The perfect raised bed

A nice, big planting box is just the thing for summer veggies, herbs, and flowers. See how to make it in a few simple steps

Johanna Silver

A raised bed, essentially a large planting box, is the ultimate problem solver—it offers perfect drainage, protection from pests, and easy access to crops. A raised bed is just the thing to turn your backyard into the farm of your dreams. Follow our directions you’ll be able to complete the project pictured here in one weekend. Design: Sunset garden editors Johanna Silver and Lauren Dunec Hoang.


  • Four 16-inch-long 4-by-4s ($14)
  • Two 8-foot-long 2x12s ($65)
  • Two 4-foot-long 1-by-12s ($33)
  • Six 12-inch-long pieces of ½-inch PVC pipes ($2)
  • Six 10-foot-long pieces of 3/8-gauge rebar ($11)
  • 24 3½-inch #14 wood screws ($8)
  • 12 ½-inch #8 wood screws ($2)
  • Three 3- by 5-foot rolls of ¼-inch-mesh hardware cloth ($42)
  • Twelve 1-inch galvanized tube straps ($2)
  • 16 cubic feet planting soil either bought in bags or in bulk. (Bags: $85, Bulk: $55)
  • 16 cubic feet of compost either bought in bags or in bulk. (Bags: $85, Bulk: $60)
  • Total cost: $294 (soil bought in bulk); $349 (soil bought in bags). Prices may vary.


  • Drill
  • Drill bit (5/32-inch)
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Staple gun
  • Wire cutters
  • 4 adjustable woodworker bar clamps, 2 short (12 inches) and 2 long (6 feet) (optional)

More: Get our step-by-step instructions

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