How to Build DIY Raised Garden Beds

Kate Mitchell

February 15, 2024

Are you interested in starting your own garden, but don't have the space or suitable soil? Building raised DIY garden beds might just be the solution you're looking for. Whether you're an experienced gardener or a beginner, creating raised garden beds offers a whole range of benefits and can easily be done with a few simple steps.

Why Build a Raised Garden Bed?

A person bends to tend to plants in a raised garden bed

A raised garden bed is a large planter box that retains soil above ground level. It's a great choice for maximizing your garden space, because a raised bed can be placed on top of poor soil then filled with whatever soil type you need for the flower or vegetable garden of your dreams.

A raised bed garden can also be built above ground, at a taller height. An elevated garden bed like this can make it easier for anyone who struggles to bend down or sit on the ground to participate in gardening.

Planting in a raised bed filled with compost and topsoil can help to reduce the need for weeding, especially if the bed is lined with landscape fabric.

How to Build a Raised Bed

Before you begin, think about where your raised bed will be located. If you want a vegetable garden bed, you'll need to choose a suitably sunny spot. It's also a good idea to make sure you have easy access to water so you can keep your plants happy.

Experts recommend keeping your raised bed a maximum of four feet in width. Any bigger and it will become difficult to reach the plants in the middle. If you can't access all sides, for example because you want to place your raised bed against a house wall or fence, you'll need to choose a narrower bed design.


Once you've chosen the perfect spot and thought about dimensions, it's time to choose your materials. A popular option is untreated lumber. Untreated wood will remove the possibility of chemicals leaching into your soil, and therefore into whatever you plan to grow.

Other possible materials include cinder blocks or concrete blocks, natural stone or even steel. Some gardeners make use of recycled materials such as cattle troughs, or use large garden planters for raised bed gardening.

 If you don't want to go for the DIY option, you can order a garden bed kit, or even a ready-made garden bed planter, for delivery.


For a very simple raised bed, you'll need four pieces of lumber cut to length according to your chosen dimensions. You'll also need a drill and eight 2-1/2-inch deck screws.

The width of the lumber will be the depth of the raised bed. Six inches is the minimum depth for gardening. This depth is recommended by Gardeners Path as suitable for most vegetables; however, you may want to use wider boards if you'd prefer a deeper bed. Alternatively, you can add another layer of wood to make it deeper.

Once your four boards are cut to length, arrange them in a rectangle shape. If you have shorter walls, place those flush to the longer ones. Drill pilot holes, then use the deck screws to join your boards together.


It can be helpful to line the base of your raised garden bed with landscape fabric. This can help to prevent weeds growing up from beneath the surface. You could also use a layer of hessian or even a flattened cardboard box; these will eventually decompose and become part of the soil.

Avoid lining with plastic sheeting, as this will not allow for adequate drainage.


Once your garden bed is constructed, it's time to fill it up with soil! Experts recommend a combination of garden soil and potting compost. You can purchase bags of soil ready-mixed, or create your own combination. Nutrient-rich soil with added organic matter is important if you want to grow a crop of tasty vegetables!

What to Grow in a Raised Garden Bed

A range of vegetables growing in a raised garden bed

Some gardeners like to grow flowers in their raised garden beds, but many people build them especially to grow their favorite vegetables. Even root vegetables such as carrots can grow in a raised bed. For inspiration, check out our article on the best vegetables to grow in Florida. And, as always, if you would like any help with your landscape design, get in touch with LawnMore's friendly gardening experts!

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