Making Raised Garden Beds from Composite Decking | I Like To Make Stuff

Making Raised Garden Beds from Composite Decking | I Like To Make Stuff

Like many of you, I wanted to try my hand at home gardening and I started by making a raised garden beds from composite decking. These garden beds should last a really long time and they were super easy to build.

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To make these raised garden beds, you first needs to make some barrier walls to contain the soil within. This concept created the “raised” nature of the garden instead of just tilling up the earth and planting some seeds. The walls of these beds can be as high as you’d like. Josh made some that were tall enough that you didn’t kneel down, but it took a lot more material to build. For our raised garden beds, I’m going to make them about 8-10 inches tall using some unique materials. 

Wood is the most common raised garden bed wall material because it is pretty inexpensive and readily available. You have to be careful when selecting the side wall material because the chemicals used to pressure treat wood can be harmful as it can leach into your planted food. Instead of wood, I chose to use composite decking material made from a durable, weather-resistant plastic. I used my circular saw to cut the boards into equal 4-foot lengths.

Essentially these raised garden beds are just tall walls attached together. I decided to make a combination, corner bracket and ground stake to keep the beds firmly in place in our yard. Again, if you’re using wood, you can do this with a small section of 4×4, screw in the side walls and burry it a few inches in the ground. Because I like to complicate things and because I had some other materials on-hand, I’m going to make some aluminum brackets. 

I had some aluminum angled stock that I cut into 15 inch lengths for each corner. We’re making 2 raised garden beds, so I cut down 8 brackets. Using my bandsaw, I cut a simple pointed wedge shape on the bottom of the angled aluminum. To do all of these pieces at once, I used some tape to bind the group together. I also decided to pre-drill the wall attachment holes in the brackets whiles they were still taped together. 

Because all of the composite decking boards were the same size, I arranged them in a square with overlapping joints. You could miter these corners to 45 degrees so that they fit evenly into the brackets, but I don’t think it’s necessary. I placed the boards in an overlapping arrangement, placed the brackets in the corners and used some coated outdoor screws to secure them all in place. Now that I have my two large square raised garden beds, I dragged them into place and stepped on the brackets to drive them firmly into the ground.  

Now that the raised garden beds are ready, I went to our local nursery and got a trailer load of pre-mixed gardening soil. I loaded up the raised garden beds with the soil and decided to use the techniques outlined in a book, The All New Square Foot Gardening, and make 1 foot square planting areas. I sectioned off these 1-foot square plots using some string and some screws driven into the side walls. Now it was time to plant the starter-plant vegetables that we bought from the store in our new raised garden beds!

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Making Raised Garden Beds from Composite Decking | I Like To Make Stuff

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50 Comments

  1. Lavish Fan on June 19, 2021 at 1:26 am

    can this material be painted?

  2. The Lawnmower Lady on June 19, 2021 at 1:27 am

    Hey Bob! Got an update on the garden beds?

  3. Willy Tangkere on June 19, 2021 at 1:27 am

    Nice 👍

  4. Julie J on June 19, 2021 at 1:28 am

    6:33 You did not show how did you stack the composite decking on top of the other?

  5. BigTech Is Propaganda on June 19, 2021 at 1:30 am

    Ok, you forgot the raised part in a raised garden bed. Put some 4×4 on it to save your back from weeding.

  6. Kathy Derr on June 19, 2021 at 1:30 am

    Check out rain gutter grow system rggs

  7. Franki Kruegar on June 19, 2021 at 1:30 am

    How long do you think those boards would last vs treated lumber?

  8. Zach Lloyd on June 19, 2021 at 1:32 am

    Ohh man, all those aluminum spikes of death sticking up. Made me think of the movie AEon Flux with the security grass 😂

  9. Timmy S (DrPhanster) on June 19, 2021 at 1:33 am

    Dude is afraid of pressure treated lumber. Apparently, he’s never looked into how composite decking and fencing is made.

