Cedar Raised Bed Garden “How-To”
This raised bed design was my spring gardening project. I selected cedar rather than pine or pressure treated lumber for appearance and chemical-free characteristics. These cedar boards came with a rough side and a smooth side, and so all pieces are constructed with my preferred rough side facing outward.
White picket and wire fencing sections cut from a large roll fill the spaces between the upright posts to keep feral cats and other wildlife out of my planted beds, but these may not be necessary for you. These can be remove to tend and harvest herbs and vegetables.
The posts are considerably taller than the white picket fencing. Birds enjoy these higher observation perches. They also make great places for bird feeders or houses when I want birds to visit or support for netting when I don’t (such as when I have strawberries planted or freshly sprouting seedlings).
You can use shorter posts or even cut them so that they are no higher than the side boards. You can omit the white picket fence sections. You can also adjust the side dimensions. The plan is flexible and may just be a starting point for your own special design.
If you want to make similar garden beds, for each you will need three 1″ x 8″ cedar boards that are 8′ long. One of these should be cut into two 3′ long pieces. (You will have a 2′ long leftover section that can be used for other outdoor projects.)
You will also need six 1″ x 2″ cedar boards that are 8′ long. These should be cut into twelve 4′ long pieces. One end of each of these should be trimmed at a 45° angle to form a pointed spike-like end to better go into the garden soil.
Use a combination square set to the thickness of one of the twelve upright posts to mark a line at each end of the two 8′ long and the two 3′ long boards. These will guide your placement of the upright posts.
Use a tape measure to mark 3′ from the top (flat end) of each of the twelve posts. Use the combination square to extend this around three sides of each post. This marks the position of the bottom edge for each side. With a 1/8″ drill bit, make pilot holes at 2″ and 5″ above each mark.
Now you are ready to glue and screw the posts to each main boards. I used water resistant wood glue and 1 and 1/4″ outdoor wood screws. Although the glue is not necessary for the long term, it is helpful for the short term by providing a stable bond while positioning each section and particularly if it’s necessary to pound in the posts.
Both end board get two posts each. The longer side boards get four posts each. For even spacing, I measured 29 and 1/2″ from each end post to mark where the additional posts should be positioned. Your measurements may vary somewhat, so you may want to calculate for yourself.
You can then lay out each of your four garden bed sides to determine best placement and to then dig out our bed with eight holes about 12″ deep for each of the posts. These are positioned together as shown and fastened together with more outdoor wood screws. Bricks or other edging make a nice “frame” for the raised beds and also help to keep grass trimming to a minimum.
These photographs were taken May 2015.