Allotment Diary

Building Raised beds

For the last year or so I’ve been building raised beds at the allotment, so I thought I’d go over how I go about making these beds out of reclaimed decking.

Theres lots of documentation online about how to build raised beds and I think any/all methods and techniques are valuable.

If you’re like me, then you’ll find yourself garnishing different techniques from different things online – which will culminate with the materials that you have available to the way in which you build your beds.

I’ve written a post about how to prepare a raised bed here, so hopefully this post will be more about how to build them in the first place.

I’ve learnt a lot whilst building these beds including the practice of cutting wood, and some key things I like to stick too include:

Keep the parts a manageable size

The beds I’m building are approximately 4 metres long, and around 40cm-50cm wide, so the pieces of wood that I cut tend to be a meter in length.

Generally speaking, I feel it’s a lot easier to move and manage pieces of wood that are a metre long, rather than 2-3 metres long.

Waste as little as possible

There’s no doubt that you’ll end up with an array of off cuts and a mixture of odds and ends to what you’re cutting.

I’ve been using these odds and ends to make the pegs that will hold the boards in the ground.

The rule I’m sticking to is – if it’s not rotten, then it can be used.

I screw the pegs into the boards, rather than nail them. I learnt the hard way that if you use nails, as you bury the boards, the pegs and boards will come apart – which is quite frustrating.

Don’t make the beds too big

This is because you need to be able to reach across from one end to another to weed. I’ve touched upon this in my of my Ask Adam posts.

I’ve had beds in the past that have been too big, and I’ve found that weeding has taken too long, plus I’ve found myself aching way too much afterward.

Also, the width of a bed is easier to cover during the winter months.

The paths in between my beds are a 1 metre wide – I’ve been using plastic sheeting to help with maintaining widths of the paths and beds up and down the plot.

How do you make your raised beds? What hints and tips can you share in the comments below?

9 replies on “Building Raised beds”

I cheat! We bought some that you just fit together and for quite a few of them I used lawn edging. My DIY skills are passable but I don’t drive and there’s a limit to what I can take in the bus!
I do have a plan to build larger squash beds in the new section of the plot this season but we’ll see how that goes..

Absolutely cheat if you can. I’m building mine to cut costs ultimately – I keep seeing pallet collars here and there and I must admit it does look like they make life easy.

I built my raised beds out of a standard build so all of my beds are exactly the same size (6ftx3ft). Because of this, the frames can all stack on top of each other. So I can have some beds deeper than others and mix and match as I see fit.

Leave a Reply