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Constructing A Wooden Raised Bed Garden

Updated on December 14, 2012

Constructing a raised bed garden is relatively simple. First of all you need to choose your construction material of choice, whether that be wood, brick or concrete. You can of course buy a complete wooden raised bed garden from your local garden supplies shop or online from Amazon.

A raised bed garden is a great idea, especially for the elderly or disabled who find it troublesome to bend right down to the ground. If you build a wide base and place concrete slabs along the top to create a seating area, your raised bed garden becomes even more accessible to those who can’t stand for long.

Those with poor garden soil also benefit from a raised bed garden, as you can infill the trough with either freshly bought compost from a supplier, or use your own if you have a compost heap.

A Wooden Raised Bed Garden

wooden raised bed garden
wooden raised bed garden

Soil pH

Another reason for choosing to have a wooden raised bed garden is if you want to grow a specific plant that needs acid soil, while your garden soil is alkaline or vice versa, it is easier to construct a raised bed and alter the soil pH in just this small area. While large garden areas can also have their pH altered by adding lime or sulphate depending on whether you want your soil to become alkaline or acid. You add lime to increase the pH level and suphates to reduce it.

You can easily make the soil in your raised bed garden be exactly what you want it to be.

Pathways

One major advantage of having a raised bed garden is that it will not get walked on. Areas of your garden that you constantly have to walk over to access your plants become compacted underneath the ground, which makes the soil difficult to work with. On rainy days the soil sticks to your soles and when you return to the house you spread mud everywhere.

If you construct your raised bed in a situation where you can lay concrete paths around them, you will not get your footwear dirty. It is a good idea to construct paths wide enough for wheelchair access, even if you don't use one.

If you are unfortunate enough to have an accident, you will still be able to garden, and you will add value to your property by building these wide paths round your raised beds, especially if you live in a single storey house that could in the future be adapted for a wheelchair-bound resident.

Read: Raised Bed Gardening for the Disabled.

Constructing a wooden raised bed garden

wood
wood
stakes
stakes
drill holes
drill holes
screw into place
screw into place
screw the second layer of wood into the stakes
screw the second layer of wood into the stakes

How to Construct a Raised Bed Garden

If you prefer to have a wooden raised bed garden, it is relatively easy to construct.

You will need a:

  • drill
  • screws
  • screwdriver
  • wood planks
  • a carpenter's square
  • a spirit level
  • a pencil
  • a tape measure
  • wooden stakes
  • a hammer.

Decide where you want your raised bed to go and measure the area carefully.

Order your wood, or use old wood you have lying around.

Do not use old railways sleepers as they have been chemically treated and may damage your plants.

Cut your wood to size if need be, and construct as shown in the diagrams here.

You can make them as tall as you want them to be.

The higher they are above ground with poor compacted or clay soils, the better the drainage will be around your plants.

  • Drill screw holes, two at each end, and when you line up you four base planks of wood, you will use outdoor wood screws to connect them at the corners, as shown in the diagram here.
  • Then you take the stakes and firstly place one at each corner, on the inside of the construction. Drill and fix into place.
  • Then add a few more support stakes round the whole structure and drill into place to make a nice solid consruction.
  • If you have been using the carpenter's square and spirit level, your raised bed will be exactly in place so that when you lay the next board layer on top of the first, everything will fit tightly in place, with no gaps.
  • Screw the next layer of boards into place by connecting them with the stakes you have already secured to the bottom of the structure.

A Newly-Constructed Wooden Raised Bed

completed wooden raised bed garden
completed wooden raised bed garden | Source

Advantages of a Raised Bed Garden

  1. You can prolong your growing season with a raised bed garden.
  2. Being raised, the soil in it warms earlier in the spring than than the rest of the soil in your garden.
  3. In the autumn you can protect your plants from frost by adding polythene sheeting over the top to create a mini-greenhouse.
  4. You could also do this in the spring to allow seedlings to germinate quicker.
  5. No-on walks on the soil, so there is less compaction.
  6. You can ensure the pH is perfect for your plants.
  7. You have less bending down to do.
  8. Easier for weeding.
  9. You can treat your new wooden raised bad garden with special plant-safe chemicals to help weather-proof it and make it last longer.

Comments

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    • mgeorge1050 profile image

      Alan 

      4 years ago from West Georgia

      Very informative article about raised bed gardens. I love raised beds, and use several. I will be using some of the tips presented here, thanks.

    • profile image

      mico 

      7 years ago

      bed gardens are easy to care for and you get the freshness you want

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR

      IzzyM 

      7 years ago from UK

      I'm in the process of building my own raised bed gardens out of breeze block so that I can sit on the edge of them to garden myself. It'll be a while before I can use them as I plan to make my own compost from grass clippings and kitchen waste to fill them. Much cheaper option than buying ready-made compost.

    • C.R. Stone profile image

      C.R. Stone 

      7 years ago from East-Bolton

      Nice hub!

    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 

      7 years ago from Houston TX

      Very informative article,thanks for sharing.

    • rainmist profile image

      rainmist 

      7 years ago from Las Vegas

      You are really a scrupulous man .

      Only if one is a gardener he will make a raised bed like this . i have no enough patience to do it .

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR

      IzzyM 

      7 years ago from UK

      That's like our soil here - hopeless to work with! I am pretty keen to get my own raised beds built - I want concrete ones that I can sit on to garden.

    • Fluffy77 profile image

      Fluffy77 

      7 years ago from Enterprise, OR

      So, awesome! I have been thinking this is the very thing that we need to do with our gardening. Excellent idea for those of us with very hard and soil full of rocks everywhere, or mountain soil. Thank you.

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR

      IzzyM 

      8 years ago from UK

      Aww Habee - there must be a wee corner out there just crying out for a raised bed. Don't think you could build one on top of decking. Thanks for stopping by :)

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      I want one of these sooo bad! But hubby has covered my back yard with a huge deck around the pool. lol. Enjoyed the read - thumbs up!

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR

      IzzyM 

      8 years ago from UK

      A point I never made here that your raised bed can be pricey to fill with compost, as it takes a high volume of compost or earth to fill them in. Also never construct one wider than 4' or thereabouts, else some areas in the middle will be inaccessible. I think it would be a good idea to build the base, and use it as a compost heap come wormery for a year or two. Then take the top cover off and you'll be able to grow absolutely anything as the soil will be fantastic and at no cost.

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 

      8 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      We had a train journey together the other day and were talking about growing more vegetables. Tricia thinks that raised beds are the way to go, as we have stoney soil here. Your pictures are very clear! On our day out we saw an advert for a company called 'buff builders', so we know who we want to build them - now all we need is money.

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR

      IzzyM 

      8 years ago from UK

      Thanks Angel :)

      My back was injured nearly 6 years ago so I guess this is as good as it gets, but hey I'm fine really :)

      Still want to build some raised garden beds though!

    • angel115707 profile image

      Angel Ward 

      8 years ago from Galveston, TX

      I really want to do some simple ones myself, my ground is hard and dry, and it keeps the children from running through it so easy, and it seems easier to weed...Love your hub, I am sorry your back was injured, I hope get to feeling better.

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR

      IzzyM 

      8 years ago from UK

      I always wanted one but I wish I'd built it before my own back got broken because it is going to be difficult now (but not impossible). I think they are great and the soil here is dreadful so ideally in my garden I would want 3 or 4 solidly constructed stone ones with seating and slabbed pathways between.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      What a wonderful hub, Izzy! Two of my best pals have raised bed gardens: one has a bad back, one is wheelchair bound. The benefits are astounding and I am considering them since old age-and aches and pains-is fast approaching!

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