Are you looking for a great way to spruce up your backyard without having to spend a fortune to make it happen?
Do you want to grow your own veggies or beautify your yard with flowers but aren’t prepared to dig up the whole yard?
Do you live in a place with a homeowner’s association where in-ground gardening is not permitted?
There are a lot of reasons why you might be interested in learning to make cheap raised garden beds, and in this article, we’ll introduce you to several options to help you get started!
Below, you’ll find out why many home gardeners just like you choose to build a DIY raised garden bed in the first place. You’ll also be walked through the three most popular methods of creating these garden beds, and you’ll be able to figure out which option is best for you and your backyard situation.
Finally, at the end of the article, we’ll give you a few tips to help you figure out the best placement for your garden bed so your plants have the greatest opportunity to thrive and live long healthy lives. We’ll make sure you’re ready to get started building raised beds cheap in no time!
Now, it’s time to get started!
Why to DIY A Raised Garden Bed
There are a lot of reasons why people just like you have been creating their own DIY raised garden beds at home for a long time. This fun project has become more and more popular in recent years, and chances are good you’ll be able to find a great reason for you to jump in and give it a try, too.
- Raised beds are an affordable alternative to in-ground gardening. It can be very costly to set up a full garden, but putting together a raised bed isn’t much more expensive than using pots to grow your plants. If you have a little funding to get started, you can make a beautiful garden bed that’s all your own.
- You can move some raised beds fairly easily. If you’re looking for something you can pack up during the winter or even something you might be able to move with you sometime down the line, a raised wooden bed or even a raised bed made of tires can give you this opportunity.
- If you live in a place where gardening isn’t permitted, raised beds usually are. Many homeowner’s associations don’t allow in-ground gardening because they want to keep backyards looking fairly uniform. However, they almost always allow raised bed gardening, since this doesn’t seriously affect the quality of the yard.
- If you live in the city but want to try homesteading or more off-grid living, raised beds can help. People who want to grow their own food don’t always have the luxury of living on a farm, but keeping a raised garden bed full of veggies can be a great alternative.
- Even if you live in an apartment or condo with a very small yard, a raised bed can usually fit well. If you don’t have a ton of yard space to work with, a raised bed can be custom-built to fit into just about any area you’ve got available.
1. Wood Raised Garden Beds
There are many different ways to go about building a raised wooden garden bed, but for the most part, they tend to be similar methods. One of the most attractive reasons people choose this method is because of how cost effective it can be, even in the long run. You can also find all of the materials you’ll need at your local hardware or home repair store, and there’s a good chance you have at least some of them lying around the house already, especially if you’re a fan of big DIY projects. Wooden garden beds are great options if you’re looking for something you can easily relocate in the future.
- 10 (2x4) pieces of untreated lumber
- Exterior deck screws
- Plastic sheeting for heavy duty use
- Mesh hardware cloth
- Garden soil
- Circular or compound saw
- Drill and bits
- Tape measure
- Staple gun
- Durable work gloves
- Circular or compound saw
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1. Start by measuring and marking your lumber pieces as desired. While you can make your garden beds any size, we recommend measuring six 3’x9” boards, six 6’ boards, and ten posts at 10.5” each.
2. Use the circular saw to cut these pieces of wood. If you do not have a circular saw or feel like you can’t operate one safely, you can usually get this type of cutting done at many home repair stores.
3. Attach the boards that will make up the walls of your garden beds and position the posts flush against the ends of the longer walls. They should be slightly set back from the shorter walls.
4. Drill holes to get started with the posts, and then attach them firmly with exterior screws.
5. Continue until you have formed a large box. When finished, the support posts should be on the inside of your garden box.
6. Place your garden box where you want it to be located in your backyard, and use your shovel to make a deep indent around it in the ground.
7. Remove the box temporarily and use your shovel to loosen and remove the top layer of grass from inside the area where the box will be positioned.
8. Use the staple gun to attach hardware cloth to the bottom of the garden box.
9. Use the staple gun to attach heavy-duty plastic sheeting to the inside of the walls of the garden box.
10. Place the box in its final position and fill it with gardening soil, compost, or both.
11. Plant your plants as desired and water appropriately.
12. Congratulations! You have just finished your raised garden bed.
2. Repurposed Tire Raised Garden Beds
Have you ever heard of making a raised garden bed out of repurposed old tires? This is a popular method, although it has only gained popularity in recent years with crafty DIYers. Although this option might be a little more expensive to get started with, you can usually get a lot of life out of a tire garden bed, and you’ll also know you’re doing your part to help keep unwanted rubber out of landfills by incorporating it into your backyard setting, too. If you have a farm or even know someone who can supply you with plenty of old tires, be sure to check out this option.
- Old tires of any size, depending on what you want
- Stainless screws
- Mulch and garden soil
- Tape measure
- Sturdy heavy duty plastic
- Mask, goggles, and hearing protection
- Durable work gloves
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1. The first step is to choose your tires in the right sizes. Select tires that you can stack easily on each other, about three high, depending on the type of tire you use.
2. Note: Some DIYers have found that they can extend the lives of their plants significantly by cutting out the sidewalls of the tires and stacking what’s left. If you go this route, you will need to use a jigsaw to cut the sidewalls, and you will need many more tires to get the job done. This option isn’t for everyone, and if you don’t want to utilize power tools for your task, you can skip it. Just note that your plants may not be as long-lived if you use the tires as-is.
