How to Build and Arrange a Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

May 10, 2012 by 34 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…

Apartment Therapy
Marcelle Danielle

Veggie Gardener

Cinder Block Gardens

Cinder Block Gardens

Boy’s Life

  1. Creative Way to Sprout Seeds with Kids
  2. Frugal and Eco Ways to Plant Seedlings
  3. How to Build and Arrange a Vegetable Garden
  4. My Opinion on Growing Watermelons


34 Responses to “How to Build and Arrange a Raised Bed Vegetable Garden”
  1. anita says:

    how can i keep raccoons and bears out?

  2. Marymar says:

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

  3. 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

  4. 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 @

  5. 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!

  6. Lisa says:

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

  7. 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


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