Raised garden beds enable you to grow flowers, vegetables, herbs and spices in areas of the yard that would normally require extensive preparation. You can situate your raised garden beds in poor drainage areas or over grass and weeds. Create a border of fragrant flowers along the walkway to greet your guests, and another raised flowerbed filled with cutting flowers for your vases. Grow a kitchen garden in the backyard for the freshest organic vegetables and herbs for your family. Raised garden beds are fast and easy to build with just a few household tools.

Choose a sunny spot in the yard (veggies need lots of sunshine) and measure the area. There is no limit to the length but width does make a difference. Design it no more than six feet wide if you can access both sides of the bed, and no more than three feet wide if it will be backed against a wall. The average person can only reach about three feet into the center and you need to be able to care for the plants.

Healthy plants need garden beds that are at least ten inches deep. Read the seed packets to see how deep the roots will grow and make the garden bed at least this deep.

Choose the lumber according to your budget. Redwood and cedar are among the best choices but also among the most expensive. Pine is a cheaper alternative if you plan to build several garden beds. Buy untreated lumber, especially if you will be growing food.

Mow the grass as short as possible. If you have Bermuda grass, however, you may want to dig it up, as it is very prolific.

Connect the boards side-by-side to build height for the walls. For a 12 inch high bed, use two 2 x 6 boards rather than three 2 x 4 boards. You will save money on the hardware needed to connect everything. The wood should be at least 3/8-inch thick since the roots and the soil will put constant pressure against the sides.

Assemble each wall separately. Place the brackets every 10 – 12 inches. An electric drill will lessen the chance of having the wood split.

Connect the four walls with inside and outside corner braces for good stability.

Cover the grass with a 1/4-inch layer of newspaper to smother it. The newspaper will biodegrade and is the green choice for an organic garden.

Mix the soil and compost together and fill the raised bed.