I’m sure this post wont be relevant or helpful for everyone… but I’ve been getting a lot of questions on how to build these garden beds. Also, I know some of you guys are garden lovers like myself…. and maybe you’re not thinking about making beds right now, but are happy to find more ideas for your future, one day, maybe soon gardens 🙂 If beds are a bit too big of a project, you can always check out our other (mostly money saving) garden DIY section.

There are plenty of places locally or online that you can buy pre-made beds… which is GREAT, but for us they were too expensive. We knew that wood beds, unless cedar, would have to be re-built or changed pretty often with our humidity down here. Also, you have to be super careful with wood, because wood intended for outdoor use is chemically treated, which is great for outdoor weathering, but AWFUL for growing food in. Chemicals seeping into my roots? No thanks. I really, really like all stone raised beds, they’re long lasting (forever) and beautiful, but super pricey for larger beds.
So here we are, with our own solution for our larger vegetable beds in our backyard garden! Corrugated metal was a nice, cheap solution for making large beds at a decent price and the cedar wood is naturally rot resistant. We’re pretty pleased 🙂


Raised Garden Bed DIY
(Makes One 12’x3’x1′ Raised Bed)

Materials:
2- 12′ x 1’Corrugated Metal Roofing Panels (Side)
2- 3′ x 1′ Corrugated Metal  Roofing Panels (Side)
8- 16″ long 2″x4″ Rough Cedar Boards (Stakes)
2- 12′ long 3/4″x4″ Rough Cedar Boards w/ mitered 45 degree edges (Top Frame)
2- 3′ long 3/4″x4″ Rough Cedar Boards w/ mitered 45 degree edges (Top Frame)
1 Pack- 1-1/2″ Drive Straight Hex Sheet Metal Screws w/washers
12 – #8 x 1 1/4″ Coarse Screws
Cordless Drill (w/ appropriate bits, hex and phillips)
Spade Shovel

*if cutting materials yourself
Circular Saw (For Cutting the Metal and Wood to size)
Framing Square
Sharpie
Pencil


Instructions:

– Lay 4 of the 16″ 2x4s on the ground spaced 2 feet apart
– Set 1 of the 12′ metal pieces on top of the 16″ stakes
– Make all of the stakes flush with one side of the metal.  The stakes will extend 2″ past the other side.
– Screw directly through the sheet metal into the wood using 3 screws for each stake
– Do this one more time to make 2 12′ sides.
– Clear bed site of weeds, grass, and other debris.
– Dig footers for the stakes.  There are 8 stakes therefore we need 8 holes. The holes do not need to be that deep, 2″-3″.
– Lay one of the long built sides in the footer holes with the metal facing in.
– Fill in the holes with soil so the side stands on its own.
– Do this again for the other side.
– Once the long sides are in, simply screw the two 3′ metal side pieces into place.
– Now screw the top frame boards to their appropriate sides by laying them on top of the stakes.  Use one screw for each stake.
– Line bottom with cardboard and newspaper.
– Fill with soil, amend with compost and manure, plant a garden, mulch, done.
– Throw a party!

Update: it’s now been over two years since we’ve built these beds. They’ve lasted through torrential downpours, miserable tropical summers, and even a hurricane! They’ve held up well and we have not had to put any work into fixing them up yet. yay!


check out more garden DIYS here.

36 Comments

  1. i've been wanting to make a garden i just didn't know how to make it. i just took a picture of this and sent it to my dad, he's going to help me make them once it warms up a little. thanks for this post! i love your blog, i've been following you for years.

    xo, Samantha

  2. i love this!
    i wanted raised beds so bad when i lived in orlando but couldn't afford to do it. i think i ended up using giant plastic tubs with holes cut in the bottom, not my best idea.
    definitely will try this if i ever get outdoor space again.

  3. They really are fantastic, and what a clever idea to use corrugated metal. I have little wooden ones (just a few inches high) and after five or six years they are starting to show some wear. I'm looking forward to seeing what you grow over in sunny Florida. Here in southwest England we're waiting for a little rise in temperature and more daylight before we start planting seeds. Right now, everything's sleeping. But I guess where you are there's year round growth.

  4. Your garden looks amazing! I remember when you first started cleaning that backyard. You should be so proud of yourself!

