Add PVC Hoops To Raised Beds

by Daisy

I don’t think a raised vegetable bed is complete without hoops. They provide a neat, removable/interchangeable framework for:

  • plastic sheeting to create greenhouse conditions for germinating seedlings and to guard against cold weather and punishing downpours
  • netting to keep cats and dogs from digging and birds from eating seeds and seedlings
  • lightweight crop blankets/row covers to guard against insect pests and light frosts

I started out using pipe clamps to secure my PVC “hoop anchors”, like this:

But all those pipe clamps can get expensive, so now I fasten my “hoop anchors” directly to the inside wall of the beds. Here’s what I do:

You need:
3/4-inch PVC pipe, enough to make the proper amount of hoop anchors per bed. This will depend on the dimensions of your bed. My new raised beds are 8 feet long, so I wanted 4 hoops. This allows enough support so the coverings, netting, plastic sheeting, or row cover, would not sag unduly. This meant hoop anchors every 32 inches on each of the two long sides, or 8 anchors per bed.
Cut sections of pipe the depth of your raised bed. Mine are 9 1/2 inches deep, so I cut 8 pieces of 3/4-inch PVC pipe, 9 1/2 inches long each.

To make the hoop anchors, cut a section of the 3/4-inch pipe to the desired length. Secure a section in a vise and drill a hole about two inches from one end. You can drill your holes one of two ways: If you use a standard 1/4 inch bit, drill all the way through, as shown in the photo:
Pull the bit out so you are only drilling into the first hole, angle the drill bit all around as you drill,

ream out one of the holes large enough for the head of the screw you plan to use to fit through.

Leave the opposite hole too small for the screw head to go through.
The other way is to use a spade bit/Forstner bit a little larger than the screw head. After you drill one hole all the way through with the spade bit, use the sharp tip of the spade bit to drill a pilot hole opposite the large hole, but do not drill into the opposite hole with the spade part of the bit.

About 4 inches further down the section of pipe, make another pair of holes through the pipe, just like the first pair.

Install the hoop anchor inside your raised bed as shown at the appropriate intervals for your size bed. (Mine were 32 inches apart). Use a driver bit long enough to reach through the outside hole to the inside wall of the pipe. Exterior-grade decking screws are best.

Install the rest of your anchors at the proper intervals, in pairs opposite one another.

For the Hoops:
1/2 inch PVC pipe

Again, what you need depends on the dimensions of your raised beds. For beds similar in size to mine, one 10 foot length of 1/2 inch pipe per hoop is a good starting point (pipe is sold in 10 foot sections in my home center). Once you have installed the anchors, put one end of the 1/2-in. pipe in its anchor and bend it over gently, cutting off some of the other end until you have a hoop of the desired height. It is an inexact science. My hoops ended up 88 inches long. (I use the left over pieces for trellises that are too weak for my tomato plants–see FLOPS).

Once you have decided on the right length for your hoop pipe (1/2-in. pipe), you can install your hoops.

The hoops can be removed and stored when you no longer need any type of covering. As a bonus the hoop anchors can then be used to anchor trellises made from 1/2 inch pipe or simple stakes or trellises of whatever material. (Just make sure they are sturdier than my tomato trellis.)

TIP: Before you place one end of hoop pipe in its anchor and start to bend, take the hoop pipe and bend it into a perfect “rainbow” to develop a “memory” in the hoop bend that is symmetrical, otherwise you may end up with a slightly wonky curve. Not a big problem, just a purely aesthetic issue. (I saw someplace where someone was asking where you could buy curved PVC. Now, I’m a firm believer that there are no dumb questions, but. . . Bless. Their. Heart.)

Another aesthetic issue–I may paint mine green to de-emphasize their presence. I do live in the suburbs, and I like to keep things low-profile. I think the PVC is kind of nice like it is, but it looks a bit industrial.

AND–If all that drilling holes is a bit much, you can still buy the pipe/conduit straps. Here’s the link again.


Disclaimer: This post may contain a link to an affiliate.
David May 6, 2010 at 10:46 am

I wanted to ask what Schedule PVC you used. Other places recommend Schedule 40 over Schedule 20 because it is beefier. I’m asking because according to published dimensions, 1/2″ won’t fit inside 3/4″ Schedule 40 PVC. It looks like 1/2″ should fit inside 1″ though.


Derek March 9, 2013 at 6:55 am


I’m having good luck anchoring my PVC supports by simply sticking them straight into the dirt. Placing them in the corner of my raised bed seems to help keep the PVC from moving too much, as does having “soft” soil so you can insert the PVC deeply (mine are probably 10″ deep into the soil).

So far so good, but if they do start to wiggle too much, I might simply screw them directly to my bed.

Deb Hixson May 7, 2013 at 7:32 pm

How would I build hoops tall enough for tomato plants?

BD May 14, 2014 at 6:52 pm

Fantastic idea thankyou so much for posting this. I had bought some brass saddle clips for the job but I found these were too pliable . I have screwed hoop anchors in today, using your idea, five sets along my 8X4 bed and they are really secure .

