How to Build Raised Garden Beds

I have had gardens in the past.  In fact, every year since we moved to Indiana until I had Kayla I had a garden.  Isaac loved gardening with me. 



gardening with kids


That year I had Kayla I was too tired to do a garden.  But now she is at the age where I knew she would love gardening with me.  So I decided to do raised cedar beds.  I started out small with only 4 cedar boxes. I figured if I set myself up right even if I had to take a break for a year the beds could sit empty and still look halfway decent in our yard.  Or I could always do a fresh cut flower garden the next year.  We will see.  The key is I wanted flexibility.  Doesn’t it look pretty?

garden cedar boxes

diy raised flower beds
I followed Ana White’s plans for her Cedar Raised Beds.  And this is what I learned – I am not a builder.  I can repurpose with the best of them but building something from scratch kicks my butt.  BUT I AM DETERMINED to grow in this area.  I finally understood how when I tell you something “is so easy and takes 20 minutes” why it takes you 4 hours to do it.  When you don’t do it for a living there is a huge learning curve.  So while it takes Ana 20 minutes to build these it took me about 4 hours.  So after the first one, I literally cried!  But I put on my big girl panties and started again.  I will say the 4th box probably took me only an hour to complete.  And I felt such a huge sense of accomplishment when all four were done.  Anywho…

I got all of my cedar fence posts at Lowes.  They were $1.95 each at mine. So each box cost about $11 in wood.

If you decide to make these I highly suggest using a nail gun to tack a few nails in to temporarily hold them in place while you drill the screws in. It was my saving grace.

How to Make a Raised Bed Garden

Step 1: Rent a rototiller to loosen up the soil and get the ground level. Our Ace Hardware rents them for about $26 for 4 hours.  My honey helped put my garden in for Mother’s Day.  He even had a good attitude – bonus! Winking smilerototilling for a garden

Step 2: Lay down some black landscape cloth to keep any weeds from growing through.  Make sure to overlap the cloth.

Step 3. Edge your garden in cedar posts.

cedar garden boxes

Step 4: Measure your boxes to make sure they are evenly spaced.  Then add pea gravel or bark dust around the boxes and then add some garden compost mix to the boxes. (Note: I recommend using a little larger of a shovel for this…giggle!)

gardening with children

Step 5: Grab a little garden beauty girl (see above picture) and plant your fruits and vegetables.  We added a little Whitney Farms Organic Plant Food to each bed as well.  garden tomatoes

I got all of my plants and seeds from Lowes.  And here is my garden plan:

planning out your garden

So I am still a newbie gardener do you have any advice?

What did you plant this year?

build your own garden bed


Disclosure: As part of the Lowes Creative Blogger Team, Lowes provided me a with a gift card for purchasing my garden supplies.

This is a repost from May 2012.

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  1. Your garden looks great and is a wonderful family activity. I love seeing kids involved in gardening. We always plant lots of peppers of all kinds because the hubs must have them! I must have tomatoes…nothing like a sweet juicy home grown tomato

    Maybe you could try some composting now.

    Every Tuesday I have a garden party link up, come on over and share:)

  2. Your raised bed garden looks great! We added 4 more 4ft x 10 ft raised beds this year. We are growing snap peas, potatoes, brocolli, lettuce(cold season) and zuchinni, butternut and summer squashes, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, radishes, turnips, beets, strawberries and cabbage.I also planted basil, mint,parsley and oregano.I kind of went crazy this year. Having a garden is definitely a learning experience. Only grow what grows well in your part of the country and in your soil. Don’t bother with the rest. Some veggies are easy to grow from seed and some are difficult, so I start the ones from seed that are easy and buy plants for the ones that don’t. Remember to fertilize once a month and pull out weeds when they are just sprouting up. (teach your kids to do this if you don’t like to )

  3. This year I tried a few heirloom tomatoes for the first time ever (in addition to our tomato/lettuce/zucchini trifecta we always plant). We’re also experimenting with corn, watermelon and butternut squash. Ellie picked out the plants 🙂 I added kale and swiss chard – hoping that growing it ourselves will make my kids want to eat it – ha!
    Your garden looks beautiful. You’ll have to show us if your strawberries produce. I have had them for the past three years, but the squirrels eat all the fruit when it’s green and we have yet to eat one home grown strawberry. 🙁

  4. My advice is to stay away from hybrid plants. Save your seed from the non-hybrid veggies you grow for the next year. Only save seed from the best, most beautiful and tastiest veg/fruit. It’s all about the genetics. You save seed from inferior fruit you’ll get inferior fruit. But save from the best, and it just keeps getting better. It’s kind of like selective breeding. This is especially true with tomatoes. I’m a little fanatic when it comes to tomatoes and gardening veggies having grown up doing it all my life. All of the good varieties of veggies (especially tomatoes) are going away because people aren’t saving the seeds and passing them on. If we all buy hybrids, those varieties go extinct much like some animals. So I always advocate non-hybrids, I just can’t help myself. Anyway, the fun part about tomatoes is saving seed and wondering how much better the plants will be the next year. You just can’t save seed from hybrids. Well you can but you get mutants that are no where near what the parent plant was. Sorry for rambling, I could go on and on.

