For our garden, we chose to have two 4-foot-by-8-foot 18-inch raised beds constructed with an 18-inch rabbit-proof fence (since the fence is constructed on top of the 18-inch garden bed, it brings the fence height to 3 feet). Listed below are the materials, costs, and steps we took to create one planter bed.

Materials Needed for Raised Bed Construction

RAISED BED TOTAL = $705.86


Materials Needed for Fence Construction

FENCE TOTAL = $197.29

GARDEN TOTAL = $903.15

*All prices per Home Depot unless otherwise noted.

As a less expensive alternative, you can use boards from 2" x 12" to 4" x 4" for raised bed construction. Traditional screws or large nails can be used instead of SPAX screws. For a less expensive fence, you can use stakes with poultry netting or hardware cloth.


Tools Needed for Construction

  • 1" paddle bit
  • Impact wrench (or socket wrench)
  • 5/8" socket for impact wrench (for big SPAX)
  • 3/8" socket (for smaller SPAX)
  • Regular screw gun
  • 4' level
  • Sharp scissors to cut tubing
  • Staple gun
  • Circular saw
  • Tape measure
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Shovel and hard rake
  • Post level
  • Shims (if necessary)

Step-by-step Instructions to Build One 4' x 8' Raised Garden Bed with Fence

  • Lay out wood.
  • Cut three of the 6" x 6" x 8' boards in half to make the 4' ends of the beds. (Or better yet, have the lumberyard do this!)
  • Lay out the first layer of the bed, alternating the long side to the outside and the inside of the short end boards. This makes for a stronger, better rectangle.
  • Mark placement for lag screws in each corner by using a 1-inch paddle bit to make a 1-inch impression. This will also serve to countersink the 10-inch lag screws.
  • Using the 10-inch lag screws, screw each end together. Lag screws are great because they don’t require predrilling and they can be removed should you ever want to move your garden. In order to do this, you will need a heavy-duty impact wrench, which you can rent from a hardware store. In lieu of an impact wrench, you can use a socket wrench, but it will require lots of elbow grease.
  • Repeat, building the three tiers for the 18" high bed.
  • Place the first frame down on the site where you want the garden, and check to be sure it’s level using a level. This is important both for aesthetics and to keep your soil and seeds in place. If it’s not level, dig out the area that is too high until it is. This may be the most difficult part of building your garden, so try to be patient.
  • Remove the sod from the interior of the garden.
  • Run your irrigation tube under that first tier of the garden. (You can bury the hose between your garden and your water supply by creating a tiny trench with a shovel.) Make sure to leave at least 24" of tubing inside the box for later. See Irrigation to learn how to install a drip-line irrigation system in your garden bed.
  • Once the first frame is level, place the second tier on top of the first.
  • Using two lag screws on the long sides and one on the short ends, attach the top frame to the bottom frame. Don’t forget to countersink these screws so that the second tier will lay flat on the bottom tier.
  • Do the same to create the third tier.

Fence

  • Take four 4" x 4" x 3' pieces of wood and secure them into the inside four corners of the raised bed using a post level.
  • Secure each post with two 6-inch lag screws so that 2' of the post rises above the top of the raised bed. Use shims if necessary to get the post straight up and down (plumb).
  • Construct fence panels as follows:
    • Each long side panel is constructed of two 2" x 4" x 7' 5" horizontal pieces and two 2" x 4" x 17" vertical pieces. These create a frame with the horizontal pieces defining the outer edge of the fence panel. Screw lag screws at top and bottom of horizontal pieces. Add corner braces to panel.
    • Each short side panel is constructed of two 2" x 4" x 3' 8" horizontal pieces and two 2" x 6" x 21" vertical pieces. Again, the horizontal pieces define the outer edge of the panel. Screw lag screws at top and bottom of horizontal pieces and add corner braces to panel.
    • Staple the 2' wire to inside face of each panel.
    • Align the long side panels to 4" x 4" fence posts and secure them with hooks and eyes. This allows you to remove the panel to access your garden yet secures the panels when hooked to the posts.
    • Permanently screw the short side panels to the 4" x 4" fence posts so that they overlap each long side panel.

Soil

  • Place the hardware cloth into the bottom of the bed and cover it with the "daylight" orange geotextile fabric. The hardware cloth protects your garden from digging animals. The “daylight” orange fabric is optional and protects your garden from contaminated soil.
  • Add 1.75 cubic yards of soil to the 4' x 8' raised bed; a soil blended with compost is best.
  • Add the worm castings and/or granulated fertilizer to the first 6" of soil.
  • Be sure not to bury the irrigation hose; install a drip-line irrigation system.
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