Home » DIY Garden Projects » Building Raised Vegetable Beds (August 2009) » Step 2 – Building the Raised Beds

Step 2 – Building the Raised Beds

I followed these steps build my raised beds. The basic idea is outlined in this helpful video from Patti Moreno, Building Raised Beds.

Note: The day before the crew arrived to empty the space, I partially assembled my raised beds to have them ready to drop into place. This was easier than it looked.

Patti made it look so easy. If she could do it, so could I. I made a trip to Lowe’s and purchased untreated pine lumber. I do not recommend using treated lumber in raised beds. We do not want any nasty chemicals leaching into our organic soil. They cut the wood for free and helped me load it the back of my SUV. All I needed to do when I got home, was to predrill the holes and screw the boxes together.

Here is what I bought:

12 – 2 x 10 x 8′ uncut
6 – 2 x 10 x 8′ cut in half (yielding 12 – 2 x 10 x 4′ pieces)
2 – 2 x 3 x 8′ cut into 16″ lengths (yielding 12 pieces)
2 boxes of deck screws 2 1/2″ long

Raised Bed materials

With my cordless Dewalt drill (which is the best drill ever), a tape measure, pencil and straight edge ruler – I was ready to get started.

Supplies and Tools

First, predrill the holes. I used a bit that was about the same width as the deckscrews I bought. I stacked all of the 4 foot long boards next to me. They’re easier to handle than the 8 foot long boards. Then I placed a 12 inch long 2×4 board under each end of the first board. I used a folded piece of cardboard for a knee pad. It did help a little, but knee pads would have been better.

cheap knee pads

I measured about 3/4 of an inch in and made two marks. I connected the marks to make a straight line and then evenly spaced the holes on the line. (Since the boards are 1 1/2 inches thick (if you watched Patti’s video, you know a 2 x 10 x 8 is not really 2 inches thick, it is about 1 1/2 inches thick, so 3/4 of an inch in should be get my deckscrews in the center of board.

predrilled holes
Using the Drill

I placed a 2 x 4 piece under the 16 inch long 2 x 3 and drilled that into each corner of the box. I could have made the 2 x 3 the same height as the box but I would have needed another 2 x 3 x 8 ft board.

Raised Bed 2 x 3 installed

This raised bed is about 9 inches tall and pretty heavy. I finished all three just like this one. I am going to wait for the crew on Monday to move them into place in the new garden. We will them add the second layer. I predrilled the holes in those boards also, so it will be easier to assemble.

first layer done on raised bed

It was getting late, so I stacked them vertically on the side of they driveway so the crew would have room to work.

Raised Beds Vertically Stored

Next Step: Clear the Space

8 thoughts on “Step 2 – Building the Raised Beds”

  1. Just curious…maybe I missed it?…but how many square feet of raised beds do you have now? As I’m laying out my fall garden (in excel) I’m debating bed size and numbers…

  2. Bettie Daugherty

    They are nice. I am 73 years old and live on mostly rocks . My daughter in law had just under pinned the house and used gravel and landscape timbers to keep wind from tearing underpining off again as we live upon a hill. Winds are furious there so I used 8′ timbers to build raised beds. Mine are 8’x8′ I love them also Bettie

  3. Jackie-
    We are planning to use untreated 2×10’s for the raised vegetable beds in a community garden – though our beds will only be a single board-width deep. How has your lumber held up? How long do you expect the beds to last before you need to replace at least the bottom boards?

    1. Jacqueline D'Elia

      One of the 3 beds already needs replacing of the bottom boards on one side. Based on the condition of them now, I would say 3 full years is about the longest they’ll last here in Houston. Not too bad since they only cost $40 per bed – about $13 per year.

    1. Jacqueline D'Elia

      Most of the community gardens here in Houston use solid square cinder blocks – they last forever and make a nice ledge for sitting while working.

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