Building a Raised Garden System Building a Raised Garden System

What You'll Need
Galvanized wood or drywall screws
Lumber - 2x2-inches, 2x10-inch cedar or other rot-resistance wood
Drill and drill bits (Phillips head and bits a bit smaller than your screws)

While it can be hard work to build a raised garden system, the results will be highly rewarding. The system is not difficult to construct, and your raised garden will give you better control over weeds and easier access to your plants.

To make constructing your garden easier, plan it first. Whether you’re building on a patio or in a backyard or large plot of land, planning saves time, effort and money.

Step 1

Decide how many plants, what kind (flowers or vegetables) and sizes or types of plants you will grow. Draw a map that shows where your plants will be and the shape of your frames.

Make a cut list of the lumber you’ll need for the garden. You’ll need a  2x2-inch stake for each corner of each raised bed and enough running feet of 2x10-inch cedar boards for the sides of each bed.

Your beds can be made any size you like, but having a 4-foot maximum width makes it easier to reach the middle of the bed from any side. If your frame is longer than 6 feet, you’ll need additional stakes in the middle of the long sides to keep them from bowing under the soil’s weight.

Step 2

Clear the land where you plan to place your garden. Get rid of weeds, rocks and other features that might affect or interfere with the frames.

Step 3

Purchase and cut the lumber you’ve bought to fit your frame designs. Construct the frame shapes (box, rectangle) by screwing the ends of your boards at each corner. Use galvanized wood or drywall screws—they’ll not only hold longer, but also tighter than nails.

Step 4

Place your first frame in its space. You can use something like black plastic or weed cloth on the ground between the first frame if you’d like, but it’s not necessary. Once the frame is placed where you’d like, use a hammer to drive your 2x2-inch stakes into the inside corner of the frame to hold it in place. Secure the frame to the stake with screws.

Stack the next frame on top of the first and secure it to the stake with more screws. The height of each box is up to you. Keep in mind that the higher the box, the less you'll have to bend over to access it.

If you want more than 2 levels of frames, consider using 2x10-inch frames instead of 1x10-inch frames. Use 4x4 boards for the corner posts, digging holes for their placement, if you want a heavier duty be or one higher than 2 feet.

Step 5

Buy good topsoil, or use composted soil to fill your frames. If you’re growing vegetables, your soil should clump together easily in your hand, but also easily break apart. It shouldn’t be too sandy or too full of clay. Loose soil will allow your vegetable roots to move and grow. Soil with good compost will provide better nutrients and drain easier.

Level the soil using a board and level, tapping down the high spots. Soil will settle as it is watered, and level soil will make drainage and growing conditions better.

Step 6

Plant your seeds or seedlings, water and look forward to many years of growing pleasure.

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