How do I make a raised garden bed?

The price of veggies is forever going up plus people are more and more concerned about eating chemical free food.  There is a huge trend to grow your own vegetables and herbs.  Many people want to have raised garden beds for this purpose.  The question is what’s the best choice and how to go about it.

There is a variety of timber and sizes that can be used  but generally the most common is pine –  200 x 75 or 200 x 50 treated pine sleepers.  Most people will put two of these on top of each other – a very common size for the raised bed is  2.4 x 1.2 meters and 400mm high.  So you need 6 sleepers.  The cost of the timber for a solid and sturdy bed with 400mm high walls would be between $80 to $120 depending on the thickness of the timber and the type of treatment you choose.

Sleepers for this purpose come in various standard lengths  -2.4, 3.0, 3.6, 4.8 and 6.0.  We would suggest you plan the beds to fit into these lengths so that you don’t pay for any waste in offcuts.

After cutting (which can be done by the supplier) the sleepers are placed on the ground in position then the corners are screwed together with 75mm or 100mm bugle batten screws.  Some people will put a short 75 x 50 post in each corner for extra stability but this is not absolutely necessary.  Other people like to use metal connectors at the corners.

Depending on what you are growing in the garden bed  ie: vegetables versus flowers – some people choose to use an eco friendly treated pine product which doesn’t contain arsenate in the treatment chemicals which preserve the wood.   You can also use the normal CCA treated product and if you are worried about any chemical leaching into the planting medium (soil, compost) you can line the box with thick black plastic.