How to Build a Raised Garden Bed for Cheap

Raised Garden Beds

Growing up, my father would plant his small garden in our tiny northern New Jersey backyard. The typical Italian family that we were, we harvested tons of tomatoes, eggplant and other family favorites. Every Sunday during the summer was a feast carefully prepared by my 4 foot grandmother Anna.

Years have past and so have my beloved family. My wife and I since moved south and created our own homestead in North Carolina. I was now head of the family and my role as the gardener began.

Unlike the rich black dirt that I grew up weeding, down here we have hard red clay. Not only does it tear up my carpets but it is horrible for growing. Several years ago, I found the book, “All New Square Foot Gardening.”

I fell in love with the idea of planting in 4 foot raised beds and at the time it seemed like the answer to my red dirt issue. I set out to the local hardware store and proceeded to build my raised garden beds.

Today, my back yard is filled with dozens of different sized raised garden beds, my harvest is well planned and bountiful. I painted my beds with non-toxic latex paint and they last several years without rotting! Here are the plans I used to build my first few grow beds, enjoy!

UPDATE 11/23/2015: Need some inspiration? Check out our latest post “12 DIY Raised Garden Bed Ideas”

How to Build a Raised Garden Bed

Raised Beds


  • (1) 2 in. x 10 in. x 16 ft. Kiln-Dried Southern Yellow Pine Lumber
  • (2) 2 in. x 4 in. x 10 ft.
  • (1) Box 2 1/2 Galvanized Screws
  • Screw Gun
  • Cordless Drill
  • (1) Qt Non-toxic Exterior Latex Paint (Optional)

Step 1

Cut the 2x10x16 in to 4 equal length pieces approx. 4′ long. Take in to consideration that 1/16″ or so lost from the blade.

Step 2

From each of the 2 2x4x10’s you will cut 2pc 4′ 1″ long and 2pc 9 1/2″ long.

Step 3

Assemble the boards as shown below, make sure to alternate how they are placed so each side is even length.

Step 4

Place the 4 short 2×4’s in each corner and screw each board to them.

Step 5

Add the cap pieces and screw down. Make sure to use a drill to make pilot holes to avoid splitting.

That’s it! You don’t have to spend that much time getting your garden up and running. Feel free to pass these plans on to friends. Here is an image of the raised beds i built a few years ago. Yes, the color is fugly, but I bought what was on clearance at Home Depot.