Daisy May 14, 2014 at 7:17 pm

BD–Glad it helped!

Megan May 27, 2014 at 2:09 pm

I plan on building these hoops but am trying to determine just how much pvc and shade cloth to order since I have built 20 inch wide and 8 ft long literally raised garden beds. I will be growing items up to 36 inches tall and am having trouble determining how long the hoops need to be to compensate for the height and how much cloth to buy to allow for such cover. Any recommendations on how to calculate this and of course I know to estimate for more. Gladly accept any advice. Thank you!

Daisy May 27, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Megan–Sometimes you just have to experiment. If you don’t have a sample pipe, get someone to help you hold a scrap length of wire as a stand-in for the pipe and then measure it. If the angle is too severe to get your 36 in. height with a 20 in. base, you may have to hammer rebar into the ground outside your beds to put your pipe over so they have a gentler slope. I don’t know, though, pvc is pretty flexible so it very well may work. Good luck!

Megan May 27, 2014 at 2:32 pm

That is a great idea. Shoot, I can just use a measuring tape since it can arch. Then if I need to put the hoop anchors on the outside of the beds this may work if the angle is too severe. My beds are roughly 3 feet off the ground so you don’t have to break your back; therefore, rebar is not an option. But I shall tackle it from this angle and see if I can get better measurements. Thank you for your response.


josephurban April 16, 2015 at 5:47 am

Great idea. Thanks. I was trying to figure out how to do this and your plan is the best I have seen.

Gina September 23, 2015 at 11:31 am

I figured out a very simple and portable method for erecting a winter only hoop house. When the weather is nice, the area doubles as my yard! All I did was pound short lengths of rebar into the soil. How long they are depends on how hard your soil is (too soft, and a very short piece wouldn’t hold.) and how much extra height or width you want to give the hoops. Of course, any sturdy material (metal probably best) would do, as rebar is very pricey these days. I use rebar because I really have to pound hard to get the stakes into the ground. There is no slippage at all, even before everything is assembled. To the basic frame, I added two layers of the thickest plastic sheeting (for the price) at HD, which I anchored with over-sized plastic clothespins or small clamps similar to clothespins. They just fit right onto the PVC (skinniest available at HD) thru the plastic. The end. A couple of things I found were, since I crammed all my potted plants in there with no room to spare, I should have thrown in some small containers of slug bait. Next spring will be too late. Also, lay something (a saucer? a bit of plastic? an old roof shingle?) under your potted plants to stop them from taking root. Don’t forget to be vigilant. On sunny and/or warm days, you will want to lift either one or two corners to prevent mildew and rot from setting in. Do NOT neglect this step or you will be scrambling to remove all the rotten leaves from your plants, and even from the soil.

Daisy September 23, 2015 at 12:36 pm

Gina–Very nice. I need to do something like this for my gardenia and a few other potted plants. Appreciate all the good tips.

Richard January 1, 2017 at 8:37 pm

I priced out PVC pipe and fiberglass (?) electrical conduit (gray). The conduit was much cheaper and worked just fine. The conduit has a male end and a female end so it you have to cut the conduit to the appropriate size you can join the scrap pieces to make an additional hoop or for another project. (Frugal Yankee)
I merely sunk the conduit on the inside of the 8″ raised bed and tied a “ridge pole” on top to hold the four hoops steady and to support the netting. I used plastic cable ties to fasten the ridge pole to the hoops. I use the green plastic netting from HD to keep deer out of the bed. I roll it up when I need to work the bed or to harvest.

Brian March 2, 2017 at 9:39 am

As far as 3/4″ couplings being expensive, I bought mine for $2.65 for 25 at my local Menard’s, if you have one or shop online for them.

Drew April 8, 2017 at 6:07 pm

Two questions:

1) What do you use as the actual barrier material? Chicken wire or something similar?

2) What do you do when you want to tend to the plantings or harvest something? Do you just remove one end of each pipe and reinsert when done?

Daisy April 9, 2017 at 6:38 am

Drew–I use a light frost blanket for frost and insect protection, occasionally plastic for a really early start to the grow season, and sometimes netting for bugs, too. It just depends on what you are trying to do. To tend to the garden it also depends on what material, but I have removed one side of the pipe like you say, or in the case of something like netting, draw it back an area at a time.

Rick April 29, 2017 at 12:56 pm

I live in New Mexico and just built 7 raised beds using concrete blocks. Trying to figure out how to protect them from the sun and arid conditions. I like the idea of using PVC to create hoops over the beds. Besides the sun I also have to contend with the wind. Anyone with experience using hoops in very windy conditions? I’m thinking of constructing the hoops with 3and4 way connections centered at the top of each hoop so I can pass a section of PVC through them to form a spine across the top to hopefully hold them in place. Is this necessary or will the hoops alone not end up in the neighbors yard? Thanks for the ideas.

Gia February 21, 2018 at 11:20 am

A bit off topic, I noticed newspaper/magazine lining the bed. Is that only to catch the drilling scraps or do you leave it there. I know some recommend using newspaper to curb weeds. I always worry about the benzine ?.

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