Raised Beds With (almost) No Nails

Stephen Taylor
by Stephen Taylor
I find that I have much greater sucess growing fruit, veg and flowers in raised beds. They also have the distinct advantage of not having to bend down so far (we're not getting any younger here people) The basic construction of my raised beds is the same watever shape they are. So this is how I do it!
Gather your materials:-

All I generally use is 6x2 timber in 6m lengths (now I use pressure treated H4 building timber and some people say what about the chemicals etc, my answer is that if you google it there is no evidence that the chemicals will leech into the soil and in any case I line with plastic on completion

The only tools you need for this are a circular saw (and if you have one, a chop saw) and a chisel, you could do the whole thing with a handsaw if you wanted - it would just take longer!
So I mark out where my joins are and cut several cuts with ny circular saw to approx 1/4 of the wood depth (so 1.5 inches in this case)
This is then cleaned out with a chisel (you can also drag the circular saw side to side to smooth the bottom of the cut (using it a bit like a plane))

Wear eye protection and ear muffs!
Rinse - Repeat at both ends of all pieces
Assemble! as I am doing this one a a slope I have leveled with bricks, but the principle is exactly the same.

You will need pieces cut in half long ways for 2 of the ends (I made it the shortest ends (the bed is 6m x 3m)
The vey top layer is a 6x2 on its side (this gives a handy perch for sitting when planting weeding etc)

I did a half lap joint at each end and nailed these ito position with 4 inch nails
And there it is, just need to line and fill it! It is 6mx3m and averages 500mm deep so 9 cubic meters of soil --easy peasy lemon squeezy!
I generally use stock feed bags to line (they are woven plastic similar to weedmat -- but FREE) You don't have to line them if you don't want but anything to give the wood longevity (ie I'm not going to build them again!)
This was one of my first ones, in a noughts and crosses grid (or Tic-Tac-Toe I think you Americans call it) same principle but a few more joints.

This gives five 2mx2m beds, which are about as big as you can reach across for weeding, picking etc comfortably without climbing in. So 2 cubic meters of soil in each.

We have Strawbwerries x 2, Asparagus, Melons and Cucumbers in it this year.

Paved in between to make it prettier.

We weedmat the top then mulch usung macadamia nut shells (a waste product from the macadamia farm down the road, that retains moisture and stops us having to water too often
Just a pic of the same area a couple of years on -- I have also put in beds at the side and end of the pool (these are 2m x1m due to space limitations)
And one the other direction showing general layout and some of my other projects (shed/modular seating/firepit) which can be found on my profile or direct links here



Frequently asked questions
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  3 questions
  • Snoopy Snoopy on Jan 24, 2016
    This is not clear to me. How did you put the boards together on the corners? What do you mean you used blocks to level the slope? The picture is dark and can't see what's wood and what's block.
  • Bernice Bernice on Apr 06, 2017

    Absolutely stunning! And your view! Oh! 💚

  • Paula Paula on Apr 06, 2017

    Your backgrounds on your photos don't match up in my mind. Very confusing but just an observation. Cool Project

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  • Nicki Petruzzella Kerns Nicki Petruzzella Kerns on Mar 05, 2020

    This is one of the most beautiful raised bed gardens I've ever seen. Our home has a large, fenced area on one side and we weren't sure what to do with it. I think I know now. :-)

  • Em Em on Feb 16, 2021

    Looks so peaceful and a place you WANT to visit.