Build a 6 X 3 Ft Raised Garden Bed for Cheap
I’ve been busy at work on my new garden area. The raised beds are in and looking fantastic. I originally wanted to build them from recycled pallets, but we decided it was too much work to pull the pallets apart. This is the design we settled on – using 6 inch x 6 foot cedar fencing planks. It was super easy and each bed cost about $12 for the materials.
There are several great reasons to grow in raised beds. They are easy to handle and clean. You can walk all the way around them for easy harvesting and you can thin plants without getting dirty. The small space keeps you from needing to walk on the soil, which means there is more room for plants and a bigger harvest.
My new beds are placed over an established grass area in the yard. Once the raised bed frame is built, you only need to do a few quick preparations to be able to start growing. It can all be done in a matter of hours. By afternoon you will have a garden ready for planting.
Materials needed to build raised garden beds:
// 6 – 6 foot by 6 inch cedar fence planks – have the hardware store cut 2 of them in half, so you have 6 – 6 feet pieces and 4 – 3 feet pieces
// 1 package (6) wooden stakes – see below
// 1 box of 1.5 inch screws
// an electric screw gun
// big pieces of cardboard
// a lawn mower or weed eater
First you need a flat surface to work on. To make one side, lay out 3 wooden stakes (end, middle, end) and place the fence picket over them, making sure the ends are square. Secure the fence picket to the posts with the screws. Make two of these 6 foot long pieces.
Now get 2 of the 3 foot pieces and attach them to each end. Again making sure your corners are square. We put the fencing tightly together so no dirt will be able to escape.
This is a finished bed (shown upside down) The stakes will help to keep the bed in place in the garden. You can omit the middle stakes, we just thought it should have more support for when it is filled with soil.
Once you have the box built, it’s easy to set it in the garden and begin growing. If you are building your boxes in a grass area like I did, you have a bit of preparations before you add soil.
First cut the grass as short as you can get it. I used a weedeater and cut it down to “nothing”. Make sure you go a bit bigger than your box area. If you don’t have access to a weedeater, a lawnmower at the lowest setting will also work.
Next set your boxes in place and use a hammer or mallet to pound the stakes into the ground – over the area you cleared.
Add a thick layer of cardboard or newspaper. This will kill the grass and turn the area under it to a wonderful mulch. Eventually your plants will grow through the lining to the soil beneath. Give the newspaper a thorough soaking and make sure it goes slightly up the sides of the boxes. Cover EVERY BIT of grass with the wet paper. Now you are ready for the soil.
These are the kind of stakes we purchased at the hardware store. They are 2 x 2 x 12 inches. They come in bundles of 6. The stakes are not necessary to the design, but they help to hold the raised bed into the chosen site. If you want to be able to move them easily, this part can be omitted.
We hope you will use these instructions to build your own raised garden bed and even create several. Be sure and check out our other gardening posts and raised bed gardening ideas on the website.
Also, if you want to step up your gardening game, check out our post on how to build a keyhole garden, aka a self-fertilizing raised garden bed with tons of drainage.
These self-sustaining gardens have helped countless people in developing nations grow their own food with minimum costs and elbow grease.
Any other raised bed gardening ideas come to mind? We’d love to hear your comments below.
Shared with: Clever Chicks –
You are fortunate. In Virginia the cedar pickets are $18.97 each!
Pine are $1.57 each.
Oh Susan, Wow that’s quite a difference! You can make them with pine pickets but they will not last as long. I say use what you can get and make the best of it.
Можно сделать из кровельного шифера (старого)
The Home Depot Stores sell a 6 foot long 5-3/8 wide cedar dog ear fence board for $2.97 all over VA. They have an 8 pack for $18.97 that’s buy online only. Depot stocks the cedar fence board in the lumber isle at every store. Ask someone in lumber to direct you to the stack. Beware and chose the better of the bunch. Most are fair quality but no where close to perfect. They work awesome for raised beds. I just built a 6 foot by 10 inch tall by 18 inch deep planter out of the fence boards. Used a cedar stain to cover the outside. Nice..Best Wishes,
How much soil did it take to fill one? I was thinking of starting out with two beds. What have you grown in them? First time gardener. ..
