Many people around the country grow a garden each year. What do you do when you don’t have a tiller to till the soil or good quality soil to plant in? For some people, building raised bed planters is the perfect solution. What’s more, they can be built in about 30 minutes and cost around $30 depending upon the materials you use.
What size raised bed do you need to build? A 4’x8’ raised bed is a good size for a variety of reasons.
- A 4’x8’ gives you 32 square feet of area to plant, which can be a very productive garden.
- A 4’x8’ box can be placed in small spaces.
- A raised bed can be perfect for areas where the soil is not good for planting.
- Raised beds required less weeding than a full-size garden.
- Raised beds can be cleaner than in-ground gardens because you don’t have to walk in the dirt, and therefore, can avoid tracking soil into your home. Of course, this will depend on how the walkways around the raised bed are finished.
Here are the items you’ll need to build a 4’x8’ raised bed:
Untreated wood – Three 8-foot long 2”x10” boards. You could get the wood pre-cut to the size you need, but you could also get longer boards and cut them down which may be cheaper in the long run. Of course, you will need more wood depending upon how many raised beds you will be building.
4-inch Exterior screws – You may have already purchased these for a different project, but even if you don’t have them, they aren’t very expensive. The reason you want to use exterior screws is so they shouldn’t rust.
A drill (cordless or corded) – You’ll need this to put the raised bed together. A cordless drill may or may not have the power needed to drive a 4-inch screw. If you have a corded drill, you should be able to get the raised bed put together quickly.
Soil – Plants have to have soil to grow, so be sure to use the best quality soil you can use.
Plants – It doesn’t matter if you’re starting your raised bed with seeds or plants. Of course, if you use starter plants, you’ll have fruits and vegetables to harvest much sooner.
Now that you have all of the needed items, let’s get building!
- Begin by cutting one of the 8-foot long boards into two 4-foot pieces.
- Pre-drill four holes, one at each corner, of the two shorter boards to make assembly easier.
- Using the drill, screw the box together by overlapping the pre-drilled end over the longer boards to create a rectangle.
It’s as simple as that!
If you aren’t sure you want to build a raised bed garden from scratch, there is the option of buying a kit that has everything pre-measured, pre-drilled, and ready to put together. These kits can be found in differing sizes and a variety of materials. Here are several options you may be interested in:
Boldly Growing Wooden Raised Garden Bed Kit – Outdoor Elevated Ground Planter Beds for Growing Fruit/Vegetables/Herbs – (44 x 44 x 11) inches – Natural Rot-Resistant Wood Lasts 5+ Years
This raised bed garden kit is perfect for growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs. It is 44”x44”x11”. Made of natural, rot-resistant fir wood, it can be constructed in about 5 minutes, and it will last 5 or more years.
Galvanized Raised Garden Beds for Vegetables Metal Planter Boxes Outdoor Flower Bed Kit Steel Patio 4x3x1 FT
This raised bed kit holds 11 cubic feet of soil. It has an open bottom to allow good drainage and a way to keep weeds from the soil, as well as defending against pests to keep your plants safe. The kit is easily put together in about 5 minutes.
Outsunny Set of 4 Plastic Raised Garden Bed Elevated Box Kit Rattan Pattern with Self Watering Design and Compact Footprint, Perfect for Flowers Vegetables and Herbs
This raised bed planter is lightweight and will not deteriorate by weather. No tools or screws are needed to build this kit. Planting area dimensions are 15”x15”x7”.
This raised bed garden kit doesn’t required tools for assembly. The dimensions are 48”x48”x11” and weighs 19 pounds so it’s easy to move before you add dirt and plants.
The raised bed kit is proudly made in the USA of western red cedar. It is easy to assembly quickly and no tools are required. Stack the assembled boxes to reach the full depth of 12”.
When considering where to place your new raised bed you want to place it where it will get some sunlight (about 6 hours) but maybe not be in the direct sunlight all day long. This will allow you to plant a variety of fruits and vegetables with differing sunlight requirements.
