DIY Raised Garden Bed

6 Materials
6 Hours

I’ve always wanted to learn how to grow veggies, but never had the time. Now that I'm unemployed for the first time in 30 years, I finally have the time!

First things first, I needed a place to grow. I’m no spring chicken, so I decided it was best to create a raised garden bed - I went with 8’ x 4’ x 18” deep.

Fortunately, Home Depot is still doing curbside pick-up in my area. I ordered non-pressure treated cedar wood, as it’s supposed to be safe for growing food and not leach chemicals into the veggies. It's also resistant to rot. I’ve read that cedar beds can last 15-20 years!

I ordered ten boards 1x6"x8' and one 4x4" beam. I also ordered a 90 degree corner clamp tool.

Cedar wood

I cut three of the boards in half (for the 4’ sides of the bed). I used a miter saw, but even an old school handsaw would have worked fine!

A few simple cuts

Then I cut my beam into 4 equal pieces.

Beam for corner posts

Then I brought all my wood to the backyard to get started!

I started by joining my boards together. The corner clamp tool gave me such an accurate 90-degree angle (and also saved my little carpel tunnel wrists). I love this tool!! I drilled pilot holes first to avoid splitting the wood as much as possible. I used two drills so I wouldn’t spend so much time switching drill bits. Turns out I still had my old corded drill from back when I was a cave woman, so I used that for pilot holes. And my fancy new-age cordless for the screws. This saved so much time!!

Corner clamp

Here is my first layer.

Layer 1

After the first layer, I used the corner clamp tool on the top of my joins, and created a second layer. The second layer is just laid on top of the first – not attached.

Fav new tool!

Layer 2

Then I did my third and final layer. Still just laid on top of the others – not attached.

Layer 3

Then I screwed my three layers to the four corner posts. I drilled pilot holes for this as well. I attached the post caps using No More Nails glue.

The last thing to do was reinforce the two long sides, so they would not bow out when I add the soil.

I decided to double check the measurements and it turns out the bed was actually 16” deep (not 18")! Apparently when you buy a board that is 6” it is not actually that size – it’s 5.25”. I did not know this was the case, but when I went back to the website sure enough, in the specs it says 5.25”. How bizarre and confusing! Anyway, it’s not a big deal for me. But something to consider if you want it exactly 18” deep!

I cut two 16” pieces, a 46.6” piece and two 3” pieces from the final piece of board. I screwed them together to form a wide H shape. The 3” pieces are screwed below the center board for added strength. Then I screwed the end pieces directly into the center board with 2.5” screws.

Support bracket

Then I screwed the support boards to the center of the bed with 1" screws. The center board will not be seen once it's full of soil.

And here's my new garden bed!

I will seal the wood with linseed oil as soon as I can arrange the purchase through curbside pick-up. Then the dreaded step of filling it with soil. I’ve brought home about half the soil so far, as my car and my back can only handle so much at a time. But I’m on track to having this ready to go before our last frost here in Southern Ontario.

I hope this inspires you to build your own raised garden! I paid almost $150 for the wood and clamp tool. Kits for the same size bed are $1000 or more! Well worth a few hours of work in my opinion!

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Jennifer Abramo
    on May 23, 2020

    How much all together to buy woods? My husband told me about $200 I was like no way! Can’t be $200!

    • Valerie Burge
      on May 23, 2020

      Hi Jennifer. Sadly it's close! I paid $150 for the wood and the clamp tool at Home Depot (Canada). But the wood is cedar and should last for many years. At least I hope so! :)

Join the conversation

4 of 8 comments
  • Roxanne Krieg
    on Apr 23, 2020

    Will you be relocating the lawn you have inside of the frame or cover it with cardboard? It looks great! Have fun with your garden.

    • Valerie Burge
      on Apr 23, 2020

      Hi Roxanne! I'll be turning over the grass and breaking it up with a shovel, before I fill it with soil and peat moss (3 to 1 ratio soil to peat).

      *Edit: After talking to some gardeners - I decided to take the grass out (instead of turning over and breaking it up) because apparently sometimes the grass will just change direction and grow towards the sun. I used a spade and removed the grass and about an inch of dirt. I actually relocated it (like sod) to a bare spot in our yard. No idea if it will grow. But worth a shot. LOL

  • Lisa C
    on May 7, 2020

    I love this! Thank you so much for sharing!

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