Raised Bed Conversion

by Daisy

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Last year, as part of the preparation for our book, I had to build a raised bed and photograph the process step by step.

It was four feet square, made from 8-foot lengths of 2×8’s, cut in half, very simple and basic.

After I built it and filled it with a soil mix, I took the pictures, and later, grew cantaloupes in it. The cantaloupes didn’t do so hot, but it wasn’t the fault of the bed.  Kale I planted that fall was much happier.

Meanwhile, I was becoming increasingly aware of how much my kids would like a sandbox.  They played all the time in a spot in the yard that was once a dumping ground for an excess of sand I had delivered for a sidewalk project.  The “sand” was now at least 50% dirt and I-don’t-know-what-all (meow), with vines, roots, and seedling trees growing up out of it.  They didn’t know how ick it was, and never complained, but I knew.

The square raised bed was the perfect size for a sandbox, and I decided they needed it more than the garden did.

At first my idea was to plop it on the ground on top of some landscape fabric and fill it with sand.  That would be fine, but I kept tinkering with it and ended up with a sand table.  It’s raised up off the ground with some scrap pieces of 4×4 and has, naturally, a bottom to keep the sand in.

The construction is very basic.

I didn’t alter the basic box, but I used long screws to attach the “legs,” then scrap 2×6’s and 2×4’s to make a platform the floor would rest on.

I cut some scrap 3/4″ plywood to fit and drilled drain holes. I had another board the right size, so I attached it to one end for a seat.  Then I sanded, primed and painted everything.  (The “seat” board not in this pic–it was painted separately before attaching it).

Finally, I lined the table with landscape fabric, stapled it down, and filled it with sand.  It took about nine 50 lb. bags.

I like the raised design because it puts it up a little above chigger level, won’t ever become mixed with the soil below, and the kids generally get less sandy than they do in a regular sandbox.  It’s also more portable if I ever decide to change the location of the sandbox/table.

We toss a tarp over it when no one’s playing in it to keep it meow-free.

It can be converted back to a garden bed and placed anywhere I need it.  The legs could be lengthened so it could be used as a bed for gardeners who can’t bend to access an in-ground garden.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

gmorgan April 29, 2012 at 9:44 pm

I LOVE this! A friend has been collecting old raised washtubs for a raised garden for her elderly, but still active, mother and wanted to find something BIGGER that could be used for greens, etc., and that would look good, too.
Thanks for the tip! 😉

Tomato Lady April 29, 2012 at 10:27 pm

gmorgan–That’s so great she is still able to garden and has someone to help facilitate it. For a taller table, if the legs are much longer, I recommend using some cross-bracing on them for extra stability.

Amy April 30, 2012 at 5:45 am

Great idea! Looks like such fun I want to come play in it:)

Dayle April 30, 2012 at 7:35 am

450 pounds of sand! Wow, that’s a LOT of weight on boards that are attached to the bottom!!!! A stronger idea might be to cut the boards to fit inside the box and screw them from the sides. Just my thought.

Marti April 30, 2012 at 9:54 pm

That is a great idea. Raising it off the ground will eliminate ants and who knows how many critters. I bet the kids love it.

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