Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Raised Bed Garden Tutorial

The past few weeks have been filled with several outdoor projects in our neck of the woods! And we're loving every minute of it! From blooming bushes to these beautiful irises we didn't know we had ...

... we've been busy bees, and spending every minute out in the yard soaking up all the sunshine we can get.

Most exciting, for me at least, is that our raised bed gardens are now fully constructed and planted! Though they're nowhere near the size of the acres of soil I grew up planting and harvesting, they will certainly do for this girl!

Take a look at our take on the raised-bed, square-foot gardening craze.

We're pretty proud! Hubs has a tendency to make things looks easy, so take it with a grain of salt when I say that this project wasn't too painful. Nevertheless, here's how we did it. 

Each bed is composed of 12 four foot pieces of pretreated lumber, 9-ish bags of topsoil (depends how full you want them), compost, and 12 eyelet screws. You'll also some twine, or whatever you want to use for the grids. 

Let's start by saying that when Hubs when off to the store to buy supplies for these beds, I had absolutely no question in my mind that he'd come home with 2 x 6s, stakes and deck screws. The plan was to recreate something like I had seen in this awesome tutorial from The Pioneer Woman.

So you can imagine my surprise when he pulled up hauling 12 pretreated, four foot landscaping timbers .... ummm .... what???

But then he explained - each piece was only .79 cents, they were treated to prevent rotting, there was no cutting involved, and we only needed 12 to create one bed. Always thinkin' - that's why I love him. :) Do note that if you decide to use a similar plan, or this same layout, the length of these timbers caused the inside of the bed to be just slightly smaller than 4 feet - each of the squares in our beds is about 11 inches exactly.

So we went with it! We stacked the lumber two high, screwed the pieces together with deck screws, and then laid the final layer and screwed that one to the middle piece.

We also designed the beds so that the layers were somewhat interlocking, like so ...

Once we had each layer together, we moved them to the spot where they were going to permanently sit, and tried to make sure they sat level on the ground. This took a little trial and error but it wasn't too bad. 

Dutchy was a big help as always :)

Once we had them where we wanted them, we filled each bed a third of the way full with a compost mixture, and the rest of the way with topsoil which we hauled home bag by bag from Menards.

Once the beds were full, we measured off each square (remember, 11-ish inches) and placed eyelet screws at each mark to create the sideline grids for the squares. (excuse the poor phone photos)

Then ran twine from one side of the bed to the other at each screw to create the gridlines for our squares, tying off the twine at the eyelets.

Tada!! Ready for planting. Stay tuned for tomorrow's post to see how we layout our plants and for some insight on "companion planting." 

Thanks for stopping by! 

I'm linking this project up to these great parties: 


  1. can't wait to see what you're planting!

    when we first moved into our home we had a raised bed garden and i was so excited for native tomatoes and zucchini; so were the deer who live in our yard. needless to say, i gave up on vegetable gardening. i do keep a few pots of herbs on my front patio; can't live without basil in the summer!

    1. That's too bad! At least you have your herbs, As our yard is fenced, I'm hoping we don't have that problem - we should be fine as long as the birds don't eat everything!

  2. That is lovely.. One day I will do this.. but we first have to fix our backyard.

    It turned out lovely Liz!

    Thanks for sharing at Create & Inspire.


  3. Just so you know, you're not supposed to use treated lumber for garden beds. The chemicals used in the process can leech into the soil and vegetable roots. It's a big no-no and pretty potent stuff. Get untreated or cedar planks instead.

    1. Presumably that could be easily fixed with a layer of plastic bin liners around the side, blocking the wood from the soil?

    2. Wrong! See this:


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