DIY a Raised Bed Using Building Blocks

Create a fun raised bed using building blocks to add a dose of color to your yard.

By: Laura James

If you're thinking about tackling a yard project but aren't confident in your construction skills, look no further. In their new book The Little Veggie Patch Co. DIY Garden Projects, garden DIYers Mat Pember and Dillon Seitchik-Reardon prove that garden projects don't have to feel like chores; they can actually be fun.

Mat Pember holding building blocks

Gather Supplies

Garden DIYer Mat Pember shows how fun making a raised bed using building blocks can be.

Photo by: Hardie Grant Books ©John Laurie

Hardie Grant Books, John Laurie

One particularly fun project featured in the book gives instructions on how to create a raised gardening bed using building blocks. Like most people, Pember and Seitchik-Reardon remember the days of playing with Legos as kids when imaginations ran wild and building possibilities were endless. Using Togetherfarm building blocks, which are made out of 100 percent recycled and recyclable UV-protected plastic, the DIY duo instill the same playful approach to this project.

Follow these steps and see how, with just a few supplies and a little imagination, you can make a raised bed perfect for any kid at heart. 


Togetherfarm blocks (or other building blocks)

• some form of imagination

• 3 inch screws

• drill set

• 1/8 inch irrigation tubing (if irrigating by automatic timer)

• premium potting mix

• seedlings

building blocks

Lay Down Building Blocks

Start the foundation of your raised bed by laying down the building blocks.

Photo by: Hardie Grant Books ©John Laurie

Hardie Grant Books, John Laurie

Step 1: Start laying out the blocks.

drilling building blocks

Screw Together

To add stability, screw the building blocks together after each level.

Photo by: Hardie Grant Books ©John Laurie

Hardie Grant Books, John Laurie

Step 2: The Togetherfarm blocks feature screw threads, so as you add each level, pop in a screw to give the structure more stability.

irrigation tubing

Insert Irrigation Tubing

If you're working on a hard surface, make sure you have an irrigation plan.

Photo by: Hardie Grant Books ©John Laurie

Hardie Grant Books, John Laurie

Step 3: If you're working on a hard surface, it's a good idea to add some drainage tubes to allow water to escape. Instead of running the tubes over the top or underneath, each block has a hole that allows about 1/4 inch tubing to fit through, giving a more aesthetically pleasing option. Run the tubing through as you build rather that at the end. 

building blocks

Add More Blocks

This raised bed couldn't be easier! Simply keep stacking the blocks like Legos.

Photo by: Hardie Grant Books ©John Laurie

Hardie Grant Books, John Laurie

Step 4: If you've ever used Legos, you know what to do - just keep on stacking!

plants in raised bed

Add Plants

Herbs look great against the colorful building blocks.

Photo by: Hardie Grant Books ©John Laurie

Hardie Grant Books, John Laurie

Step 5: Fill with premium potting mix and a selection of seasonal plants. The colorful structure gives the perfect contrast to an all-green plant spread, like an herb garden, for example.

Tips for Creating Raised Beds

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Why Create a Raised Bed?

Gardening in raised beds is one of the best ways to grow productive and healthy plants. They allow for better control of drainage, the opportunity to create custom soil, a defined planting area and a more user-friendly work area. Although raised beds can be as simple as mounding up soil into a deep wide planting area, you can also have a physical border around your garden.

What Materials Should Be Used?

Anything material that retains the soil will work, from scrap concrete to lumber to railroad ties. Even composite wood is becoming more popular. Non-treated, rot-resistant lumber such as cedar works best. Pressure-treated wood is less expensive, but there is some debate around the safety of its use, especially if using the beds for edibles.

Photo By: Shawna Coronado

How Tall Should it Be?

Beds that are 12 inches tall have more success than shorter beds. This gives plant roots a great environment for expansion and growth. However, a six-inch bed height is adequate if your soil is well amended. You can also build raised beds waist high to minimize bending over. As long as the soil is well amended, anything over six inches will do.

How Long and How Wide?

Length is optional and limited primarily to your physical space. Width, on the other hand, is more important. Beds should be wide enough to allow for at least two rows of plants. Three rows is fine as long as you don't make the bed so wide that you can't reach into the center. Plants grow well in beds at least 12 feet long and three feet wide. However, a bed that is four feet wide provides even more planting options.

Before You Start Building...

If you are using flexible material such as lumber, the pressure of the soil will cause the wood to bow out. Provide staking halfway down the length and secure the wood to it to prevent this outward bowing.

If using wood, build the frame so the wood grain on all boards is facing inward. Otherwise, they may pull away and curve toward the outside as the wood dries and weathers. Not only is this unsightly, but it can also pull the screws or nails out as well, making your beds less secure.

Other Considerations

Use galvanized 3-inch screws instead of nails to secure the wood. Screws are forgiving than nails if you make a mistake. To prevent splitting, drill pilot holes first toward the ends of each piece.

Premade kits include connecting joints and hinges to configure your bed shape and height the way you want. These devices make bed setup a snap without any construction.

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