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DIY Raised Garden Bed with Built-in Privacy Wall

July 12, 2021

This DIY project combines a large, raised garden bed with a privacy wall to block out your neighbor’s view of your garden while providing a good size growing space. I have provided plans for building 6×3 and 8×4 beds.

For this project, I used pressure-treated lumber. The Best Wood for Raised Garden Beds has more information on sustainable, long-lasting wood options.

DIY Raised Garden Bed With Privacy Wall

As you can tell by the name of the project, I built this to have both a tall, raised garden bed and find a way to provide some privacy in my back garden.

The plan is simple: build a raised bed with 4×4 posts and make the two back posts tall enough to support horizontal fence boards, essentially forming a privacy wall.

After building the original box, I liked the privacy aspect so much, I added “wings” on either side for extra privacy. I staggered their placement to keep it stable and add interest.

I’m an amateur woodworker and often build things without following plans, just figuring it out as I go. But, so many of you have written to request details since I originally shared this so I have drawn up some plans.

My actual raised bed has a footprint of 8×4-feet. Many of you have asked for 6×3 specs so I have included material lists for both sizes.

Table of Contents

This video shows an overview of how I built mine:

I used pressure-treated wood that comes in a ‘sienna’ brown color.

To avoid wasting wood, I try to create my designs working with standard lumber sizes so there are as few waste cuts as possible. For this project it means creating a box to match your fence board lengths.

Be sure to measure your boards before you start. It’s expected that actual lumber sizes are different than the common names we use for them (e.g. a ‘2×4’ is actually 1.5 x 3.5), but the lengths can vary too, even in the same lot. Check all your boards before you build. The plan includes corner covers to conceal the fence board ends so that will hide any variances around the box.

DISCLAIMER
I’ve done my best to provide accurate measurements but I cannot guarantee them. Please double check before buying or cutting lumber.

Lumber Names Versus Actual Sizes

These are the actual dimensions of the lumber I used. Check yours to confirm the sizes (length, width, and thickness).

  • 2×4 measures 1.5×3.5
  • 4×4 measures 3.25×3.25
  • 1×6 measures 5/8×5.25
  • 2×8 measures 1.5×7.25

1×6 Fence boards

2×8 Fence boards

2x4s

4×4 posts

Tools and Hardware

8x4x2 raised bed with 8-foot privacy wall

1×6 fence boards

2×8 fence boards

2x4s

4×4 posts

3Prepare Your Location

Before You Build

Prepare the location where you will be placing the box. You will need 6×3-feet or 8×4-feet of level ground, depending on which size box you build.

You will also need enough soil to fill the box. I had recently built a pond and used some of the soil from the excavation plus compost for the top 12-inches.

4Assembly

As you work, consider where you will attach screws both for maximum hold and best appearance. For some of the boards, you can attach the screws from inside to conceal them.

The difference between a good build and a bad one is how square and level it is! Check your work as you go. It will look professionally-built if you do this.

Assemble the Front and Back Sections

The footprint of the raised bed is 6-feet by 3-feet (for Option 1).

The two tall 4×4 posts go at the back corners and the two short 4×4 posts go at the front.

The posts will be inset 1.5-inches (the width of a 2×8) to allow room for the fence boards to neatly butt up against each other.

Work from the bottom up by lining up the bottom of the first board with the bottom of each post. Add the remaining two boards.

Remember where you’ve placed your screws so you don’t run into them when attaching the corner covers.

Repeat for back section using the tall 4x4s.  

The front and back box sections also have vertical 2x4s at their middle points to further support the horizontal boards.

Mark the middle of each unit and attach the 2x4s from the inside so the screws are not visible on the outer fence boards.

Join the Front and Back Section By Attaching the Side Boards

With the front and back sections assembled, it’s time to assemble the box by attaching the shorter horizontal boards on each side.

Add the side boards, starting from the bottom up, attaching them precisely between the front and back sections. They will fit nicely behind the overhang of the long front and back boards.

Complete both sides.

Now you have the basic box.

Attach Back Support Board (for Mitered Top)

Attach a 2×4 across top back of box. The top edge of the board should line up with the top edge of the top horizontal board. The purpose of this board is to add extra support for the mitered top we’ll add later.

Attach Corner Covers

Attach the front corner covers first, placing the front boards 5/8 beyond the edges of the front section.

Add side covers, butting each one up behind the front cover overhangs.

For back corners, use the shorter pieces (18.25-inches) at the back, attaching each one right below the 2×4 support piece with their edges aligned with the corners.

Finish by adding the final two corner pieces (21.75-inches) at back of sides, extending 5/8-inch beyond the box to end flush with the back corner pieces.

Attach Mitered Tops

Plan your mitered boards so they conceal the perimeter of the top of the box on all sides including the front 2×4 posts.

The measurements I’ve provided are approximate.

If you don’t want to miter them, butted square ends are fine too.

I lined my raised bed with landscape fabric because I had some on hand. It may help extend the life of the box—I hope. If you want to do this, staple it in place before adding the mitered tops.

Attach Privacy Boards

Use a spare 2x4x6 to secure the back posts in position so you can add the privacy boards without worrying about movement.

Starting at the top of the tall posts, attach your fence boards. Line up the top edge of the top board with the top edges of the posts and be sure they extend (overhang) equal distances from the post edges. Double check the boards are level before securing them.

Attach remaining boards, working your way down. Leave a slight gap to allow for board expansion from humidity.

You may also want to add a 2×4 along the middle, back of the privacy wall to prevent warping.

5Extend the Privacy Wall

These next photos show the evolution of my privacy wall.

The “wings” are staggered which provides better stability and a less boxy appearance.

The wing boards are attached to the back of the main box posts but in front of their own posts.

I also varied the heights and widths to add more interest.

For some of the post supports (next picture) I made cylinders of hardware cloth, tied shut with cable ties, and filled with stones.

Here is the final project:

6Alternate Design

I cannot tell you how fun it is when someone emails me to share photos of a project inspired by something I have shown on this site.

Helen Prier did a beautiful job on her version of these raised beds with privacy walls. It’s a huge undertaking, but so worthwhile if you have a yard lacking character and privacy.

And it is a fabulous way to workaround any fence height restrictions simply by building a little higher within your own property.

A few details to note:

Here are a few photos Helen shared of the building process.

1Before

This first photo shows a common situation: a good size garden space but no real definition to the space.

2During Construction

The taller raised beds were built first, complete with the tall 4×4 support posts.

3Adding Privacy Boards

Notice how the horizontal privacy boards are placed? They alternate between the front and back side of the 4×4 posts. It’s a good way to break up the effect so it looks more interesting than a solid wall of wood the whole way across.

4Ready for Planting

You can see it was big job but wow, it looks great. The alternating wall placements, different stain colors, and varying box sizes really transform it into something special.

And what a fabulous place to get really creative with art and plants.

Thank you, Helen for sharing your wonderful project. Well done!

~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛

This content was originally published here.

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