Keith Poche’s Raised Bed Planter

When the fish aren’t biting, why not bite into a homegrown tomato instead? That’s Elite Series pro fisherman Keith Poche’s philosophy. When he’s not traveling across the country for fishing tournaments, Keith enjoys spending time outdoors in the garden.

Keith first learned to garden from his parents in Louisiana, but at his new home in Alabama, Keith needed a better spot to plant vegetables and herbs. He turned to friend and Bonnie Plants staffer Vince Culpepper for help. Vince designed this raised bed, and he and Keith built the bed together in one day.

Finished dimensions of this raised bed are 55 inches deep, 124 inches wide, and 23 ¼ inches to the top of the bed. In the back of the bed, Keith planted three tomatoes in cages and a cucumber in a cage. In the front are one staked bush tomato plant, four pepper plants, and a mint plant. At the two 59-inch-tall front posts, Vince and Keith attached hooks for hanging four potted strawberry plants.

After building the main raised bed, Keith and Vince decided to add three small, tiered beds off one side. The smaller beds are accessible for younger kids. Strawberries are planted in the first and second tiers, with onions growing in the third. A couple pepper and tomato plants are mixed into the tier plantings as well.

Use the following woodworking plans, including instructions and illustrations, to build this raised bed at your own home.

Download a printable pdf guide on how Keith built his raised bed.

Estimated time: 4-6 hours

Difficulty: Moderate

Materials:

Lumber (treated or exterior grade)

  • 1 – 4 x 4 x 10
  • 6 – 2 x 12 x 10 (substitute 2 x 10 x 10 or 2 x 8 x 10 as desired)
  • 2 – 2 x 8 x 10
  • 1 – 2 x 8 x 8
  • 4 – 2 x 4 x 10
  • 2 – 2 x 4 x 8
  • 2 – 1 x 6 x 12
  • 1 – 1 x 6 x 10

Supplies:

  • 3-inch deck screws
  • 2 1/2-inch deck screws
  • 1 1/2-inch deck screws
  • 1 1/2-inch plastic cap roofing nails
  • 2 – decorative wooden caps for 4 x 4 post
  • 112 square feet landscape cloth

Tools:

  • miter saw or circular saw
  • jig saw
  • drill/driver
  • hammer
  • scissors or utility knife
  • square
  • measuring tape

Refer to these figures from the instructions below.

Instructions:

Step 1: Prepare the site, side and end walls
Select the desired location for the plant bed and prepare as needed.

Cut the side wall rails, end wall rails and wall braces to length. If using 2 x 10s for the wall rails, cut the wall braces to 14 inches. If using 2 x 8s, cut the wall braces to 10 inches.

Step 2: Attach the braces and assemble the base
Position two side wall rails with the ends flush. Position one wall brace centered on the side wall rails and flush with one edge. This positioning will leaving roughly 4 1/2 inches between the wall brace and the edge of one side wall rail. Make sure the brace is square, and attach using 3-inch deck screws.

Position another wall brace approximately 12 inches from the end of the side wall rails, make sure it is square and flush with the edge, and attach using 3-inch deck screws. Attach another wall brace using the same step on the other end. Repeat to create a second side wall assembly.

Position two end wall rails with the ends flush. Position a wall brace 12 inches from the center and flush with the one edge, make sure it is square, and attach using 3-inch deck screws. Position a second wall brace 12 inches from the center in the opposite direction as the first, flush with the edge, square, and attach using 3-inch deck screws. Repeat to create a second end wall assembly.

Place the assemblies near the prepared location for the bed.

Position the end wall assemblies flush with the inside edges of the side wall assemblies, as shown in Figure 1, and attach using 3-inch deck screws. Move the assembly in place.

Step 3: Line the inside of the planter
Cut the landscape cloth to fit the inside of the side and end walls, starting at roughly 2 inches below the top edge of the walls. Make sure to wrap the cloth around the edges of the wall braces. Attach to the wall rails and braces using plastic roofing nails as shown in Figure 2.

