I have already started a large number of plants indoors, and have seeds for many, many, many more. So, I will need to use the area around my pond for a good deal of the garden – and I needed to create some raised beds just off my patio for additional garden space
I was lucky enough to have a bunch of landscape timbers laying around my side and back yard, and that was what I decided to use (having recently discovered that the railroad ties I was going to use would have contaminated my soil.) That’s ok – free is much better than going out and purchasing. They were not all in great shape – but the bad part was face down to the ground, so it really didn’t matter. I also had a few broken pieces – which was good for extending the front part of my bed.
First off – I outlined the area with a single row of landscape timbers – and used a shovel to dig out and mark around the area. I used smaller pieces as needed, and will saw off the excess on the longer ones.
Secondly – I dug out the soil. Not only will I get the depth from my landscape timers, but probably another inch or two from taking out the sod. Actually I have been digging out the sod a row or two a day for the last week – and I’m still not done. It doesn’t matter, because I was told that my dirt place didn’t have any amended soil ready just yet.
Third – Stack the timbers so that they overlapped at the corners. What you don’t see is that up against the patio there is a small gap where I pulled the bottom timber away slightly so I could get this result. I could have cut the timbers, but I didn’t have use of the chop saw this week – so I didn’t cut. I can easily but a stone or brick in the opening in the back before filling with soil and no one will ever know. If you are doing a square bed and buying new timbers, this overlap thing will work perfectly without any cutting required.
Forth – Drill a hole with a 3/4″ bit. Drill through the first timber and into the second, then take off the first timber and finish drilling all the way through the second timber (because the drill bit isn’t long enough to go through both at the same time). Re-stack the timbers.
Fifth – The only things I had to purchase for this project so far (I will pay $4-$6 for good amended soil) were these spikes. They were US 65 cents a piece (just over $5 total) at one of the big box stores 2 miles from my house. Pound these into the holes you have drilled. You will want one on each end (attaching different sides to one-another) and a few along each side. They should be long enough to go through all your wood material and into the soil a few inches.
Now – in the interest of full disclosure – I didn’t finish the project. My drill ran out of juice, and I had an incredibly busy week and needed to get ready for another meeting. I still have to drill a few more holes and pound in the stakes then add soil. But, the fact that I got this much done means that it should be a few easy steps (before actually hauling the soil) to be done. I’ll add a picture when it is completed.
Use an electric drill – the battery powered drills do not have the life or the energy to drill the pilot holes for the stakes.
Here is the bed – finished, filled with soil and planted. It was so easy, I did a second raised bed.
Each timber cost me $2 – and I did this one three high, since the newer landscape timbers I found were smaller than the older ones I used on the first, I purchased 6 stakes. The raised bed construction cost me right at $22.