How to Replace an Existing Raised Garden Bed

5 Materials
2 Hours

Raised garden beds make it much easier to grow great flowers, vegetables, herbs and small fruits. Wooden garden beds, especially those made with untreated wood, do break down over time. I find that the corners tend to pull apart and the boards split where weathering takes place. If you need to replace an existing raised garden bed, these steps will help you get the job done in about two hours.
how to replace an existing raised garden bed
This is my raised bed vegetable garden. I use untreated pine wood for root crops and treated wood for the remaining beds. Newer wood treatments do not release the same toxic chemicals that older treated wood released. If you do not wish to use treated wood, untreated is fine. I get about 8 years out of one raised bed with treated wood and about 7 with untreated, so there isn't much of a difference. I garden in south central Virginia, zone 7.
how to replace an existing raised garden bed
This is the garden bed we need to replace. As you can see, the wood has warped along the long side. The corner has pulled apart.
how to replace an existing raised garden bed
The first step is to push the existing soil into the middle of the bed and away from the wooden sides. Then, using your drill, remove the screws from the corners of the existing bed. Pull the wood apart. Measure your old bed so that you have the right measurements to cut the new wood. Recycle or discard the old wood properly according to your town or county requirements.
how to replace an existing raised garden bed
Using the measurements of the existing wooden bed, cut the new lumber to size. Use your drill to start the screws in one side of the new bed corner. Then, with a helper, screw in one corner. Repeat until you have the entire bed screwed together. You and your helper may need push the last corners into place with a great deal of strength - it can be hard to get the last corner to even up.
how to replace an existing raised garden bed
Here you can see our raised bed completely assembled. With your helper, set it back into the place where the old bed was. Push the mounded up soil from the center back into place and rake it smooth. You're done! Put your tools away and happy gardening.
how to replace an existing raised garden bed
For detailed instructions on this project and additional information on raised bed vegetable gardening, see my book on raised bed gardening.
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Jeanne Grunert

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Karen Rockow
    on Mar 31, 2018

    What were the measurements of your beds? Wouldn't it be possible to eliminate warping by putting some stakes in the ground at regular intervals and screwing the lumber to them?

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2 of 7 comments
  • Martha Knight
    on Mar 31, 2018

    Saying that pressure treated lumber is okay for raised beds because not that much leaches into the soil is like saying using concrete-asbestos siding is okay because not that much asbestos blows away in the breeze. A real possibility of harmful chemicals affecting gardeners is the contact with the wood, kneeling on or near the wood, rubbing skin against it, getting scrapes and splinters that cause some of the material to enter the skin. This happened to school staff making and repairing playground equipment and bleacher seating made with PTL, and receiving very nasty wounds and irritated areas that required extensive treatment. Sawing and inhaling the particles is harmful too. The material was banned for a good reasons. Don't pooh-pooh the prohibitions or tell people it's okay because it doesn't harm soil that much and there isn't that much uptake in the vegetables!

  • Carol McKinnon
    on Apr 1, 2018

    I use the largest truck tires i can handle and put landscapers cloth inside. They last forever and i can start earlier and grow later as the tires keep the soil warm I stack two to get the depth i need for various plants. Tires are free from local garage!

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