step one: do some math. gahh. i know. after pricing lumber on home depot's website, i discovered shorter boards are cheaper. which sort of makes sense. after my last painful and drawn out raised-bed-building adventure, i decided 4'x4' lumber beds were much easier than 8'x4' stacked landscaping ties. plus i have the space, the hauling vehicle [my mom's] and i hadnt yet made a good buddy in the home depot lumber department.
i decided i wanted 5 beds - 4 for veggies and one for flowers. with 2"x12"x8' boards, i would need 2 boards per bed, with a total of 10 boards, somewhere around $18-19 each. right there... priceeey. jesus. but these things are treated to last [now arsenic free!], im putting a crapload of work into this project, and damnit i want a nice well-made garden.
after handing the lumber guy my drawing, taking it back again, and trying to convince him that yes, i am female, and i do know what im asking for. somegoddamn4'piecesoflumberforchristssake. there is no need to treat me like a porcelain doll or pretend to be kind of dense in order to get me to explain it over twice. i can help move the boards if it cuts the time in half that i have to spend with you. im sure ive damaged my hands worse.
but i digress.
step 2: buy materials. i bought 10 8' boards cut to 4' lengths [free in store!], a box of exterior screws, and 20 corner brackets - the super cheap kind. fortunately i already had an electric screwdriver/drill or that would have been another hour of my life.
step 3: figure out where to put beds. i laid some boards in my yard and very inaccurately laid out some sort of bed shapes. now granted, 2"x12"x4's are still friggin heavy, so i only carried a few out of the garage and laid out a square and then..some arms. then i busted out the drill. i had bought a set of specially hardened bits with blahblahblah for my [probably] concrete apartment walls. and at this point i had absolutely no idea what kind of wood i was dealing with.
$135 delivered. cos ... i can't easily haul dirt in a mini cooper.
so what did this all cost you ask? well.. do you dare? materials total: $207.77 for 5 raised beds. now you say, but home depot sells 4'x4' nice looking cedar beds for the low low price of $39.97 each! with precut dovetail corners and handy post toppers to look all schmancy. instead of $41.55 each and some serious elbow grease. well the premade ones are only 7" high. the fine print says if you need extra depth, just add another layer! they fit together so neatly! and now youre at 14" and $79.94 each. and mine are 12" high, bitches. well yes, i understand after milling theyre actually 11.5" high. details.
total garden cost: about $360 including tax. but *sigh* not including plants...
i'm pretty sure we need bi-annual raises at work.