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How to Install a Raised Vegetable Garden with Arbors

This Old House landscaping contractors Roger Cook and Jenn Nawada help an elementary school build and plant a raised-bed vegetable garden.

In this video, This Old House landscaping contractor Roger Cook helps an elementary school build and plant a raised-bed vegetable garden.

Installing a raised vegetable garden

  1. Use a circular saw to cut to length 2x10 rough-sawn spruce boards for the frame of the raised bed.
  2. Screw the boards together using 3-inch galvanized screws.
  3. Square up the frame by measuring the opposing diagonals from corner to corner. When the two dimensions are equal, the frame is square.
  4. Temporarily screw a diagonal 1x2 brace across the four corners to hold the raised-bed frame square.
  5. Use a small sledgehammer to pound a 20-inch-long 1x4 cedar stake against each of the long sides of the raised-bed frame.
  6. Tap the stakes flush with the top of the 2x10 frame, the secure each stake to the side of the frame using two 1⅝-inch galvanized screws.
  7. Fill the raised-bed frames with a 50/50 mix of loam and compost. Unscrew and remove the 1x2 braces.
  8. Use the posthole digger to dig 20-inch-deep holes in the corners at one end of the raised-bed frame. Dig two more holes outside the frame, 4 feet from the first two holes.
  9. Stand an 8-foot-tall 4x4 cedar post in each hole inside the frame.
  10. Check the posts for plumb with a level, then drive 3-inch screws through the frame and into the posts.
  11. Install 4x4 posts into the remaining two holes outside the frame. Check each post for plumb, then backfill around them with the excavated soil.
  12. Screw a horizontal cedar 2x6 across the posts, connecting the outer pair of posts to the inner pair.
  13. Next, use 1⅝-inch galvanized screws to fasten cedar lattice panels to the 4x4 posts.
  14. Spread wood chips between the beds to create pathways.
  15. Rake the planting beds smooth and flat.
  16. Plant the vegetable seedlings into the raised beds.
  17. Water thoroughly, then spread 1 to 2 inches of leaf mulch over the entire bed.