We purchased 3 yards of soil and it willed 6 boxes with a wheelbarrow full left over. Here’s a handy calculator from Gardener’s Supply. You just put in the dimensions of your box and how deep you want the soil to be and it gives you how much you need. Pretty handy! https://www.gardeners.com/how-to/soil-calculator/7558.html
Durandana Boutot says
Hi! This is a great way to use ceder fencing for projects in the yard! It looks fantastic, and seems like a great way to make a garden that will last a long time! I think it’s good to research and find different ways complete different projects like this at your house.
I really wish I had put more thought into my raised bed instead of spending $300 on raised bed kits. Won’t make the same mistake again. Home depot sells fence slats for a heck of a lot cheaper.
Jes they do Joe! That’s where I got mine. They are holding up really well and we’re planning our fall garden right now.
Natalie Darcy says
This is a really great way to re-purpose the wood from an old fence. I have been wanting to build a more efficient garden, and I think that this would be a great solution for me. However, I do really like my fence. I would like to replace the more worn wood with fresh cedar, do you have any ideas on who I could contact for this?
Great how to article! From the pictures it looks like you have used two boards on each side to make them 12″ deep instead of 6″. Is that how you made them? I was thinking I’d rather have mine a little deeper than six inches.
Thanks again for sharing.
Hi Deborah, you are correct we made out beds 2 boards high so they are 12 inches deep.
They are lovely and I hope they last. I live in Oregon and we need stronger methods in the support part. Corner and center posts would be better if they were 4x4s with long screws and maybe angle iron braces. Also while cardboard and even discarded carpet scraps will kill the grass, I have to put down rabbit wire or something very strong (chicken wire rots in a very few years) to keep out rodents. Otherwise I might as well put out a sign: gophers wanted! Because they will come and get in, even through carpet! These beds will serve you a few years but next time, a little stronger will last longer. Enjoy your beds though. Raised beds are the best. I just got two new ones this year that are on legs and stand 36 inches high. The beds are 10 inches deep. I dare any gopher to climb those legs! Since I refuse to kill the little varmits I have to outsmart them!
Hi Vicki, gophers sure are a problem in Oregon and I must say I don’t miss them here in Texas! We have fire ants, which are just as obnoxious and can ruin a garden bed overnight.
Hey there, these look really good. I was curious, did you have any trouble with bending or warping? I made some beds with similar pickets, but they bent like crazy with the weight of the soil. I am trying to redo them now, with more support. I have thought about doubling up the fence slates, screwing two slats together.
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts!
We put stakes in the middle of the boxes and there wasn’t a bit of trouble with bending or warping. My boxes were only filled 3/4 of the way.
What a great article and easy to following photos. A fantastic way to recycle old fencing too! And a raised bed helps save a bad back when gardening, great idea.
Will the cardboard or news paper kill weeds also?
Yes, it sure will Leonard!
I know you said 1.5″ screws, but how thick and what kind? I’m an extreme amateur, so the screw aisle is like a foreign language. I think the ones I bought are too thick, the wood is splitting and the heads of the screws are much bigger than yours.
My husband says – Inch and a half exterior screws
I notice a bale of hay in the photo / tutorial. Did you put a layer of straw over the cardboard?
No, I was also growing in a straw bale that year.
Nice information about the build raised beds from cedar fencing.
For the pickets, can you use 5/8″ thick pickets or do they need to be 1″ thick. This is the main difference I’m seeing in the prices people are quoting.
BH Hoang says
I just doubled the fence planks for the thickness. Over time the box does warp a bit. 1 plank just seems a little thin compared to other boxes I built from 2x6x10 lumber, untreated ones.
Ben Leonard says
We bought a pallet of cedar fencing rejected by home depot. I used 4 x 4 for support of each corner. I am building a dozen or more raised beds. The soil is piled near by and covered in manure. We lay hardware cloth underneath the beds for gopher protection.
See our fb page, Storm`s End Farm for the progress.
Cammie Noel says
I am building these now.How long will they last?I wonder if linin g them with galvanized metal would make the wood last a lot ?? longer??