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Garden Lifestyle

DIY Starter Raised Bed for Kids

Got a young gardener in the family? Here's a starter raised bed just for them!

  • All photos: Greg Holdsworth
  • Always pre-drill your screw holes (Photo A)
  • The outside frame (Photo B)
  • The base/floor attached to the frame (Photo C)
  • The leg pieces attached to the frame (Photo D)
  • The leg pieces attached to the frame (additional view) (Photo E)
  • The raised bed, standing up (Photo F)
  • The bed with the 1" x 3" top edges attached to it (Photo G)
  • Close-up showing where to center the 1" x 4" strips over the 1" x 3" strips (Photo H) 
  • The finished bed, ready for soil! (Photo I)

If you’re a green thumb with kids, you’re well aware of how great having them grow up with gardening is (no pun intended). 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 them 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 large (and deep) enough to plant a sampling of most veggies. Plus, it’s movable.

The things you’ll need

1. One 10-foot 2×10 board
2. One 8-foot 1×3 board
3. Four 8-foot 1×4 boards
4. One 24×36 piece of 1-inch plywood
5. 1½-inch wood deck screws (you’ll need at least 40 to 50; buying them by the box is cheaper)
6. 3-inch wood deck screws (you’ll need at least 15 to 20)
7. Drill-driver and drill bits (bit size to match screws)
8. Saw (circular saw recommended)
9. Tape measure
10. Square
11. Pencil or permanent marker
12. Sandpaper and/or sanding block
13. Paint or stain (optional)

Skill level

Easy to intermediate, depending on your woodworking/carpentry skills.

Construction

1. 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. I ended up cutting the board’s length to 32 inches.

2. With the base width and length determined, I then cut the 2×10 into two 32-inch side pieces (length) and two side pieces (width) that were about 22½ inches.

3. 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).

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

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

6. 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).

7. 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.

8. Screw these pieces to the top edge of the frame (Photo G).

9. 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.

10. You’re basically done at this point (photo I), but sand any edges and rough areas of the wood with your sandpaper or sanding block.

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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