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How to Build a Simple Raised Garden Box | DIY

This year we built another raised garden box in our backyard using pressure-treated wood and corner brackets. I documented the entire process and am excited to share this easy tutorial with all of you!

How to build a simple raised garden box | Building Bluebird #diy

We built the first two raised vegetable beds in 2020 and I immediately wanted to build a third. My husband was not as enthusiastic about building another one so we compromised. If the first two boxes were a success then we could build the third. Two years later we have proven the concept and added the third raised garden box! I now have more room to grow vegetables and visually I prefer three boxes as opposed to only two together.


How to Build a Simple Raised Garden Box

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1 | Determine Raised Box Design

Our raised garden box design is a simple rectangle with two stacked wood planks and metal brackets connecting each board at the corner. The size of our garden box is 80″x40″ which required four 10-foot (120 inches) pressure-treated boards.

How to build a simple raised garden box | Building Bluebird #diy

Project Materials

2 | Cut the Wood Boards

Using the 10 foot boards, we measured 80″ on each board and cut using a circular saw, but a miter saw is a great option as well. The length of each board that we cut off was 40″ and used for the width of the raised garden bed.

How to build a simple raised garden box | Building Bluebird #diy

3 | Choose & Mark the Location

Choosing the location of your raised garden bed is an important step that should not be overlooked. You want to find a location that gets enough sunlight during the day. I would also consider potential pests, like deer, when determining the best place for your garden box.

How to build a simple raised garden box | Building Bluebird #diy

The third raised garden box was aligned with the existing two at a distance of four feet. If you are building more than one garden box, it is important to keep the distance & height consistent, or else it will look off.

We measured the distance needed between the corner of the existing box and the first corner of the box we planned to build. Once the corner was marked, I added another 40 inches (width of the box) and placed a stake in the ground. Repeat the same steps on the other side of the box.

How to build a simple raised garden box | Building Bluebird #diy

4 | Level the Ground

Attach a piece of string to the top corner of the existing box and connect the end of the string to the stake in the ground. Use a string line level to find the correct height of your new garden box.

Our design includes two 10-inch width boards stacked on top of each other so the distance from the ground to the string needed to be 20 inches.

How to build a simple raised garden box | Building Bluebird #diy

Using a spade shovel and pick ax, we leveled the ground beneath the string at a distance of 20 inches.

How to build a simple raised garden box | Building Bluebird #diy

5 | Place First Row of Wood Boards

The first board was positioned and we doubled checked that it was level using a 24-inch hand level.

How to build a simple raised garden box | Building Bluebird #diy

We placed the longer board perpendicular and made it level. The board was evenly placed by checking that the distance from the neighboring garden box was consistent at both ends of the box.

How to build a simple raised garden box | Building Bluebird #diy

When the long board was level, we used a carpenter square to confirm that the inside corner of the two boards was a tight 90 degrees.

How to build a simple raised garden box | Building Bluebird #diy

6 | Attach the Corner Bracket

Once the first corner was perfectly lined up, we attached the bottom half of the corner bracket. The brackets came in a 4 pack that included screws to attach to the wood. We pre-drilled the hole and then used a driver to attach the screws.

How to build a simple raised garden box | Building Bluebird #diy

7 | Add Second Row of Boards to the Garden Box

When the lower half of the brackets have been attached, lay the second row of boards on top.

How to build a simple raised garden box | Building Bluebird #diy

Pre-drill holes and connect the board and brackets with screws.

How to build a simple raised garden box | Building Bluebird #diy

8 | Attach Weed Barrier to the Sides

Because our raised garden bed has a seam in the center of the box, we lined the edges with a weed barrier. This prevents soil from escaping through the crack, especially when it gets wet. Use a stapler to attach the weed barrier to the sies of the raised garden box.

How to build a simple raised garden box | Building Bluebird #diy

9 | Fill the Garden Bed

At the bottom of the raised garden box, we added some organic materials from the yard. Next, we added a layer of dried leaves and topped it off with compost and soil.

How to build a simple raised garden box | Building Bluebird #diy

The soil line is a little lower than I prefer, so I will probably add some more next year.

How to build a simple raised garden box | Building Bluebird #diy

10 | Plant Your Garden

After planting vegetables in the two raised garden boxes these last few years, I realized that I did not have a lot of room when each plant had the proper space to grow. A single gourd plant can take up half of an entire box!

How to build a simple raised garden box | Building Bluebird #diy

The third garden bed gives me a little more room to experiment with growing new vegetables. Finally, we created a path around each garden box using pea gravel. To add the pea gravel we removed the grass, laid a weed barrier, and poured the pea gravel in place. It fits perfectly with our DIY English garden next to it.

How to build a simple raised garden box | Building Bluebird #diy

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COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What type of wood should I use for raised garden beds?

Cedar is the best wood to use for raised garden beds and other outdoor projects because it is resistant to wood rot. Another great option is pressure-treated wood because of its durability and ability to withstand the outside elements.

How tall does a raised garden box need to be?

The height of your raised garden bed depends on how much space your plants need to grow. A standard height for a raised garden box is at least 10-12 inches. A quick and easy raised garden bed design is by using a one-foot board for the four sides. For our raised garden boxes, I wanted a little more height and stacked two one-foot boards on top of each other to create our garden bed.

What do I put on the bottom of my raised garden beds?

To prevent weeds from coming through the bottom of the raised garden bed, you can add a layer of weed barrier or line the ground with cardboard scraps. Do not line the bottom of your garden bed with plastic liner as this will prevent the plants from draining properly

For larger garden boxes, you can add organic material to the bottom of the box to take up some space. Examples of organic materials that work great are straw, leaves, sticks, and grass clippings. Add a top layer of soil to fill the remainder of the garden box.

Do I need to line the sides of the raised garden box?

The bottom of your raised garden bed can be lined with a weed barrier. Attaching a liner to the sides of your raised bed is optional. If a garden bed is built with the height of a single board, I don’t think a liner is necessary. If your raised garden bed has any seams like mine, a liner is important to prevent soil from seeping out of the cracks.