Building a Raised Garden Box on a Budget

Lead Image
  • 2-4 hours
  • Beginner
  • 50-100
What You'll Need
Three 8-foot 2" x 12" planks
4-inch screws
Cardboard, old carpet, or newspaper
Garden soil
Measuring tape
Carpenter's square
Circular or hand saw
Phillips head bit

When you’re investing in your yard, things can start to get pricey fast. However, installing raised garden beds to house beautiful flowers and bountiful plants doesn’t have to be costly. Luckily, you can build raised garden boxes on the cheap that are highly functional and look great.

Why Go With Raised Garden Boxes?

You may be wondering why you should opt for raised garden boxes. There are a range of reasons. First, raised garden boxes provide good drainage for plants. They also offer protection from weeds and pests, keeping your plants safe. Finally, raised beds are a great option for those with limited yard space, as they can easily be made into multiple sizes and shapes to fit any outdoor space.

Building Cheap Raised Garden Boxes

In a few simple steps, you can build inexpensive raised garden boxes for your yard.

garden box with vegetables

Step 1 - Measure and Mark the Wood

Use a tape measure to locate the center of an eight foot wooden plank. A cedar plank is a good option because this type of wood is resistant to rot, even when exposed to water. Mark the center with a pencil in a straight line. If an eight foot plank size doesn’t work for you, you can easily adjust the size to suit your needs.

Keep in mind that the bed should be at least a foot deep but no deeper than four feet. Using the eight foot planks described in this tutorial creates a rectangular bed, but you can adjust as needed to create square planks if that is better suited for your space.

Step 2 - Cut the Plank

Cut your plank in half with a circular or hand saw. Cut down the line that you measured and marked, leaving you with two four foot planks.

circular saw cutting boards

Step 3 - Set Screws

Use your tape measure to mark three quarters of an inch from each end of your planks. Using a drill with a Phillips head bit, sink the screws partially into the end of each plank where marked. There should be three screws, placed three to nine inches apart from each other, across each end of the plank. Do this on each end of your planks.

Step 4 - Attach Sides

Hold one plank on its side and match another one up to it at a 90-degree angle so that the screws are facing the end of the long, eight foot plank. Use a drill and Phillips bit to secure the two planks together with the screws.

Step 5 - Square Corners

After all sides are attached to create a rectangle (or the desired shape), use a carpenter's square to line up the corners at 90 degree angles, then using screws to attach them.

Step 6 - Repeat Process at Other End

Repeat this process at the other end to complete the rectangle shape.

Step 7 - Add a Base

Place your bed on a flat surface in your yard. You’ll also want to choose a spot that gets good sun. Remove any debris that exists in that area of the yard. Then, use newspaper, cardboard, or old carpet to cover the ground that exists within the bed. Doing this helps to prohibit the growth of unwanted weeds in your garden bed.

filling a garden box with good dirt for vegetables

Step 8 - Add Soil

Add soil to your raised garden bed on top of the bottom barrier you created. A mix of soil, compost, and other organic materials is best for growing healthy plants in this scenario. Use a shovel and wheelbarrow to fill the bed with soil, using the shovel to even it out and spread it evenly. A rake is also useful in leveling the soil. It should reach about a half-inch from the top of the bed.

Step 9 - Add Plants

The only thing left to do is add plants to your new raised garden boxes and watch them flourish!

Raised garden boxes don’t have to be a costly endeavor to adorn your yard, and they certainly can help you to more easily and successfully grow flowers or harvest crops of your own.