Raised garden beds are a thing of beauty, and they come with lots of benefits as well! However, like everything else, you have to do them right for them to be both aesthetically pleasing, and for the flowers and vegetables to grow.
In this guide, we will be walking you through how to DIY your own raised garden bed for flowers and vegetables; from preparing the wood to preparing the seed to plant. Whether it’s your first time doing this or not, we’ll outline a few facts, some tips and techniques, and even general information you’ll be glad you came across. Let’s begin!
Building a Raised Beds Frame
Starting a vegetable garden, raised beds or not, begins with choosing the location. If you have a spot where the garden bed can receive full sun, that would be ideal. If not, do not fret. You may still choose to grow leafy vegetables like spinach and lettuce.
Once you’ve decided on a spot, begin by gathering all the tools you’ll be needing for this project.
- Cedarwood (you may use what wood you think is best, but this would be a strong recommendation)
- Garden Stakes
- Corner Clamps
- Miter saw, circular saw, or jigsaw
- Screws (wood and exterior)
- Paper bags, newspapers or weed membrane (or any viable substitute)
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Compost or peat moss (as needed)
- Perforated fencing sheet (metal or otherwise)
- Staple gun (or any viable substitute)
- Tape measure (optional)
- Soil thermometer (optional)
- Tiller (optional)
We’ll not spend too much time talking about the dimensions of the boards. Truthfully, this is entirely up to you, your garden space, and your preferences.
Instead, it is more important to make sure that the length, width, and height are precisely parallel to each other. A perfect square or rectangle is the goal; thus, although using corner clamps is not mandatory, it is highly recommended. The corner clamps make it harder to make mistakes.
Also, whenever you need to drill screws and link boards together, always create pilot holes prior. This prevents the wood from breaking from the inside. Exterior screws that are one and a quarter inch long should do the trick. Try not to rush this step. Going slow decreases the chance of destroying the boards.
Video credit: B&Q
- Once you’ve connected all four sides, you may use a tape measure to make sure that you got the dimensions perfectly aligned.
- If you’re creating two or more raised garden beds, make sure to leave a space in between each bed that one adult and one child can comfortably fit side-by-side through the spaces. This will help you enormously when doing maintenance or tending to the flowers and vegetables inside the beds.
- When purchasing the wooden boards at your local store, it helps to know exactly how much you need to save you having to make a second, or even third, trip.
- Use two power drills instead of one. Use one exclusively for drilling the pilot holes, and the other exclusively for the screws. This will save you a significant amount of time, and pain, from having to switch between the driver and drilling bits constantly.
Now, add in the garden stakes to each corner. This will serve as a “foundation” for the height of the entire raised garden bed. You can make them as high as you’d like and you may even make them high enough that you can have some fencing sheet around the bed.
Once you’ve completed the raised garden bed frame/structure, it is now time to prepare the soil for planting. Proper soil preparation helps maintain a beautiful garden, and it also saves a lot of water.
Testing the soil
To achieve optimal results, it is best not to leave the growth of your flowers and vegetables to chance. Rather, test your soil to find out if it is suitable for planting or if you need to do some amending.
Step 1: Water the soil
Soak the soil with a lot of water and then leave it for a day. Then, dig up a handful.
Step 2: Squeeze the soil
With your dominant hand, squeeze the handful of soil. If water drips out, this is an indication that drainage might not be good enough. To amend, add compost or sphagnum (peat moss).
Step 3: Release your grip
Soil should be compact and form a ball of sorts. However, if it falls apart from the lightest touch, this is an indication that your soil is too sandy. If the soil falls apart into bits and crumbs similar to chocolate cake, this means that the soil is ideal for planting.
It is best that you do this when there is little to no chance of rain. Start by removing any visible weeds or grass and then spread the paper bags, newspapers, or weed membrane (or any viable substitute) around your DIY raised garden beds. You may or may not use garden stakes to keep them in place.
Once the area of the beds is completely covered, use your wheelbarrow to dump your prepped soil into the beds. Loosen up your soil by hand or with the use of a tiller. Next, spread out the peat moss or compost evenly in all corners of the soil without stepping on it. Grab your rake and even out the surface.
When the surface is even, water thoroughly. Waiting a few days before planting is ideal, but not mandatory.
If all that is in place, you may now plant your flowers and vegetables. Once you’ve planted them in the raised garden beds, water them as needed. Your watering habits would depend on the kind of vegetable or flower you choose to grow. It helps to do your research thoroughly before watering. Overwatering is the most common cause of death of all crops.
Once that is in place, you may now cover your garden beds with a perforated fencing sheet. You may choose to opt out of this step; however, we recommend that you install it in case there are rodents, rabbits, cats, or any other wildlife that may cause harm to your DIY raised garden bed and its contents. After all, having your hard work destroyed isn’t idea!
Quickcrop Starter Raised Bed Kit 4ft x 4ft
- Timber raised bed kit – prefect for herbs, salads and flowers
- Timber treatment certified by the Soil Association safe for use with organic food crops
- .75 inch thick treated timber boards & internal 2 inch corner posts
- Easy assembly – all fixings and instructions included
- 4ft by 4ft by 7in high
The last and final step is to spruce up the area! Starting your own DIY raised garden bed for flowers and vegetables was no easy task, especially if it was your first time! Sure, the steps might have been simple or straightforward but making sure all the nuances were perfect took a lot of effort. Congratulate yourself by honouring your work; clean up the area around the beds.
After all, creating something from nothing with your own two hands, and forgive us for being cliche, is a feeling unlike any other. Happy gardening!