This post shares all about how to build a raised garden bed with wood. Small raised garden beds help us maximize our small backyard.
How to Build a Raised Garden Bed With Wood
And here’s where we left off last week: platform deck in progress, cleanup and rock landscaping done around the utilities corner, and a wooden screen built for the HVAC unit and all of his utilities friends back there:
This area of the yard is also the sunniest, so it’s where the veggies are going. We decided to build two beds and put them side by side instead of doing one large bed. I just thought it would be more manageable…and considering how hard it was to build just one smaller one, I think that was a good idea. 🙂
I followed this nifty video tutorial from Lowe’s, but I made a few adjustments.
- 2×6 for the sides and scrap 2x4s and 2x6s for the internal supports (great way to get some of my wood scraps out of the garage)
- Drill (here is my drill) and 2.5″ outdoor wood screws
- Random orbit sander
- Varathane wood stain in Kona
- Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane in Satin
- Landscaping fabric—we got this kind
- Black contractor plastic bags
- Hand-held staple gun
Here’s How to Build a Raised Garden Bed With Wood:
(Remember to wear a mask and eye protection while sanding and working with wood, and wear an appropriate mask while working with stains and finishes. Follow the directions and warnings from your particular brand. Do not use any tools without proper training, precautions, and supervision. Read my full disclaimer here.)
Step 1: Cut raised garden bed pieces
First we cut the pieces for each bed. We decided to stack two 2x6s for each side, giving us a total depth of 11 inches. That means that each internal support piece was just under 11 inches. Each of our beds was 81.5 inches long and 35.5 inches wide.
I gave each piece a good sand to polish them up and get rid of any splintery edges.
Step 2: Stack sides and attach supports
Then we stacked our sides and attached them to one another by drilling in the support pieces. Once we had drilled in all of the support pieces and attached everything, we had created boxes.
Step 3: Stain and finish the garden beds
I opted to use untreated lumber so that I could stain and finish it to match the utilities screen and the outdoor furniture. This was more time-consuming than just using pressure-treated lumber, but I think worth it. The yard is so small that I wanted everything to match and look nice. No cutting corners.
I only stained the areas that would show after the beds were in place and filled with dirt, which saved some time and stain. (See my post on how to stain and finish wood here.)
Step 4: Move the beds & attach landscaping fabric and the liner
Once everything was dry, we drilled two pieces of scrap wood in like this to stabilize the bed while we carried it out to the backyard. (We then removed these. Thanks to my dad for the idea!)
Once everything was out in the backyard, I stapled landscaping fabric I had left over from our week 2 project along the bottom of each bed. I also stapled pieces of black contractor plastic bags along the inside to help further protect the wood from moisture. I really want these beds to last.
An assistant really helps with this part, too:
And here are the finished raised wooden garden beds!
Some climbing veggies are going in the bed on the right, so we got this trellis from Lowe’s. It might not look super pretty, but it’s going to make growing and picking a much more productive venture.
For the second bed, I actually took a slightly different approach and stained and finished everything before I constructed the bed. MUCH EASIER than working around a giant heavy bed. Once everything was dry, I moved the pieces to the backyard and constructed them in place.
We filled these beds with a mixture of top soil on the bottom as filler, raised garden bed soil, peat moss, manure, and compost. And we’re planning to plant pole beans, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, and kale. TBD on how successful that venture will be.
Since both beds are now complete, that means we were also able to add that layer of decorative Delaware stones on top of the drainage rocks. Pics of that forthcoming as I still need to get to work on that area. Also, that entire area between the bed on the right and the rock area…that’s getting rocked, too. I’m on a mission to banish the grass from that area, so TBD on how that’s going to go!
Here’s a couple other things I’ve ordered for the space:
I’m either waiting for these things to arrive or itching to get them into place.
- Wooden unicorn swing set, a splurge but omg, so cute
- Globe string lights, way cheaper than the options at Target
- Navy pattern stripe rug, adding a bit of color (yes navy is my definition of color)
- Shibori doormat, will see how this looks with the rug
- Three of these hanging planters, not my super fav but I had to pinch pennies somewhere
- Outdoor curtains, I have mixed emotions on these and might not go through with it. Saving the receipt on these bad boys.
Summer 2020 update!
Alright guys, I’m popping in for a quick summer 2020 update. These garden beds have now been through three summers: 2018, 2019, and now 2020. They are hold up very well! Each spring, I’ve just added some bags of leaf compost and manure to help enrich the soil. I’ve noticed that every year, our veggies just get better.
We have noticed some wear on the color of the beds, but it’s not bad. We’ll probably end up having to redo the beds at some point, but that’s for another day 🙂 Structurally they are still great, and the wear in color isn’t problematic. Here’s a pic so you can see—this is from August 2020. For our next garden beds, I’ll probably finish them using the same stuff we used on our fence.