This DIY Raised Garden Bed Project was pretty budget friendly as we made most of it from recycled materials.
Due to my dietary needs and the need for self isolation due to a weakened immune system, we had been wracking our brains on how to make use of our small urban yard. Here is a step by step process on how we started our urban garden.
Disclaimer: Please note that this website utilizes affiliate links to keep the lights on! All this means is that if you click on one of the links and make a purchase, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This us allows us to keep bringing you great content! #gratitude
Once we had an idea of what we wanted to build , the first step was sourcing wood. We did not want to invest a ton of money and we are big on recycling/upcycling where we can , so we decided to repurpose wood pallets. It took us about 2 weeks to collect enough pallets by visiting local retail stores & other local business’s that just put them at the side of the road for people to take. We wound up using approx 15 skids. (Some were not entirely usable)
HOW WE BUILD OUR RAISED GARDEN BED INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO
Stripping the pallets takes a bit of time and a little muscle but ultimately is a pretty easy task.
- Use a circular saw and cut along either side of the 2X4, supports. Be careful not to cut into any nails or you will damage your blade. Metal shards can also fly off the blade causing injury. I recommend keeping any nails you pull or pop out of the pallets some where right away so there not everywhere.
- Once you have the pallets broken down a quick jig stop is made with your miter saw at 16 inches. First squaring one end and then butting against the stop and cutting again. This ensures even edges when assembling.
- If you know the liner distance your bed panels need to be, you can figure a rough idea of how many pallet boards you need for each side. Most of my pallet boards were 3.5 inches wide.
- When disassembling the skids, choose the best full length planks of wood for the door.
- Clamp the boards tight together. Using the 2X4, pallet support as a backing. Pre-drill all of your holes to keep the wood from splitting and secure them at the best determined height.
- Before cutting the door blank , get some card board and cut it to fit across the door for a template.
- Use an empty coffee can, plate or other round traceable object to create the moons.
- Use drill to make an entry point and cut out with jig saw
- The bed side panels. Using an extension ladder as a flat even surface, measure and clamp your starting board face side down. Once all 16 inch pieces are laid to length (12 ft), again using 2×4 supports from the pallets ,pre-drill and screw on as backing.
- Continue this process until all sides are built making sure the top and bottom edges are flush.
- To prevent your panels from rotting out faster,attach some heavy plastic to the inside of the panels.
RAISED GARDEN BED ASSEMBLY
- Lay each side in place and one by one screw them together at each corner, trying to keep the structure square.
- Be sure to use decking screws for this project as the will be exposed to moisture for prolonged time.
- Once built measure in an X pattern from corner to corner and find square.
- Again using pallet support , cut bracing to span the 3 foot wide bed to stop any bowing out due to the soil pushing out.
- Go around and hammer wood stakes in to the ground and screw the bed walls to them.
- This also helps to prevent any bowing or blowout from the dirt in the beds.
- Take some left over fence board and rip them in half. Attach to the tops of the bed walls to help clean up the edges and to give a place to learn or kneel or sit on once gardening.
The Garden Door
Now that your raised bed is in place it is time to add the door.
- Using two very clean pallets cut in half,stand them on their ends to act as a fence and solid support for your magical door to hang.
- Put a door stop in place to prevent the door from closing to far and breaking your decorative hinges.
- Cage in your garden with 1 inch wire mesh (or hardware cloth). **It just so happens we purchased 100 feet of chain link last summer to build a dog kennel. So naturally we had extra parts.
- Placed a post in each outside corner, and one in the middle of each of them for support.
- Pound the posts in to the ground, measuring off the top of the bed until they are the height of our wire mesh. Which in our case is 36 inch wide. ***We opted to have our mesh go into the raised beds a bit so our posts are set to 31 inches off the top of the bed.
- Now is the last chance to check your work. If you think you might need more bracing add more. It’s better to be safe the sorry
Filling The Garden Beds With Organic Soil
This bed once built will take 4 yards of soil to fill it.
We got 4 yards of triple blend soil from a local garden Center. *** We also had some other uses for the soil, like filling all of our containers and adding some top dress to other areas, and for this reason, we used the following method:
Which in short is a form of gardening where your base layer is comprised of logs & branches.This is where the pruning of the trees on our property came in handy!
We trimmed our trees leaving anything one inch or less in diameter for our new wood chipper.
Any branches 1 inch and over were for the raised beds and placed on top of cardboard.
We also wanted to add another component of gardening called living soil. Over the last few years we have been composting our scraps. We were given a bail of straw from a family member to use as mulch.
Layer The Soil :
Cardboard helps suppress weeds, logs and branches, a layer of straw, home made compost, then about 6 to 8 inches of triple mix soil. Being mindful that we will be adding a layer of straw mulch once planted.
This isn’t a perfect living soil method but it is what we had on hand and any other soil building can be done in the future years with mulching and top dressing amendments.
Mulching The Outside
We had purchased a wood chipper from Amazon in hopes to eliminate our continued fallen branch problem every year. Also will save us money on buying mulch.
Take the grass sod off the surface and flip it upside down,continuing around the outer edges. On either side of the entrance we mounded a bit of triple mix soil, levelled it, then added our fresh mulch.
Adding The Enclosure
- Take some old chain link fence posts and pound in the ground.
- Attach wire mesh to the post with 18 gauge wire.
- To finish off the top of the fence and to remove sharp edges, take some barn board and rip it into 2 inch strips
- Attach them to the top of the posts and then staple the wire mesh to the board to tighten it up.
Time To Plant Your Organic Garden
Using the farmer’s almanac website we were able to plan out how we wanted our vegetable and fruits bushes placed on our property. It also gave a printout of for what time of year to plant each type we were planting. Great website for you to check out. They have a free trial for a week I believe.
We hope you found these instructions of value and cannot wait to hear about your gardens! Leave a comment below letting us know what you are growing this year!