• In this how-to video, TOH landscape contractor Roger Cook shows adults and kids how to build a raised bed out of rot-resistant lumber.

    Steps:
    1. Using the circular saw guided by a Speed square, cut two 4-foot lengths of 2x10 cedar. Hold one of the 10-foot 2x10s on edge and butt the end of a 4-foot 2x10 up to it so that the face of the longer board overlaps the end of the shorter board. Using the drill/driver, sink three 3-inch screws through the face of the long side and into the end of the short side. Attach the rest of the sides together using three 3-inch screws on each corner and overlapping the long sides over the short sides.
    2. With the four sides assembled, place a framing square in each corner one-by-one and skew the frame until the corner lines up square. After aligning the frame, check all four corners again with the framing square.
    3. Leaving the corners perfectly square, tack scrap lumber across each one with 3-inch screws to hold it in position.
    4. Move the frame to the sunny spot you've picked out for the bed. Using the edger, mark the ground around the entire perimeter of the frame.
    5. Remove the frame. Using the sod cutter or hoe, skim away the grass layer. Increase drainage for your garden by turning the soil beneath the bed area with the pitchfork or rotary tiller.
    6. Set the frame back in place over the tilled area. Using a 4-foot level, check the positioning of the frame. Fill in or dig out the soil beneath the frame until it sits level on all sides.
    7. Using the circular saw, cut ten 2-foot-long pieces of 2x4. Make two diagonal cuts on one end of each piece to create a point. Using the rubber mallet, drive these stakes into the ground at least 18 inches deep along the outside of the long sides of the frames. Space them evenly along the sides—every 2½ feet. Using the drill/driver, secure each stake to the frame with three 3-inch screws. Remove the temporary corner braces. Drive a stake inside each corner. Secure each with screws driven through the frame on both sides of each corner. Leave the screws off one of the short sides of the bed.
    8. Remove one of the short sides of the bed. Using a wheelbarrow, fill the bed with a mixture of soil and compost. Level out the soil and continue filling until it is 2 to 3 inches from the top of the frame.
    9. Using a drill/driver, replace the short side of the bed and secure it to the long side and to the corner stakes with 3-inch screws. Using a reciprocating saw, cut the top of each stake flush with the top of the frame.
    10. Plant seeds or seedlings for your vegetables. Mix the appropriate amount of starter fertilizer into the hole, set the seedlings or seeds into the hole, then cover with soil.
    11. Once the bed is planted, water it thoroughly. Then cover the soil with a couple of inches of mulch made from grass clippings. Check the soil daily by sticking a finger in it down to the first knuckle; if it's dry, water the bed.
    • Difficulty: Easy
      The frame is simple to assemble, but you’ll need an adult to run the power saws and fill the bed with soil.
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    Video Directory

    Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • circular saw
        Jigsaw or circular saw
      • drill
        Drill/driver
      • framing square
        Framing square
      • edger
        Edger or spade
      • grub hoe
        Sod cutter or grub hoe
      • pitchfork
        Pitchfork or rotary tiller
      • four-foot level
        4-foot level
      • sledge hammer
        Sledgehammer
      • wheelbarrow
        Wheelbarrow
      • reciprocating saw
        Reciprocating saw or handsaw

      Shopping List

      1. Three 10-foot lengths of 2x10 cedar
      2. Two 10-foot lengths of 2x4 cedar
      3. 3-inch exterior deck screws
      4. Garden soil