Here’s an assortment of free tutorials and plans for building raised beds, especially useful with the square foot method (wonderful for both vegetable and flower beds). Most of the online projects I came across seem pretty similar to each other so I singled out the projects that had something unique to offer (either with the bed itself or the area around it). These are sure to help you get the job done, enjoy!
|The Perfect Design: Nice and sturdy with deep corner posts that are a bit longer at the bottom so they can be dug into the ground below. The bottom is lined with hardware cloth to prevent critters like gophers and moles from rampaging through the produce.
One neat feature is the 4 attached PVC pipes along the sides (inside of the box) to hold hoops for bird netting or row covers. This project really does cover it all, tutorial from sunset.com.
|How to Build & Install: Here are tips on planning, building, protecting and irrigating. I like the cap railing made with lumber mitered in the corners, perfect for sitting on while weeding.
Lots of information shared including a tip to build more than one bed if possible so that it’s easier to rotate crops and meet the watering needs of specific plants, another tip suggests leaving at least 18 in. between them for walkways. Tutorial from popularmechanics.com.
|With Mitered Corners & Cap Railing: Built right into the ground, this project features rebar driven through the timbers to secure the frame in place. There are also weep holes drilled every 4 feet that are angled upward a bit for water to flow out easily.
Notice the top is finished off with a cap railing (also mitered at the corners) that makes it a little nicer for sitting. Tutorial by thisoldhouse.com.
|Project Plus Idea For Brick Mowing Edge: Notice how the lumber for this box is assembled together with each piece butting up to the adjacent piece and that the next layer overlaps the joints of the first layer (for added strength). They advise to partially fill the base with rubble before adding topsoil (for extra drainage).
This instruction set also shows how to make a brick mowing edge around the boxes for easier yard maintenance. Tutorial from hgtv.com.
|Simple & Easy To Make: Pretty easy project, they state that three were made in one hour! The four corner posts are a bit longer at the bottom so they can be set underground. Notice how the ground around the boxes is tidy and maintenance free by spreading gravel over the walkways.
The instructions are just for making the box but I think it’s pretty easy to figure out how to make the gravel pathways, lol. Tutorial from anythingpretty.com.
|Salad Tables & Boxes: This is something different than the other projects above, essentially it’s a shallow wooden frame with a large surface area and a mesh bottom that allows water to drain. Legs are attached underneath to support the top surface but you can also rest it on something instead (such as a picnic table or sawhorse).
This is portable so you can move it around the yard as needed. Two different projects are provided, one for a table and the other for a “box”. Tutorial is provided via pdf format (found at the bottom of the page).
Tips For Square Foot Gardening
Don’t miss How To Grow 100 lbs. Of Potatoes In 4 Square Feet for an impressive potato growing technique (think of it as a mini-garden box just for growing potatoes).
See this DIY project for making templates from a square foot of plywood, use to evenly space seeds and plants.
Also check out Grow $700 of Food in 100 Square Feet!: Reviews how you can grow quite a lot of food in just a 5 ft x 20 ft space. This is the first time I’ve seen someone break down the amount of money you can save in such a small area. There’s also a spreadsheet download available (listed towards the end of the article) to keep track of what you’ve planted and what the yield was (from Rosalind Creasy’s site here: Edible Gardening).
A few tips listed on the last page of the article:
- Choose indeterminate tomatoes. They keep growing and producing fruit until a killing frost. (Determinate varieties save space but ripen all at once.)
- In spring, plant cool-season vegetables, including lettuce, mesclun and stir-fry green mixes, arugula, scallions, spinach and radishes. They are ready to harvest in a short time, and they act as space holders until the warm-season veggies fill in.
- Grow up. Peas, small melons, squash, cucumbers and pole beans have a small footprint when grown vertically. Plus, they yield more over a longer time than bush types.
- Plants such as broccoli, eggplant, peppers, chard and kale are worth the space they take for a long season. As long as you keep harvesting, they will keep producing until frost.