Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How to Build Raised Planter Beds

how to build raised beds 
Hey everyone! I thought you all might like to see how I made the raised planter beds in our back yard. I did this as a guest post for Gail, at My Repurposed Life, a while back and never did put it on my own blog, so here we go! :0)

When we moved into our home, I soon discovered our back yard is pretty much one big rock pile, so I decided raised beds would be our best bet for pretty flowers and vegetables. (see,  just look at all those rocks we dug out!)  YIKES!

plans for raised beds
I started off by measuring how big I wanted our beds to be.  A good rule of thumb is not to make them any wider than 4 feet so you can reach in and work in the middle without having to climb into the beds. (I didn’t follow that rule, cause I don’t mind getting a little dirt on my feet) :)
I used cedar for our project because it’s very rot resistant and we live in KY and get loads of rain and snow!   I bought 1 x 10 cedar boards  (which means 1” thick, by 10” wide) at my local home improvement store and began by laying them out where I wanted my planters to go, like this…….

how to build raised beds
(the rocks in this pic were from a rock wall planter that was already here…no doubt they dug the rocks out of the yard! lol....but we hauled them off.)
After I had all our boards laid out, I begin to assemble them. (you’ll determine your own size beds, that’s why I’m not giving you specific dimensions here)   First I screwed the two pieces of wood together from the side, then inserted a little piece of triangular shaped wood I cut out, and screwed into that too. It’s for extra stability. 

how to build raised flower beds

You can check to make sure the corners are square by putting a square (pictured below) on the outside corner and make sure there aren’t any gaps.  If there are, you just adjust until it’s nice and square.  Or you can also measure from one corner of your planter, to the  other corner diagonally, then do the same thing the other way, until the measurements are the same.   This will also help you make sure it’s nice and square and cheaper than buying this tool….


One stretch of my raised bed was going to be over 20 feet, so I had to splice two pieces together because the boards didn’t come in pieces that long.  I just took a scrap of wood  4” wide, and put it in the center where the two boards were going to go together and screwed them to one another like this…..

raised beds

That splice will later become a pretty little “column” detail on the finished piece.   I added another scrap to the back for extra stability like this……..

how to build raised beds

On the outside corners I took some more scrap cedar and built some more “column” details.  I wanted the columns to be 4” wide, so I cut one board (the one on the left) at 4”, but made the second one (on the right) 3” because I had to take the 1” thickness of the other board into account. So if you measure either way on the outside corner, it comes up to 4” wide columns.
raised planter beds

In this picture, you can see where I just cut little 6” square blocks of wood and capped off the little column detail….

raised flower beds

Here’s the center column where I spliced the two 10 foot boards together to get our 20 foot bed.  I also installed a little cap on this column too….. I did the caps on all the corners of the planters.

how to build raised beds
I then painted all the raised planter beds with primer and a good exterior semi gloss paint to help protect the cedar even more.  By the way, cedar has a smooth side and a rough side, I used the smooth side on the outside of the boxes.

how to build raised vegetable beds

To anchor the beds in place, I used some scrap pieces of  wood and cut a point on one end like an arrow, and pounded then into the ground  on the inside edge of the planter.  Then I screwed the planter sides to the anchors.  You can see the tops of the anchor pieces of wood in the picture below.   After I had them all anchored down, I put down a THICK layer of newspapers,  (or you could use landscaping fabric) to kill the grass and put in a mixture of topsoil and compost I got from my local nursery. 
Then you’re all ready to plant! This project wasn’t hard at all, just a little time consuming.  I think it took a couple of days to build three large planters….not too bad!

how to build raised beds

That’s it!  I hope you enjoyed the tutorial on how to make raised planter beds!
My Cottage Charm


Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Those are great, Missy! You'll have to post pictures from the garden this summer when it's full of veggies!

Laura Everyday Edits said...

These are great! thanks for the tutorial! This is on my spring to do list. Of course, in Colorado.. we will get snow in April even though it's in the 70's this week! Thanks,

Leave It To Davis said...

I envy all you women that have carpentry skills. I think I'll go mope for a while.

Peggy said...


You did a wonderful job! (now if I could figure out how I inadvertently made all the fonts on my computer small...)

Have a wonderful day!

Angela @ Cottage Magpie said...

Oh I love this!!! It's such a great look and so simple. I thought at first you had done some kind of complicated construction to make your end columns. Those look great!!! And I love how they look painted -- another thing I was undecided about for my own beds.

Great inspiration! Thank you!


Cindy said...

Hey cutie,

i tried to comment earlier, and blogger flaked on me...
i love raised beds... your's looks great.. the little cap really makes it all look so "finished". and those little tomatoes look happy as can be there!


Paula said...

Brilliant! I've been wanting to create raised beds in my garden for ages. I love them - so neat and tidy and organised looking - sadly, everything that I'm not! Great post. x

Fairfield House said...


Great tutorial! I have raised beds and am eager to start my gardening. Although it was one of the mildest winters in NJ that I can recall, the weather has turned cold. No doubt because Easter is a few days away. Looking forward to seeing your blooms and bounty.

Your Friend,

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