Some Simple Tips On How To Build A Raised Garden Bed

Copyright (c) 2012 Jack Russell

A gardener who knows how to build a raised garden bed has an advantage over gardeners who plant or seed directly into the soil. Raised garden beds are ideal for areas with poor soil that can't be amended without a lot of work or expense. The soil added to a raised bed can be just about perfect for the gardener's purposes and they might end up with an abundant crop or lush and healthy blossoms. In the meantime, their neighbor might end up with a handful of scrawny tomatoes and nutrient starved flowers.

How to build a raised garden bed is fairly simple, if not particularly easy, but the work will be worth it during the growing season.

The first thing to do is to lay out the raised bed area. Many gardeners want their raised bed to be in the shape of square or a rectangle, because it's easier. Before they even start to build they should notice how much sun the area gets so they don't end up with a bed full of sun loving plants in a shady area.

The gardener should then break up the soil inside of the area of the bed. This will help the soil drain properly. If the soil has a lot of clay, it's good to dig down to a depth of about six to eight inches. They should remove any vegetation in the area of the bed as well so to make it as weed free as possible. If the area has some good grass sod, the gardener should take it out with a square nosed shovel and put it somewhere else in the yard.

The next step is to build the frame. The gardener should lay one of the longer boards along the edge of the area they've prepared. Then, they should set one of the shorter boards so that the two meet perpendicularly to each other. They should place two metal corner braces on the inside corner of the frame and screw them in place. To make sure the boards don't wobble, they should secure a piece of wood across the corner and keep it there until they fill the bed with soil. They should repeat until all the boards are braced together to form a box.

Another way to secure the boards is to nail them together with eight or 10 inch galvanized spikes. This should be done with a heavy duty hammer and works best if the gardener uses more than one tier of boards.

The length of the boards will depend on the dimensions the gardener wants for the bed. Many experts recommend that if the bed is going to be accessible from two sides it shouldn't be any wider than six feet and if it's only going to be accessible from one side it should be no wider than three or four feet. The length will depend on the scale of the yard and the house.

The gardener should make sure that the top of the frame is level. If it isn't, they can either add or remove soil then recheck until it's level. Then, they should drive stakes into the ground at the centers of the longer boards to keep them steady. At the end, they can fill the bed with good, loamy soil and smooth it out with a rake.

Jack Russell is retired and likes pottering in his herb and vegetable garden. He is not an expert but is building a raised bed garden. Jack has found a lot of helpful information at You can also sign up for a free newsletter and a free copy of an interesting 100 year old book on growing herbs.

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