A set of raised wooden beds is a great way for a beginning gardener to get started. These beds take a lot of the guess work out of soil composition--which is one of the most difficult parts of gardening.
Raised wooden beds are relatively easy to build, using the following tools and materials:
Step 1 - Prep the Area
First, mark out the area that you’ll need to prep based on the number and size of wooden beds you plan to build. The area should be leveled off, using the rake and flat-bladed shovel. Pile the excess topsoil in a corner so it can be used to backfill the beds later. Install the landscape fabric over the areas where you will set your boxes to help prevent weeds and unwanted growth from infiltrating your beds.
Step 2 – Build the Beds
To construct the wooden beds, first cut the 2x12 into 2 equal lengths about 8 feet long. Then cut another 2x12 into equal lengths of about 3 to 5 feet depending on the desired width of the bed. Now it’s time to assemble all 4 sides, using the 3-inch galvanized screws. To make it easier to fasten the corners it’s probably a good idea to drill some pilot holes. Make sure to use at least 3 screws per corner to ensure the corners do not separate over time. Use the framing square to make sure the corners are square and double check using the 3,4,5 method. This method is based on the pathagoreom theory. If you measure 3 feet on 1 side and 4 feet on an adjacent side, then the distance between the 2 should be 5 feet.
Step 3 –Set the Beds
To set the raised wooden beds in place and to keep them from shifting, use wooden stakes constructed from the 2x4. Cut the 2x4 into 10-inch lengths using a circular saw. Next, make 2 45-degree cuts at the end of the cut 2x4 so that it makes a point. You’ll need at least 8 of these stakes per bed. Next, space the stakes equally apart on each of the 4 sides of the bed. Drive the stakes into the ground, making sure they are snug to the side of the bed. Then fasten them to the raised wooden beds, using the 3-inch galvanized screws.
Step 4 – Backfill the Beds
The final step in constructing raised wooden beds is to backfill them using the excess topsoil from the grading process. Adding an additional 3 to 4 inches of topsoil along the edges of each of the beds will also help counteract the pressure exerted from the topsoil inside the bed. Use the flat-bladed shovel to spread the soil around. Use your foot to compact the soil into place. Once you’ve finished backfilling, you can fill the beds with whatever soil mixture you prefer.