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How to Build a Raised Garden Bed

Frances Palmer and her husband constructed 18 eight-by-four-foot raised beds. (You can also work on a smaller scale, such as two-by-three-foot beds.) Here’s how to do it (for 1 box):

Photography: Joe McKendry

Source: Martha Stewart Living, May 2014


  • 3 pieces untreated fir, each 2 inches by 6 inches by 8 feet

  • 3 pieces untreated fir, each 2 inches by 12 inches by 8 feet

  • 10 galvanized truss-mending plates, each 6 inches by 1 inch

  • Drill and deck screws, 1 1/4 inches

  • 8 galvanized L brackets, each 4 by 2 inches

  • 1 roll weed-block fabric, 6 by 50 feet

  • Staple gun


  1. Cut 1 of the 6-inch-wide boards in half and 1 of the 12-inch-wide boards in half, creating 4-foot lengths for sides. (Many lumber suppliers will cut wood for you.)

  2. On a flat surface, lay down a long 12-inch-wide board; butt a long 6-inch-wide board against it. Evenly space 4 mending plates along length, straddling the boards as shown, above. Screw into place. Repeat with other 8-foot boards. Repeat with 4-foot boards, joining each pair in center with 1 mending plate.

  3. Hold 1 short side perpendicular to long side. Screw together at inside top with an L bracket. Repeat at inside bottom. Continue process, connecting all four sides.

  4. Line box with a double layer of weedblock fabric. Staple in place, about 1 foot up sides.

  5. Fill bed with a 50-50 mix of compost and topsoil (available for order at most nurseries), leaving approximately 3 inches of space below rim. An 8-by-4-foot bed will require about 1 cubic yard of fill.

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