Building a Raised Garden Bed Using a Rented Nail Gun
Imagine walking outside on a warm summer day, turning on your hose, and watering those almost-ripe bell peppers you’ve labored over for weeks … or those gorgeous, flowering zinnias you planted from seeds. It feels good. Like you’ve accomplished something. You grew something from nothing.
Sure, you can till a patch out of your yard to create a garden, but you can also think bigger. Raised beds turn a run-of-the-mill garden into an impressive statement piece. They keep plants contained, create a sleek, modern vibe, and are much easier to weed than conventional gardens.
Determine your design
The design possibilities for raised garden beds are endless, so start with determining where you want your raised bed to sit. Then you can move on to dimensions and shape.
Most raised garden beds are rectangular so you can easily reach the inside of the bed. Feel free to stray from that design, but if you do, make sure you can still reach every area of the bed.
Secure the supplies
To build your raised garden bed, you’ll need the essentials:
- Wood cut to garden bed dimensions (4 corner posts, enough lumber to cover the length and depth of the sides, and additional planks to create slats along the bottom)
- Nail gun
- Circular saw
- Chicken wire
- Landscaping fabric
Also, make sure you have a tape measure, pencil and square. Those items might already be lying around your home. Adjustable clamps are also helpful for holding two pieces of wood together while you work.
This project doesn’t require ultra-specialized tools, but not everyone owns a nail gun. Sure, you can use a hammer, but a nail gun makes the process much faster and easier. If you don’t own one, consider renting from your local rental store. Renting a nail gun is just as effective as owning one. Plus, it leaves more room in your garage.
Assemble the bed
- Using a circular saw, cut the planks to the correct sizes for your project.
- Use your work table to nail together the first side. Set your square on the table, then set one of the corner posts vertically on top of the square — and another corner post parallel to that. Next, take your connecting boards and set them on top of the corner posts. Using your rented nail gun, secure the connecting boards to the corner posts.
- Once the first side is complete, set it upright on the table. Now you can begin creating the subsequent sides, one by one. Soon, you’ll have four complete sides.
- Next, add slats to the bottom of the bed to support the weight of the soil, leaving a few inches of space between each slat.
- Lastly, use a staple gun to attach chicken wire and landscaping fabric to the bottom of the bed. Chicken wire provides additional support, while landscaping fabric contains the dirt.
Your raised garden bed is complete! All you need to do is plant. With a few tools, building a raised garden bed is absolutely doable — even if you don’t have limited experience with tools or carpentry.
If you need to locate a nail gun rental or circular saw rental, reach out to your local ARA-affiliated rental stores. Simply use the Rental Store Locator above.
Frequently Asked Questions
How thick should the wood be for a raised garden bed?
Wood should be 1 to 2 inches thick. Using 1-inch lumber will cost less, but will lead to the bed wearing more quickly. Alternatively, using 2-inch lumber will cost more, but will make a more durable garden bed.
What kind of wood should be used for raised beds?
Cedar is the best choice for building raised beds, just like any other outdoor construction project. Why? Because it’s rot-resistant and will hold up longer than any other type of wood. Other varieties, such as pressure-treated wood, cypress and pine, are also suitable choices. Stay away from railroad ties, utility poles and recycled woods that were pressure-treated.
If you’re looking for an alternative way to help your raised garden bed last longer, you can stain the wood or use a liner.
How deep should raised garden beds be?
Generally, beds should be 8 to 12 inches deep. If you’re planting vegetables, though, plan for a depth of 12 to 18 inches. It doesn’t need to be deep to be effective. If it’s too deep, the bed may collapse under the weight of the soil.