The Big Box Beginner Bed

If you’re anything like me then you’re constantly intrigued by new and exciting things. You want to jump in with both feet and get started right away. You’re also not sure exactly how “into” a new hobby you may get.

You wanna get down and dirty, but for not a lot of money.

That’s exactly what we’re going to achieve with this beginner raised bed.

Assuming you don’t have any material on hand, you’ll need about $200 to go from zero to hero with this build.

Here’s the material list:

2x 1”x12”x8’ pine board, have the boards ripped down to 4’ lengths. Big box stores will usually make the first few cuts for free, this is great news if you don’t have a way to cut or transport the 8’ boards.

1x 2”x4”x4’ cut into four 1’ lengths.

A small box of 2” long Phillips head screws.

A small roll of landscape fabric

16 cubic feet of soil – I used 12 cubic feet of quality organic raised bed soil and 4 cubic feet of compost to supercharge the fertility of my soil.

Tools needed:

A drill – always make sure your batteries are charged beforehand!

A Phillips head bit to fit the screw heads securely 

An 1/8” drill bit

A tool to cut the wood with. This can be a handsaw, circular saw, jig saw – whatever you have. Or, as mentioned earlier, you can have the big box store cut everything to size for you.


Line up the wide section 2×4 pieces flush with the edge  of the 1×12 boards,  and drill multiple pilot holes for the screws to go through. This will prevent tearing and splitting when you run the screws through. The pine boards can warp over time, be sure to use plenty of screws to help combat this.

Attach the 2×4’s to the larger boards with the screws.

Line up the remaining 1×12 boards, drill pilot holes (into the narrow side of the 2×4 this time), then attach with screws.

Congratulations! We now have a basic raised bed.

Place the bed in an area of your chosen space that gets at least 6-8 hours of full sun a day. Line with the landscape fabric. Fill with soil and viola! You’re ready to plant.

Things to consider:

If you have a little room in your budget you can opt for a 2” thick board instead of the 1×12 board. This will help combat warping issues.

Also, be sure to cover your new raised bed with a bit of mulch – doing so will drastically reduce the amount of watering you’ll need to do because of decreased evaporation from your soil.

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