Learn how you can add to your outdoor space & garden by making your own DIY raised garden beds and boxes
As we have talked about in previous posts, we really have been trying to update our backyard. We have added a DIY playset with rock wall, new porch and now we wanted to create our own DIY raised planter’s boxes and raised garden beds.
Even though we are not professional gardeners, we knew we could give this outdoor DIY project a shot to help grow our tomatoes, pepper, herbs, and whatever else we want to try our green thumb at.
Why build raised garden boxes?
In our backyard, we wanted a space that was specifically for growing vegetables and herbs. We also knew that the looser dirt in a raised garden bed is supposed to help your plants thrive.
In the past our garden has been on the side of the house. It was really hard to maintain and take care. We thought by adding planter boxes to our backyard then we would be able to work on taking care of our garden, while our kids were playing.
These raised garden beds or boxes also will make it easier on our backs this year. This is a huge plus…
And hopefully that means my husband may actually weed and help take care of things.
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How to build DIY raised garden boxes or raised garden beds
Raised Cedar Garden Bed Plans
First, you will need to decide the dimensions of your planter boxes. Here will talk about ours that were 7’0” long x 42” wide x 33.75” tall cedar planter boxes.
Supplies needed to build a raised garden bed
- (2) 4” x 4” x 8’ Cedar posts
- Posts really measure 3.5 ” x 3.5” x 8’
- (10) each 1” (thick) x 12” (wide) x 8’ (long) long Cedar boards
- Boards really measure 11.25 wide x 0.75” thick
- We purchased ours from the lumber yard, but here is a similar board
- (1) Cedar 2 x 4 x 8’
- 2.5” stainless steel screws
- Weed fabric
- Aggregate – #57 washed river rock or #57 limestone
- Bagged concrete
Why did we choose cedar for our planter boxes?
We chose to use cedar for our outdoor raised vegetable garden beds. Some people will use pressure-treated wood (as explained in this HGTV article), but we wanted our wood to be as natural as possible when dealing with growing vegetables we would be putting in our bodies.
Can’t you just buy raised garden boxes?
Before we decided we were going to make this a DIY outdoor project, we did look into purchasing raised planters, boxes, and garden beds.
4ft Vertical Garden Bed-5 Tiers for Indoor and Outdoor Growing-This gardening item was very intriguing.
Unfinished Cedar/Natural Raised Garden from Lowe’s-This would be great if you only wanted a smaller raised garden box.
4 ft. x 8 ft. Original Raised Garden Bed from Home Depot-Depending on the height you want for you raised garden beds, this one might be a good option.
20″ x 7″ Wood Box Planter Stand from Target- I love the look of this smaller and modern raised planter. I am not sure if it can go outside, but it sure would look cute in my screened-in porch with herbs in it!
Step-by-step tutorial for creating DIY raised planter boxes and garden beds
1. Cut boards to size. Our posts were 4’ long, long sideboards were 7’ 1.50”, and our short sideboards were 42”.
2. Pre-drill 1 x 12 boards. Attach a clamp to post and cedar board to help keep wood in place while building your raised garden boxes.
3. Screw long sides standing upright. You will need to determine if you want the finished (smoother) side facing out or in. You will repeat this step two times. Our 1 x 12 boards are 3”s above the top of the posts to leave room from the top of the board to the top of the dirt and mulch.
4. Flip screwed boards upside down, on a flat surface with the bottom of posts facing up.
5. Attach 42” section. Try to make sure the connection is square (we know that is easier said than done)!
6. Flip assembled rectangular garden box right side up with the boards on top.
7. Attach cedar 2x4s inside face splitting board joints in half. This will also allow one person to be able to move the planter boxes.
8. Dig four post holes using a manual post hole digger or a shovel. Or if you know you will be doing more outdoor DIY projects, you may want to get an electric post hole digger (one day I may get on for my husband).
This does take some time, but if you build large boxes like we did you will want to do this.
9. Set the planter box in holes. Since we are placing our garden boxes on a slight incline in our backyard it was important that we set the posts so that the box would not tip over. This also will help them stay level.
10. Place 4’ level on top of boxes and level by raising and lowering the boxes in the post holes.
11. Mix and place bagged concrete in or by a wheelbarrow. Follow instructions on the pack of ready mix concrete.
12. Fill holes to set posts in the ground with the mixed concrete to set the post. Make sure to let the concrete cure overnight.
13. Rip extra cedar wood to fill empty spots if your ground is uneven like ours was and attach it to the posts.
Tips for using ready mix concrete to set posts
When mixing concrete, do not add too much water. It is better to be a little dry than too wet.
Wear gloves when mixing concrete in order to avoid getting concrete burn.
How to prepare raised garden boxes for plants
1. Put weed barrier inside of the raised planter boxes.
2. Roll up the inside face 6 inches and staple to the inside of your DIY garden box using a staple gun.
3. Place 11 inches high of materials that promote drainage. We used old landscape pavers and #57 washed river stone.
4. Place 24 inches of topsoil and garden mix soil. Our son sure loved helping with this process. It does take time, but we love doing things ourselves. Depending on the size of your boxes, will depend on how much soil you need.
Tip: We used a local landscape supply company as you need a lot of dirt to fill your planter boxes. Most areas should have a company willing to deliver soil right to your driveway.
5. Place 2 inches of hardwood natural mulch on top of the dirt in your raised garden box.
6. Plant your garden accordingly. We plan on planting tomatoes, green beans, pepper plants and herbs in our raised garden beds. You will have to check back and see how our plants do this year!
Think about companion gardening when deciding what to plant in your raised boxes
You may want to check out this article about companion planting from the Farmer’s Almanac and how to choose what to plant next to each other in your garden boxes.
Or check out this post from DIYDanielle about easy plants to grow outside. If our vegetables don’t do well this year, I may need to revisit this list next year!
Future plans for our raised garden beds
Next year we hope to try to start composting and to add another raised garden bed. We will test our green thumbs out this year and see how we can add and improve our garden each year.
Related Outdoor DIY Projects
Screened-in Porch Ideas (You want to see our amazing new space)