The apartment that the husband and I now occupy is the first place we have had with substantial outdoor space, so of course I wanted to build a bunch of stuff to fill it up! Specifically, I wanted some garden beds. But I guess our patio made for some unusual specs, because no amount of Google searching led me to woodworking plans that were suitable to my needs. My beds have to be raised up off the ground so as not to damage the deck underneath, and moveable, because we are only renting and will one day move out. So with the help of my woodworking instructor, (thanks, Jack!) I devised my own plans to build 2 different sizes and share the plans for anyone else who may be wanting the same thing. This is an easy project you can finish in one afternoon!
This tutorial can be used to build two versions of 4’x4’ raised planter beds on casters, one is 18” high and the other is 30” high. But you can adjust your lumber lengths and do whatever side you need.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
For the 18” high planter bed:
21 2x6’s 4’ long*
2 2x4’s 41” long*
4 4x4’s 24”long*
2 1/2” galvanized screws
4 industrial strength casters**
Drill bit for drilling pilot holes
Phillips head bit tip
For the 30” high planter bed:
Same as the 18” except you will need 29 of the 4’ 2x6’s and the 4x4’s need to be 36” long
*Note on the lumber: Most resources on the web will tell you to use Cedar or Redwood for outdoor projects, as they are less prone to rot. I asked my woodworking instructor about this and he is not convinced that they are much better than Douglas Fir, so that is what I used. Mine don’t have to last a lifetime, you can decide for yourself what to use according to your needs.
**Note on the casters: The wood and dirt are going to really add up weight-wise and you will need casters that have at least 250 lb load capability each. These can be very pricey, but I found a great deal and exceptional customer service at SES casters.
WHAT YOU WILL DO:
First, place 2 of the 4x4’s on the ground, 4 ft apart and place a 2x6 across them, like so:
Then drill your pilot holes and screw these pieces together, making sure the sides and top are flush.
Stand it up, this will be one side of your planter.
Do the same with the other 4x4’s and another 2x6. Face them toward each other 4’ apart. The 2x6’s are going to keep the dirt away from the deck and also be the supports for the bottom of the bed.
Next, take your 2 2x4’s and place them on the inside edge of the 2x6’s and 4x4’s. Now you can see the bed taking shape. This is the frame of your garden bed.
Drill your pilot holes and screw the 2x4’s to the 2x6’s.
There should be enough room for 7 2x6’s to fill in the bottom of the bed. Be sure to space them evenly and there will be the right amount of space between them for proper drainage. Drill pilot holes and screw all these boards to the 2x6 supports. BOOM! You’re halfway done!
Now you start to make the sides. Place one 2x6 on top of another, make sure it’s level.
Drill pilot holes and screw the top 2x6 to the 4x4’s, then remove your spacer bottom board.
Do the same on the opposite side:
And then the remaining 2 sides:
I suggest that you attach the casters at this stage, before you start attaching the rest of the 2x6’s and this thing gets really heavy. I also suggest getting someone to help you lift the frame up to do this and also to help bring it back down onto the casters. Mark where your pilot holes will be and screw on the casters.
Now that the wheels are on, all you have to do is attach the rest of the 2x6’s for the sides of your bed.
Do this all the way around and you’re done! This is the 30” version:
And the 18” version:
All they need now is some lovely dirt and seeds! And maybe a coat of paint on the outside. I can’t wait!
UPDATE: The beds are filled with dirt, planted, and painted, see the progress here!