Beer & Building with Friends

Listen, logically you might think mixing alcohol and power tools is a bad idea… and, well, you would probably be right. But you know what else it is? Fun!


Some of my friends decided they could use a few of these $25 raised beds for their own gardens this year, and I figured they would be quick and easy to build assembly-line style with a bunch of beer helping hands.

I did not, however, take those helping hands with me to Lowe’s on Saturday morning. Ever see a five-foot tall girl trying to navigate a narrow aisle pushing two carts full of lumber at the same time?

Let’s just say the only color I should ever be allowed to wear is “caution yellow.”

You’re looking at 15 2×4’s and 73 cedar fence planks. Enough to make twelve raised beds.

The real fun started when everyone showed up to the farm, though. There were lessons in using the big saw…

And how to use the drills to attach all of the pieces.

These girls are far, far better than I am at organizing things (see also: pirate party, glow-in-the-dark easter egg hunt, superheroes vs. villians, et al. ) which means in short-order they had a whole system going for assembling the long sides of the beds.

Jess (on the left, below) just got engaged a week ago, and it’s totally appropriate to get someone a drill for a wedding present, right?


Because I’m totally going to do that. It’s one of the hazards of being friends with me.

On the upside, when you’re friends with me you also very often get to inhale the awesome smell of sawdust.


With five people, two drills, two saws, and two hours, we knocked together 24 side-pieces for the beds, and then I showed everyone how to fully assemble them once they got home. (They are far easier to move in pieces than put together.)


And, okay, there may have been some beer tasting. Completely responsible beer tasting. After we were (mostly) done using all the big tools, of course.


Then, everyone took their respective beds back to their respective gardens and since it was still light out I decided I might as well dig some damn post holes.


You know I was a few beers in to the day because no one smiles about digging post holes if they are sober. No one.


However, beer or no beer, this is definitely worth smiling about…

I’m planning to build one more vertical bed (like this) in the next couple of weeks, and then the fence is going in sometime mid-May.

Aside from the fence, there are clearly more walkways that need to go in, ground that needs to be tilled, weeds that need to be sprayed, dirt that needs to be shoveled, and plants that need to be planted. But the garden is finally, finally starting to take shape.

11 Responses

  1. I put together 8 of these on Sunday, my son and nephew came to help, the only thing we needed was another drill. They went together so quick, and look really nice, and I’m super happy with them. Now the daunting task of filling them with soil! Love the DIY, thanks so much for putting it up there.

  2. And Lowe’s on an early spring Saturday morning isn’t too crowded, right? Are you the one picking all the good lumber before I get there?

  3. Wahoo!!! Looks fantastic! Great start. Taking shape is a great motivation for all the little things (weeding, tilling, walkways, etc) Go you!!

  4. I’m so jealous of your sunshine! We got the outside frame of our big raised garden bed built last weekend and it has been raining non-stop since which makes for miserable garden-building-conditions.

  5. A drill is an awesome wedding present. Much better than the kitchen gadgets that friends said that they were getting “me” when my husband does 95% of the cooking. He and I can both appreciate nice tools.

  6. Ok, so I’m curious – why did you go with raised beds rather than an in ground garden? Obviously, it works either way, but isn’t the usual reason bad soil? But you’re on farmland, so….?

    1. I don’t remember Kit’s reasons, but here are some of mine:

      Add a 2X6 cap around the top and you have a handy seat for working the garden comfortably.

      The soil in raised beds warms up earlier in the spring and stays warm longer in the fall, thus a longer growing season.

      They’re easily covered with hoops and shade cloth to provide shade in hot weather or even to retain heat on cool nights.

      Easier to keep grass out. This is a biggie.

      There are others, but these are the main ones.

    2. Oh, a lot of reasons. I like having the beds and the walkways, there are far less weeds, and its easier to control the mix of the soil for different veggies. Plus, I like building stuff. Half of the garden won’t be in beds though, when all is said and done.

  7. Like the look of these very much, and your instructions make me think I (a novice DIYer, at best–I don’t even own a power drill!) can do it!
    Do you have a post on how to make that trellis-like thing with the beds at either end (for tomatoes?)?

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