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How to Make a Raised Garden Bed

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Raised beds are excellent for growing vegetables, flowers, herbs, fruits and trees. The soil in raised beds warms quicker than ground soil, allowing earlier planting. It’s easier to control conditions such as drainage, pests, weeds and soil quality.

Step 1

Prepare Frame

Prepare Frame

Choose a sunny site to locate your raised bed, and assemble the frame close to this location. We are building a raised bed that is 8ft long x 4ft wide x 16 inches deep. When building a raised bed ensure the bed is no more than 120cm wide as you need to reach the middle of the bed comfortably. We have chosen teak decking boards as they are low maintenance and long lasting. Soft woods such as pine or deal should not be used, as the beds are in full contact with the soil and therefore would rot very quickly. Wear protective gloves and eyewear to avoid injury. Using a hand saw or bench saw, cut the decking boards to length (enough to make two frames).

Step 2

Drill Frame Holes

Drill Frame Holes

To attach the boards together to form a frame, you will first need to drill pilot holes for the screws. Using a power drill with a wood drill bit, drill all holes.

Step 3

Screw Boards Together

Screw Boards Together

Screw the planks together using 100mm zinc passivated heavy screws and sink the heads just below the surface of the timber.

Step 4

Two Frames

Two Frames

Make two identical frames. These will make up the upper and lower parts of the raised bed. The two frames are not attached at this stage. Place the lower frame in the exact position you require. Mark the inside perimeter of the frame on the grass with a spade then remove the frame for the next step.

Step 5

Dig Bed

Dig Bed

Dig the area within the marks of the frame to a depth of one spade in order to loosen the compacted soil and allow any deep-rooting plants to penetrate. If you wish to apply manure to your bed to fertilise your soil, this is the time to do so.

Step 6

Insert Stakes

Insert Stakes

This raised frame will need to be supported by stakes driven into the ground. These stakes hold the upper and lower frames together and ensure the weight of soil in the raised bed does not push or bulge the long sides outwards. Measure the sides to determine the position of the securing stakes, we have chosen to position the takes 2.5ft from each end. Drive the crowbar deep into the ground in the chosen position for each stake, as close to the inside edge of the frames as possible. Work the crowbar backwards, forwards and around to enlarge the hole. If you encounter an obstacle with the crowbar such as a large stone, you may either reposition this stake or cut the stake shorter. Drive all the stakes deep into the ground with a sledgehammer.

Step 7

Screw Frame to Stakes

Screw Frame to Stakes

Do not worry about sinking the stakes so their tops are level with the top of the frame. Just ensure that they penetrate the ground by at least 12 inches. When the stakes are in place, screw through the frames into the stakes to secure the frame in place.

Step 8

Trim Stakes

Trim Stakes

Trim the top of the stakes with a saw. This will leave a clean edge and remove any sledgehammer damage left on the top of the post.

Step 9

Edge Lawn around Frame

Edge Lawn around Frame

Use an edging tool to cut the sod 3 inches away from the frame, all around the perimeter of the frame. Remove the sod and fill this gap with decorative bark. This will allow your lawnmower to cut the grass around the frame and will help control weeds directly around the frame. You may wish to now refer to our guide “How to Prepare a Garden Bed for Vegetables”.