DIY Raised Garden Beds

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In an era where every penny counts, cultivating a green thumb isn’t just about nurturing plants; it’s about fostering sustainability, self-sufficiency, and savings. For suburban families, especially those with young children, DIY Raised Garden Beds offer an oasis of fresh produce, outdoor learning, and budget-friendly gardening. Let’s delve into why creating your own raised garden bed is a savvy choice and how to do it step-by-step.

DIY Raised Garden Beds for Budget-Conscious Families

Why Choose DIY Raised Garden Beds?

1. Cost-Efficiency:

  • Initial Investment: Building your own raised garden beds can be cheaper than purchasing pre-made ones. With simple materials like lumber, screws, and soil, you can create customized beds at a fraction of the cost. But if you’re not able to do this, I found these raised garden beds for an amazing price which is what I’m using.
  • Long-Term Savings: By growing your own organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs, you can slash your grocery bills while ensuring a fresh, pesticide-free harvest.

2. Space Optimization:

  • Urban Gardening: Limited outdoor space is no longer a barrier to gardening. Raised beds maximize space, making them ideal for balconies, patios, or small backyards.
  • Controlled Environment: You have full control over the soil quality, drainage, and sunlight exposure, ensuring optimal conditions for your plants’ growth.

3. Family Bonding and Education:

  • Outdoor Learning: Engage your children in the wonders of nature by involving them in gardening activities. From planting seeds to observing the lifecycle of plants, it’s an educational journey that fosters a love for the environment.
  • Healthy Habits: Teaching kids to grow their own food promotes healthy eating habits and instills a sense of responsibility and self-sufficiency. I’ve also noticed that my kids will eat the vegetables they grow and harvest themselves, whereas they would not pick those at the grocery store.

Step-by-Step Guide to Building DIY Raised Garden Beds:

1. Prepare the Site:

  • Weed Management: First, start by clearing the area where you plan to place your garden beds. Use a weed eater to trim the grass down to the ground, ensuring a clean slate for your garden.

2. Lay the Foundation:

  • Cardboard Layer: Next, lay clean cardboard to suppress weeds and grass. Make sure to remove all tape, and stickers from the boxes before using. This acts as a natural barrier, decomposing over time and enriching the soil.

3. Materials:

(If you live locally in Northwest Arkansas, you can buy the below soil mixture at Rockwell Farms Nursery and you will need one “Magic 7 Starter Package” for $149 which includes 5 bags of Cotton Burr Compost, 1 Large bag of Vermiculite, and 1 large bag of Peat Moss. I also buy 3 bags of Fox Farm Frog Happy Frog soil. This is enough to fill two 8’x2’x10″ raised beds that I linked above. Each DIY raised garden bed needs 12 cubic feet of soil.)

4. Construct the Beds:

  • Then assemble your DIY raised garden beds according to the instructions provided in the box. You will find the hardware in a yellow bubble mailer attached to the inside corner of the box with a red ribbon. Simply cut the red ribbon and open the package. I use these specific DIY Raised Garden Beds.
  • If you prefer to build your own, gather your lumber (preferably untreated cedar or redwood for longevity), screws, corner braces, and a saw. Cut the lumber to your desired dimensions, typically 2×8 feet or 4×8 feet max for easy reach. Assemble the boards into rectangular frames, securing them with stainless steel corner braces and screws at the corners.

5. Placement:

  • Positioning: Next, choose a sunny spot for your garden beds, ensuring at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. The south side of the house is my first choice, and the north side is my second choice. Arrange the beds in your desired layout, leaving adequate space between them for easy access. I placed all of mine in a line right next to each other along our northern fence. Over the seasons I’ve noticed the fence protects them from winds out of the north and all our fruits and veggies have thrived.

5. Soil Preparation:

  • Mixing: Now it’s time to create a nutrient-rich soil blend by mixing equal parts compost, topsoil, and vermiculite or perlite, and worm castings for added fertility. I’ve found the easiest way to do this is by pouring each component of the mixture into the raised beds in layers and mix them together as you go. (See my how-to video below.) Be sure to fill the raised beds with the soil mixture, leaving an inch from the top. After watering them thoroughly, the soil will compress and you may need to add more topsoil. Use a rake or shovel to level the surface evenly.

6. Planting:

  • Transplanting: Finally, once your DIY raised garden beds are filled with soil, it’s time to transplant your seedlings or sow seeds directly into the ground. Follow spacing guidelines for each plant type and water thoroughly after planting. I follow companion planting to prevent pests. I’m also currently working on a new blog post with a complete companion planting guide for these specific garden beds. So stay tuned!


As you can see, DIY raised garden beds offer a multitude of benefits for budget-conscious families, from cost savings to educational opportunities and fresh, homegrown produce. By following these simple steps, even a mother of two young kids on a budget can create a thriving garden oasis right in her backyard. So, roll up your sleeves, grab your gardening tools, and embark on a green journey that nourishes both body and soul. Happy gardening!

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