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How to make a raised garden bed

By: Garden Gate staff
Whether you’re planting vegetables or adding a new flower bed, these are simple instructions for building a raised garden bed out of cedar.


A cedar raised bed is a classic choice, relatively inexpensive, and easy to get started with. Here’s how to create a 4-ft. wide, 6-ft. long, 2-ft.-tall raised bed:

Step one — Find the right spot

Decide placement of your raised bed and mark with marking spray or a line of flour or sand. Leveling the ground first makes it easier to build your raised bed and keeps it in good shape longer because there’s less stress on the wood.

Step two — Determine the height

Start with four 4×4s cut to the desired height of your raised bed. These are about 21 in. tall. It’s easiest to simply set your anchor posts on top of the soil with the frame; sinking them in the ground isn’t necessary.

Step three — Build the frame

Build the frame by attaching a 4-ft.-long 2×8 piece of lumber with 3-in. deck screws to the sides of two of the 4×4 posts. Repeat with the other 4-ft. 2×8 and two 4×4 posts. Next, attach the two ends with the 6-ft.-long 2×8s.

Step four — Attach the rest of the boards

Now that your bed frame is in place, repeat step 3 two more times, stacking the 2×8s vertically.

Step five — Fill it up!

Fill the box with a mix of soil and compost. Water well and you’re ready to plant!

Not sure what to fill your raised bed with?

A well-drained, weed-free topsoil is one of the most common choices. You can usually buy it in bags from your local garden center or home improvement store. But buying in bulk from a local landscaping and having it delivered may be more cost-efficient. You can also go with garden soil mixed liberally with compost. This is a less expensive option if you have easy access to organic matter, such as well-aged manure from a local farm. Though it’s not as cost-effective, many people find that filling their raised beds with a mixture of topsoil and potting mix is an easy way to go since potting mix is usually lighter than bags of topsoil.

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