Raised beds are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they also make the tasks related to gardening much easier. I will show you how I make my DIY raised beds on a budget for only $20.
Watch how to Build a DIY Raised Garden Bed below:
Are you a visual learner like me? You can watch me make a raised garden bed from start to finish in this video. Come back to this blog post for a list of materials and exact measurements.
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Why Raised Garden Beds
There are pros and cons to raised beds versus traditional farming methods. I am not going to cover them all here, but I will share my reasons for deciding to use raise beds for my garden. First, I love the way they look. That was enough of a reason for me, but they also create easy walkways in the garden, significantly decrease the number of weeds, allow for optimal soil conditions, eliminate a lot of bending over when working in the garden, and with the design I share they also provide a ledge to rest on when harvesting.
Something that might hold people back from raised beds are their price and difficulty to find. I hope to eliminate these barriers by sharing how I build my own DIY raised bed garden boxes for just over $20 a box.
What you’ll need:
The following are what you will need to build one raised bed with the top piece of finishing trim.
- 7 1/2 Cedar Fence Pickets (Cedar is naturally rot resistant. These fence pickets will be the most affordable option. Be sure to NOT buy pressure treated lumber for garden beds)
- 6 11″ pieces of 2×4 (less than one full 2×4 board)
- 46 1 5/8″ screws
- bit to match screws (This is usually included when you buy a box of screws)
- drill bit (use one that is just slightly smaller than your screws to pre-drill holes)
- Tape Measure
- Screw Driver
- Chop Saw
- Table Saw
Cuts for you DIY Raised Garden Bed
The first step is to get all the wood cut to size. Here is what you will need:
- 4 70″ Cedar boards
- 4 35 1/2″ Cedar boards
- 1 Cedar board cut to 71″ and then cut in half the long way using the table saw
- 1/2 of a cedar board cut in half the long way (exact measurements will be taken at the end)
- 2×4 board cut into 6 11″ pieces
Attaching the boards
Start by making the shorter side walls by securing a 2×4 piece on each end of two 35 1/2 length cedar boards stacked together (pictured above). Attach with a screw at the top and bottom of each cedar board, for a total of 4 screws on each side of the wall. you can see where I placed the screws in the board in the above picture on the left. Try to make the gap between the boards as tight as possible before securing them.
***Be sure to pre-drill your holes using a bit just slightly thinner than your screw! Since the fence boards are thin, pre-drilling your holes significantly decreased the chance of your board cracking!
Attaching the long sides
Next secure the long ends by screwing the long cedar boards into the 2×4 boards that you attached to the short ends. I like to start with the top boards to make sure that the top ends up being perfect. Any imperfections can easily be hidden on the bottom once they are placed in the garden.
Once you secure both long boards on each side, use a 2×4 piece in the middle and secure with screws (I used 1 screw in the middle of each cedar board). This provides extra support for the beds once you fill them with soil.
Attaching the trim to your garden bed
The last step is to attach the top trim. This step is optional, but in my opinion it is a finishing detail that is worth a few extra minutes and dollars to include. It makes a huge difference in the overall appearance and functionality of your raised bed.
Start by securing the 71″ pieces on both long sides. There should be a 1/2″ overlap on the outside edge on all 3 sides. The inside of the trim should fall flush with the supporting 2×4, therefore completely covering it. Secure it using 3 screws, one in each 2×4. Do this for both sides.
Once you have the long trim pieces secured, measure the gap between the trim pieces on the short ends. Cut the exact measurements from the remaining boards (half a cedar board cut in half). Taking this measurement once the box is built will allow for less gaps between boards. Fit each piece in and secure using 2 screws, again, one in each 2×4 support pieces. When you are finished, the trim should hide all the 2x4s and leave you with a professional looking raised bed.
DIY Raised Garden Bed: 3 Year UPDATE
It’s been three years since I built my cedar fence raised garden beds. I’m happy to share that they are holding up great, even with our harsh NY winters! If you are looking for an affordable way to create a garden and like raised beds, I recommend trying these out. I am able to grow a lot of food in a single 6’x3′ bed. For only about $20 in materials, you can’t go wrong!
I hope this post is helpful if you want raised beds but didn’t know where to start, or didn’t think they could be in your budget. Maybe you were like me and wanted affordable raised beds that were a bit more detailed than the standard box style. If you make a raised garden bed, I would love to see it and hear what you think!
Thank you SO much for taking the time to read my blog. I am so glad to have you here! If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow along on Instagram for more behind the scenes related to gardening and life in an 1800’s fixer upper farmhouse.
Thank you so much for this! I just ordered the wood and going to make it in the next couple weeks. How many bags of top soil did you use? I am just trying to make a plan of how much it may cost!
Any info about your next steps would be great! I plan to add the landscaping fabric on the bottom, then cardboard, then maybe leaves, and topsoil.. but this is my first garden, so honesty not sure what is best!
Thank you so much!!
Congratulations on starting your garden! I lined some with landscape fabric. Others I just did a thick layer of cardboard on the bottom. Then I filled them about half way with top soil and added a couple inches of compost mixed with peat moss and perlite on top. If you have leaves or wood chips available you can use those as a base layer so less soil is needed. I add a fresh topping of compost every year. Adding a layer of leaves on top in the fall also makes for amazing soil in the spring.
Made 3 of these today and love them! Thanks for the tutorial!
Thank you for sharing, I’m so happy to hear that!
I’ve been thinking about gardening this year as the cost of food continues to increase. These raised beds will work perfectly in my yard. Thanks so much for sharing the detailed instructions! I love your greenhouse and patio area. What a perfect way to enjoy your garden!