How to build a raised bed

Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of making a new raised bed. It’s very straightforward and as long as you follow our three basic rules you should be fine.

  1. Keep the width of the raised bed to under 1.5m – it makes it much easier to reach into the middle of the bed this way.
  2. Keep pathways to 50cm wide to allow you to easily push a wheelbarrow around.
  3. Make life easy for yourself – you don’t need to dig up weeds beforehand (apart from brambles and docks), even if you’re putting the bed on top of grass. You can use cardboard as a weed blocker and fill the bed with compost on top.

So, to actually make the frame the first thing you need to do is decide on the size of the bed and the materials you are going to use. There are all sorts of things you can use but undoubtedly the easiest is to get some timber, measuring at least 5cm thick and 15cm wide (the width will give you the eventual height of the beds). In our opinion, you needn’t worry about the timber rotting – by the time it does your bed will be so bedded in (excuse the pun) that it won’t need the sides anymore and you can simply remove them.

Once you’ve got your timber and have decided on the size, it’s time to build the bed. If possible, choose a site that is nice and flat (and that gets plenty of sunshine) for your raised bed.

Next, connect the planks to form the frame. There are hundreds of videos on youtube showing how to do this, so it’s easiest to have quick look on there (we like this one). Essentially you just need to overlap the edges and screw the planks together ensuring they are level.

Once you’re ready to go lay down some cardboard in top of the grass/weeds before filling with compost. As you fill with compost, use the back of a garden spade to firm it down a little. This will enable you to fill with a good amount of compost thus blocking the light from the weeds below, and also will firm up the compost for the plant roots.

That’s it. Now you’re ready for planting time!