The Perfect Raised Bed

A nice, big planting box is just the thing for summer veggies, herbs, and flowers. See how to make one 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. And it’s just the thing to turn your backyard into the farm of your dreams. Follow our directions, and you’ll be able to DIY the 4- by 8-foot bed pictured here as a weekend project. Design: Sunset garden editors Johanna Silver and Lauren Dunec Hoang


  • Four 16-inch-long 4-by-4s ($15), to act as corner posts
  • Two 4-foot-long 2-by-12s ($35), for bed ends
  • Two 8-foot-long 2-by-12s ($65), for bed sides
  • Twenty-four 3 1/2-inch #14 wood screws ($5)
  • Twenty-four 1/2-inch #8 wood screws ($5); optional
  • Six 12-inch-long pieces of 1/2-inch PVC pipes ($3); optional
  • Three 10-foot-long pieces of 3/8-gauge rebar ($10); optional
  • Three 3- by 5-foot rolls of 1/4-inch-mesh hardware cloth ($40), to deter burrowing animals; optional
  • Twelve 1-inch galvanized tube straps ($5); optional
  • 1 roll bird netting or floating row cover ($25); optional
  • 16 cubic feet of planting soil ($55 if bought in bulk; $85 if bought in bags)
  • 16 cubic feet of compost ($60 for bulk; $85 in bags)
  • Drip-watering system; optional

Total cost: $235 for raised bed with soil (bought in bulk; $290 with soil bought in bags). Prices may vary.

More: Step-by-step instructions


  • Drill
  • 5/32-inch drill bit
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Shovel or trowel
  • Level (optional)
  • Gloves
  • Staple gun
  • Wire cutters
  • 4 adjustable woodworking bar clamps: 2 short (12 inches) and 2 long (6 feet); optional