This is finally the blog post I’ll be explaining how my husband and I built our raised beds for a not-so-whopping $12 a bed (rough estimate). When I’ve read up on tips for raised bed sizes, typically they are supposed to be fairly deep and not too big. We like to make our own rules, though, especially when we are trying to build a garden on a budget! We went to a couple stores to browse the lumber areas and brainstorm some ideas. My husband is pretty brilliant at improvising and is very intuitive when completing projects around the house. Building raised beds were no exception. We found cedar wood (my gardening book, The Gardener’s Bible, mentioned in previous post specified that cedar deteriorates slower) used for privacy fencing. This wood measured around 6 feet long and would create a 6 inch bed. If you wanted to, you could stack these to create a 12 inch bed depth, but we are trying out the 6 inch depth to start with, especially so that we keep our costs down. If it works well, then we didn’t spend unnecessary money and use excess material. Next, we looked for a long piece of solid wood we could cut down for the corners. We also needed screws that are fit for outdoor use and wood glue. After all of these materials were gathered, we got to work on building 3×6 beds and 6×6 beds. Before actually building the 6×6, we made sure we could reach the middle as needed, although I should let you know that the 6×6 will have larger crops with companion plants in the center.
Here is the step by step of what we did. You can improvise as needed so the project fits your needs and matches what is available to you.
6 ft x 6 in cedar used for privacy fencing –UNTREATED
2 x 4 or other size solid wood – UNTREATED
What We Did:
1) Have the fencing wood cut down on curved edge to create straight line.
2) Figure out how many beds you need, and for any 3×6 beds, have 6 foot planks cut in half to make two 3 foot planks.
3) Have the piece of wood (2×4 or other size) cut to 2 inch wide pieces that’ll fit in each corner of garden bed.
4) Group your materials together for each bed: 1 group would be comprised of 8 screws, 4 corner pieces, 2 six foot pieces, and either 2 more six foot pieces OR 2 three foot pieces.
5) Glue corner pieces onto the planks that will become the sides – but you only need to do this for TWO of the four sides. Let dry until able to work with it. (We waited about an hour or so)
This photo shows 4 sides with corners glued, enough for putting together 2 raised beds once paired with the other sides that don’t need to be prepped.
6) Screw together the corners, using 2 screws per side of corner.
7) Let dry before moving, handle with care while transferring to its more permanent placement in garden.
That’s it! Our grand total for each garden bed ended up being around $10 because my husband was able to do a lot of the prep work with the wood himself, but if you are not able to, the places you can buy the wood from can cut the wood for you.
We ended up saving A LOT of money with this project, and hopefully you can as well! You can purchase raised bed kits, but they can be pretty pricey! We opted to build them ouselves.
The 3 x 6 works great with a full size fitted sheet when an unexpected frost hits!
When building raised beds yourself, you have a lot more options and can personalize your raised garden. If you or someone you know has spare wood or materials, you’ll save even more money while being resourceful. Have fun, be safe, and craft your garden with this budget friendly project!
** But remember, NEVER use a tool you are uncomfortable using or cannot safely use!! Safety is priority!
NOTE: I plan to update this post further when we build our next raised bed so that it is more specific and includes step by step photos.