How to make box garden

DIY Raised Bed Garden Box

If you are looking for a way to add gardening space without having a “traditional” garden, these inexpensive, easy to make DIY Raised Bed Garden Boxes are the answer!

Created easily from ordinary 2×4 and 2×6 lumber, these attractive beds look great anywhere. Even better, at 3′ wide x 6′ long x 18″ deep, they allow a lot of space for growing.

Simple and inexpensive to create, these sturdy raised beds allow plenty of room for growing your favorite plants. In addition, their attractive design fits into any outdoor space.

Raised beds and containers are an excellent method for growing vegetables, herbs and flowers. Especially if you don’t have the room or time to tend to a large backyard garden.

Not only do they fit easily into smaller yards or on patios, they are extremely low maintenance. In addition, by their very design, the “raised” nature of the beds allow for easier access for planting, watering and harvesting.

The raised bed boxes are great by themselves, or the perfect compliment to our bucket planter boxes pictured above. Either way, it is a great way to grow without a traditional garden.

But perhaps best of all, raised beds require far less weeding and maintenance than a traditional garden. And wait until you see how easy they are to build!

Last year, when we introduced our 2×4 5 Gallon Bucket Planters, we never imagined how many people would discover container gardening.

So much so, that many asked if we could create a raised bed design to match that would allow for even more simple, low-maintenance growing.

At 18″ deep, the Raised Beds allow plenty of soil depth for strong root growth. The height also makes it easy to maintain the beds without having to bend all the way down to the ground.

So we went to work on designing something that would be easy to build and easy on the budget. In addition, we wanted it to be able to look great by itself, or with the bucket planters too!

Each 3′ x 6′ raised bed allows for 18 square feet of planting surface. They are perfect for growing vegetables, greens, planting an herb garden, or growing all kinds of flowers.

The 18″ depth of the unit allows for deep roots, which is ideal for growing large vegetables like heirloom tomatoes and peppers. Build several together, and you can have quite the outdoor garden!

The raised beds, much like our 5 gallon bucket planter boxes pictured above, is another great way to grow vegetables and flowers without a traditional garden.
How To Create The DIY Raised Beds

The raised beds are easy to create with the most basic of tools. In fact, all you need is a tape measure, a drill, drill-driver and a saw. (You can see the complete step by step plans in our Etsy shop here : DIY Raised Bed Plans)

The beds use just (3) 2 x 6 x 12’s, (2) 2 x 6 x 10’s, and (5) 2 x 4 x 8 boards to create the entire unit. Although traditional untreated lumber works great, you can also substitute rough-sawn or even cedar if you wish.

To create the garden boxes, three frames are created and then stacked together. The raised bed box is then assembled with 2 x 4 bed posts and an attractive top cover.

We prefer using traditional lumber and untreated rough-sawn simply for cost. And because neither contain harmful additives, there are no worries when growing vegetables or herbs.

As for the long term durability of untreated pine, it actually holds up reall well over time. Especially if you stain, seal or paint the exterior edges that do not come in contact with the soil.

Rough-sawn wood will even add a longer shelf life. The non-smooth surface is a naturally protective barrier that holds up even longer to the elements.

Rough-sawn wood adds an extra layer of protection that can keep it from rotting out for a longer period of time. The rustic look also goes well in gardens.

With the thick 2x construction, these DIY raised beds will hold up for years and years. Unfortunately, many of the raised beds available in stores use 1x material, which simply won’t hold up well over time.

Completing The Project

After cutting all of the lumber to size, assembling it together is a snap. The 2×6 boards are placed together into a rectangle, and 2×4’s are then attached around all of the corners and mid-sections.

To complete it all, a 2×4 decorative top rail is placed on top! Not only does it serves as a nice finish for the piece, it also helps shed water off of the exposed leg posts, helping to keep the piece stronger over time.

You can then paint, stain, or leave the exterior of the DIY Raised Bed Boxes to weather to a natural grey. Then, simply fill them with soil and organic matter – and plant away.

