Building a Raised Bed

Welcome to Mowenackie’s Do-It-Yourself Home Show!

Your host for the day will be Sarah, a wannabe carpenter with absolutely no experience. Joining her is her trusty sidekick, Owen. Owen likes digging, rolling in the grass and chasing the cats. He also likes piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.

Today’s project (which was actually completed two weeks ago) is: Making a Raised Bed Garden. Or at least the raised bed part.

Here are the materials you will need:


  • (2) 2×6 boards, 8 ft. in length (Aside: did you know 2×6’s are actually something ridiculous like 1-7/8″ x 5-3/4″? Why? This makes me feel cheated. Good thing Lowe’s gives a 10% military discount.)
  • 1 piece of flatwood, 1’x3′
  • handsaw
  • level
  • measuring tape
  • carpenter’s retractable pencil
  • power screwdriver
  • 2 “ 2.5″ screws (about 20, plus a few to strip or lose in the grass)
  • Band-Aids

Got all that? Okay, first lay your 8′ boards over two saw horses the picnic table bench. Use the measuring tape to find the 4′ mark, then draw a straight line across it. Try to follow this line as you cut the board with the hand saw. Try not to cut the picnic table bench.

4' boards

You should now have four 4′ boards.

Next, use the deck platform your husband just built as a level surface. Line up the boards face to end. This is called a butt joint, but I wish it wasn’t. I feel awkward telling you to hold your butt joint tight while you secure it with screws.

butt joints

You should now have a nice little frame.

Back to the picnic table. Measure off one square foot of the flatwood and cut. I made up the term “flatwood”. I have no idea what this type of wood is called. It’s not plywood. It’s flatwood.

Trace a line from opposite corners of your square and cut to form two triangles. Sawing the wood will be more difficult at this angle, but suck it up.

Repeat this step. You’ll need four triangles – one for each corner.

cutting corners

Secure the triangles in the corners using the screws.

finished bed

Fine. If you want to be all fancy-dancy and not lazy, you can go inside, get a hammer and some nails. Or you could probably use thinner screws if you had them or wanted to take another trip to Lowe’s. Because the 2.5″ screws may or may not split your flatwood.

split corner

In fact, they probably will.

As long as you can get the screw all the way in before the wood breaks completely, it will hold it. I think.

split wood


Other advice? If you come across a knot in the wood, it will be very difficult to get the screw through. You will have to take it out and start over in another place.

Or another.

Or another.

stupid knot

A word of caution: if you try to force the screw into the knot by using all your weight to lean on the power screwdriver, the screw will be %@#! hot when you finally give up and take it out. Handle with caution. Or have burn cream handy.

Don’t worry if your seams aren’t perfect.


The thing only has to hold dirt, not water. So get off my back, alright?

Injuries are possible.


Cue the Band-Aids.

Ignore the pain and focus on the results.

raised bed

See? Owen is ecstatic.

On our next show, well show you how to turn the sandbox-looking thing you just built, into this lush abundance of fruitfulness:

raised bed garden

Thanks for watching!


9 responses to “Building a Raised Bed

  1. Looks great!

    I tend to leave projects like that to my DH since he enjoys doing things like that and I really don’t. I would probably need more than a band-aid…I might need a visit to the ER!

    • Haha! I’m sure you’d be fine. I actually love doing stuff like this – I just don’t have a lot of practice. It was fun to learn some things, though.

  2. I think it looks fantastic! I love that you highlighted your mistakes so that others could learn from them. :) Nice work!

  3. You’re cracking me up. I love this. My ambitious projects are usually limited to the kitchen–where, I would like to point out, bandaids are also necessary. (see: steam burns, oven burns, accidental not-quite-finger-slicing-throughs, roof-of-mouth burns (which actually take no bandaids, come to think of it), and head-thumping on open cabinets.) Or maybe I’m just clumsy. I want a garden so bad, but I have nowhere to put it. And also kill everything I try to grow, which is maybe a bigger deterrent.

    • That’s okay. I have a black thumb, too. I’m doing this for the experience. :) Fortunately, my family won’t die or anything if I don’t get a crop yield – I’m also part of a CSA!

  4. therecoveringbrit

    Wow, that’s awesome work! Thank God you had Owen to help you too……hope he got his pina colada.

  5. A woman after my own heart! Love to garden, have no dear hubby to do for me, so I, too, have learned from doing; the hot screws, multiple screw holes, etc. But it is so fulfilling and rewarding to complete a project and then be able to plant and harvest your own produce or enjoy the beautiful flower blossoms. Gave up nail polish (why waste the time when I can be out gardening and fingers in the dirt and nail polish do not go together). My faithful champion of 12 years, Bonita, passed away the end of February and is truly missed.

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