People like me just do not shut up about growing food—how it’s good for you and the planet, how rewarding the entire process is, blah blah. “But just where am I supposed to be growing this stuff?” you might think.
I’m with you. Our tiny backyard sits at the lowest point of our block, and it floods when heavy rains fall. To plant the herbs and tomatoes I enjoy, we had to think of a creative approach.
An elevated raised bed offers many advantages. This design, which utilizes salvaged pallets as a base, won’t wash out after heavy rains. It also reduces strain on the back and knees, and is a chemical-free solution to building a bed on a lawn with a weed control issues.
It took only one afternoon for us to collect our materials and build the bed. This project is adaptable, allowing you to utilize what you already have on hand, so consider this how-to as a general guideline. The finished bed measured roughly 8’ x 4’ and cost about $92, but if you have access to reclaimed lumber or home compost, your total could be lower.
Check out the gallery above to see the bed come together step-by-step.
Electric drill with assorted drill bits and screwdriver bits
Anywhere between two and ten 48-inch by 40-inch wooden pallets
one 2 × 10 x 16 board, cut into two 8’ lengths
one 2 × 10 x 10 board, cut into two 3’.75” lengths (use excess for other projects)
Up to 16 3” galvanized nails
Up to 16 3” wood screws
4 to 6 3” x 5” mending plates, for anchoring the bed to the pallets
1 roll of 10’ x 25’ black plastic sheeting, 4 MIL thick
Staple gun staples
About 18 cubic feet of soil
Sara Bir is Paste’s food editor. She’s a crappy gardener, but she loves dirt and fresh produce.