How to Set Up a Garden with Raised Beds

If you want to learn how to build a garden with a raised bed, you've come to the right place.

Pro tip: Find a nice weekend to build outside. Take a breath of cool air and start your outdoor vegetable garden journey.

Outside, if you find yourself needing to argue with a few toddlers, you can set them up with bubbles. If you're lucky, they don't pour all the bubbles on each other's hair! If you're not so lucky (as in our case), you need to take a break and wash off all the soapy water before they doze off.

Back to the raised bed. There are many different types of loft beds, which we'll cover in detail here.

In this article, we'll focus on our selection of loft beds called Birdies. These tough bad boys are made of cold rolled galvanized steel with a metal coating consisting of aluminum and zinc.

They come in several colors, we chose mint green because it's so pretty.

How to Build a Garden with a Bird Raised Bed

It took us 45 minutes to build the first bed. This included some mistakes, we had to undo some parts and put them back together.

In the second version, we have two people. This round only took 20 minutes.

They are easy to install even with toddlers running around. You'll see us look up from time to time in the video below. It's not looking at the camera.

We were chatting with our daughter and her friends who were playing in the yard as we built. Get your kids involved.

We tried to get them to sort the screws and nuts, but it didn't go well. Stopped it before we lost any fragments.

build the bed

The Birdies bed comes with 6 flat panels and 4 round panels. You can configure the bed in one of six ways to suit your garden space.

We chose a 51"x35.4" configuration.

Here are the tools we used to speed up the construction of these beds.

8mm socket wrench (closed)

Cordless Drill with Phillips Head


two sets of hands

Step 1: Lay Out Materials

Lay out all panels and remove plastic wrap. There's also a thin plastic piece at the end, so don't miss it.

We used two small bowls to separate the screws and nuts. Not necessary, but nice to keep organized.

Step 2: Assemble the Plates Together

First start assembling the slab. Screw the nut into place five times by hand on each panel. Set the finished panel aside.

Step 3: Assemble the Round Panel

Twist the remaining flat plate with the round panel. Make sure the round panel is on the outside.

Instead of reading the instructions carefully at first, we started screwing the panels together. too excited. We have some slabs on the inside, while others are attached to the outside of the circular panels.

When screwing the round panel onto the plate, make sure the round panel is on the outside. Something about weight distribution.

Now, I have warned you.

Step 4: Tighten the Screws

This is where it gets really interesting. Use an 8mm socket wrench (closed end) to secure the nut, we used a cordless drill with a Phillips bit to tighten the screws.

Work until all screws are tightened. This is a very important step!

We used a low torque setting on the drill to avoid over-tightening.

If you've never used a drill before, now is the time to learn. For myself (my husband uses this drill all the time), I feel strong, fast, and efficient. I understand now why people love power tools!

I told my husband not to hand screw the screws and let me go on the drill press to finish. Have fun!

We built three of these beds in total. We originally bought four but decided to downsize.

Step 5: Add Safety Rubber Channels

Birdies provide a secure rubber channel in the box to protect the edges. This clips permanently and is UV stable.

It is very easy to put the strip on the edge. The only hard part is that one group meets another. We have to squeeze the panels together with one hand. Then, carefully remove the strip and place it on both panels at the same time.

Once you've wrapped the bed, grab a pair of scissors or wire cutters to trim off the excess rubber.

That's it!

Each raised bed is done in 20 minutes or less.

Our daughter managed to run around on the empty bed pretending it was a boat. Dual-use product.

Setting up the garden and preparing the ground for the beds

There are plenty of opinions on how to prepare a loft bed for you (and any gardening theme, really).

Some say to pull up the grass, while others will say just put the beds on the grass and fill them with soil.

Trust your gut and do what you think is best for your space.

cardboard as your base

We're going to lay five layers of cardboard first to kill the grass and prevent weeds from growing in the future. If you are using cardboard, remove all labels and plastic tape first. Cardboard will break down into the ground.

Don't buy cardboard. If you live in a densely populated area, people love to shop online. Drive around and pick up cardboard boxes on garbage collection day.

We drove around for 10 minutes, which is 10 minutes, and our wagon was filled with tons of cardboard. All free.

How to Fill a Raised Garden Bed with Soil

After you've made the beds in your desired garden location, what will you fill them with next?

They say fill them with dirt. what soil? Soil from the ground? maybe not.

We have "Red Virginia Clay" in Northern Virginia. No one wants dry, hard soil to grow vegetables, so what do we do?

Step 1: Fill Your Bed with Topsoil

Soil Quick Course

Topsoil is the top layer of the ground. What has been found at the bottom is bedrock. "Bedrock is thought to be solid rock that forms in situ and is the foundation of an area. It will be the bottom layer, on top of which soil development takes place."

Soil composition:

–25% air

–25% water

– 45% mineral particles (calcium, manganese, phosphorus) from bedrock decomposed by roots)

–5% organic matter (living organisms, roots, decaying matter)

Produce your own topsoil by recycling the soil and then adding 20% ​​leaf gro (organic compost) to the mix. This is an old product that many gardeners have had success with.

If you're filling more than one raised bed, you may want to buy soil in bulk -- by cubic yards. Use this soil calculator to figure out the total amount of soil needed for each bed ahead of time. Of course, this also helps to calculate costs in advance.

We used the soil calculator above and found that we needed more than 1 cubic yard of topsoil. The people at Merrifield agree that 1 cubic yard is enough. This is also the minimum amount required for bulk purchases.

We remember him saying this was the equivalent of over 30 bags of topsoil. We don't have a truck and don't plan to rent one, so delivery is our best option.

Delivery is also convenient because if the delivery guy is close enough to the truck and the street, they will fill your bed for you.

Step 2: Place 2 inches of compost on your garden bed

We want to put 2 inches of compost on each raised bed to add nutrients that the topsoil doesn't have.

Unfortunately, our home compost is not enough for this project.

The good guys at Merrifield came in handy again and suggested we get three or four bags of BumberCropOrganicSoilBuilder.

This is listed by OMRI. This ensures that the product is suitable for organic food production.

He also told us that master gardeners in the area use it. It is rich in organic ingredients such as worm castings, lobster and crab shells, kelp powder, aged bark, and more.

We had never heard of a bumper crop before this. If we went looking for bags of "compost," we're not sure we'd be leaving with the right product. Glad we asked.