  10. Robert Ramsay on June 19, 2021 at 1:33 am

    Cool idea to make spikes of the angle irons, but unless you live in wild earthquake country the boxes won’t move once they’re filled with soil.

  11. OldSquishyGardener PDX on June 19, 2021 at 1:33 am

    Did you do any research into the safety of these boards for prolonged contact with soil and if the chemicals used in the plastic will leach into the soil. Have a hard time imagining they are food grade…

  12. jon elsea on June 19, 2021 at 1:36 am

    Those corners will likely sink into the ground.

  13. Mark Capella on June 19, 2021 at 1:40 am

    how come you put cardboard down before you filled the boxes with the dirt?

  14. Angel Yanez on June 19, 2021 at 1:40 am

    I recommend adding a wire mesh/fencing screen on the bottom to keep small animals (ex. gophers etc.) from destroying ur crops

  15. Mark Ferchland on June 19, 2021 at 1:40 am

    Should have placed chicken wire along the bottom to keep pests out

  16. Oxigenarian on June 19, 2021 at 1:41 am

    I love the composite idea – that’s probably a cost wash as regular wood planks would have to be treated with some kind of organic preservative like linseed oil or ??? adding to their cost.
    The spikes are not needed. though. Once you have the boxes filled, nothing short of a cataclysmic flood or a tornado is going to shift them anywhere… 🙂

  17. Keith Thorneburg on June 19, 2021 at 1:43 am

    Great idea using composite decking. One tip for next time: leave the old grass and cover with cardboard and compost then wood chips. That retains the microbiome which leads to a healthier soil.

  18. Greg J on June 19, 2021 at 1:44 am

    Like you said you like to over complicate things. I don’t see the point to the corner spikes. After the box is filled with soil, it’s not going anywhere. Plus you don’t need as much aluminum. Great idea to use composite decking. Every once in a while the big box stores have clearance sales on this type of decking. The Square foot gardening method is a good one to follow especially with limited space

  19. Dr. Doug Stithem on June 19, 2021 at 1:46 am

    What kind of blades were you using to cut that aluminum? Diamond coated?

  20. Lula Mae on June 19, 2021 at 1:47 am

    After a year has passed, have you had issues with the bed walls bowing out?

  21. Teal Kerberus on June 19, 2021 at 1:47 am

    It’d be stronger if you didn’t cut the spikes to points – take a bit more hammering in, but give a better result. And pre-drilling all the corners in one go, the holes are going to be offset by the thickness of the corner from each angle to the next – that’s going to add up over that many corners.
    Nice little project. Fascinating to see all the different ways people approach the same task, and most of them seem to work.

  22. BlueJay Studio on June 19, 2021 at 1:47 am

    ? Seems like an expensive way to build garden beds ?

  23. Foxy buddy loves carrots on June 19, 2021 at 1:48 am

    Very nice, but I wouldn’t remove the grass, after putting some packing boards there, the grass would die out anyway isn’t it

  24. Leveraction3030 on June 19, 2021 at 1:50 am

    Is there anything in Composite Decking that could leech into the soil that you may not want in your garden/plants?

  25. SK Le on June 19, 2021 at 1:50 am

    Can we get an update video if there isn’t already?

  26. mogeking56 on June 19, 2021 at 1:54 am

    That how I raised my children 👶 in a box 📦

  27. DONALD DUKE on June 19, 2021 at 1:55 am

    Great video! Thanks for sharing. I learned a lot.

  28. jon elsea on June 19, 2021 at 1:55 am

    Those are not raised beds. The bed is the ground. Those are garden fences. Very expensive ones. Nice though.

