A weekend is all you need to complete this three-step project. 

A weekend is all you need to complete this three-step project. 

Robbie Caponetto

Building a raised garden bed is an easy, affordable way to grow small plots of vegetables and flowers in your yard. Raised beds are a great solution for growing in smaller outdoor spaces. This three-step project can even be completed in a weekend, so you’ll have your backyard garden set up in no time.

Step 1: Prepare

Determine the dimensions of your raised bed. For beginners, we suggest starting with a small rectangle or square, depending on the amount of space available in your yard. Don’t make the beds any larger than 4 feet wide, so there’s enough room for two rows of plants. Any wider, and it will be hard to reach the center of the bed.

Choose a rot-resistant lumbar such as cedar, oak, redwood, or black cherry. Many home improvement stores will cut the boards for you, but if not, use a saw to cut them at home to the desired lengths.

Select a sunny spot in your yard to set up the raised bed. You can build on top of grass. Or if you prefer to set the bed a few inches in the ground, outline the dimensions of the bed in spray-paint, and then use a shovel to dig up the grass and loosen the soil underneath. Make sure the prepared plot is level before placing the bed in it.

WATCH: How To Create a Raised Garden Bed 

Step 2: Assemble

Arrange four boards in the shape of a rectangle or square (depending on their length) so that the ends meet to form four corners. Starting with one corner, drill a hole through both of the boards to prevent them from cracking. Place one at toward the top and one toward the bottom. Drill a 3-inch deck screw into each of the holes (you can add more screws for sturdiness as needed). Repeat with the remaining three corners.

Place the finished bed on the prepared plot. Position it so it runs from east to west; this will prevent plants from casting shadows when they grow taller. If you prefer, line the bottom of the bed with landscape fabric, newspapers, or cardboard to prevent weeds from growing into the bed.

Fill the bed with potting soil. Amend it with organic material or compost for added nutrients. Use a rake to mix the materials together and smooth out the soil.

Step 3: Plant!

Sow seeds of flowers, produce, herbs and more. Find tips for growing your own food here.