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Garden Box Construction

May 7, 2019

Garden Box Construction

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Before you learn about our garden boxes, if you haven’t already, you should check out Part 1 of the Garden Construction to follow on the adventures of building a vegetable garden on a hill.

I decided to do this separate post about how we built our garden boxes because the construction posts were getting a bit long. I know you lovely folks have better things to do than read novels for every wee thing I do!

Our boxes are slightly different than the average raised beds since most of ours are rectangles rather than squares. We do have 2 square boxes, but it just so happens that the land I seem to find myself living on is tailored more for rectangles. Who am I to argue?

A How-To, with pictures for building raised garden boxes.

Our 2 square boxes are built in the same style but with different lengths of cuts, so I’m going to focus on the long ones, since we already have 4 and are constructing 9 more this year.

If you are asking yourself why I’m using raised beds and not just planting in the ground, check out my love letter of a post about that here.

On to the building!

Some of these boxes are going to be used for actual Square Foot Gardening, so I needed the inside dimensions to be as close to 2×6 as possible (hard with boards being slightly shorter than advertised, but we do our best!) and they are just under 1 foot deep. That size has done very well in my past gardens so I have had no reason to change it. In the future I may make the beds deeper by adding more layers of lumber but for now this is the plan.

The materials:

(per 1 box)

  • 2 pcs 2x6x12 Preferably a hard wood that’s untreated. Softer woods work, but they will wear out faster.
  • 2 pcs 2x6x6
  • 1 pcs 2x2x6
  • A mitre saw or other saw for cutting lumber
  • A Drill with 1/8” bit
  • An Screw driver or Drill Driver with a Robertson bit (square)
  • A large clamp, or two sets of hands (Friend of genetic testing required)
  • 3” Decking Screws (at least 16, but buy lots just in case)
  • 2” Decking Screws (same note as above)
Lumber for garden boxes

Cuts:

Cut your 2x6x12’s into four 6’ pieces. These will make up the long sides of your beds.

Cut the 2x6x6 pieces into four 2’ pieces. You will have excess here, but you want them to be exactly 2’ (which they wouldn’t quite be if you bought 4’ boards and cut them in half.)

Cut the 2x2x6 into four 1’ pieces. These will be your corner braces. They will stick out the bottom of the box a wee bit. We wanted this as our garden is on a hill and the wanted the extra anchor. If you don’t need this then make your cuts about 1.5” shorter.

Assembly:

You want these to be strong and hold up to the soil inside and the elements outside, so I can’t stressed enough the importance of pilot holes. This is where I find the second set of hands helpful.

Place one of your long boards end to end with one of your short boards. The shorter board should be on the inside of the joining spot. (pictured below)

Pilot holes on first corner

Make two pilot hole through the side of one long board into the end of one short board about 1” in from the outside. Extend the pilot holes slightly into the end of the shorter board.

Extending the pilot holes

Drive a  3” screw into each hole through the long board so that just the end is poking out the other side (pictured below), and use those ends to line up the short board.

Screw ready to line up the next board.

Have someone hold the boards in place and drive the screws the rest of the way in. Repeat this with the other end of the long board into a second short one. Then cap the other sides of the short boards with a second long board. You should end up with a rectangular box that is roughly 2×6 but only 6” in height. (Below)

First half of the box

Each box is made up of two of these rectangles stacked together. So make your second rectangle the same way.

Now with both your rectangles and that second pair of hands again, stack them together. (Or clamps if your second pair of hands is taking pictures)

You want to line up your 2x2s in the corners and drill pilot holes. You will be drilling four holes into these.

You’ll drill two holes from each long board and two from each short board. Be careful not to drive your holes into eachother. Two of the holes will need to be slightly closer to the center of the boards then the others, to avoid hitting one another.

Drilling pilot holes for the box corner
Pilot holes from the short board into the corner brace. Slightly to the inside of the screws joining the two boards.
Drilling the pilot holes for the box corner
Pilot holes through the long boards into the corner brace.
Drilling the rest of the corner pilot holes.
Extending the pilot holes into the corner brace so that they don’t split with the screws go in.

After the pilot holes are drilled, drive in the 2” screws to secure the corner braces. If your braces are slightly longer than your boxes like ours, make sure you have the excess all sticking out the same side of the box. Repeat for the other three corners.

First complete corner of the box.

And there you go! A complete garden box, ready to fill up with all kind of lovely plants!

I’m really an awful assistant when I’m taking website photos lol

Follow along with our Garden Construction here for more adventures in veggies on a hill!

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