UCCE Master Gardeners of Sacramento County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of Sacramento County

FOHC Raised Vegetable Beds

Building the raised beds

FOHC raised veg beds
Nine raised beds, including one to demonstrate what can be built for those with accessibility needs, were constructed by Master Gardeners and Boy Scout Troop 107 during the winter of 2012. Eight of the redwood beds measure 20 feet long, 4 feet wide and 18 inches tall. The ninth bed is 8 feet long, 3 feet wide and 24 inches tall.

The beds were built individually by building the bottom box which was screwed together at every corner, moved into place and leveled. The boards on the long sides were butted up against each other initially. Once level, the top boards were screwed together and placed on the base. Then a piece of 2-by-4 the height of the bed was screwed over the inside seam. Two L-brackets were screwed onto each board at the corners.

On the long side of each bed at the corner, a metal support pole was pounded into the ground a little lower than the bed to allow room for the cap. The adjustable brackets were attached to the wood and tightened. At the center seams of the long side, 12 inch holes were dug and the support poles were pounded into place. The brackets were attached, tightened, and the cement was mixed and poured into the holes.

raised bed post
raised bed corner
Metal support pole   Corner construction

When the cement was set, the mending plates were hammered inside the beds over the side seams to help prevent the boards from shifting. Two were used on each side of the bed for a total of four per bed. Caps were placed over the poles and the beds were filled with a mixture of 70 percent top soil and 30 percent compost.

Raised beds diagram


FOHC raised vegetable bed costs (2012)

Materials and cost for each bed (4’ wide x 20’ long x 18” tall)

Quantity Item Cost per Unit Total
4  2x6x10 rough redwood $21.50  $86.00 
4  2x12x10 rough redwood 48.00  192.00 
1  2x12x8 rough redwood 38.40  38.40 
1  2x6x8 rough redwood 17.20  17.20 
16  Metal "L" bracket 2.57  41.12 
--  Wood screws n/a   5.00 
2  Mending plate 1.10  2.20 
6  Metal tube (fence) pole, 2 3/8" diameter 6.30  37.80 
6  Adjustable wood adapter clamp (bracket) 2.27  13.62 
6  Cap for metal pole 1.00  6.00 
2  Bags of concrete mix 2.15  4.30 
3.7  Yards soil/compost (70% topsoil, 30% compost) 24.00  88.80 
TOTAL     $532.44 

Each bed consists of one (1) 12 inch high board and one (1) 6 inch high board to make a bed 18 inches high.  Two (2) “L” brackets were used at the corner on each board, so each corner of the bed has four (4) “L” brackets for a total of 16 “L” brackets per bed. 

Two (2) 10 foot long boards were used on each side of the beds, for a total length of 20 feet per bed.  At each seam at the middle of each bed, a metal pole was set into concrete to add stability.  At each corner of each bed on the long side, a metal pole was driven into the ground for stability at the corners.  Each pole was cut 12 inches longer than the height of the bed.  The poles were capped instead of being filled or left open.

Approximate cost for a raised bed in the home garden

Using the above costs, the following would be the approximate cost of a 4’x8’x12” raised bed in the home garden.

Quantity Item Cost per Unit Total
2  2x12x12 rough redwood $57.60  $115.20 
8  metal “L” bracket 2.57  20.56 
--  wood screws n/a   n/a  
1.2  yards soil/compost (70% topsoil, 30% compost)* 24.00  28.80 
TOTAL     $164.56 

 *There is normally a delivery charge for less than 3 yards of soil—check with supplier.

 For a printer-friendly version, click here (pdf, 52kb).

4145 Branch Center Road, Sacramento, CA 95827       Master Gardener Phone:  916.876.5338       Fax:  916.875.6233

Webmaster Email: mgsacramento@ucanr.edu