How to Build and Arrange a Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

May 10, 2012 by 35 Comments

Do you have a Raised Bed Vegetable Garden?!  I love taking steps towards making my home more green and allowing my Sweet B’s to participate in seeing the process of vegetables and fruits, starting as a seed.  It is so rewarding.  A raised bed vegetable garden is great because they prevent soil compaction, allow for good drainage, keep pathway weeds from your garden soil, prevent erosion, provide good drainage and offer a barrier to pests, such as slugs and snails.  In some regions, raise beds allow an earlier start to the planting season because when soil is above ground level, it is warmer and better drained.
My sister has had the most fabulous garden for several years now!  She has had great success with tons of different vegetables and fruits.  A little over a month ago, we constructed our own raised garden and I’m excited to share our process with you.

1. Choose which type wood you will use. 

We chose a cedar bed because it should last for 10-15 years, before it begins to deteriorate…and you don’t have to treat it with chemicals which would totally defeat the purpose of gardening at home.  This of course depends on the weather in your area and how well it’s constructed.

2. Choose the shape, size and location of your raised garden bed and mark it off with rope and stakes.  

Garden beds come in every shape and size.  The most common height is 11″ {the height of two stacked 2″ x 6″ boards}.  Raised beds, do not have bottoms.  They are open to the ground, allowing plant roots to go deep into the ground for needed nutrients.   Your roots will go down as deep as needed to access good soil and nutrients.  If you have good soil, a shallow garden bed will be fine.  The taller you go, the heavier the soil will be, causing more pressure on the sides.  If you choose to construct a tall/wide bed, you’ll want to include cross-supports.
When choosing your garden location, light is one of the most important considerations when growing vegetables.  Most vegetables will need an average of 6 hours of sunlight.  Vegetables that produce fruit require the most sun: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash.  Leaf and root vegetables will tolerate more shade: lettuce, peas, carrots, kale.

3. Trace the border of your bed then use a tiller to remove all grass and roots from your garden area.

Once your raised bed border has been built, use the nail removing side of the hammer to loosen the soil around the inside circumference of your garden bed.  Once the line has been traced all around your bed, pull the bed to the side and use a tiller to loosen and remove all grass and roots from this area.

4. Level the bed, add support, then bring in soil to fill the raised garden bed.

We found that it was most cost efficient to pick up a truck load of soil from our local soil manufacturer and supplier.  These places are able to mix the perfect blend for your garden and it totally beats carting in bag after bag of soil.  We needed 2 cubic yards and about 15ish wheelbarrow trips later…the beds were ready for planting.  We make it a practice to never step on the beds because we do not want our soil to become compacted.
We chose a triangle shaped bed with a good amount of room for a pathway between our raised beds. And because our pathway is grassy, we use a weedeater around the entire border of our beds to create a 2 inch wide divot separating the bed from the grass.  Creating this border of only soil with the weedeater is simple and will keep the grass from sneaking underneath our beds.
Zucchini…full of flowers!
Pickled ‘Cucumbers’ …we can’t wait to give these a try!
Cilantro…perfect for my homemade salsa!
Cherry Tomatoes…so close to being ripe!
Strawberries…full of flowers, too!
Not Pictured: Arugula, Spinach, Crooked Necked Squash, Cucumbers,
Beef Steak Tomatoes, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Carrots, and a few Herbs!
What are you growing in your garden!?!?  If you haven’t
planted yet…start with what you enjoy eating the best
and go from there!  I’ve found that you can read
tons online, but the best way to learn is to give it a try!
Here are a few other AWESOME garden beds…
Kiwicreativeinc

Apartment Therapy
Marcelle Danielle

Veggie Gardener

Cinder Block Gardens

Cinder Block Gardens

 

Creative Way to Sprout Seeds with Kids

Frugal and Eco Ways to Plant Seedlings

How to Build and Arrange a Vegetable Garden

My Opinion on Growing Watermelons

Comments

35 Responses to “How to Build and Arrange a Raised Bed Vegetable Garden”
  1. We are doing our first garden this year. Well, we have had tomato plants in the past, but they didn’t do very well because hubby just stuck them in the ground with no prep. We have one large box so far and another one will be put around an already created garden. Hubby does things backwards sometimes. Then we have silver queen corn planted without a box around it. Too big for that. Another box is also going to be added. So far we have six tomato plants, cucumbers, squash, yellow or red and green peppers, green beans, cantaloupe, watermelon, and okra. Still want to add zucchini and strawberries and maybe carrots.

  2. NO way Joani! I’m so sorry…that royally stinks! Stay away little squirrels! XO, Aimee

  3. Deanne says:

    VCH is updating our garden and adding more raised garden beds. I love the shapes, ours are just rectangles!