Here is to creating your own DIY raised beds – and growing like never before next year! Happy Container Growing – Jim & Mary

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How To Build DIY Raised Garden Boxes and Beds


Learn how to build large DIY wooden planter boxes for all of your vegetable growing needs. This outdoor DIY project is the perfect way to test out your green thumb.

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read our full privacy policy.

As we have talked about in previous posts, we really have been trying to update our backyard. We have added a DIY playset with a rock wall, a new porch and now had a great idea to add DIY raised planter boxes and raised garden beds.

Even though we are not professional gardeners, we thought container gardening would be a good idea for our yard. We hoped planter boxes would be a great solution to help grow our tomatoes, pepper, herbs, and whatever else we want to try our green thumb at.

Why build raised garden boxes?

In our backyard, we wanted a space that was specifically for growing vegetables and for our herb garden. We also knew that the looser dirt in a raised garden bed would help our plants thrive.

In the past, our traditional garden has been on the side of the house. It was really hard to maintain and take care of. Adding planter boxes to our backyard would make it easier to take care of our garden while our kids were playing.

These raised garden beds or boxes also will make it easier on our backs this year. This is a huge plus.

And hopefully, that means my husband may actually weed and help take care of things. 

Can you build raised garden boxes on a hill?

This was our biggest planter box design challenge. The place we wanted to build our raised garden beds was on a slight hill. Some of the steps we took (like setting the posts) would not have to be done if you are on a flat surface.

Our DIY planter box plans & dimensions

First, you will need to decide on the dimensions of your planter boxes. Here will talk about ours that were 7’0” long x 42” wide x 33. 75” tall cedar planter boxes.

How To Build Cedar Planter Boxes & Beds

Recommended Supplies

Tools Needed

Note for our updated design you would need 6 posts.

Notes about actual measurements for posts and boards

Why did we choose cedar for our planter boxes?

We chose to use cedar for our outdoor raised vegetable garden beds. Some people will use pressure-treated wood (as explained in this HGTV article), but we wanted our wood to be as natural as possible when dealing with growing vegetables that would be feeding our family.

Is there a cheaper cedar that you use to make your garden planters?

Instead of kiln-dried cedar boards, you could get a much more rustic look using cedar fence pickets. This is such a great option as it is a much cheaper way to create DIY planter boxes with untreated wood.

These fence pickets would still also naturally be rot-resistant. You would just need to cut the dog-earred fence part off to get an even board.

Can’t you just buy raised garden boxes?

Before we decided we were going to make this a DIY outdoor project, we did look into purchasing raised planters, boxes, and garden beds.

Need more DIY outdoor inspiration? Here are 22 unique and fun DIY planters to add to your backyard.

Step-by-step instructions for creating a large planter box

One thing to note is we built a 3rd garden raised box and tweaked the design a little to add two more posts in the middle.

You will see “updated design” throughout this post to include those instructions and plans.

Our third planter box or updated design is 2 ft. longer and we wanted to ensure the stability of the box. We think this is the way to go now for even the smaller boxes (even though ours have held up for the past 3 years).

You can see more information about this at the end of the post.

1. Cut boards to size. Our posts were 4’ long, our long sideboards were 7’ 1.50”, and our short sideboards were 42”.

2. Pre-drill pilot holes in your 1 x 12 boards. Attach a clamp to the post and cedar board to help keep wood in place while building your raised garden boxes.

3. Screw long sides standing upright. You will need to determine if you want the finished (smoother) side facing out or in. You will repeat this step two times. Our 1 x 12 boards are 3”s above the top of the posts to leave room from the top of the board to the top of the dirt and mulch.

For extra support add a post in the middle of the boxes.

4. Flip screwed boards upside down, on a flat surface with the bottom of posts facing up. Updated design: Add another set of posts in the middle of the wooden boards for extra strength.

5. Attach 42” section. Try to make sure the connection is square (we know that is easier said than done)!

6. Flip assembled rectangular garden box right side up with the boards on top.

7. Attach cedar 2x4s inside face splitting board joints in half. This will also allow one person to be able to move the planter boxes.