Step 4: Attach the posts and bench rails
Cut the posts to length. Position flush with the inside corners on one side as shown in Figure 3 and attach using 3-inch deck screws. Attach the decorative post caps to the posts.

Measure the inside dimensions between the posts and the opposing side wall rails. The measurement for the end bench rails should be at least 1/2-inch less than these dimensions, so adjust as needed.

Position the end bench rails with the 1 1/2-inch edge facing up, and flush with the top edge of the end wall rails as shown in Figure 3, and attach using 3-inch deck screws.

Measure the inside dimensions between the two posts, adjust the length of the post bench rails as needed, position flush with the top edge of the side wall rail, and attach using 3-inch deck screws.

Adjust the length of the long bench rail as needed, position flush with the top edge of the side wall rail, and attach using 3-inch deck screws.

Step 5: Attach the trim
Cut a 45-degree miter on the corners of the end trim and side trim.

Position one piece of side trim on the side without the posts, making sure it overhangs the ends and side by 2 inches. Attach using 1 1/2-inch deck screws.

Use a jig saw to cut a notch for the posts on one end of the end trim pieces, and both ends of the remaining side trim. You may need to test fit this cut a few times for it to match. Position these parts overhanging the ends and sides by 2 inches as shown in Figure 4. Attach them using 1 1/2-inch deck screws.

Step 6: Assemble the boxes
Position the box end rails (bottom box, middle box, and top box) flush with the ends of the box front rails as shown in Figure 5. Attach using 2 1/2-inch deck screws.

Step 7: Attach the boxes to the bed
Position the bed cleats flush with the bottom and inside edge of the end wall rails. Attach to the end wall rails using 2 1/2-inch deck screws as shown in Figure 6.

Position the bottom box assembly flush against the bottom and ends of the side wall rails and the bed cleats. Attach the bottom box end rails to the bed cleats using 3-inch deck screws as shown in Figure 6.

Position the mid box assembly on top of the bottom box assembly, making sure the mid box end rails are flush against the side wall rails and the bed cleats. Attach to the bed cleats using 3-inch deck screws as shown in Figure 6.

Position the top box assembly on top of the mid box assembly, making sure the top box end rails are flush against the side wall rails and the bed cleats. Attach to the bed cleats using 3-inch deck screws as shown in Figure 6.

Step 8: Add the box supports
Position the top box supports flush with the inside corner of the top box assembly and the bottom edge of the bottom box end rails and attach from the inside using 2 1/2-inch deck screws as shown in Figure 7.

Position the mid box supports flush with the inside corner of the mid box assembly and the bottom edge of the bottom box end rails and attach from the inside using 2 1/2-inch deck screws as shown in Figure 7.

Line the inside of the boxes using Step 3 as a reference.

Step 9: Add soil and plants
Add desired soil to within a few inches of the top of the plant bed and add plants. You can place decorative hangers to the posts as well.

Parts List

Part Quantity Size
side wall rails 4 1 1/2 x 11 1/4 x 120
end wall rails 4 1 1/2 x 11 1/4 x 48
wall braces 10 1 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 18
posts 2 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 59
end bench rail 2 1 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 44
post bench rail 1 1 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 109 1/2
long bench rail 1 1 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 113 1/2
end trim 2 3/4 x 5 1/2 x 55*
side trim 2 3/4 x 5 1/2 x 124*
box front rails 3 1 1/2 x 7 1/4 x 48
bottom box end rails 2 1 1/2 x 7 1/4 x 35 3/4
mid box end rails 2 1 1/2 x 7 1/4 x 23 3/4
top box end rails 2 1 1/2 x 7 1/4 x 11 3/4
bed cleats 2 1 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 21
top box supports 2 1 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 19 1/2
mid box supports 2 1 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 12 1/4

*measured at the long points of the miter