  4. Texas weather has been CRAZY! We hardly even had a winter! Hopefully that won’t mean that Summer is extra brutally hot!?! Crossing my fingers!!! Excited to see your Asian veggies…once it gets going…the process seems to go super fast!!! I bet yours will be GREAT! XO, Aimee

  5. Our Pinteresting Family says:

    I think your garden has turned out fabulous. I am quite envious. I really had hoped to find the time to get to one this year, but I think I’m going to have to try for next year. Enjoy!! Megan

  6. Great info and beautiful gardens!

  7. Kathleen K says:

    Love these pictures! We moved into our house in Dec and in Feb were out digging beds for our garden. We used Ana White’s $10 bed plans (slightly altered). They won’t last as many years as 2×6 framed cedar, but also didn’t cost as much. We don’t own a tiller and really didn’t want to be bothered renting one. Instead, I set our 3 sons loose with shovels and picks. That got our first 8 raised beds dug. Now we’ve started 4 more, using a slightly “lazier” method. Known as the “lasagna garden,” we put down cardboard and partially composted yard debris, watered heavily. I’ll get around to building frames later. We’ll keep adding uncomposted kitchen scraps this summer and by fall or next spring the beds will be ready for whatever we want to plant in them.

    • Thanks Kathleen! Yes, I think Ana White’s beds are awesome, too. One of my friends made a “lasagna garden” and it’s totally great! She hasn’t ever bothered with building a frame and it’s producing like crazy! She’s into a real natural look in her yard and it totally works for her! I love how much variety there is in gardening! XO, Aimee

  8. How exciting Marriah! So glad you stopped by and so sweet of you to leave me a SUPER SWEET note! May all your gardening dreams come true!!! XO, Aimee

  9. I love it! You’ll have to update me on the mystery plant for sure! XO, Aimee

  10. Pam - @diy Design Fanatic says:

    Great post! Your raised beds look wonderful.I love our raised beds and our veggies are doing really well. Stopping by from My Romantic Home.

  11. Our Delightful Home says:

    Thanks for the motivation! This is such a great post!

    Mrs. Delightful
    http://www.ourdelightfulhome.blogspot.com

  12. great ideas for a raised bed garden! i’m just getting ready to plant a few veggies here, it’s been so cold. Might have to give a raised bed a try!

  13. You amaze me!! How can you accomplish SO much in such a short time!? I love love love this. It looks like it’s straight from a magazine. And, I know you’ll enjoy the fresh veggies and fruit. So inspiring!

    I’m pinning/FB sharing!

  14. Shiloh says:

    I love the size and shapes you chose. I bet that makes them much more accessible than a huge area. Good luck!

  15. This is a great tutorial. Maybe I can plan something like this for next year. I like how easy it is to get to each crop.

  16. garden raised bed says:

    Awsome post. Thanks for sharing a wonderfully planned out garden. I really like the tiered beds. Are they made of 1x cedar?

  17. Sherry @ No Minimalist Here says:

    Your raised garden is wonderful! I have wanted to do this for a while but we have deer that eat everything to the ground. Thanks for linking to the OHP.

  18. MomHomeGuide says:

    Beautiful! We have two raised garden beds that have plastic mesh around them, but both beds have been raided by groundhogs! We saw THREE groundhogs scurry from our garden the other day. Do you have any tips for keeping animals out?

  19. Jennifer @ Town and Country Living says:

    This is a great post, Aimee! We have raised veggie beds but I never thought to do a triangular one. I’m lovin’ that tiered herb garden! I’m definitely pinning this and showing it to hubby. Thanks!

  20. This will be our first year in a house with a sunny yard–looking forward to the gardening here, and we need to get started on building beds soon–thanks for the inspiration!

  21. anita says:

    how can i keep raccoons and bears out?

  22. Marymar says:

    it´s wonderful, please, this page needs a traslate….

  23. Wanted to come by to say hello…it’s so very exciting to see garden posts again, winter has lasted way too long! Just wanted to let you know Fishtail Cottage’s Garden Party will be starting up again in May (Thursday May 2nd) Would love to have you come over and link up again and again! Hope you have a great weekend! xoxo, tracie

  24. Lynaea says:

    This is such thorough and GOOD information! Thank you for including the pictures too of other’s raised bed garden plans. Beautiful. Lynaea @ EveryDayBloom.com

  25. Tiffany says:

    Amy what a great guide to planting a garden and I love yours! I will be featuring tomorrow of a link party round up! I am so excited to put this to use!

  26. Lisa says:

    I live in PIttsburgh, PA. When should I build my raised beds, fall or spring?
    thanks.

  27. Thanks for the tips! I am planning on making a small raised garden bed for our patio this year for the first time and this helps! Now if you can just tell me how to make sure I don’t kill everything I plant… haha

  28. Hanna Daniels says:

    That’s definitely getting bookmarked!!! I have whole winter to convinced my husband to help me do some of these raised bed projects in our garden!

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