• DIY Project ~ Raised Beds for Free!

    Posted on April 14, 2013 by in DIY home and garden craft projects, Recycled and repurposed items as garden art, Things that inspire me in the garden

    Best_of_April0105-3 http://ourfairfieldhomeandgarden.com/diy-project-raised-beds-for-free/

    Make raised planting beds for free! http://ourfairfieldhomeandgarden.com/diy-project-raised-beds-for-free/

    Make raised planting beds for free!

    Who says you can’t get something for nothing? I just finished two raised beds made from my neighbor’s old shutters and odds and ends of  left over wood,  then painted them with surplus deck paint! ZERO COST!! For quite a while, I have admired all sorts of wonderful homemade and commercial raised beds seen on Pinterest and Hometalk. Because I couldn’t justify the cost of buying the lumber and didn’t want to tackle disassembling pallets, raised beds did not seem to be in my future. But then, our neighbors replaced their shutters and were nice enough to give them to me when I asked. They know by now that a repurposing project is about to get underway. You could do other configurations, but I used two shutters on each side and one-half a shutter for the ends. That used up all ten of the free shutters. Odds and ends of lumber stored in the garage rafters came down and became corner, end and middle supports. I even  had enough wood screws from another project to use for this one! After the building was complete, we lined the bottom of the raised beds with plastic mulch bags to keep the ivy at bay. Straw that had been in the flower beds and about eight wheelbarrow loads of weeds pulled from another neighbor’s lawn (and still full of great dirt!) went in next. Newspaper and cardboard from our recycling can followed, then a final layer of composted soil on top (about eight inches). Rummaging around in the basement, I found half a can of deck paint and gave both raised beds two coats. Finally it was time for the fun stuff: planting seeds and seedlings in my brand-new, free raised beds. One box is done now in cool crops: radishes, Swiss chard, carrots, cabbage, and several  kinds of lettuce. As the weather warms up, I’ll be adding more vegetables and a few flowers to keep it all pretty.

    one of the ten shutters I got from my neighbor's trash http://ourfairfieldhomeandgarden.com/diy-project-raised-beds-for-free/

    one of the ten shutters I got from my neighbor’s trash

    corner detail ~ interior view http://ourfairfieldhomeandgarden.com/diy-project-raised-beds-for-free/

    corner detail ~ interior view

    corner detail ~ exterior view http://ourfairfieldhomeandgarden.com/diy-project-raised-beds-for-free/

    corner detail ~ exterior view

    supports were added in the middle and on the ends to keep the shutters straight http://ourfairfieldhomeandgarden.com/diy-project-raised-beds-for-free/

    supports were added in the middle and on the ends to keep the shutters straight

    http://ourfairfieldhomeandgarden.com/diy-project-raised-beds-for-free/ layers of straw, a neighbor's weeds, newspaper and cardboard topped with good compost

    layers of straw, a neighbor’s weeds, newspaper and cardboard topped with good compost

    finished and filled, an unpainted raised bed http://ourfairfieldhomeandgarden.com/diy-project-raised-beds-for-free/

    finished and filled, an unpainted raised bed

    early season seedlings ready to plant http://ourfairfieldhomeandgarden.com/diy-project-raised-beds-for-free/

    early season seedlings ready to plant

    Dollar Store bird clips hold the seed packets in place http://ourfairfieldhomeandgarden.com/diy-project-raised-beds-for-free/

    Dollar Store bird clips hold the seed packets in place

    finished raised bed with early season plantings http://ourfairfieldhomeandgarden.com/diy-project-raised-beds-for-free/

    finished raised bed with early season plantings

    Click the image to see more  ideas!

    Click to see more ideas!

16 Responses so far.

  1. kris says:

    Love this!

    • Barb says:

      Thanks so much, Kris! I had a lot of fun making them and will continue to enjoy planting my own veggies this summer! Easy and inexpensive to do – hope you get a chance to try it out yourself!

  2. Sandy says:

    Great job. I love making something out of nothing. Thanks.

    • Barb says:

      Thanks, Sandy! You are right, there’s something very satisfying about reusing and saving the money for something else. Plus, you end up with one-of-a-kind garden features that way too! Happy to hear from you : )

  3. Wendy says:

    Genius!

  4. Lorraine says:

    You put WEEDS in the bed??? Everything else was creative and logical,,but WEEDS? I don’t think so.

    • Barb says:

      Hold on, Lorraine! The layering was as follows: wheelbarrows of big soil clumps attached to onion grass and weeds pulled out of a neighbor’s pristine lawn by her landscape guys, then straw, then newspaper and cardboard (thoroughly covering all weeded soil) and then the soil/compost topping. The weeds are at the bottom of the raised bed and will slowly compost, suppressed by the newspaper and cardboard. Filling two large raised beds with soil would be very expensive. This reused perfectly good soil destined for a landfill and helped me fill the beds. Check out lasagna gardening on this site http://organicgardening.about.com/od/startinganorganicgarden/a/lasagnagarden.htm. I truly did not go crazy!

  5. Debbie says:

    Great recycling project! They look great, Barb!
    Debbie 🙂

    • Barb says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Debbie! Making these raised beds was a lot of fun and I look forward to growing more vegetables now that I have a spot for them!
      Happy Gardening!

  6. Shenice says:

    Momala I love the raised beds. What area of the garden did you place them. Is it better for them to get morning or evening sun?

    • Barb says:

      Hey, Darling girl!

      The raised bed boxes are back behind the gazebo – my attempt to do away with more ivy and make more garden without yanking tons of the stuff. They get good morning and afternoon light but a fair amount mid-day there too.
      Thanks for checking my blog!

      Miss you!
      Momala

  7. Carla Hampton says:

    Is there any danger in using old deck boards to make a raised bed for vegetable gardens? My husband was a little concerned because it is treated lumber. We tore apart our deck which was over 15 years old last year to replace it with a brick patio. At first we were going to use the old wood for raised garden beds but he started to wonder if it is safe to grow vegetables in since it is treated lumber. Please advise.

  8. Debbie B says:

    Love your idea. I made my raised beds from two old bookcases. I just took out the shelves and took off the back.

    • Barb says:

      Debbie ~ I LOVE the bookcase idea too and have been on the lookout for a used one for cheap!
      Happy Gardening!
      Barb

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