Backyard Gardening Grow Our Own Food J

Project Grow Our Own Food: Building Raised Garden Beds

I sit here typing with sore arms and swollen fingers after a weekend full of, what I would call, intense backyard labour. As temperatures crept back up to seasonal range, and the sun bathed our whole backyard in its warm golden rays, J and I decided it was time to kick our backyard project into high gear – it was time to build the raised garden beds. But oh how I wish it was that simple. Turns out this project was one of those you can’t start until you start another. In this case, before we could start building the garden, we had to move some trees.

The Three Trees
As we worked on our rough sketches of the backyard, it became evident the shade from the trees and their proximity to the fence was going to be a problem… so unless we wanted this garden smack-dab in the middle of our yard, three of the trees would have to go.

After some heated debates, I suggested we simply move the trees over, thus creating a “tree wall” which would help make the soon-to-be patio area more private. J liked the idea. I liked the idea. And I’m sure the trees would like the idea as well.

So Saturday morning, with our new shovel in hand, we started to dig out the trees. To our surprise the trees were very easy to remove as their roots hadn’t penetrated the surrounding soil. However, this was due to the fact that our soil is more like clay… so although the trees were very easy to remove, digging the new holes in the clay-like ground proved difficult. After 3 hours, we had all the trees moved, planted, and watered… with only one tree casualty.

The Raised Garden Bed
With the trees moved and lunch in our bellies, we began to tackle the larger mission at hand – the garden beds. We moved through our tasks one by one… first cutting all ten the large 12×16 boards to size, then the 2×4’s, and lastly the 4×4. If I never have to hold another heavy 16ft piece of wood while J tries to square it up, I will be happy.

With everything in place, we started to assemble the structure. As the sides went up it became obvious just how large this garden bed was…

After all was in place, we stood back to marvel at our new best friend…

I can’t tell you how happy I am with this investment. Sure, the upfront costs of building your own garden can be steep (and had we built this garden using cedar wood it would have double our costs!), but in all honesty, it’s a price I am willing to pay for not only the experience of growing my own food, but the health benefits as well. No pesticides. No chemicals. Only real food.

And look what was delivered this morning… it’s obvious the real fun begins tonight, when we get to fill the beds with 7 yards of soil. No rest for this “farmer!”

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  • Reply heather March 31, 2014 at 3:36 am

    what are the dimensions?

  • Reply Britt March 31, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Hi Heather, the dimension are: All sides are all 24 inches tall. The long sides are 15ft. The two inside pieces are 12ft long. The boxes (all around) are a little over 3ft wide. The middle walking area is almost 3ft wide (in order to accommodate the lawn mower).

    You can also download the drawing and rendering document here:

  • Reply Nicole April 1, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Hi! What was the approx cost using the materials your describe here? I love this!

  • Reply Christopher March 28, 2017 at 7:28 am

    Great post as I will do this for sure, love the site attached from Britt question about the dimensions for this project. I agree with your input about the chemicals from treated wood, lining from plastic or brick material. Not sure where it comes from or how it was made so why bother and go with the safe option, perfect. I have saved and hope this remains available for viewing until I start my project and print out the material. Thank you for the valuable information on this, glad to see people are starting this routine due to the mass production of food along with our current political situation which may cause for food to become scarce.

  • Reply Jason April 26, 2017 at 2:35 am

    Got any updated pics with the plants planted?

  • Reply DIY Raised Garden Beds & Planter Boxes | The Garden Glove April 12, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    […] ‘Brittany Stager‘, this DIY raised garden bed was designed to grow enough food for their whole household! We […]

    • Reply Debbie cashin May 13, 2019 at 2:53 am

      I paid for the plans for your raised u shaped garden bed but didnt receive it.

      • Reply Britt Stager May 13, 2019 at 12:43 pm

        Hi Debbie, thanks for reaching out and apologies for the undelivered plans. The PDF download for the Raised Garden Bed Plan is sent via SELLFY (a delivery system I use to sell the plans). Please be sure to check your spam folder, sometimes the emails get trapped in there! If you still cannot find it, let me know which email you used to purchase the plans and I will re-initate the download. Thanks!

  • Reply IAN December 31, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    How much soil did it take to fill.
    Was it half soil and half compost?

    • Reply Britt Stager December 31, 2020 at 10:27 pm

      Hi Ian, we used almost 7 yards of soil. We then top-dressed it with thin layer of compost, about 1 yard worth. Hope this helps!

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