After placing the raised bed in its new location, you’ll need to fill it with soil from which the plants will grow. Here’s a great soil mixture you may want to try:
1/3 weed-free soil or seasoned compost
1/3 perlite or vermiculite
1/3 peat moss
The perlite or vermiculite and peat moss should be easy to find at most garden centers or any local nursery. They are also very easily found online.
Here are some links to help you locate the items listed above if they are not available locally.
Vermiculite can be used to amend the soil for starting seeds, propagating cuttings, or storing bulbs. It loosens soil, provides aeration, and helps the soil retain water.
This 100% natural vermiculite can help loosen heavy soil and prevent compaction. It also aerates the soil as well as promoting root growth.
This is a lightweight amendment to improve moisture and retain nutrients. It promotes better aeration and root growth. It is listed OMRI for organic gardening.
This 8-quart bag of Perlite will help loosen heavy soils and prevent compaction of the soil. It aerates the soil as well as promotes root growth. It is 100% all-natural for organic gardening.
Use this Perlite to loosen heavy soil and prevent soil compaction. Aerate the soil while root growth is promoted.
This all-natural vermiculite is great for aerating plants and soil. It helps to maintain a neutral pH and is excellent for maintaining moisture within the planting environment.
Peat Moss Products
Peat moss has unique water-holding capabilities that helps plants require less frequent watering. This peat moss is enriched with Miracle-Gro plant food. It lightens heavy potting soil mixes and retains moisture and nutrients.
With the Black Gold Peat Moss, you get all the benefits of peat moss along with an organic wetting agent. It is helpful in seeding or preparing new or existing lawns.
Burpee Organic Premium growing mix is enriched with plant food to help you grow delicious fruits, vegetables, herbs, and vibrant flowers. It’s perfect for a raised bed garden and is formulated with coconut coir which helps to retain moisture between watering. OMRI listed for organic use.
Mixing the Ingredients
To mix the three ingredients, you may either premix the three items before adding it to the raised bed or do what we did. We poured the bags directly into the raised bed and mixed them together with shovels and rakes. Do your best to get the three components well-mixed to ensure you’ll have a productive garden.
After the soil is ready, add your plants and then water them in. You will want to either use name tags to indicate what a plant is, or if you have children that like to move things around, create a reference chart that will tell you which plant is where.
Before too long, you’ll be harvesting the plants and enjoying the homegrown goodness!
Here are some other suggested items for your gardening needs:
ESOW Garden Tool Set, 3 Piece Cast-Aluminum Heavy Duty Gardening Kit Includes Hand Trowel, Transplant Trowel and Cultivator Hand Rake with Soft Rubberized Non-Slip Ergonomic Handle, Garden Gifts
This 3-piece gardening set is built to last. It is ideal for a variety of gardening tasks. The ergonomic and soft-grip handles reduce hand pain and fatigue experienced when digging, weeding, or planting.
GIGALUMI Garden Tools Set -11 Piece Heavy Duty Gardening Tools with Garden Gloves and Garden Handbag – Aluminum Outdoor Hand Tools with Garden Trowel Pruners and More – Gardening Gifts for Woman
This full set of 11 gardening tools has everything you need to meet your gardening needs. The tools are made of heavy-duty aluminum alloy, so you don’t have to worry about them rusting or breaking while you use them.
Scuddles Garden Tools Set – 9 Piece Heavy Duty Gardening Tools with, Ergonomic Hand Digging Weeder, Rake, Shovel, Trowel, Sprayer, Gloves Gift for Men & Women Upgraded 2020 Version
Not only do you get the garden tools you need, you also get an easy-fold bucket to store your tools when they’re not in use. The set includes high-quality hand tools, a water sprayer, and gardening gloves.
Yard Butler Twist Tiller Heavy Duty Manual Raised Bed Garden and Flower Box Claw Weeder Cultivator Aeration Hand Tool With Solid Steel Shaft Unbreakable Tines – ITNT-4
Standing at 38” tall, this item has a step plate that centers you over the tool as you twist, using the force of your body to loosen compacted soil. Loosen, turn, till, and aerate with one tool for a more beautiful garden or yard.
