DIY Network

Building a Raised Vegetable Bed

This DIY Basic will provide tips on building a raised vegetable bed.

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Watch an Overview Video

Gather Your Materials and Tools

Materials and Tools:

measuring tape
garden tiller
landscape chalk spray
rot-resistant 2x2 posts
rot-resistant 2x6 or 2x8 lumber
power drill with wood bits
galvanized screws
circular saw
carpenter's level or laser level
weed barrier
utility knife
bricks or stones

Choose a Site and Design the Bed

Raised vegetable beds solve poor soil and drainage problems and are easy to maintain. Because raised beds warm more quickly in spring, they can be worked and planted earlier than regular beds.

Start by selecting a flat site with at least 8 hours of direct sun each day and easy access to water.

Decide on size and shape. Four feet is good width because you can reach center without stepping on and compacting soil. Eight to 10 inches make a good height; if soil beneath is poor, make sides twice as tall.

Build the Frame

Till or spade bed area and remove weeds and Bermuda grass.

Mark perimeter with landscape chalk spray.

Cut 2x2 corner blocks the height of sides. Cut boards to length.

Make simple frame by screwing sides to corner blocks. Place frame along perimeter lines and level.

Fill the Bed With Soil

Spread straw or pine needles outside bed. That way you have easy access when watering or harvesting, without getting shoes or knees muddy. Also, hay is biodegradable.

Tip: Once beds are in place, do not pat down soil too firmly. This might cause water to run off.

Fill frame with high-quality topsoil.

For easy maintenance, cover soil with biodegradable weed barrier. Weed barrier allows air and water through and eliminates need for herbicides. Anchor weed barrier with stones or bricks so you won’t have to remove pins at end of season.

Plant the Vegetables

Cut Xs into weed barrier and plant vegetables. Seeds should be sprouted in peat pots before transfer to raised bed.

Tip: At end of season, work biodegradable weed barrier back into soil.