Saturday, March 31, 2007

Raised Bed Garden Journal - The Design & Parts List


We've a vegetable area (12' x 12') where we tried to grow our vegetables during the summer months. We've some success, but not great. Over the years, the area seems to have more weeds than vegetables. I've decide to clean up that area and replace it with a nice raised bed garden. After some research about the benefits of a raised bed garden. Since our soil is mostly clay, a raised bed garden will be a big improvement.

Photo of the existing garden area. As you can see, not very attractive at all.

Here a few benefits:
  • Higher Yields
  • Improved Soil Conditions
  • Ease of Working
  • Ease of Pest Control
  • Water Conservation
More detail info on the benefits of raised bed garden:There are many articles describing the advantages if you google for it.

Looking for a Plan

In the spirit of DIY, of course, I would like to build my own fancy raised bed garden. First, I would need some research on the size and shape of a raised bed. Some more Google on the net to see if anyone else built their own raised garden. Here are a few sites I found and use them as a guide for mine.
Initially, I was planning to use pressure treated lumber to build the beds. But after reading this excellent article "Does Pressure-Treated Wood Belong in the Garden?", I changed my mine to use cedar instead. I think you can still use pressure treated wood but install a plastic lining to the inner wall of the bed to prevent arsenic leakage into the soil.

The Design

For the garden, one of the main features I would like to have is an arbor to serve as a focal point. It serves as an entrance to the garden. Because of time constraint, I'm planning on buying an arbor instead of building one. I shopped online and I've decided on this one. The Rosedale Arbor. The price is reasonable and it's expandable.

After searching online for bed design, I've decide to settle for the design from this site. "the Sussex". The height will be 22" (4 pieces of 2x6 boards). In the pathways, I planning to put some sort of flag stone. I'm thinking of putting down irregular Pennsylvania Blue Stone. The overall dimension of the garden will be 12' W x 12' L x 22" H.

Using SketchUp, I created the following drawing.
SketchUp files. Overall design and detail post cut measurements.

The Parts List
This project requires 4 x 4 cedar posts, and 2x6 boards.
  • 37 pieces of 2x6 8-foot cedar boards
  • 8 pieces of 4x4 8-foot cedar posts
  • Outdoor deck screws. (2lbs)

(37) 2x6 boards and (8) 4x4 posts

Tools needed:

  • Cordless drill
  • Power Miter Saw. Must have the capability to cut 2x6 boards
  • Table Saw
  • Dado blades
  • Mallet
  • Shovel
  • Leveler ruler
  • A Sledgehammer to help pound the bed to level.
In the next article, The building of the raised beds garden.