Here's Why Raised Garden Beds Are a Must (and How to Make One)

Raised garden beds make it easy to maintain your plants and contribute to an orderly look in the garden. Here's how to make your own.

Skip the open ground and turn to higher ground for seeding your favorite plants. Thanks to raised beds, your garden can be virtually anywhere in your yard while maintaining ideal soil and growing conditions. Gardeners everywhere are embracing raised beds, and we're sure you'll love them too. Here are seven reasons why you need a raised garden bed—we'll even show you how to make your own! Follow our easy instructions to make a 3x5-foot raised bed for your backyard space.

DIY raised garden bed
Jacob Fox

1. Easy Garden Maintenance

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

2. Better Soil Drainage

Raised beds help the soil drain better. Loamy soil (or loose, crumbly soil) means better-drained soil. Because the soil in a raised bed is never stepped on, it's uncompacted, so it generally drains better than flat beds.

3. Extended Growing Season

Because the garden bed is higher, the soil tends to get warmer more quickly in the spring. Plant your seeds earlier in the spring to enjoy your garden for a longer season.

4. Keeps Grass from Spreading

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. Protects Plants from Animals

Building a raised bed eliminates foot traffic in your garden. Access from both sides means you never have to step foot in your garden to weed, plant, or water. Raised beds also give a small measure of protection against critters like rabbits.

6. More Garden Space

No space between rows equals more space you can fill with plants. Raised beds work well for small vegetable crops and flowers.

7. Soil Health Management

Raised beds provide an optimal growing medium from scratch for those who have no soil or whose soil is compacted or rocky. Because you're building up a garden bed, you can also escape too-wet or too-dry soil by filling yours with rich loam.

How to Build a Raised Bed

By building a raised bed, you benefit your health and the health of your plants. Take a weekend to build one from lumber and metal roofing and enjoy the fruits of your labor all growing season.

Supplies Required

  • 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
  • Eight corner brackets
  • Box of 50 self-piercing hex screws with neoprene washers, #10x1-inch
  • 1/4-inch magnetic hex screwdriver or drill bit
cedar boards for garden bed
Jacob Fox

Step 1: Get Boards Cut

Ask the lumber or home improvement store to cut the cedar: Cut the 10-foot cedar board in half for the two long 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 piece for raised garden bed
Jacob Fox

Step 2: Cut Metal to Size

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 wood board with brush
Jacob Fox

Step 3: Stain the Boards

Sand the boards using sandpaper or a belt sander to prep for staining. Be sure to use a rag to wipe away any remaining sawdust. Stain the cut boards and let them dry.

building frame of garden bed with screwdriver
Jacob Fox

Step 4: Create Frame

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.

assembling garden bed corner pieces
Jacob Fox

Step 5: Build Corners

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.

using screwdriver to assemble garden bed metal pieces
Jacob Fox

Step 6: Screw in Metal Sides

Screw in the first metal side. Position legs at both ends of the box frame and 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.

assembling raised garden bed wall with screwdriver
Jacob Fox

Step 7: Place Raised Bed and Finish Assembly

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 desired vegetables and flowers.

So when you're looking for a place to grow your vegetables or flowers, consider making a raised garden bed. They'll make plant maintenance easy and give your gardening efforts a tidied-up look.

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