Garden Lifestyle

DIY Starter Raised Bed for Kids

Got any young gardeners in the family? Here’s a starter raised bed just for them

raised bed for kids
All photos: Greg Holdsworth

If you’re a gardener who lives with children, you’re well aware of how great it is to have them grow up with gardening. They see how veggies grow and become something they can enjoy. While they can certainly assist you in your garden, another option to consider is to give them their very own area or bed.

This project will give kids a 2-foot by 3-foot raised bed that’s just the right height for them to work easily and efficiently. While it’s not a large bed by adult standards, it’s big enough (and deep enough) to plant a sampling of most veggies. Plus, it’s movable.

The things you’ll need

  • One 10-foot 2×10 board
  • One 8-foot 1×3 board
  • Four 8-foot 1×4 boards
  • One 24×36 piece of 1-inch plywood
  • 1½-inch wood deck screws (you’ll need at least 40 to 50; buying them by the box is cheaper)
  • 3-inch wood deck screws (you’ll need at least 15 to 20)
  • Drill-driver and drill bits (bit size to match screws)
  • Saw (circular saw recommended)
  • Tape measure
  • Square
  • Pencil or permanent marker
  • Sandpaper and/or sanding block
  • Paint or stain (optional)

Skill level

Easy to intermediate, depending on your woodworking/carpentry skills


For this project I wanted to go with a bed that was approximately 2 feet by 3 feet. That way I could use a standard-size piece of plywood for the base, or floor, of the bed.

1. Cut the 2×10 into two 32-inch side pieces (length) and two side pieces (width) that are about 22½ inches.

2. Drill pilot holes and then start the 3-inch screws on each end of the two length pieces (photo A). Screw the four sides together to form the outside frame (photo B).

pre-drilled screw holes
Drill pilot holes for the screws (photo A)

small raised bed frame
The outside frame (photo B)
base attached to raised bed frame
The base/floor attached to the frame (photo C)

3. Attach the frame to the plywood base using the 1½-inch screws (photo C).

4. From the 1x4s, cut eight equal pieces for the legs. (Your child’s height will determine how tall the raised bed should be. I went with a height of 20 inches.)

5. Using the 1½-inch screws, attach the leg pieces to the bed frame, aligning the top edge of the leg pieces with the top edge of the frame (photos D and E). The two pieces at each corner meet to form a stable raised bed frame (photo F).

two legs attached to small raised bed frame
The leg pieces attached to the frame (photo D)

side view of legs on small raised bed
The leg pieces attached to the frame (additional view) (photo E)

raised bed with all four legs attached
The raised bed, standing up (photo F)
small raised bed with top edges attached
The bed with the 1×3 top edges attached to it (photo G)

6. Using the 1×3, cut two length side pieces and two width side pieces. They will be about 32 inches and 22½ inches, respectively, but measure the exact length and width of the bed to confirm.

7. Screw these pieces to the top edge of the frame (photo G).

8. Using the 1×4, cut two length side pieces and two width side pieces. Here’s the tricky part: Center the 4-inch-wide boards over the 3-inch-wide boards (photo H). This creates a “ledge” around the bed that overlaps the inside sides of the frame.

close up of attaching overhang strips to raised bed
Here’s where to center the 1×4 strips over the 1×3 strips (photo H)

finished raised bed for kids
The finished bed, ready for soil (photo I)

9. Sand any edges and rough areas of the wood with sandpaper or a sanding block. You’re done (photo I)!

Note: I did not drill any holes in the bottom board to allow for drainage, pipes, etc. This would need to be done prior to putting in the soil or growing medium. Another option would be to attach a pipe to collect the excess water and direct it away from your deck, patio, etc.

If you desire, you can apply a stain or paint finish of your choice, or simply leave it as is.

Your future green thumbs now have a raised bed all their own!

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