Building a Raised Bed with DUG

Download a PDF of the instructions here!

Tools Needed:
Circular saw
Drill / driver
1/4” drill bit
3/8” auger bit
Tape measure
Sledge hammer

Materials Needed:
Nine 4”x6”x8’ rough cedar timbers
Twenty-four 8” timber screws
Two 3/8”x2’ rebar

Timber cut and prep:
Cut the following:
Four timbers @ 8’
Four timbers @ 3’ 4”
Two timbers @ 7’ 4”
Two timbers @ 4’
Drill pilot holes

Site prep:
Remove turf, mulch, etc. from site, scraping area down to underlying soil, ideally achieving a level grade. Optional: 1”-2” layer of crusher fine under the bed will facilitate leveling of base course and provide drainage. Tamp down crusher fine until a well packed surface is in place.

Assemble base course:
Place any damaged sides of each timber facing towards the center or bottom of the bed. Timbers should be set so that the 6” side is vertical. Line up outside and top edges at corners and fit together snugly. Measure diagonal distance at corners, adjust to square. Drive one 8” timber screw thru pilot hole to fasten each corner. Optional: 3.5” deck screws toenailed at each corner will help secure joints while moving and positioning the base course.

Level and set base course:
Place base course into designated location. Level top of base course by adding or removing crusher fine layer under timbers. Measure off any fixed edges surrounding raised bed to adjust location of raided bed until desired placement is achieved (utilizing a string line is advisable if building multiple beds). Recheck base course for level. Use sledge hammer to drive rebar thru pilot holes and into the underlying soil, hammering rebar flush with top of timber.

Assemble and set remaining courses: Follow the same steps from “Assemble base course” above. Overlap the corner joints to increase stability between courses. Drive 8” timber screws into pilot holes on the top side of each timber to fasten each successive course to the course underneath.

Fill with soil: Use wheelbarrows to fill raised bed with soil. A 18” tall raised bed will take approximately 1.5 cubic yards of soil to fill. Automotive tire ramps (if available) will facilitate raising wheelbarrows up to dump soil into raised bed. Use care to avoid damaging the top timbers of the raised bed.