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How to Build a Raised Garden Bed

If you’re a gardener without a lot of space, or if you want to increase your chances of a successful garden harvest, here’s how to build a raised vegetable garden.

One 4-foot by 8-foot raised bed, if properly maintained, will provide a family of four with plenty of vegetables during an extended growing season.

Before you start pounding nails

First, consider the orientation of the garden. East-west orientation will provide some protection from frost, while a north-south orientation will allow each side of the bed to have sunlight on both sides of the bed during the day. Or one direction might look or work better in your garden for space reasons.

How far away is the water? Drip irrigation works best in a raised bed. Wind an irrigation hose through the bed and attach the end to your outside faucet or garden hose. You will have to water frequently because of the high density of plants in your bed, but the water will be efficiently used since you are producing a high quantity of produce for the area being watered.

Finally, plan out what plants will go into your raised bed. Decide as a family what vegetables are favorites and will be used most. Another thing to consider is which plants work best with each other. Check out these sample layouts from Hearts Content Farm House for some ideas on how to layout your garden for maximum output.

Box Size

raised bed

A four-foot wide box is ideal for being able to reach across from one side of the box to the other. The length of the box is up to you, depending on how much you want to plant and maintain. The higher the box, the less bending you will have to do. Although if you raise it too high it will be harder to get things in and out of the box. 10 to 18-inches is a good height.


  • Wooden boards, recycled from another project or pallet is fine—just make sure the wood is untreated. The width of the board will depend on how high you want the raised bed.
    • 2- 4 foot boards
    • 2- 8 foot boards
  • Galvanized screws
  • Landscaping cloth or large pieces of cardboard to line the box
  • 50/50 combination of soil and composting material
  • cordless drill
  • shovel
  • landscaping rake


  • Drip hose
  • PVC tubing for frame across top of box to secure climbing and tall plants



  1. Cut wood to the desired length

    Cut your length and end panels to the desired length of your garden bed. Be sure to measure twice so you only have to cut once. For this bed, two boards were cut to 4 feet and the other two were cut to 8 feet. Some building supply stores will cut the boards for you when you purchase them.

  2. Assemble the pieces together

    Pre-drill 3- 4 evenly spaced out holes at both ends of the 4 foots boards to prevent the wood from splitting. To assemble the corners, place one end of the 4 foot board over the end of a 8 foot board so that they are perpendicular to each other and form a corner. Secure with screws and repeat with each corner so you have your rectangular bed—use additional braces such as 4X4s to create extra strength in the corners.

  3. Move to final location

    Once your box is assembled, move it to its permanent location.

  4. Prep box interior

    Line box with landscaping cloth (poke holes in the bottom so that worms can get in and out) or cardboard boxes. Secure landscape cloth with staples if necessary.

  5. Add soil

    Fill with a mixture of 50/50 top soil and compost. Spread evenly.

  6. Start planting

    Add the plants of your choice to your new garden bed. Keep in mind spacing and depth requirements for your plants to ensure they grow well. Also, it’s a good idea to research which plants work well together.

  7. Water regularly

    Water as needed, remembering that beds need more water than a garden on a plot of land.

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