How to Build a Raised Garden Bed

Building a raised garden bed is fairly simple, and has huge benefits. Raised garden beds are great for growing small plots of veggies and flowers, keeping pathways clear, and acting as barriers to pests. Raised garden beds also reduce back strain from bending over to tend to plants — which is especially helpful to older gardeners or people with bad backs.

Alachua County

Alachua County /

The first step is to select a good location for your garden bed. It can be a nice corner of your garden that gets plenty of sun and drains well. Measure and stake out your raised garden bed (if you are unsure how big it should be, four feet by four feet would be a good start). Rake and level the ground inside the staked-out are to get the bed started.

Billie Greenwood

Billie Greenwood /

Purchase four 1-foot-long 4x4s for the corner posts, eight 4-foot-long 2x6s for the side rails, and four 2-foot-long 2x2s for the center stakes. They can be any material you like, however expert gardeners recommend cedar due to its durability, or plastic composite for its affordable price.

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Position your 4x4s on each corner of your square. Then pick a wall to start with and screw your first 2×6 to connect the corners. Stack a second 2×6 on top of the first. The ends of the 2×6 boards should be even with the sides of the post. Use an angle-square to make sure the rails and posts are lined up at right angles.

Lori Stalteri

Lori Stalteri /

Stand the sidewalls upright and opposite each other, with the posts on the outside. Screw the two side rails to the posts to form the other walls of the raised bed. The ends of the rails should be even with the sides of the posts. Measure diagonally both directions across the planter bed to make sure the frame is square. Adjust the raised bed until both diagonals are equal in length.

Take a 2×2 stake and place it at the middle point of one of the outside walls. Then dig or pound it into the ground so the top of stake is level with the top of the side rails. Fasten the stake to the side rails with deck screws. Repeat with each of the remaining three walls. Once you’ve built your raised bed, fill it with topsoil, compost, or peat moss. Then water it well and you’re ready to plant.

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