Buildling a Backyard Raised Bed Garden

Raised bed gardens are above ground boxes with no bottoms. They can be built of any material, filled with soil and planted.They are any length, but only wide enough to make the plants within reach for easy care.

Why Should I Bother With Raised Bed Gardens?

  • Better drainage. In areas where the soil is compacted, better drainage allows the soil to warm quicker and allows for earlier planting.
  • Higher yields. Plants can be spaced closer together so more plants use less space.
  • Easy maintenance. There is less stooping for planting, harvesting, and weeding.
  • Saves water. Planting area is smaller and plants can be watered individually.
  • Using difficult sites. Beds can be incorporated into spaces where traditional planting would be unlikely.

How Do I Build A Raised Bed Garden?

1. Pick The Site 

Decide where you want your bed. Pick a spot with at least 6 hours of sunshine, more is better.

If you want several beds, they do not have to be in the same area. They do not have to all be in the backyard. You could even make an attractive raised bed in your front yard or beside your house.

2. Build The Garden Bed

  1. Lay out your spot.
  2. Measure it any length you want, but keep it only 2 to 4 feet wide so that you can reach the center of the bed from either side.
  3. Remove the grass from your chosen site.
  4. If you have time, it is best to turn the soil in your garden spot. Turn it one spade deep. Remove the grass, but you don't have to smooth it out or break up the clumps.
  5. Along the four sides of the bed, use the hoe to make a shallow trench to hold the sides of the box.

Most people use wood planks to make the box. Do not use treated wood. Do not use railroad ties. Cedar or redwood planks are best as they are resistant to rot. You can also use rocks, cinder blocks, bricks, even wood pallets.


The sides of the bed can be built up to any height that suits you. It takes a lot more work to make them tall, but it would save the back later. 

3. Fill The Bed

 After the beds are built, it is time to fill them. If they are 12 inches or less, just put some good soil in them and begin planting. You could use bagged soil from the garden center, or make your own.

If your bed is over 12 inches and you have not turned the soil under the bed, place a layer of newspaper on the grass. Then add more untreated paper, wood or other decomposable materials. Then layer on some compost if you have it, and add your good soil to the last 12 inches.

Now you are ready to plant.

Building the beds at the top of this page.

Check out this wood pallet fence and garden.

Send us photos of your raised bed garden.

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