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.

Our Three Rules

  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. You may wish to make them a little wider, but 50cm would be the minimum.
  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.

Step 1 – Decide on size & materials

There are all sorts of things you can use but undoubtedly the easiest is to get some timber, measuring at least 5cm thick and 20cm 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. You will also need four corner posts. You could happily use 4×4 (10cm thick) posts for this, and you will want them to be 30cm long if you are going to be driving them into soil/grass, or 20cm to match the width of the timber sides if you will be standing it on a hard surface.

Step 2 – Build the bed in its final position

Choose a site that is nice and flat and that gets plenty of sunshine for your raised bed. Next, connect the planks to the corner posts to form the frame – make sure they are level, and remember that you need the posts to be level too so that you can either drive them into the ground or sit them easily on the hard surface.

Step 3 – Fill with compost

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!