How to Build a Raised Garden Bed for Just $100

When I embarked on my garden consulting business in Houston, I found myself in the position of constructing raised beds. As a gardener, I lacked carpentry skills, but necessity led me to devise a simple method for building wooden raised beds with minimal tools.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of creating a sturdy, attractive raised garden bed using my straightforward construction approach. Rest assured, following these steps and considering the suggested modifications will save you time, frustration, and money when seeking budget-friendly raised garden bed ideas.

Please note: I affectionately refer to this as the “$100 raised bed,” initially costing me that amount for cedar boards, framing angles, and hardware. However, the price of cedar fluctuates, so budget slightly over $100, depending on your location.

The step-by-step instructions outlined below focus on a 4′ x 4′ x 1′ cedar garden bed, but I will also provide modification options for various garden bed sizes and shapes. These DIY raised bed garden plans include sizes such as:

  1. 2’ x 8’ x 1’
  2. 4′ x 4′ x 6″
  3. 4′ x 6′ x 1′
  4. 4′ x 8′ x 1′
  5. 2′ x 6′ x 1′

Personally, I find a bed of this size perfect for growing a scattering of salad mix, as depicted in the image above. It yields a continuous supply of fresh salad for my family. However, the possibilities for what you can grow in a $100 raised bed are virtually limitless.

If you’re ready to learn how to construct an affordable raised garden bed, let’s get started!

Tools and Supplies Needed:

Tools Required:

  • Saw (not necessary if you have the wood pieces cut at the store, which is my preference)
  • Pencil and tape measure for marking boards and hole locations
  • Hand drill for creating holes for hex screws
  • 1/4″ drill bit (or the appropriate size for the holes)
  • Bolt tightener for securely fastening screws and nuts

Supplies Needed:

  • Untreated cedar boards for constructing the raised bed
  • Framing angles for straightforward construction
  • Hex screws (2.5″ long) to attach framing angles
  • Washers and nuts to secure hex screws


Step 1: Measure the Boards

  • Measure the actual thickness of the wooden boards you purchased. Hardware stores often advertise them as 2″ thick, but they may be slightly thinner. Mark this thickness along both edges of the four boards to create a straight line. This will be the inside of the raised bed.

Step 2: Mark Where Framing Angles Will Go

  • Align the framing angle along the marked line and mark the spots inside 2 or 3 holes, depending on the number of hex screws you’ll use for each side. Make sure you don’t mark in the gap between two boards and ensure there’s at least one hole per board.

Step 3: Drill

  • Carefully drill straight holes in the marked locations.

Step 4: Attach Framing Angles to Create Panels

  • Secure each framing angle with a hex screw on the outside and a washer and nut on the inside. This process creates two panels, each with framing angles on both ends.

Step 5: Begin Other Sides of Wooden Raised Bed

  • Position two new boards alongside a panel with attached framing angles. Ensure the edges are flush and straight, then mark hole locations on the two new boards.

Step 6: Complete 1st Raised Bed Corner

  • Drill holes where marked and attach the two boards to the framing angle with hex screws, washers, and nuts. This completes the first corner of the raised garden bed.

Step 7: Complete 2nd Raised Bed Corner

  • Repeat the previous steps on the opposite side of the panel to form the second corner of the raised bed.

Step 8: Check Angles

  • Verify that the angles are flush and measure 90 degrees. A framing square can be handy for this double-check.

Step 9: Complete Wooden Raised Bed

  • Add the final panel with framing angles attached to the U-shaped bed. Mark hole locations, drill, and attach the panel with screws, washers, and nuts.
  • Tighten all bolts using a bolt tightener. Ensure the bed is positioned as desired before securing the bolts.
  • Move the raised bed to your chosen location, fill it with soil, and get ready for your gardening adventures!

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