Home Gardening How to Build a Raised Garden Bed for Cheap

How to Build a Raised Garden Bed for Cheap

by Anthony

Raised Garden BedsGrowing up, my father would plant his small garden in our tiny northern New Jersey backyard. The typical Italian family that we were, we harvested tons of tomatoes, eggplant and other family favorites. Every Sunday during the summer was a feast carefully prepared by my 4 foot grandmother Anna.

Years have past and so have my beloved family. My wife and I since moved south and created our own homestead in North Carolina. I was now head of the family and my role as the gardener began. Unlike the rich black dirt that I grew up weeding, down here we have hard red clay. Not only does it tear up my carpets but it is horrible for growing. Several years ago, I found the book, [easyazon_link identifier=”1591865484″ locale=”US” tag=”hpgen-20″]All New Square Foot Gardening[/easyazon_link], I fell in love with the idea of planting in 4 foot raised beds and at the time it seemed like the answer to my red dirt issue. I set out to the local hardware store and proceeded to build my raised garden beds.

Today, my back yard is filled with dozens of different sized raised garden beds, my harvest is well planned and bountiful. I painted my beds with non-toxic latex paint and they last several years without rotting! Here are the plans I used to build my first few grow beds, enjoy!

UPDATE 11/23/2015: Need some inspiration? Check out our latest post “12 DIY Raised Garden Bed Ideas”


How to Build a Raised Garden Bed

Raised Beds



  • (1) 2 in. x 10 in. x 16 ft. Kiln-Dried Southern Yellow Pine Lumber
  • (2) 2 in. x 4 in. x 10 ft.
  • (1) Box 2 1/2 Galvanized Screws
  • Screw Gun
  • Cordless Drill
  • (1) Qt Non-toxic Exterior Latex Paint (Optional)

Step 1

Cut the 2x10x16 in to 4 equal length pieces approx. 4′ long. Take in to consideration that 1/16″ or so lost from the blade.

Step 2

From each of the 2 2x4x10’s you will cut 2pc 4′ 1″ long and 2pc 9 1/2″ long.

Step 3

Assemble the boards as shown below, make sure to alternate how they are placed so each side is even length.

Step 1

Step 4

Place the 4 short 2×4’s in each corner and screw each board to them.


Step 5

Add the cap pieces and screw down. Make sure to use a drill to make pilot holes to avoid splitting.


That’s it! You don’t have to spend that much time getting your garden up and running. Feel free to pass these plans on to friends. Here is an image of the raised beds i built a few years ago. Yes, the color is fugly, but I bought what was on clearance at Home Depot.




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Lacey Frantz March 5, 2015 - 2:17 pm

What is the wire going across the top for?

Anthony Urso March 5, 2015 - 3:07 pm

We use a gardening method called Square Foot Gardening. The wires across the top creates a grid. In each of the 16 squares we grow companion plants. Its a good way to maximize your space!!! Take a look at the book , there is a link to it in the second paragraph.

Fred Souza March 28, 2015 - 2:57 am

the math isnt working in these directions. The 12 foot Board cut into 4 pieces will not equal 4 foot lengths

Luci Mireles March 29, 2015 - 3:55 pm

“Cut the 2×10 in to 4 equal length pieces approx. 4′ long. Take in to consideration that 1/16″ or so lost from the blade.”


Steve March 29, 2015 - 5:01 pm

A 12 foot long board will not produce four boards 4 foot long. Approximately or not basic elementary school math is needed here.

Luci Mireles March 29, 2015 - 5:04 pm

You’re right! I made it into a 16′ long board in my head. Whoops. I thought you were nitpicking over the 1/16″-1/8″ or so. My apologies.

Steve March 29, 2015 - 4:55 pm

A 12′ board will only produce 3 pieces approx 4′ in length. You will need a 16′ long board to get 4 pieces.

tonyurso March 30, 2015 - 1:56 pm

Thanks for pointing that out with the 12ft board length, it was a typo on my end, I modified the article, Cheers!

SEWSAVY May 7, 2015 - 1:41 pm

I’m curious about how you sectioned off the inside. I can’t tell what’s in there. I’m getting ready to build mine and wondered if those were deep enough and it appears you put mulch down on the bottom.

Anthony Urso May 7, 2015 - 2:18 pm

I used butchers twine and finishing nails to make my grids. There is no mulch that’s all black organic compost! I grow tomatoes and carrots without a problem of depth. Hope that helps.

SEWSAVY May 7, 2015 - 2:22 pm

Yes, thank you. My vision limits what I see in photos but that explained everything. I’ll give them a try soon. I like the idea of the grids.

Skye Duplechain June 6, 2015 - 3:07 am

Do you put anything at the bottom other than enriched soil, like a board, mesh, or anything to keep it separate from your clay dirt?

NF September 23, 2016 - 1:39 am

The cap pieces are made with the 2×4’s too?


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