  29. NaturalWhitch on June 19, 2021 at 1:58 am

    As a serious allotmenteer, I would always recommend doing longer thinner beds. Base it on how far you can reach so you can weed the centre of the bed easily. Once things are growing it can be difficult, to get tools between plants so you’ll need to hand pull them. For most people 1m x 2/3/4m is good. Also makes it much easier to provide supports along the edges, or use them as borders around an area such as a patio or lawn

  30. Pete R on June 19, 2021 at 1:58 am

    I like the idea of aluminum corner brackets. That’s about it.
    A couple of things to be aware of:
    1. The spiked ends were unnecessary and a safety hazard during assembly and transport. 
    2. Composite decking is absolutely not food safe. If you use for flower garden that’s fine, but NEVER for vegetables. Personally I would not even consider for flowers as the chemicals from the decking board will leech into surrounding soil as well. Just use cedar instead.

  31. FreeAmerican2024 on June 19, 2021 at 1:59 am

    Will the walls of the bin bow out from the weight of the dirt? Thanks

  32. Li Lin on June 19, 2021 at 1:59 am

    Yes, you are.
    You are like to over complicate thing.
    No need spike, after you fill out with soil, box will go nowhere.

  33. Curtis on June 19, 2021 at 1:59 am

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  34. Andrew Dinu on June 19, 2021 at 2:01 am

    They come a slightly longer than 8 feet because you’re supposed to cut off a little bit on each end to give it a clean finish cut. The ends as they come from the factory are rough cut and not as visually pleasing.

  35. Mark C. on June 19, 2021 at 2:05 am

    Just what I’ve been looking for, THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!

  36. DIYAroundTheHome on June 19, 2021 at 2:06 am

    We recently built some raised beds, I think the weight of the dirt/soil is plenty to keep the frames from moving. We had that concern too but ultimately felt that staking it down wasn’t going to do much.

    Great video by the way

  37. Boondoggled I was on June 19, 2021 at 2:08 am

    Ty. Great video! I love that you use what you have. 💛👍🏼

  38. Stryker Ace on June 19, 2021 at 2:08 am

    Why do people make the raised beds so short and so small? Out of curiosity why not make them at least 3 and a half feet high?

  39. othridgerunner on June 19, 2021 at 2:08 am

    Since you used a cardboard base you did not need to remove grass. Grass would have died out under the cardboard. Cardboard or layers of paper are used this way in the ‘back to Eden’ method.

  40. Briar Patch on June 19, 2021 at 2:09 am

    those composite boards are highly susceptible to mold and have been treated with dangerous / hazardous chemicals

  41. lewis ellis on June 19, 2021 at 2:10 am

    thank thanks

  42. Ricardo Diaz on June 19, 2021 at 2:11 am

    You should do an update of how this is going one year later

  43. John Lone on June 19, 2021 at 2:14 am

    Great vid! i love those spikes! I wonder if you can make them in numbers and sell them. Next project should be the protective cage/screen to keep the rabbits and critters away!

  44. HIT FOODS on June 19, 2021 at 2:14 am

    This is great! Thx u. I noticed you didn’t put any black inner liner around the inside to prevent soil and water leaking out between planks and also protects the inside of the composite wood. Have you had any issues?

  45. Ms. Byrd on June 19, 2021 at 2:15 am

    Go back and LINK any updates to a video that needs a Part 2 or put both in a Playlist together! Some of us don’t want to watch the other stuff you make but will watch some videos if they can EASILY find the one they want…

  46. Java on June 19, 2021 at 2:19 am

    Good job, learn by doing, love it!

  47. Focus Above on June 19, 2021 at 2:21 am

    I am surprised you are not concerned about aluminum in the soil.

  48. Eddy Spaghetti on June 19, 2021 at 2:22 am

    Well, I was thinking, with hundreds of pounds of soil in the planters the spikes are un-necessary. The wind or what you’re worried about will not blow them away.

  49. OldSquishyGardener PDX on June 19, 2021 at 2:23 am

    Did you do any research into the safety of these boards for prolonged contact with soil and if the chemicals used in the plastic will leach into the soil. Have a hard time imagining they are food grade…

  50. OldSquishyGardener PDX on June 19, 2021 at 2:25 am

    Did you do any research into the safety of these boards for prolonged contact with soil and if the chemicals used in the plastic will leach into the soil. Have a hard time imagining they are food grade safe…

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