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Thread: How to build cheap raised beds for the garden

  1. #1
    Elite Member Novice's Avatar
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    Beyond Caring, then hang a left.

    Default How to build cheap raised beds for the garden

    $10 Cedar Raised Garden Beds

    Submitted by Ana White on Fri, 2010-05-14 05:03 Printer-friendly versionSend to friendPDF version

    About Project

    Cedar raised bed make gardening easier, more accessible, more economical, and more efficient. But often a cedar raised bed can cost hundreds of dollars. With this plan, I figured out how to create raised cedar beds - deep ones - for about $10 each.

    Author Notes:
    UPDATE: Here's those cedar beds I built for $10 bucks each . . . just before the moose ate the entire garden I can't rave enough about these beds, my garden was amazing and super low maintenance. BUILD THESE. It's a must build.
    A while back while shopping at the Blue Store - AKA Lowes - shopping for mortar and grout and stuff for our river rock stone veneer for the face of our house, I happened to smell some cedar.
    And I love the smell of cedar. So I followed my nose to a pile of dogeared 1x6s on special for $1.59 each.
    $1.59 each.
    $1.59 Each for a 1x6, 6' Long. That's 1/3 the cost of pine 1x6s. And granted, these were fence pickets and the corners were tapered off, but that's only the top inch.
    And yes, the were 5/8" thick instead of 6/8" (or 3/4"), but I was okay with not paying 10 times as much to get my corners back and an 1/8" of thickness. Besides, I had a specific use in mind for these fence pickets.
    As a child, my mother fed us on a garden she grew. Nine children. And I can less than fondly remember that garden, the size of a football field, and each of us kids had a row the length of a football field to keep weed free. So the thought of a raised garden, much easier to maintain and more effective, efficient and warmer (because warm is an issue in Alaska). And much easier on our backs.
    image from Kiwicreativeinc
    image from Better Homes and Gardens
    Better Homes and Gardens has a complete slideshow of the benefits of a raised garden here.
    I especially loved these long an thing raised beds because they made sense to me - no reaching for weeds and each plant gets full sun. And I could line them up in rows, label each bed, and Gracie could get her very own row (except we'll try to make Grace's gardening fun and not all work).
    So I bought six boards for a grand total of $9.54, and went home and somehow found 20 minutes to build this
    Not bad for $10. And naturally weather resistant cedar too! For a planter, you want to use natural wood because treated lumber releases odors and chemical that you don't want mixed in with your food. And cedar naturally resists rot and insects, so a great choice for planters.
    This planter also resists rot and insets, is just under $10. But I think you are going to be okay with a little elbow grease (and a lot of burned calories) to get this:
    I haven't found the time to finish the planter (and may choose to leave them natural) but I wanted to share this project with you right away because I'm not sure how long these boards will be marked down. And I'm not sure how long these boards will be on the shelf - I just called in an order for 150 boards.
    Of course, you can build a different size, lower sides, or even planters with enclosed bottoms. And I also thought that these boards would make great siding boards for our playhouse.



    Dimensions are shown above.

    Materials and Tools

    Shopping List:
    6 Cedar Fence Pickets
    1″ Screws
    2″ Screws
    Wood Glue
    Finishing Supplies

    measuring tape
    safety glasses
    hearing protection
    circular saw
    table saw

    Cut List

    Cut List:
    4 16 Fence Pickets @ 72″ (Side Panels, you can trim the dog ear off and work with a 71″ Fence post)
    8 12 Fence Pickets @ 11″ (Corner Posts)
    4 16 Fence Pickets @ 17 3/4″ (End Panels)
    2 12 Fence Pickets @ 72″ (Top Trim, I used the non-dogeared ones from the center of the cuts)
    2 12 Fence Pickets @ 19″ (Top Trim, Ends)

    General Instructions

    Work on a clean level surface and check for square after each step. Predrill and countersink your screw holes. Be safe, especially with the table saw, and have fun.

    Step 1

    Rip your Corner Posts
    In 160 Plan Posts, Ive never asked you to rip anything. And Im dreading asking you to rip this fence post. But Ive done the math, and by ripping one fence post into 4 1 1/4″ wide strips, you are saving quite a bit of money (well, that is, if you intend to build a garden full of planters). So set your tablesaw to 1 1/4″ and rip one of the fence posts to 1 1/4″ wide, as shown above. If you dont have a table saw, you can use 12 cedar boards, but you will need to add 1/2″ to the final top trim boards on the ends. And you are going to have to shell out an extra few bucks.

    Step 2

    Side Panels
    Use your 1″ screws and glue to put together your side panels as shown above. The post will overextend the sides by 5/8″ as shown above. I also used my Kreg Jig to join the boards together in the center, and you can do this too. But I feel like my planters are too flat and had I not joined the boards in the center, the planter would be more rustic.

    Step 3

    End Panels
    Build your end panels exactly like your side panels.

    Step 4

    Assembling the Panels
    The panels should fit together like a puzzle. Fasten with 2″ screws and glue. Check for square.

    Step 5

    End Top Edges
    Finish the end top edges just like you did the sides. If you used 1x2s measuring 1 1/2″ wide, you will need to measure and cut this board to the planters dimensions.

    Ana White | Build a $10 Cedar Raised Garden Beds | Free and Easy DIY Project and Furniture Plans
    southernbelle likes this.
    Free Charmed.

  2. #2
    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Feb 2007


    That's a lot of trouble just to feed a moose! They do look nice anyway.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

  3. #3
    Elite Member Waterslide's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
    out where the buses don't run


    those are nice! And maybe not impossible for me. I had a dream the other night that I was being attacked by a moose, but that's probably beside the point.
    Gross, put it away. You could dress beautifully but you gotta be Miss Granny Panty Whore.
    ~Manx Mouse

    Life is a hell of a thing to happen to a person.

  4. #4
    Elite Member OrangeSlice's Avatar
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    Studying with Master Grumpy Cat


    I really want to do this. Building them might be a good fall/winter project in the basement to get ready to plant stuff in warmer weather. (And we have no moose here. Only massive amounts of deer.)
    "Schadenfreude, hard to spell, easy to feel." ~VenusinFauxFurs

    "Scoffing is one of my main hobbies!" ~Trixie

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Tati's Avatar
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    This looks like a great plan for a raised bed! Really simple construction. And the author is right, buying new, "proper" cedar for the job can easily run you a hundred bucks a bed (I think that's exactly what we paid...).

    One thing, instead of ripping the long board to make the corner posts (step 1) you might be able to find some really cheap pieces in a different wood; it wouldn't matter if the corners looked different, you could even paint them, like a frame.

    I've never seen moose in a garden, only deer - yowza!
    If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.

    - Kahlil Gibran

  6. #6
    Elite Member Bellatheball's Avatar
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    Oct 2005


    My husband just made one like this. I suggested it on a Friday night and he had it done by Saturday night. Looks awesome.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Tati's Avatar
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    ^ I like those ones, they have a bit of a ledge you could sit on!
    If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.

    - Kahlil Gibran

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