A cupboard with a bed or a bed with a cupboard? This DIY project combines both in a practical way. It doesn’t take up much space and will always find a place, especially on larger balconies or terraces! With bright colors you also set a great accent.
With these instructions, you can build a compact raised bed that also offers space for garden tools, fertilizer, soil, etc. For the lower part of the cupboard, however, initiative and creativity are required to build it as shown in the photo. But you could also cover only three sides or even buy a ready-made small closet and put a raised bed on top – everything is allowed!
Materials and tools:
- NanoBlade saw or jigsaw, if necessary also chop and miter saw for cutting
- Cordless drill with countersink and wood drill bit 4 mm
- Paint spray system, alternatively brush or roller, paint tray
- Staple gun with needles
- pencil, ruler
- carpenter’s angle
- screw clamps
- Cutter, if necessary small spacers
- Occupational health and safety equipment
- Boards Douglas fir 100 x 18 mm: for front and rear wall: 2 x 1200 mm, 4 x 1164 mm, side rails: 4 x 600 mm, 2 x 624 mm, boards on top frame: 2 x 1224 mm, 2 x 624 mm
- Squared timber Douglas fir 70 x 45 mm: supports: 4 x 1000 mm, wooden box inside top: 2 x 1074 mm, 2 x 424 mm, wooden box inside bottom (support base plate): 1 x 1074 mm, 2 x 424 mm, support board below: 2 x 564mm
- Wooden panels from formwork panel: 2 x 1164 x 500 x 20 mm
- Pond liner: 2000 x 1500 mm
- min. 150 wood screws 4 x 50 mm
- drain, garden hose
- Glaze or varnish with a water-based primer
- materials for covering
Adjust base plate
First saw all the wooden boards, panels and squared timber to the specified dimensions. Then mark the recesses for the supports at the two front corners of the floor panels. Then cut them out.
Build the front and back walls
For the front you need two supports. It is best to position this on a work table with the narrow side up. Then brace the top board on the supports so that it is flush on all sides. Pre-drill, countersink and screw.
The second board is placed 2 mm below it – this must protrude by the material thickness (18 mm) on both sides. Screw another board like the first, the back is built the same way.
Tip: You can get an even distance with spacers, here if necessary with an old ruler or small wooden or plastic plates, for example from the laminate or terrace floorboards.
Connect the front and back panels
Place the two walls upside down and inside out on the countertop. Use a board (length 600 mm) to connect the short sides together – a second person may be helpful here to hold them.
Then two more boards are screwed on each of the two short sides. Pay attention to the correct length (564 and 600 mm).
Mount the squared timber and insert the top floor panel
Inside the box, place two long (1074 mm) and two short squared timbers (424 mm) between the supports. Pre-drill holes from the outside, countersink and then screw.
Then three more squared timbers are mounted inside the raised bed as a support for the bottom plate of the bed box: two short and one long timber at the front. Fasten these at a distance of one board thickness below the current top board.
Mount the squared timber and insert the lower wooden panel
Now turn the component over so that it is standing on its feet. On the short outer sides you fasten two more squared timbers from the inside with a little distance to the “foot ends”.
Insert pond liner
Cut the pond liner according to the information in the list of materials. Then place them in the bed tub so that all sides are covered. First staple the foil to the top edge of the short outer sides.
The corners of the pond liner are then cut with the cutter so that there is no overlap when folded over. Then you can staple the front, longer side.
A drain is used to ensure that the plants in the raised bed do not have wet feet after watering or a rain shower. Since there is neither a base plate nor squared timber on the rear edge of the bed, it is easy to connect a hose from below to drain the water later if you want to drain the water in a targeted manner.
Cut a precisely fitting hole in the foil according to the diameter of the drain, insert it and fasten it with the screw provided. Now you can also staple the foil to the second long side. In the end, it should line the entire interior and not throw big waves. Overhanging edges can be cut off.
Protect wood with paint
Even if Douglas fir is considered a robust wood for outdoors, it needs protection against weather and fungi outdoors. Of course, this can be combined very well with a summery look, like here with two fresh shades of blue.
For larger areas, it may be worth using the paint spray system. But here it is important to emphasize that it is best to work outside in the garden (it must be well ventilated!) and carefully cover and sometimes mask the area around you – especially if you work with different colors. You can also use brushes and paint rollers.
Important: Sand the wood thoroughly beforehand and then remove the sanding dust. Allow to dry after the first coat, then sand in between before applying the second coat of stain or varnish.
Install cover boards
To finish, attach four wooden boards to the upper edge. These elegantly cover the foil edges and column heads. Pre-drill and countersink the holes so the screw heads don’t stick out.
Tip: It looks particularly good when the abutting edges are sawn at a 45-degree miter.
The raised bed is now ready for use – however, after this step, the wooden box is only on four supports. It is up to you whether you leave the lower area open or cover it up and also add doors directly.
Build a raised bed
Before you start planting the raised bed, you should make sure to fill it in layers. This is especially true if you want to grow lettuce, vegetables, and herbs, for example. For flowers, simple universal soil is also sufficient.
Due to the limited size of the bed, we advise you to think carefully about the choice of plants – rhubarb, for example, probably takes up too much space!
The basic rule is: first coarse, then fine. At the bottom comes a layer of branch or shrub cuttings. This is followed by fine clippings and shredded material as well as leftover leaves and, if necessary, some lawn clippings or garden waste. In the best case, the plant layer consists of mature compost mixed with garden or purchased potting soil.