3. Paint each tire with exterior-safe paint. You can also choose to paint designs on the sides of your tires if you’re looking for something to match a specific theme. Take your time with this step, as it can be difficult to thoroughly paint a tire.
4. Be sure to wait for your paint to dry completely before moving on to the next step. You may choose to coat your tires with a weather-resistant sealant to keep the paint from flaking and chipping as easily.
5. Cover the bottom of your tire with durable plastic to form the bottom of the planter. You may choose to use a staple gun to hold the plastic in place, but many DIYers who complete this project just use the weight of the mulch to keep the plastic where it needs to be.
6. Stack your tires as desired. You may choose to use your drill and stainless screws to attach them to each other at this time. Some DIYers skip this step, while others find it helps hold their tires in place much more easily. The choice is up to you.
7. Use your shovel to fill your tire planters with mulch and gardening soil.
8. Plant your plants and water them properly.
9. Congratulations! You’ve just finished building your simple DIY tire planter.
3. Concrete Block Raised Garden Beds
Last but not least, you can choose to build your raised garden bed out of concrete blocks. This is an excellent option if you’re looking for something that you don’t have to move very often, or at all. This version of a raised garden bed will take a little bit more work overall, and it’s probably going to cost a bit more than the other two versions listed here, too. Depending on what you want to do with your backyard, however, as well as the type of soil you have to work with, this may be the perfect solution for a problem area or a difficult space.
- Concrete blocks (see step #1 to help determine the right number)
- Paint for masonry
- Adhesive for masonry
- 1”x8” wood boards
- Gardening soil
- Paintbrush and tray
- Hearing, eye, and breathing protection
- Durable work gloves
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Note: If you have trouble lifting cinder blocks over and over for a long period of time, you may need an assistant for this raised garden bed alternative.
1. You’ll need to start by figuring out how many cinder blocks required to complete your project. Most concrete blocks of a standard size are 15.6 inches. Measure the space you want to cover to help determine how many blocks you need to purchase.
2. Measure the right amount of space in your backyard for your new garden bed.
3. Use your shovel to loosen and remove the grass and top of the soil beneath where your garden bed will be placed. Then pack down the soil until it’s firm and stable.
4. Lay out the first row of cinder blocks to form the perimeter of the garden bed. Take your time and adjust them to get the right fit. Use your level to make sure they’re placed evenly.
5. Use masonry adhesive to outline the tops of the first row of blocks.
6. Stack the second row of blocks on top of the first in a staggered pattern. If you need to cut blocks to fit into this pattern, you will need to use a circular saw or have the blocks cut at your local hardware or home repair store. You may also be able to purchase separate 8x8x8 blocks to fill in the gaps.
7. Continue using adhesive and more blocks in a staggered pattern until the wall has reached the height you want it to be at.
8. Cut your wood boards to fit the top of the concrete wall to cap off the blocks. If you prefer, you can purchase concrete block caps for this job, but this may be more expensive than using a piece of lumber.
9. Use the masonry paint and brush (or a roller) to paint the entire wall in a uniform color. You can also paint the wood boards on top of the wall in a matching or complementary color.
10. Wait for the paint to dry before you fill the garden bed with gardening soil.
11. Plant your plants and water them to get them started.
12. Congratulations! You have built a raised concrete block garden bed.
Tips for Positioning Your Garden Bed
One of the most common struggles home gardeners run into is where to put raised garden bed plants. Although every yard and every situation is different, there are a handful of tips you can keep in mind to make sure your plants are positioned in the best possible location to thrive in your backyard. Check out our suggestions below to help you get started planning out your new yard garden.
1. Check for at least six hours of direct sunlight, but not constant direct sunlight.
You don’t want the sun to beat down on your plants all day every day, but they do need to be exposed to enough sunlight to thrive. Placing a canopy or shade over your garden can be a good way to achieve both.
2. Be sure your yard is level or can easily be leveled.
You can’t build a raised garden bed in an area with very uneven ground, so you’ll probably need to do a little work to get the ground ready for your new garden.
3. Check for proximity to a water source.
Make sure your garden hose can c, or you’ll have to think about hauling water to and from your plants every day.
4. Pay attention to the air circulation in your intended garden location.
Don’t plant your garden in a wind tunnel or in a place where the air is constantly stale and blocked by buildings or structures.
5. Think about drainage issues.
Try not to place your garden just below your gutters or in an area where water collects easily in your yard.
There’s a lot to think about when you’re planning to create your own raised garden beds in your backyard! Although each option has its own strengths and weaknesses, it can still be tough to figure out which one is right for your yard setup. Remember that wood, repurposed tires, and concrete blocks all have their own unique styles and appearances and don’t forget that each one fits into a slightly different budget as well.
Figuring out your budget and the style you’re looking for in your backyard are great ways to get started on the path to determining the right type of garden bed for your needs. If you have a very traditional country-style yard, for example, you probably want to stay away from using repurposed tires in your decorating. On the other hand, if you’re into the modern shabby chic look or want something you can decorate and make all your own, tires may be the perfect solution.
Remember, too, that if you feel uncomfortable performing any of these tasks, you can always ask for help from a friend or family member. You can also have most wood and cinder blocks cut by home repair or hardware stores, although in some cases you may need to call ahead to be sure someone is available to help you.
Making a raised garden bed doesn’t have to be hard. Follow our tips and you’ll have a beautiful garden full of delicious veggies or beautiful flowers in no time!