$10 Cedar Raised Garden Beds

Submitted by Ana White on Fri, 05/24/2019 - 11:54
Difficulty
Beginner
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Cedar raised beds make gardening easier, more accessible, and more efficient. But a cedar raised bed can cost hundreds of dollars. With this plan, we use cedar fence pickets to build them for about $10 each!

These cedar garden beds have lasted over ten years - we still use them every summer.  

garden with cedar raised beds

Why Raised Garden Boxes?

We love raised garden boxes because it's less to weed, brings your working height upward, and uses less soil. It's also great for soil drainage, preventing soil compaction, and keeping unwanted pests out.

We love that raised beds warm up earlier in the spring (so you can plant earlier).

 

How Much Do Raised Garden Beds Cost?

The downside of raised garden beds is they can be expensive - in the hundreds of dollars depending on the size.  Multiply that by an entire garden worth of raised beds and the cost just becomes prohibitive.

 

The Secret: Use Cedar Fence Pickets

For a planter, you want to use natural wood because treated lumber releases odors and chemical that you don't want mixed in with your food.  And cedar naturally resists rot and insects, so a great choice for planters.  But standard cedar boards can be expensive.

Cedar fence pickets are made of real cedar and are designed to last and last in the exterior elements.  They cost less than $2 for a 1x6 board, 6 feet long - just a fraction of the cost of a standard cedar board.

 

I used six boards to build this cedar raised bed, and spent righyt at 10 dollars in lumber (the screws will add a little to the cost)

This exact cedar planter has lasted over ten years without any issues.  We have been very happy with this project and are planning on building more for our garden at our new house.

 

Dimensions
dimension diagram of cedar raised beds
Dimensions are shown above.

Preparation

Shopping List

6 Cedar Fence Pickets

1x2 Cedar boards for corners (if you don't have a tablesaw)

1″ Screws

2″ Screws

Wood Glue

Finishing Supplies

Garden stakes or concrete stakes (we used a couple of stakes on each bed just to keep the bottoms in place)

Cut List

4 – 1×6 Fence Pickets @ 72″ (Side Panels, you can trim the dog ear off and work with a 71″ Fence post)

8 – 1×2 Fence Pickets @ 11″ (Corner Posts)

4 – 1×6 Fence Pickets @ 17 3/4″ (End Panels)

 

Optional Top Trim - CUT TO FIT

2 – 1×2 Fence Pickets @ 72″ (Top Trim, I used the non-dogeared ones from the center of the cuts)

2 – 1×2 Fence Pickets @ 19″ (Top Trim, Ends)

Cutting Instructions

Considerations for Size Modifications

If you alter the dimensions of the cedar beds, work with your materials to make sure you have the least waste (and more cedar beds!)  For example, make your end panels a fence picket cut in half for a 6 foot by 3 foot garden bed.

Tools
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Pencil
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Drill
Circular Saw
Table Saw

Instructions

Step 1

Optional: Rip your Corner Posts

I’ve done the math, and by ripping one fence post into 4 – 1 1/4″ wide strips, you are saving quite a bit of money (well, that is, if you intend to build a garden full of planters). So set your tablesaw to 1 1/4″ and rip one of the fence posts to 1 1/4″ wide, as shown above.

 

Or Use 1x2 Cedar Boards

If you don’t have a table saw, you can use 1×2 cedar boards.

Step 2

Side Panels

Use your 1″ screws and glue to put together your side panels as shown above. The post will overextend the sides by 5/8″ as shown above.

I also used my Kreg Jig™ to join the boards together in the center (optional) or you can use a 1x2 in the center.

 

Step 3

End Panels

Build your end panels exactly like your side panels.

Step 4

Assembling the Panels

The panels should fit together like a puzzle. Fasten with 2″ screws and glue. Check for square.

Step 5

OPTIONAL: Measure and cut your top trim to fit.  Attach to the top.

Comments

Nick P (not verified)

Mon, 04/16/2012 - 04:34

I would like to suggest that re-using timber from commercial pallets could brig the cost almost to minimum. For example recently I had couple of pallets from a friend of mine owning a warehouse....took them apart and used the timber planks to set them on the walls of my bedrooms just as a feature walls. I would strongly recommend the reclaimed pallets not only because they cost nothing - it simply makes your project greener;)
Regards from London,
Nick P

Tina_R (not verified)

Sat, 04/21/2012 - 21:31

FYI

I can't remember off hand but there are two types of pallet wood. The one is processed is not food grade. Thus the wood should only be used for flower planters.

I know I saw this somewhere on the web... the noxious processing could cause major health issues if you grow veggies and fruit in planters made from the processed wood.

Karla (not verified)

Thu, 05/13/2010 - 22:29

These are great! I may have to build a couple, they'd be perfect out front of my house. But I'm jealous. Where did you see the bear?? Brown or black? I just traveled the Rich on Tuesday evening, no bear. Just a couple swans, and a couple moose. Thanks for the inspiration!

Michelle (not verified)

Thu, 05/13/2010 - 23:26

rats! unavailable at any Lowe's in my area, according to the website. :( Guess I'll have to check out the local stores in person to see if I can find something close in price.
So...while you're on a garden kick, got any ideas for a potting bench? ;)

Carrie (not verified)

Fri, 05/14/2010 - 00:23

Just wondering what type of screws do you use. Is there a different type for outdoor so they don't rust? Thanks for the plans.

Frank Heidinger (not verified)

Fri, 04/08/2011 - 08:57

Galvenized or stainless steel screws are what you want. They are not cheap.

GuestRoger Boss (not verified)

Wed, 10/10/2012 - 19:13

I bought a whole box of deck screws from Home Depot for $5.99

Virginia (not verified)

Fri, 05/14/2010 - 00:52

Hey, I'd love to know how YOU finish screw holes when you plan to leave stuff in its natural finish? I have heard of saving the sawdust, mixing with white glue, and packing it back it... but I'm just not that careful with my sawdust!