Building Raised Garden Beds
Updated: Mar 1
The price of wood is ridiculous and doesn't seem to quit. So I'm sharing with you an alternative to traditional wood beds that are just as functional and sturdy, at a fraction of the cost of a full wooden bed.
(Since initially writing this in 2020, the price of goods has gone up astronomically. So while this type of bed was a lot cheaper than wood in 2020, in 2022 it's about the same as a 2x12 bed of lumber (~$150.)
6 - 2x4x8 Lumber = $31
3 - 1x4x8 Lumber = $27
3 - Metal Roofing = $66
1 - L Flashing 4x4 = $18
1 - Roofing Screws = $14
1 - 3" Screws = minimal
Linseed Oil = $15
Total = $171 (2022, it was $100 in 2021!)
Cut two of the 2x4x8 footers in half. The set your saw at 45 degrees and cut the edges.
Cut the edges of the other 2x4x8 footers at 45 degrees.
Cut two of the 1x4s in half.
Cut the metal roofing panels at 2'. The last piece you only will use half, so you can save yourself a cut and have a remaining half sheet. Using a grinder is easiest.
Cut the L flashing at 2'. You can use a grinder, or snips work too.
Put it together
Assemble two frames, 4'x8'. Drill two screws into each corner. One will be the top the other will be the bottom.
Attach the 2' corner pieces to the bottom of the first frame. 4 metal screws per corner.
Flip it over (with a friend) and set it inside the second frame and attach.
Grab a roofing panel and begin attaching it at the corner of a long side, with a screw every foot or so.
Take the next panel and attach it on the opposite corner.
The last panel for the long side will sit in the middle and overlap the panels on each side an equal amount.
Do the same for the other long side, and then 2 panel for the ends.
Attach the 1x4s enough to cover the sharp edge of the metal and overhang a bit on the outside.
Stain all sides of the wood with linseed oil using a old rag or sponge.
Fill it up (hugelkultur style!)
This is the fun part of garden bed lasagna making! If you don't have a layer, it's really not a problem, just add more of the next layer up.
If you have chicken wire handy, we used some on the bottom for gophers, but not required.
Next, add a layer of thick logs, we had some leftover from a fallen tree. You can also get them from Chipdrop or your local arborist for free.
Small sticks and branches can go next.
Then leaves, grass clippings, food scraps, cardboard.
Mulch, and lots of it, put more than you think, it will quickly settle and you'll wish you used more. 😅
Nice garden dirt. Not from Home Depot, find a local place that delivers dirt and it will be way cheaper and usually better (about $45/yd in our area). Never again will I buy dirt from Home Depot.
The beds settle a lot the first winter as the mulch and stick start to decompose, so use more mulch than you think. 3-4" of dirt on top is plenty to start with the first season. Make sure to mulch on top over winter too.