7 Reasons Why You Need a Raised Garden Bed (And How to Build One!)

Less watering, fewer weeds, easier plant maintenance. What's not to love about raised beds?

DIY, raised garden bed

Skip the open ground for seeding your favorite plants -- raised garden beds are the way to go. Thanks to raised beds, your garden can be virtually anywhere in your yard while maintaining near-perfect soil and growing conditions. The benefits don't end there; raised beds are the best way to garden, and we can promise that you'll love them as much as we do.

1. It's easier on YOU. Having a raised bed makes it simpler to tend your plants. There's less bending over with beds that are elevated above ground. Build them with wide borders and you might even be able to sit while you work.

2. You can kiss drainage issues good-bye. Raised beds help the soil drain better. Loamy soil (or loose, crumbly soil) means better-drained soil.

3. You'll plant earlier and grow longer. Because the garden bed is higher, it tends to get warmer more quickly in the spring. Plant your seeds earlier in the spring and you'll be able to enjoy your garden for a longer season.

4. They stop grass. It's harder for turf to spread into raised beds. Before building your raised bed, mow the site to get the grass as short as possible.

5. You'll never worry about stepping on your plants. Building a raised bed eliminates foot traffic in your garden. Access from both sides makes it so you never have to step foot in your garden to weed, plant, or water.

6. They let you plant more. No space between rows equals more space you can fill with plants.

7. Bad soil is conquered. Because you're building up a garden bed, you can also escape too-wet or too-dry soil by filling yours with rich loam.

What You Need to Build One:

  • 1x4-inch cedar board, 10 feet
  • 1x4-inch cedar board, 6 feet
  • 1x4-inch cedar board, 8 feet
  • 1/4x1-inch cedar slat, 4 feet
  • 2-inch corrugated galvanized metal roofing material, 2x8-foot sheet
  • Offset metal snips
  • Stain
  • 3-inch paintbrush
  • 8 corner brackets
  • Box of 50 self-piercing hex screws with neoprene washers, #10x1-inch
  • 1/4-inch magnetic hex screwdriver or drill bit

How to Make It:

4 inch cedar boards

1. Ask the lumber or home improvement store to cut the cedar: Cut the 10-foot cedar board in half for the two longer top pieces. Cut the 6-foot cedar board in half for the two shorter top pieces. Cut the 8-foot cedar board into eight 1-foot lengths for the leg pieces. Cut the 4-foot cedar slat into four 1-foot lengths for the inside support pieces.

cutting metal with metal snips

2. Cut the metal with the metal snips. Cut in half lengthwise, making two 1x8-foot panels. Next, cut both panels at the 3-foot mark to form the ends of the raised bed. The remaining two 1x5-foot panels will form the sides.

staining boards for raised garden bed

3. Stain the cut boards.

screwing in corner bracket for raised garden bed frame

4. Connect the four wood top pieces using corner brackets. Use two screws on each board end to keep it stable. You'll have a 3x5-foot frame.

building raised garden bed leg pieces

5. Build the four leg pieces by connecting two 1-foot lengths with corner brackets, using two screws on each board. These will support the 3x5-foot frame and serve as footings for the raised bed.

screwing in metal siding

6. Screw in the first metal side. Position legs at both ends of the box frame, then lay the metal side in the section. Screw along the inside of the sides and legs to connect these three sections. The cut metal edge points toward the ground. Repeat to complete all four sides.

securing raised garden bed slats

7. Place the raised bed where desired. From the inside, secure each of the four 1-foot slats at the midpoint to increase the stability of the metal. Once in place, firmly press the legs slightly into the ground. You may need to loosen the soil if the ground is hard. Fill the bed with soil (we suggest a mixture of equal parts topsoil and compost) and plant with plants.

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