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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:

Materials (lengths of boards can be adjusted based on your desired bed size):

  • (4) 4×4 posts cut to the desired height of your garden bed (Here we have used 21 in. tall posts)
  • (6) 4-ft.-long 2×8 pieces of lumber
  • (6) 6-ft.-long 2×8 pieces of lumber
  • 3-in. deck screws

Lumber tip:

Make sure to use untreated lumber if you are building the raised bed for vegetables. Treated lumber is ok if using for flowers or ornamental plants.

1. Find the right spot for your raised garden bed

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.

2. Determine the height of your raised bed

Start with four 4×4s posts 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.

3. Build the raised garden bed 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.

4. 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.

5. Fill your raised bed with soil

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

What type of soil to use in your raised garden bed

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.

The best option is to go with topsoil or 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.

Published: May 8, 2018

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