards (for the sides)
  • (2) 2” X 12” X 4’ wood boards (for the ends)
  • (16) 18” long 2” x 2” wood stakes
  • Box of 3” galvanized screws
  • Landscape fabric
  • Gravel for a one-inch layer of a 4’ X 8’ bed

1. Find a level area in your yard that receives about six to eight hours of sun per day. Remove grass and weeds. Lay down landscape fabric to block weeds and pour a layer of gravel on top to improve drainage.

2. Lay out the wood in the rectangular shape of your bed. Pre-drill holes in the corners and side pieces using a 1/8″ drill bit. These holes stop the wood from splitting when you attach them with screws. (Pre-drilling is optional.)

3. Use 3″ galvanized wood screws and attach the long side pieces to the short end pieces. A framing square will help you keep the right angles correct.

4. On the inside of the box, drive 18″ stakes every two feet along sides until they are level with the top. Attach the stakes to the sides with screws. The stakes prevent the sides from shifting when soil and water is poured.

You’re done! Buy soil that fills the bed to at least six inches deep, as well as the plants.

Pre-made raised garden bed kits

If you prefer to buy a pre-made, raised garden bed kit, there are dozens of different kinds available at home improvement stores.

They are made of wood, vinyl, metal, concrete and composite materials and start at about $50. Some kits include mesh and covers to keep animals out.

Kits are easy to assemble and some are designed with interlocking corner joints so you don’t need any tools. They can take less than an hour to assemble.

Building not your thing? Download the HeyBryan app and book a Handyman to do the work.

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