Garden Genie Gloves, Waterproof Garden Gloves with Claws for Digging Planting, Best Gardening Gift for Women and Men (Purple)
These gloves have 4 built-in durable ABS Plastic Claws on each hand. They’re perfect to use for digging and planting without hand tools. They are waterproof and puncture resistant as well as being easy to clean. There is nylon knitting on the back of the gloves to keep your hands cool and dry even in the summer.
If you do a lot of gardening and find that you use many pairs of gloves over the year, here is a great way to save money on quality gardening gloves. There are 10 pairs of gloves that are easy to use, easy to wash, and very comfortable to wear.
Garden Seat Links
Fitnessclub Deep Seat Garden Kneeler and Seat-Folding Garden Kneeler with 2 Ex-Large Tool Pouches-Gardener Foldable Bench Stool with Kneeling Pad Cushion-Gardening Bench
This garden seat and garden kneeler is made of heavy duty metal which can hold up to 330 pounds. There is also a 2xsoft form seat pad cushion which makes gardening more comfortable if you’re on your knees. The seat also comes with 2 extra large pouches. It easily folds to make it easy to store.
Haoyin Garden Tools Sets- Heavy Duty Gardening Gift Tool Kit Including Folding Stool with Tool Bag 5 Sturdy Stainless Steel Tools(Gardening Trowel Trans-Planter Weeder & Rake) for Women Men
An all-in-one garden tool kit with 7 pieces, along with a heavy duty folding chair with tote bag. The stainless steel tools have wooden handles which are ergonomic to make gardening easier.
This flat soaker hose is extremely flexible and versatile. Place the hose above ground or under a thin layer of soil or mulch to get water exactly where you want it. It is perfect for raised beds. It is backed by a 2-year limited warranty.
Easily snake through rows of seedlings or mature plants to efficiently water season after season. Burying the hose under mulch makes watering much easier when it is hooked up with a timer. It is made from clog-resistant fabric cover for consistent soaking.
Written by Tara Nolan, this book explains how raised bed gardening is becoming a fast-growing gardening strategy. It also goes into how to construct raised beds, the height suggestions, and the types of materials to use. With 272 pages, you’re sure to find what you need to know for using raised bed gardening at your home.
If you’re interested in raise bed gardening but don’t know where to begin, Tammy Wylie offers the perfect book for you. It includes information on how to build a raised bed, mixing and maintaining soil, with instructions to make it super easy. It has 142 pages will help you take your gardening to the next level.
Brackets for the Corner of Your Raised Bed
These raised bed corner brackets from Panacea will help keep your corners sturdy and professional-looking. Measuring 12” high x 6.5” wide x 6.5” diameter, the brackets have an attractive design that are easy to install.
These 100% steel raised garden bed corner brackets are designed for outdoor use. They can be used with any 2” wood without tools required for installation. Manufactured by Garden Bloom, they have a limited lifetime warranty against defects in materials or workmanship.
Covers for Your Raised Bed Gardens
This all-season pest cover from NuVue provides a barrier to protect the plants in your raised bed from troublesome animals. Available in a variety of sizes, this barrier will protect your plants from birds, deer, and other small animals.
Bird Netting [Heavy Duty] Protect Plants and Fruit Trees – Extra Strong Garden Net Is Easy to Use, Doesn’t Tangle and Reusable – Lasting Protection Against Birds, Deer and Other Pests (7.5ft x 65ft)
Get long-lasting protection for your plants without harming birds and small animals. By using this reusable barrier, you will be able to enjoy the fruits of your labors rather than feeding the local wildlife. The product promises frustration-free installation that allows you to cut it to size.
Agfabric Standard Insect Screen & Garden Netting Against Bugs, Birds & Squirrels – Mesh Netting, White (10’x12’)
Agfabric is known for its high-quality mesh cloth made with PE materials. This garden bug netting works to protect flowers, vegetables, and fruits from flying birds, moths, and other insects while allowing water, air, and sunlight to get through. The netting can be cut to meeting the specific sizes you need.