10 raised bed garden ideas

Get instructions for the ultimate planting box for your veggies. Plus: More ideas for raised bed gardens

How to build a raised bed for the garden

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Your guide to making a raised garden bed

A raised bed is one of the best ways to grow vegetables.

Materials for a raised bed:

  • One 6-foot-long 4-by-4 ($15)
  • Six 8-foot-long 2-by-6s ($75)
  • One 10-foot-long 1-inch PVC pipe ($3)
  • Two 10-foot-long ½-inch PVC pipes ($6)
  • 32 3½-inch #14 wood screws and 16 ½-inch #8 wood screws ($29)
  • One 4- by 10-foot roll of ¼-inch-mesh hardware cloth ($15)
  • Eight 1-inch galvanized tube straps (semicircular brackets; $3.60)
  • 32 cubic feet (1 1/5 cu. yd.) soil mix ($100 in bags; look for combination of topsoil, compost, and potting soil).
With a table or power saw, cut the 4-by-4 into four 16-inch-tall corner posts. Cut two of the 2-by-6s in half. Cut the 1-inch PVC pipe into four 12-inch-long pieces and the ½-inch PVC pipes into 6-foot-long pieces. Assemble pieces on a hard, flat surface.

Raised Bed Assemble

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Build bed upside down. Set a 4-foot 2-by-6 on its thin edge on pavement, and place a 16-inch post at one end. Secure post with two 3½-inch screws. Repeat at other end of board. Repeat with other short board.

Join short sides with an 8-foot board; and secure with two screws. Add other long side. Add second layer of 2-by-6s.

Raised Bed Position

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With help from a buddy, flip the bed right side up. Move it into position in the yard, marking with a trowel each corner post’s location. Move the bed aside; dig a 5- to 6-inch-deep hole for each post.

Put the bed back into place, with posts in holes; fill around posts with soil.

Raised Bed Install Lining

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Install Lining

Rake the existing soil at the bottom of the bed to level it, then tamp it smooth. Line the bed with hardware cloth to keep out gophers and moles; trim the cloth with shears to fit around corner posts.

Raised Bed Attach Pipe

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Attach pipe

To hold hoops for bird netting or row covers, attach four 12-inch pieces of 1-inch PVC pipe inside the bed: On the long sides, space pipes 4 feet apart, 2 feet from each end; screw on two tube straps to secure each pipe.

Fill the bed with a planting mix of topsoil, compost, and potting soil; rake it smooth, and moisten it with a gentle spray from the hose.

More about soil for raised beds

Video: How to get great dirt

Raised Bed Insert Hoops

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Insert the hoops

To cover newly planted seedlings with bird netting or season-extending row covers, simply bend two 6-foot pieces of ½-inch PVC pipe to form semi-circles, and slip their ends into the 1-inch pipes inside the bed.

Then drape the bird netting or row covers over them.

Plus: More ideas for raised bed gardens

Photo by Ann Summa; written by Sharon Cohoon

Plus: More ideas for raised bed gardens

Free-form corrugated steel

We love the look of corrugated metal as a raised bed. Here’s how to make your own.

More: How to build a corrugated metal bed



Big-yield beds

Photo by Jennifer Cheung

Big-yield beds

Raised beds provide better drainage and aeration than in the ground and makes harvesting easier. In this garden, one 4- by 4-foot raised bed produces 80 pounds of tomatoes.

Tiered look

Marion Brenner

Tiered look

Plant herbs in a tiered raised bed for a great look and easy access.

More: 9 indispensable herbs to grow

One-pot garden

Photo by Thomas J. Story

One-pot garden

A watering trough becomes a great planting bed.

More: How to plant a one-pot veggie garden 

Chic recycled metal

Linda Lamb Peters

Chic recycled metal

Turn scrap metal into super stylish raised beds.

More: How to build edgy veggie boxes


Easy starter garden

Photo by Reed Davis

Easy starter garden

On a sunny, narrow stretch of land, newbie gardener Reed Davis installed modular boxes and then planted them, taking notes and photographing each step along the way. In spite of some glitches—like squirrels eating the watermelons—the project’s success became abundantly clear within a few months. “I get so much produce out of the garden that it makes me giddy sometimes,” says Davis.

More: How to start a raised-bed veggie garden

Postage-stamp garden

Photo by Erin Kunkel; written by Julie Chai

Postage-stamp garden

“I call it my front-yard grocery store,” says Elaine Uang of her kitchen garden, in Palo Alto, California. Although small, the space gets lots of sun, which is why she and her husband, Mike Greenfield, chose to grow edibles alongside their driveway. They harvest more fruits and veggies here than they imagined possible. The keys: good design, raised beds, and espaliers.

When they started the garden, Greenfield, a longtime gardener, focused on planting as many crops as possible; Uang, an architect, wanted to make sure everything looked good. She came up with an overall plan, then brought in collaborators to complete their vision.

Now the couple can harvest something whenever they’re hungry‚ whether peppers for lunchtime salads or melon for dessert; even their 18-month-old daughter helps with picking. And by having edibles in front, they’ve met neighbors who grow food too, so they now swap crops. “Every season is a learning experience,” Uang says. “It doesn’t matter what you grow as long as you give it a try.”

Info: Metalwork, planting plan: BaDesign, Oakland (badesignlab.com). Planting and care: Star Apple Edible + Fine Gardening, Oakland (starappleediblegardens.com)

Geometric look

Steven Gunther

Geometric look

Arranged in neat squares around a center fountain, raised planting boxes frame herbs and veggies and complement a contemporary kitchen garden.

More: How to plant growing squares

Stone-lined bed

Rob D. Brodman

Stone-lined bed

Stones make for easy edging.

More: How to make a stone-lined planting bed



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