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There are many different ways to make a raised garden bed. You can be as creative as you want, but if you're just looking for an attractive container for your flowers and plants, you can build something simple in less than a couple of hours.

Finished Bed

A raised garden bed doesn't have to be anything more than a structure that surrounds your soil and plants. If there are rabbits or other small critters in your yard, you might want to make it tall enough to keep them out. That's about it. To build your own raised beds, here's what you need.


Start with treated lumber from the home center. Don't get the untreated stuff; that's made for interior work and will quickly rot in the outdoors. Alternatively, you can use cedar, which is naturally rot resistant. Whatever you choose, buy enough to build the whole box. You're just going to use this one material for everything.


When it comes to fasteners for outdoor projects, nails and screws are both perfectly suitable. If you don't own a power drill/driver, you'll have to use nails. Otherwise, you can get deck screws. Make sure you don't buy drywall screws or other fasteners that are made for interior use. They'll corrode. Screws are easier to install than nails because you can let the tool (the drill) do the hard work. They also provide much more holding power than nails.

If you're used to Philips-head screws, you know how easily the heads can strip out during installation. For better grip, try using square drive screws. Instead of the cross-like pattern in a Philips screw, a square drive screw has a simple recessed square that provides plenty of purchase. You'll need the right driver bit for your drill, like General's #8492 two-piece square drive bit set


You don't need many tools to build a raised garden bed. A miter saw or hand saw, hammer (for nails) or drill/driver (for screws), driver bit and a square will get you started. You'll also need a good measuring tape.

Step 1: Measure and Cut the Parts

Measure and mark all the parts. Cut the material to length with a miter saw or a handsaw. Stack the parts by size to keep them organized for the next step. Here's a parts list for a 2' x 4' bed:

4 Posts at 22-1/"2 Length - 2x4 Material
2 Sides at 21" Length - 2x12 Material
2 Fronts at 48" Length - 2x12 Material
2 Backs at 48" Length - 2x12 Material

Step 2: Assemble the Boxes

Raised Bed Step 2 - Assemble Boxes

To make a box that's tall enough to keep small animals out, your raised bed will be made from stacked 2x12 frames. Nail or screw two of the sides between one front and one back piece to make the first frame. You can predrill the screw holes if you want, but it's not necessary. Neither is glue. Next, nail or screw the second frame together.

Step 3: Stack and Connect the Boxes

Raised Bed Step 3- Stack Boxes

Place one of the 2x12 frames on top of the other. Check the frames with a combination square or framing square and adjust them if necessary. You don't need perfection here, but the box will look odd if it's too far out of square. Stick one of the posts in the inside corner of the stacked frames. Nail or screw it into each frame. You can screw right through the wide face of the 2x4.

Raised Bed Step 3a- Install Posts

Repeat this at every inside corner.

Step 4: Add Soil and Plants

Now that the construction of your raised garden bed is complete, you can add soil. It's cheaper to buy bulk soil than the stuff in bags, and because your bed is nearly 2' tall, you'll need quite a bit. Fill the bed to about 8" from the top. You're ready to plant.

That's all there is to making a raised garden bed. It's super easy, so if you're a fan of square foot gardening, you might want to build a few of these.

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