I came across these photos on my computer and have been meaning to share how we built the garden boxes at our first house. We have since moved and our lovely first garden is bearing fruit, veggies, and love for another family.
These boxes are very simple to build. They are not the most beautiful or polished, but also not all that complicated to build. The only tools we used were a miter saw and a battery powered screw gun (we own this Hitachi set and love it – they are compact yet powerful enough for most applications)
- Pressure treated 2×4’s (the dark brown kind that is not dangerous/poisonous)
- Redwood fence boards
- Outdoor/deck screws
First, we cut off the top part of the fence picket to square off all the redwood boards. Then we measured the redwood boards and 2×4’s for each 2′ x 4′ box. Each of these boxes requires:
- Four 4′ boards
- Four 2′ boards
- Six 2×4 pieces cut to around 20″
- One 2×4 cut to 24″ for a middle brace
For each box we staggered the way the boards fit at each corner. For example, looking at the left box in the picture, the lower board extends all the way to the end and the short side bottom board fits to the inside of that. The top long side board meets the top short side board such that the top short side board has the cut edge exposed on the long side.
We placed the 20″ 2×4 pieces in each corner and halfway through the long side of the box on each side to screw it all together. Two screws per 2×4 piece in each plank.
What I Plan to Do Differently in our Next Garden
Those garden boxes worked very well for most of the year. However, the 2′ width was on the small side in the summer and allowed some of the boxes that received the most sun to dry out faster and heat up more. This is a simple change, just an adjustment to the dimensions. I would make them 4′ wide and follow the square foot gardening school of thought on box dimensions. Four feet is wide enough to stay cooler yet not too wide that you cannot reach the middle without stepping in the box. Overall, the redwood planks hold up well to both watering and the extreme sun exposure in Phoenix, but do become darker in color over time. If you have gophers in your area, I would suggest stapling 1/2″ hardware cloth to the bottom of each box. If you do have these pests like we did, check out my post on ridding your yard of gophers.