  5. Thanks so much Drea, I was trying to explain to my parents how I know you, I know I don't know know you but I know you. I is kind of funny trying to explain to my parents who are in their 70 how I know you, it is to funny. Your garden looks great and I i am wishing you the best of luck. I will be hanging out at Lowe's pretty much this weekend and getting stuff ready. My only problem for me at my house is I have to deal with cats and possum eating my garden but it will all be a learning experience.

  6. these are gorgeous! you did such an amazing job, and i love the metal and cedar combo!

  7. Thanks so much for this great post. I had actually read your previous post and hoped you would add a tutorial. So, thanks for reading my mind :). Hoping to add one or two of these to our backyard this spring, adapted to be on a sloped hill.

  8. i love your garden. we made our beds using the new square foot garden book as a guide. it was inexpensive because we just built wooden boxes with pieces of cedar, but they don't look as nice as yours!

    • we're not sure of the exact cost of one bed, because we bought multiple supplies in our trips– but definitely under 100$!

  9. Thanks for sharing this great tutorial. I'm wondering about the cost of a single bed too. Also wondering if the metal rusts and if that concerns you with respect to rust leaching into your food crops.

    • The corrugated metal should not rust! and we're not sure of the exact cost of one bed, because we bought multiple supplies in our trips– but definitely under 100$— Probably somewhere between 70-80$ 🙂

  10. How do you think this would do in Arizona heat do you think it would heat up the soil to much! It's already 80 deg here?

    • we live in south florida and pretty much skipped winter— it's been 80+ all year long and we've been fine.

  11. looks great. a heard an expert gardener say that using steel would be too hot for the plants. but would larger beds using steel not be a problem? any thoughts on this?

    • we live in south florida and pretty much skipped winter— it's been 80+ all year long and we've been fine.

  12. Wow. I just ran across your blog and I am impressed. Very nice job. The part I like best is your raised beds. I am a do it yourself poor girl landscaper and gardener. I couldn't afford premade beds, so I made a garden out of cement blocks. I even spray painted the outsides with a terra cotta color to look "better". (I had to get permission in my allotment to even use them, as long as they were near the back of my house). Of course, I used a cardboard barrier to prevent overspray. But your corrugated steel looks so much more manageable for my old soul. I had to haul one block at a time in my mini wheel barrel and rest between loads! I am going to use your great idea next year. I also lined mine with cardboard. Thanks for sharing.

  13. What cool looking raised garden beds you got there! The one you made is very distinctive because you made use of corrugated sheets framed on wood. Not to mention that it is way more cost-efficient than an all hardwood plank bed. It's giving me an urban garden feel, which is just perfect for the city. All the best!

    Bethel Woodard @ Sollecito

  14. Those raised garden beds are awesome! Unlike the ones I usually see that are made of concrete or wood, this one looks adorable. And could be easily done by other people who find those concrete or wood raised garden beds too expensive that wants a garden bed of their own. Thank you for sharing this with us, Drea! More power and all the best to you guys.

    Rosemary Bailey @ Wabi Iron & Steel Corp.

  15. Thank you for sharing that lovely DIY raised garden beds wits us, Drea! They look pretty nice and easy to do. It seems like you guys had a lot of fun doing this. Anyway, thanks for sharing this post with us. Have a great day!

    Bert Aguilar @ RainFillTanks

  16. i'm a little late to the game, but do you think these would get so hot that they'd do damage to the soil in Arizona? We get morning sun, but are somewhat relieved (that is, it comes pouring in the front of our house) in the afternoon.

    • That metal is reflective, at least. I would check around your local gardening community as to what you want to grow and how much sun it should get where you live.

  17. So are the "stakes" 2×4 or 4×4? They look 4×4 in the pics, but in your list of inventory you state 2×4. 🙂 Thanks, Joy

  18. Fantastic looking beds Drea! We're about to establish a community garden in Sydney's northern beaches and these garden beds are exactly what we're interested in. Just wondering if you oiled or stained the wood before assembling and, if so, whether you've had to continue oiling them. Also wondering where you sourced the cedar and if you'd have any recommendations for other suitable wood. Is leaching really a problem since the soil doesn't come in direct contact with the wood? We were thinking a height of 40 or 50cm might be more comfortable in terms of sitting on the frame while working. From your experience, what do you think. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!