Square Foot Gardening Adventure: Building a 4×4 Square Foot Garden Frame (or Sandbox!)


Quick note: The following instructions are for a garden bed, but follow all directions and fill with sand instead and you have a $25 sandbox frame.

So you want a little garden in your life, but think it’ll cost you a fortune and take ages to set up? Yea we thought so too. A while ago, there was a living social deal where, for $200, someone would come to your house and set you up with a 2×4 square foot garden including plants, seeds and soil. We didn’t have the cash at the time so we passed. I’m really happy we did. We set up our little 4×4 happy garden for $80 for everything, $35 for the frame itself. Your climate will effect a planting a fall garden, but there are always things to plant in fall, even if they won’t emerge until spring. In a future post, I will go over our willy nilly process of selecting plants. (Probably not advised!)

Now, on to the first step- building your square foot garden frame. We got our lumber from Lowes. Untreated cedar and pine are both recommended by my local organic garden center. The pine will fall apart a little sooner than the cedar, but the cedar costs more. Your choice there. Our frame is six inches high, which we were told was fine for the smaller varietal of just about anything- smaller carrots, new potatoes, etc.

Our lumber was labeled “white wood” (I think it’s pine…) and it was the least expensive option there. It was a little under $10 for a 2x8x6 (2 feet by 8 feet by 6 inches.) We needed two of these, cut in half by the fine people at Lowes, to make four 2x4x6 pieces to make up our frame. We also used landscape cloth, but cardboard boxes are said to drain great and block weeds very effectively if you have them around. The landscape cloth was about $10 and the deck screws were $5, totaling $35 for the frame. For future boxes, we will already have the cloth and extra screws we found after the fact so we will only have to buy lumber.

Build Your Own 4×4 Square Foot Garden Frame

2 pieces of 2x8x6 pine or cedar, cut in half (Or one 2x16x6 cut into four pieces)
8 Deck screws
16 square feet landscape cloth or cardboard

Line up two pieces so that the end of the first is inside and flush with the second.IMG_3034

Drill two starter holes equal distance apart.

Drill deck screws into holes. Repeat with other 3 sides.

Lay down landscape cloth so that it fills the entire space, with a little to spare on all sides.

Voila! You have a square foot garden frame! This could also be used as a sandbox!

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