With just a few fence boards, we built a beautiful 2-foot tall, wood garden box for just under $20.Tutorial on building a raised garden bed with fence boards

We have the perfect spot for a vegetable garden. It’s sunny, but protected. It’s conveniently near our irrigation valves and hose. And it’s right outside our backdoor, which will make caring for plants and picking produce very easy.Find a sunny spot to grow vegetables and herbs

Of course, it’s right outside our backdoor, which means when it’s just dirt or when all the plants are dying back for winter, that’s the first thing you’ll see when you step outside. It might be convenient, but it won’t always be beautiful.

So, we needed to build a garden box that will be beautiful all year long. Something that will look finished, and interesting, and pretty, even when the veggie plants don’t.

DIY Garden Box Supplies

16 fencing boards (I got some fir fencing on sale at Lowes for about $1 each) *just a note, cedar will last longer, but costs more.
A 2×2 board, cut into 8 pieces, each 2 feet long.fence-boards

Plan the Size of the Garden Box

After considering the size of our garden spot and the length of the boards, I decided to build a 4-foot by 6-foot garden box. The box will be 3 boards tall. I also want a frame on top of the garden box, to give it a finished look and to be a small seat. The frame needs to be a couple inches longer than the box on each end.

Also, I decided to make the frame with mitered corners, which made a little more work, and made the measurements a little trickier. I think I would just do straight cuts if I were to do it again, but I do like how the mitered corners look.

Cut and Sand the Fence Boards

With my plan in mind, this is how I cut the fence boards:

6 boards (3 for each long side) cut 4 inches less than 6 feet (that’s 68 inches). This will let a 6 foot frame hang over 2 inches on each side.

6 boards (3 for each short side) cut to 4 feet.

2 boards cut to 6 feet at a 45 degree angle (to make the mitered corner), and 2 boards cut to 4 inches more than 4 feet (52 inches) also at a 45 degree angle.marking-the-cuts

I hope all those measurements make sense. I rewrote this section 5 times, and it still seems a little off to me. Please ask in the comments below if it’s not clear.

I sanded down the boards a little to make them look a little smoother and more finished. Fence boards are pretty rough.DIY garden box with fence boards

Build the Sides of the Garden Box

I built the short (4-foot) sides first. Each fence board is attached to a 2×2 post on each end with 2 screws. I pre-drilled holes in the ends of the fence boards.How to build a garden box

Then attached one fence board at a time to the post.How to build a garden boxHere one side is all finished.How to build a garden box

To add more stability, and support for the top frame, I attached another 2×2 post in the center of each side.How to build a garden boxNext, I attached the long fence boards to the same end posts to make the long (6-foot) sides. This was a little trickier, but pre-drilling the holes for the screws helped.How to build a garden box

Build and Attach the Top Frame

With the box built, it was time to put together the frame.How to build a garden box

I just got a Kreg jig for Christmas last year, and I was really excited to try using it to make the mitered corners. I’m sure there was an easier way to build the frame, but this gave me a chance to play around with my Kreg jig on a project that doesn’t need to be perfect. (Fence boards aren’t going to turn out perfectly straight anyway).kreg-jig

I clamped the jig onto the board, instead of vice versa, because the boards are so big. I love how easy the jig was to use. The mitered frame came together great.kreg-jig-on-miter

I attached the frame to the garden box by screwing through the frame and into those eight 2×2 posts.

Add Dirt and Plants

Now the fun part! We filled the garden box with all the compost we’ve been saving for the last couple years and added some manure. It’s a big box to fill. After letting the manure cool for a couple weeks, we added some top soil and got ready to plant.How to build a garden box

We planted some tomatoes and peppers, and some peas. It may be a little late in the season for peas, but they were on sale and looked good in the photos–hopefully we get a few before it gets too warm. We also put in a drip system that I’ll be posting about soon.

DIY garden box

 

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