  5. Bummer…we have eaten 4 already. I wonder if the raised beds will help. Do you have a traditional garden or raised?

  6. I decided that we would also give it a “go” this year. Last year we played around with container gardening in Maryland and it was a HUGE success. This year we built raised beds, and two days after planting we had three consecutive hail storms. So my plants are looking to great now. I’m giving them another week to buck up before I make the decision to replace them.

    Funny enough the plants that are doing the best are the ones I have from seedlings I did in my closet! Exciting!

  7. We have a traditional garden. We’ve talked about raised beds and may put them in next year, but I think the squirrels would eat them anyway. They are crafty little guys. Last year they ate all my lettuce too. If I liked animals more I think I’d get a dog to scare them away. 😉

  8. Sometimes it depends on the type of plant, but it’s pretty easy. What seeds are you looking to save? Tomatoes? Peppers? Lots of stuff? 🙂

  9. Beckie, Here’s my favorite site to buy Tomato and Pepper seeds. They have so many and maybe you’ll find some you want to grow next year. It gives descriptions of every type and pictures. Even if you choose to buy from your local stores, you’ll be able to look for ones you want to try by their names. Of course most stores don’t sell this many varieties, they usually have a limited amount. Anyway, I thought it might be of interest.

    Here’s another site with some seed saving advice.

  10. wow – your garden beds turned out so great Beckie!! We made some like those a few years ago and the kids and I love planting all of the veggies every year. It’s amazing how much produce comes out of those beds. So fun!!!


  11. What a great raised bed garden! I’ve got a raised bed as part of our developments community garden. I’d love to have one in our yard but not enough space.

  12. I have seen your pictures of your community garden on your blog and that is what encouraged me to plant. It looked awesome…either that or you are an amazing photographer. I think both are true.

  13. To kind of echo the thoughts above about heirloom seeds-Seed Savers( is an excellent place to buy them and then yes save your own for the next year. I would give you the link,but yeah I really don’t know how to do that-sorry!

  14. I’m wondering if anyone has gotten any guff from their neighbors? I live in a subdivision and even a ground garden has caused some flack with different neighbors. Thoughts? My immediate neighbors have said they wouldn’t mind at all.

  15. Why would they care it is your yard? No one has said anything to me about it. I can’t imagine them being upset. I live in a subdivision too and many people have gardens.

  16. I love your bookshelves! Wow I just found you on pinterest and I love your site! I built raised boxes as well and you are welcome to my plans for free if you would like them. Thanks for sharing – you can check out my garden on my website.
    thanks again for the inspiration on the bookshelves and garden!

  17. I had never thought of using cheap cedar for the boxes. Thank you for the idea! I wanted to relocate my strawberries and do a herb garden. This will be perfect. As for my current garden I have 2 raised beds, 12×6 ft x10 deep. I have belgium giant and black krim tomatoes and tomatillo. Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, pole beans, sweet corn, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, the red & white radishes, red & yellow onions, jalapeños, green bell peppers, red bell peppers and new Mexico chili peppers. And horseradish and loofahs. Whew! It’s only my 2nd year with my raised beds and I swear I need more room!!!

  18. i might suggest that you get seeds from Baker Creek – they are the only seed company i know of who actually checks the genetics to make sure there was no pollen drift causing genetic contamination in their seeds. They have to grow more and more in other countries because of that – but you can trust them.

    Some people get angry when i recommend not planting GMO seeds, but the first GMO product in this country killed over 120 Americans (l-tryptophan supplement from Showa Denko) with EMS. A few years back GMOs came within about 3 weeks of basically killing the planet – well – anything that was a plant or needed one to make it’s oxygen or food…

    Second thing i might suggest is perhaps some hardware cloth across the bottom – 1/4″ – in case you have gophers, moles, voles, etc that might want to eat your roots like mine…

  19. Just wondered what exactly are the dimensions of your raised beds How high are the sides?

  20. It looks like you only purchased and placed cedar posts around the garden beds. I don’t see any instructions or supply lists for the actual garden beds. Am I missing something? Thanks!

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