How to Build A Brick Raised Garden Bed The Dietitian Resource

How to Build a Brick Raised Garden Bed

Have you ever thought about building a brick raised garden bed? We were recently gifted almost 200 landscaping yard bricks. Amazing, right? Our friends are pretty awesome.

We used half of the bricks to lock in the fir trees and flower beds around the house. Then we thought, can we use the rest to build a brick raised garden bed?

If you have ever thought about building a brick raised garden bed or have wondered how it would turn out, here is one process that worked really well for us.

Items you will need to build a brick raised garden bed

  • Landscaping yard bricks – we used 80 – 16” x 6” bricks for this bed
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Tape measure
  • Yard stakes
  • String line
  • Level
  • Sand – we had 2-3 five-gallon buckets full of sand
  • Hammer and rubber mallet
  • Yard staples
  • Chicken wire – this can be used at the base of the bed to keep moles from popping up
  • Weed barrier – this was used to support the garden bed walls and prevent the dirt from seeping out.

Setting up for your brick raised garden bed

Locate where you plan to place the brick raised garden bed. If you plan to have it line up with your house, fence line, or other landmarks, use your tape measure to find your center (we centered our bed in the middle of our yard, and lined it up with a flower bed and our house).  From there, you can use metal stakes and a string line to create your barrier lines.

Next, layout your ground layer of bricks.  This helps you figure out how many bricks you will need per layer, and it will set your foundation.  We used 20 bricks per layer.  There were five on each side and five bricks created rounded ends.

Outline your work space and level the ground

This step can take some time, but if you do it right, the rest of your project will go smoothy.  Take your time! If you are building your brick raised garden bed on grass, you will need to use your shovel to create an outline of the bricks in the grass, and then roll them out of the way.

When the bricks are rolled out of the way, begin removing the grass, roots, etc. where the brick raised garden bed will sit.  Place the grass, roots, etc. in the wheelbarrow. You may use those later.  Eyeball the area to get an initial idea of your garden bed’s lowest point.  The rest of the garden bed will need to level with that point.

Image of area where garden bed will be placed. Shovel outline String line

Use a level to find where dirt will need to be removed and/or filled in.  Add sand from buckets to complete the leveling process.

Image of garden area where grass has been removed, ground has been leveled and sand has been added.

Protect your brick raised garden bed from moles

To protect your garden from pests, such as moles, you may consider placing down a layer of chicken wire at the base. Cut chicken wire to cover the area that will be in the center of the garden bed. Use yard staples to hold your chicken wire in place.

Image of chicken wire laid down to keep moles out of garden bed
Chicken wire added to the base of another one of our raised garden beds.

Support brick walls with weed barrier

Cut two long pieces of weed barrier that are similar in length to the length of the garden bed.  Cut two shorter pieces similar in width to the two ends of the garden bed.  Lay these layers down on top of the chicken wire. You will pull the free end (in the center) up when you are about to lay the last layer of bricks.

See images on how to layer the weed barrier.

Image of weed barriers 1 2 being laid down.
Two pieces of weed barrier cut the length of the garden bed and laid out on top of chicken wire.
Image of weed barrier 3 being laid down.
Two pieces of weed barrier cut for the width of the ends and laid on top of chicken wire.
Image of weed barriers 3 and 4 being laid down.
The weed barrier will be pulled up from the center to support the walls of the garden bed before laying last layer of brick.

The weed barrier will help support the brick walls and keep soil from seeping through the bricks as you water.

Lay base or foundational brick layer

To keep the bricks level, we removed the lip from the back of the bricks with a hammer. You do not have to do this, but we found it helped to keep the bricks level. It also allowed us to stack the bricks on top of each other vs. having a slight set-back the lip forces.

Image comparing bricks with one edge removed and the other untouched.
The brick in the back of this image had the lip edge removed.

Lay the first layer of bricks following the outline you have created. Lay the bricks on the outer edges of the chicken wire and the edges of the weed barriers as shown below.

You can see the five bricks on each side and the five bricks creating rounded ends for a total of 20 bricks per layer.

Image of first layer of bricks laid on edge of chicken wire and weed barrier
First layer of bricks laid on edges of the chicken wire and weed barrier.

Alternate brick layers

We used four layers of bricks to create our brick raised garden bed. Each layer required 20 bricks.

For the second layer, we centered the bricks on the gap between the bricks of the foundation or base layer.

For the third layer, we lined these up with the base layer, but also centered them on the gap between the bricks of the second layer.

Pulling up weed barrier and placing top layer of brick

After we placed the third layer of bricks, we pulled up the weed barrier from the center and laid the edges along the top of the third layer of bricks. If pieces were too long, we folded the barrier over itself. 

When the weed barrier is laid across the third layer of bricks, begin placing the final fourth layer of bricks.  This held the weed barrier in place.

Image of weed barrier pulled up along walls of garden bed.  Fourth layer of bricks placed to secure weed barrier.
Weed barrier pulled up along walls of garden bed. The fourth layer of bricks placed to secure weed barrier.

For the fourth layer of bricks, we aligned these with the second layer of bricks and centered them on the gap between the bricks of the base and third layer.

Image of last brick being placed in brick raised garden bed
Image of last brick being placed in brick raised garden bed.

The brick raised garden bed’s final measurements are 10’ 6” (L) x 5’ 8” (W) x 24” (H).  Here she is!!  You can see the chicken wire at the bottom and the weed barrier supporting the sides of the bed.

Image of finished brick raised garden bed
Image of finished brick raised garden bed

Filling your brick raised garden bed

We placed the remnants of grass and soil taken during the leveling process back into the brick raised garden bed. 

Our family is trying hügelkultur gardening, so we added in tree trunks, branches and yard debris before adding in topsoil.  Please check out the blog on how we started our hügelkultur raised beds.

For more information on The Dietitian Resource, please visit our site or the blog. Thanks for reading!

Resources

For gardening information and planting specifics in your area, check out the links below.

https://www.nal.usda.gov/legacy/topics/home-gardening

https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/

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More About Rochelle

Rochelle Inwood MS, RDN, ACSM EP-C

Hello there! I’m Rochelle Inwood, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and Exercise Physiologist (ACSM EP-C). With over 14 years of experience, I have sharpened my expertise through diverse roles, including weight management program co-coordinator, patient/employee gym supervisor, outpatient dietitian, program manager, dietetic internship preceptor, and more. I am passionate about learning, creating, teaching, and supporting personal growth and development.