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How to Build a Raised Garden Bed With Wood

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

Hey all, it’s week 3 of the One Room Challenge, and I’m sharing more progress on our tiny backyard.  Here’s week 2 if you missed it.

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:

HVAC unit
slatted hvac unit screen
slatted hvac unit screen

(Here’s the post dedicated to the HVAC/utilities area screen project!)

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.

Supplies

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.

building the raised garden bed
building the raised garden bed
building the raised garden bed
building the raised garden bed

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.

building the raised garden bed
adding weed blocking fabric
adding plastic bags

An assistant really helps with this part, too:

Cat in a box

And here are the finished raised wooden garden beds!

DIY raised garden beds in a small townhouse backyard
DIY raised garden beds in a small townhouse backyard

For more woodworking ideas for outdoor projects, check out my DIY modern trellis for a vining plant, my slatted outdoor table with an umbrella hole, and my DIY concrete paver outdoor coffee table!

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.

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.

Also check out my post with all of the details for our small townhouse backyard in 2019, as well as our yard in 2020!

DIY raised garden beds in a small townhouse backyard
DIY raised garden beds in a small townhouse backyard

Pin my post about my DIY raised garden beds!

how to build raised garden beds pinnable graphic with text overlay and images
  1. How amazing that you can build these and that they will fit in your new backyard space. You are moving so quickly with your project…well done!

  2. Great idea to add the weed barrier onto the planters! Everything is looking so good!

  3. Deborah says:

    You got so much done! This space is going to be amazing!!!

  4. The beds look great, and they food they’ll produce will be wonderful this summer! I love your deck and I need the a/c unit cover so I might have to copy your plan to hide ours in our backyard 🙂

  5. Lindi says:

    The garden beds look amazing! Are you going to have it all planted for the reveal? lol. Great design for the space you have.

  6. Lisa says:

    This is really coming together! The beds look awesome and I love how the stain matches the utility screen.

  7. Vineta says:

    I’ve been meaning to build some raised beds for our parking strip for years! I’m hoping they will discourage people from leaving their dog’s poop in the grass if there’s food growing there (although I have my doubts!) Yours look great!

  8. Leslie says:

    I am so looking forward to building raised beds this year. Good for you for getting it done and they look great. We’ve been stuck inside building the library. Maybe in a few weeks?

    • Yeah, we’ve had freeze warnings the last few nights…I jumped the gun on some of the potted plants. I do this every year and never learn!

  9. Kim says:

    The unicorn swing set! OMG! Okay, this is looking SO great – I can’t wait for the final reveal!!

    • I know! I will have to upload the video we took of our cat in it while it was still too cold to get Ramona out there. It was…weird

  10. Susie says:

    Thanks for this great tutorial! I really want some of those beds!!!! Great job…..can’t wait to see more. ~~ Susie from The Chelsea Project

  11. Carol says:

    Brittany, love the tutorial for the vegetable planters. My husband made something similar for our previous home and they lasted for at least 12 years (don’t know what happened after we moved). I wish we had the space in our current home for big planters. You are making use of limited space and I’m sure it will be wonderful when you finish.

  12. Susanne says:

    OMG…he was definitely waiting to ambush the next bird to land on that feeder, lol!! Love your garden beds..I want some so bad, maybe I can talk the hubby into it when I show him yours. Your list is almost done! I can’t wait to see next week 🙂

    • He thinks he is so slick hanging out right there, so he was delighted when Mike set a box down for him. No word yet on whether he’s managed to fool any birds.

  13. Kate Smith says:

    The raised beds look awesome! I’ve been wanting to do that in my own yard and you’ve definitely given me some motivation! Looks great!

  14. Jewel says:

    Oh my goodness! The beds look fab girl!

  15. Sarah says:

    Love how the raised beds turned out! Nice work!

  16. Emy says:

    We need to build garden beds for our backyard this spring. Yours look fantastic!

  17. Jenn Meyers says:

    Omgggg you are on such a roll!!! Looking amazing!

  18. Ok, first of all…I need that unicorn swing set. Second, your tutorial makes me feel like even I could build some finished beds for my backyard.

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