Updated design: attach the 2 x 4’s to the posts in the middle.

8. Dig four post holes using a manual post hole digger or a shovel. Or if you know you will be doing more outdoor DIY projects, you may want to get an electric post hole digger.

This does take some time, but if you build large boxes as we did you will want to do this.

Update design: Dig six post holes for the extra cedar post you added in the middle.

9. Set the planter box in holes. Since we are placing our garden boxes on a slight incline in our backyard it was important that we set the posts so that the box would not tip over. This also will help them stay level.

10. Place 4’ level on top of the boxes and level by raising and lowering the boxes in the post holes.

11. Mix and place bagged concrete in or by a wheelbarrow. Follow the instructions on the pack of ready mix concrete.

12. Fill holes to set posts in the ground with the mixed concrete to set the post. Make sure to let the concrete cure overnight.

13. Rip extra cedar wood to fill empty spots if your ground is uneven like ours was and attach it to the posts.

*****Please note, from the comments we have received we believe that people are not doing this step. I am sorry that we did not have a picture up of this until now, but hopefully, this will help. You have to create a barrier for the dirt to not come out. The weed barrier alone will not be able to handle the weight of dirt, etc on its own.

This is our garden box after 1 and 1/2 years. We live in a climate that changes and sees all seasons.

Optional: You could figure out how to build some sort of base inside your box to help hold the dirt. We just felt we could rip the wood to fill that empty space and hold the materials inside the box.

Tips for using ready mix concrete to set posts

Do your planter boxes have to be as big as ours?

No, definitely not. We would have still gotten the benefit of having a simple design even if we would have made them two boards high instead of 3.

My husband really wanted to make sure that it was easy to reach everything and keep the animals out. In two years, we have been lucky that we haven’t had any extra nibbles on our vegetables.

How to prepare raised garden boxes for plants

1. Put the weed barrier inside the bottom of the box.

2. Roll up the inside face 6 inches and staple it to the inside of the bottom of the box using a staple gun.

3. Place 11 inches high of materials that promote drainage. We used old bricks in one and landscape pavers and #57 washed river stones. We have seen other garden bloggers use other organic materials like logs to help fill their planter boxes.

4. Place 24 inches of topsoil and garden mix soil. Our son sure loved helping with this process. It does take time, but we love doing things ourselves. Depending on the size of your boxes, will depend on how much soil you need.

Tip: We used a local landscape supply company as you need a lot of dirt to fill your planter boxes. Most areas should have a company willing to deliver soil right to your driveway.

5. Place 2 inches of hardwood natural mulch on top of the dirt in your raised garden box.

6. Plant your garden accordingly. We plan on planting tomatoes, green beans, pepper plants and herbs in our raised garden beds. You will have to check back and see how our plants do this year! 

Companion Gardening

You may want to check out this article about companion planting from the Farmer’s Almanac and how to choose what to plant next to each other in your garden boxes.

Or check out this post from DIYDanielle about easy plants to grow outside. If our vegetables don’t do well this year, I may need to revisit this list next year!

Future Plans

Next year we hope to try to start composting and add another raised garden bed. We will test our green thumbs out this year and see how we can add and improve our garden each year. 

Here is an example of our updated raised garden box idea.

How did we improve on the original DIY planter box design?

  1. Add a post in the middle of your boxes and not just in the corners.
  2. Attach the middle 2 x 4’s to the middle posts for extra stability.
  3. Used bricks on top of the weed barrier to help contain any materials leaking out. Our old boxes never had anything come out, but we really ripped the diagonal cedar to match our hill.
  4. Built this garden box on-site in the backyard instead of in one piece in the garage and carrying back to the site.

Follow us on Pinterest, Youtube or Facebook for more DIY inspiration!

We just love our new DIY planter boxes and can’t wait to see how much fun we can have growing in our own garden!

planting and care in the open field, reproduction and transplantation, photo

Author: Elena N. Category: Garden Plants Returned: Last amendments: