A raised garden bed is the perfect solution if you’re tight on space but want to grow fresh vegetables or flowers. Get a head start and visit your local Garden Centre and pick from our selection of perennial plants, wildflowers, shrubs, and more. Follow this step-by-step guide to create the ultimate raised garden bed.

Steps
12
Difficulty
Moderate
Time Required
1Weekend
Estimated Cost
$$$

The bed frame can be as simple as 2x4s on top of the ground, or even patio retaining wall blocks. The size is up to you. A bed that's at least 6 inches high provides ease of access and gives roots plenty of room to grow.

These instructions describe building a 4-ft. by 6-ft. by 10-1/2-in. bed with 2x4 untreated lumber. Untreated lumber isn't rot-resistant, but it's a good option for edibles.

What Type of Wood to Use

The wood to use for a raised bed is your decision. Here are some options:

  • Cedar and redwood are naturally water-resistant but can be expensive and hard to find. Hemlock, fir, and pine are suitable materials for raised beds but aren't very long-lasting.
  • Pressure-treated lumber has been a controversial topic for many years. The purpose of chemical pressure treatment is to protect wood from rot, decay, and wood-ingesting insects. Creosote-treated wood is not a good option for vegetable raised beds.


Compared to untreated wood, pressure treated lumber lasts longer and is available at a comparable cost. Some types are specifically treated for ground contact. But keep in mind that even water-based treatments such as ACQ contain the fungicide and pesticide necessary to make it effective. Here are some practices that may address concerns about using it in raised beds.

  • Let the wood dry before use. It can take six months or longer for treated lumber to dry.
  • You can then use as-is or paint or seal it.
  • Line the interior sides of the bed with sheet plastic or pond liner.
  • Plant edibles nearer the center of the bed, a few inches away from the wood.

Guidelines

  • Use fasteners and hardware labeled for treated lumber — stainless-steel or hot-dipped, galvanized screws.
  • Butt lumber tightly. Pressure treated wood shrinks as it dries.
  • Drill pilot holes to prevent splitting when nailing or screwing boards.
  • Use wood rated for ground contact when necessary for the project.

Safety

  • Wear gloves, a dust mask and eye protection when handling or cutting wood.
  • Wash your hands after working with treated wood.
  • Dispose of sawdust and waste according to local regulations.
  • Don't burn pressure treated wood.
  • Don't use pressure treated wood as mulch.

 

Building Your Garden Bed

Step One

Cut Your Garden Bed Walls

Measure and mark the length of the walls and cut the boards. Measure and cut 2x4s for corner posts to support the walls. They should be the height of the garden bed wall. You can also cut posts to install along the walls for additional strength.

Tip: For our frame, we cut six 6-ft. boards, six 3-ft.-9-in. boards, and ten 10-1/2-in. support posts. You can build this bed with ten 2-in. by 4-in. by 10-in. boards.
Step Two

Attach the Posts

Clamp together the boards for each wall. Set the corner posts on top of the wall boards, flush with the ends of the 6-ft. walls and set back 1-1/2 in. from the ends of the shorter walls. Drill pilot holes and attach the posts with screws. If you cut additional posts, attach them as well.
Step Three

Connect all the Sides

Drill pilot holes and connect all the sides with screws to form a box. The posts should be on the inside of the bed.
Step Four

Outline Bed

Place the frame in position and outline it with a shovel. Setting up the bed on the ground rather than a hard surface — such as concrete — allows proper root growth and drainage.


Note: A large frame is heavy and unwieldy. You may need a helper when it’s time to move it.
Step Five

Remove Grass

Set the frame aside to remove the grass. Loosen the dirt with a spading fork to help your new plants' roots grow deeply into the ground.
Step Six

Attach Wide-Mesh Hardware

Before you set the bed in place, staple wide-mesh hardware cloth to the bottom of the frame. The mesh helps keep weeds out, but earthworms can still get in to enrich the soil. As an alternative to hardware cloth, you can consider using landscape fabric or even newspaper to block weed growth from below, but keep in mind that weed seeds can fall onto the soil and germinate.
Step Seven

Attach Heavy Duty Plastic to the Bottom of the Frame

If the wood isn't rot-resistant, staple heavy-duty plastic along the inside walls before adding the soil.

Planting & Care

Step One

Add Soil

Fill the bed with a mix of nutrient-rich soil and compost.
Step Two

Plant

Set the plants in holes and lightly fill in with soil. Keep the soil loose around the plants to allow water to reach the roots.

Tip: If you use container plants, break up the root ball before planting.

Step Three

Water

The best time to water is morning or evening, when less water evaporates in the sun. Check the plant tags for additional recommendations.


Tip: A timer on a soaker hose can make as simple task like watering even easier.

Protect Your Raised Garden Bed from Wildlife

Consider adding a mesh cover to keep birds and rabbits away. You can build the frame with wood and PVC pipes. Consider adding a trellis next to the bed for vines and tall plants.
SHOP MESH COVERS

How To Terms

Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes, and local regulations change; therefore, Lowe's assumes no liability for omissions, errors, or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures.

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