It’s official! We have a real garden this year! It doesn’t look like much, but we’re getting there. And it’s also given Andy a really great reason to build something other than a wooden sign for an order. He was over the moon when I gave him the go ahead to build a set of raised planters. Guess he was so excited that he decided to build TWO above ground planters for the garden at his mom’s house where we’re gardening this year.
I admit, he did a really great job. And I have to say, he did a lot of research on what is the best planter set up for what we are growing this year. The list currently includes lettuce, kale, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, and I think there has been some talk about pumpkins, but we’re still figuring that one out. He said he needs a tons of room for one pumpkin plant and I’m not sure what “tons of room means.” I guess we’ll find out.
Anyway, Andy made two beds: one is 8 feet by 2 feet, and another that is 8 feet by 4 feet. Three Home Depot trips, a delivery of soil, and a lot of patience resulted in two pretty awesome beds. Below you’ll find instructions on how to make the 8 foot by 4 foot bed. Use the sample principles to make the smaller bed, just different measurements for the sides.
DIY Raised Planters
What You’ll Need
- 6, 8-Feet Long 2×4 Pine Boards, Non-Pressure Treated
- 2, 6-Foot 2×4
- 1 Box of 3-1/2 in. Flat Head Deck Screws
- About 38 Cubic Feet of Soil (We used local Garden Soil)
- Circular or Hand Saw
- Measuring Tape
- Carpenter’s Square
- Hoe or Rake
First, measure two of the boards and mark 4 feet from the edge. It should land in the middle of the board. Mark and cut the two boards at the 4-foot mark with your saw. These pieces will be the ends of your planter.
Take your 6-foot 2×4 and measure 14-inch sections. Mark and cut with your saw. These pieces will be your corner braces and help you attach the two levels to your bed.
Next, lay two of your 4-foot planks flush to each other, aligning the shorter ends. Then, place two of your braces at the ends of the wood so it overlaps both pieces, but is flat to the edges. Using your drill, screw through the planks into your braces, four screws per side. You should use 8 screws total for this. Repeat this with your other two 4-foot planks.
For your 8-foot planks, you will place your braces three feet from each end. Screw in your braces. Repeat with your last two 8-foot pieces of wood. These will create your longer sides.
Using your carpenter’s square, make a corner with one of your 8-foot sides and one of your 4-foot sides. Screw the ends, then repeat with each corner, making sure your braces are on the inside of the frame.
After you build the frames, place them in the location you’d like them to finally end up. Use your shovel to create an outline around the bed, digging in enough to know where your frame will be when it’s removed from that space. Then remove the frame and dig out the grass within that rectangle (see picture below). You’ll want to dig down about an inch, so that you remove the layer of grass from the soil.
Replace the frame over the soil. Make sure the fame is level to the ground, then you may start filling in the frame with soil. As you add the soil, it’s good to have one person use a hoe or rake to help level the soil around the bed. Do not pack down the soil. We used a local farm that provided us with local soil that is mixed with compost. But using any garden soil will do. Your local Home Depot or Lowe’s should have various options for vegetable gardens to choose from if you can’t purchase local soil.
Now you’re ready to plant! Good luck and let us know how your own beds came out. What did you plant?