Do you prefer to stick with one style of gardening or try a variety of different gardening techniques each growing season?
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My personal preference is to use a variety of different growing techniques around my property each season. I have a family of five to feed, and we try to raise as much food as possible for health reasons and to save on the grocery budget.
We garden in a greenhouse, also traditional in-ground gardening, upside down gardening, and we use raised beds in some instances.
Recently, we completed building a barn on our homestead. I had some scrap wood left over and decided to use it to make new raised beds. If you’re looking for a raised bed design, this may inspire you.
Here’s how we created our scrap wood raised beds:
- Four 2x6x8’s per bed
- Eight 15½ inch boards
- Galvanized metal
- Nail gun
- Impact driver
- Metal roofing screws
- Table saw or Skilsaw
1. Rip the Wood
To start building our raised bed boxes we had to rip the wood we had on hand in half. You can choose to create a thicker frame if you have thicker wood and no way to cut it down, or if you find a deal on skinnier cuts of wood, you can skip this step altogether.
However, in our case, this is what we had to work with. We took our 2x6x8 boards and placed them on our table saw.
One person pushed them through the saw, while the other person stood at the opposite end ready to catch the ripped wood.
This worked well, but we built multiple raised beds. We learned over time, that a Skilsaw worked just as well and decided to use it instead.
To use a Skilsaw, we placed the wood on saw horses and held them in place with clamps. One person ran the Skilsaw down the wood.
The other person held the wood from behind to help catch it when the cutting was finished. It’s up to you and the tools you have available as to how you choose to rip your wood.
However you go about it, make sure you use extreme caution. Saws are no joke!
You will need four 2x6x8’s per raised bed you build.
2. Make the Frames
Once the wood has been ripped, it’s time to cut the pieces into appropriate sizes. Our raised beds are eight feet long, three feet wide, and two feet tall.
You can change your measurements if you’d prefer a different width or height from the ground.
In our case, we left four of the wood pieces at eight feet long. To make the short ends of the rectangular raised bed, we took the remaining four pieces and cut them into three feet pieces.
When your boards are cut, it’s time to put the frames together. You’ll be building two separate rectangles for now.
Form a rectangle with two pieces of eight feet wood and two pieces of three feet wood. Use the nail gun to secure them.
Do this two times, and you’re halfway there to having a completed raised bed.
3. Connect the Dots
When you have both the top and bottom for your raised bed, it’s time to connect the two pieces. You do this by creating pieces of wood which measure 15½ inches long.
We had more scrap wood left hanging around from our barn build and decided to put it to good use. If you have scrap wood, use it. If not, choose wood you can get the best deal on and cut it to length.
You can use a Skilsaw to cut the wood to size. If you’re purchasing the wood, many big box stores will cut it for you, if you’re new to DIY.
These pieces will be your corners. You’ll have two 15 ½ inch pieces at each corner which must be secured with a nail gun.
Make sure you’re experienced in using a nail gun. If not, an impact driver with screws may be an easier choice or an old-fashioned hammer and nails can get the job done too.
We were able to put our boxes together on top of saw horses to bring them to a level easier to work with.
If you don’t have saw horses, you can put them together on the ground.
4. Create the Sides
When standing back, your raised beds should look like a wooden rectangle with corners. It’s now time to add the sides to be able to garden in these boxes.
I didn’t give you a dimension on the galvanized metal because if you have scrap metal (like we did) you can cut it down to where it’s eight feet long, two feet high, and three feet wide.
Otherwise, you can purchase metal near this size and cut it to size, or maybe even the exact size and put it in place. When the metal is the appropriate dimensions, screw it to the wood on the inside of the box with metal roofing screws.
Repeat this process as many times as needed to create the four sides of the raised garden beds.
5. Design the Layout
Now that your garden beds are built, it’s time to arrange them into the desired layout. Which is why I love using raised garden beds.
You can make them look as lovely or rustic as you desire. You can also arrange your shiny new boxes into neat shapes to add some character to your property.
In my case, we chose to do raised garden beds because I built my barn where our old garden once was. This left a ton of mud and an unattractive area leading up to the barn.
I’m going to sow grass seed and add some landscaping in time, but I needed a functional fix in a hurry. I don’t like having ugly places on my property.
We built four raised garden beds for additional grow space and arranged them into a diamond shape. It leaves room to get equipment back and forth to the barn, helps us maximize our growing space, and adds character to a place once lacking appeal.
Decide what flair your garden beds need to add to your property and bring it to life! It could simply be to create more planting space, or to hide an ugly area, to create visual interest to your homestead, or even a special area for your kids to start experimenting with gardening!
6. Get Ready to Garden
You’ve built your garden beds, they’re arranged exactly how you’d like them to be, now what? It’s time to get down to business.
Fill your raised garden beds with soil. Remember to amend your soil the same as you would in any other style of garden.
When your soil is ready to go, plant your crops in the raised beds, and care for them as you would in most any style of gardening.
We decided to combine hügelkultur gardening into our raised beds. I don’t like to leave items hanging around our property going unused.
Therefore, we added all the scrap wood and cardboard we could find and tossed it into the bottom of our raised garden beds. From there, we added soil and were ready to plant.
The wood will break down over time helping to add nutrients to the soil. In the meantime, it will work as a sponge and absorb water.
Our wood is untreated. Make sure if you incorporate wood into your garden bed or the wood you’re building your DIY raised beds from hasn’t been treated.
You don’t want to run the risk of the chemicals from treated wood making their way into your food.
At this point all there’s left to say is, “Congratulations!” You now have awesome raised garden beds which are affordable, a great way to use up yard scraps, and look nice too.
Raised beds make for a wonderful gardening experience as the soil is easier to work with, it’s a less labor-intensive style of gardening, and you can grow plenty of crops in a raised bed (especially if you choose the square foot gardening method.)
If you have a senior person in your family who loves gardening but battles with all the bending, then these DIY raised beds is the perfect solution.
I hope my DIY raised garden beds have inspired you. We wish you the best in your building and gardening ventures.