Trojan PowerStep Long Fibreglass Handle Square Mouth Post Hole Shovel
Lay the longest sleepers out on the grass where you want to build your garden bed. If you have them, use the concrete footings as a guide to keep the sleepers straight. Measure the distance between the two sleepers at each end to make sure they're square.
Measure the distance between the two longest sleepers, this is the width of your garden bed. Put a wooden sleeper on the work horses. Take the width measurement and mark out this distance on the sleeper. Put on the safety glasses, dust mask and earmuffs. Use the circular saw to cut the sleeper to the right length. Repeat this step to cut the sleeper for the opposite end of the garden bed.
Put the two side sleepers and the end sleeper together so they make a U-shape. Use the cordless drill to make a pilot hole near the end of one of the side sleepers. Then drill in a temporary screw. Repeat this process to join the other sleepers together. Use the roofing square to make sure the corners are square.
If there are two trees or plants that you want to keep in the garden bed, that are at either end of the bed, measure the distance from one tree or plant to the edge of the sleeper. Go to the other end of the bed and measure the same distance from the tree or plant and mark this spot on the grass with marking paint. This'll give your garden bed a balanced and even look.
Use the tape measure to work out the length of the garden bed and halve this figure, which'll be the length you want to cut the sleepers for the sides of your garden bed. Mark the length out on your sleepers and cut them to length. You want to cut the sleepers to the same length so that they join in the middle of the garden bed.
Remove the temporary screw you drilled to make the U-shape at one end of the garden bed. Lay two sleepers down one side. Drill a temporary screw to join the sleeper at the other end, so it makes a corner. Use the roofing square to make sure that the corner is square. Once it is square, lay the two other sleepers on the opposite side. Check that all four corners, where the sleepers join, are square. Use marking paint to mark the corners on the outside of the sleepers, which'll tell you where to dig a trench for the sleepers.
Once the corners are square, remove the sleepers. A good tip is that as you take the sleepers away, remember where each of them was, so that when you start to rebuild the garden bed each piece goes in the right place.
Use a mattock to remove the grass and dig down to the required depth. The sleepers will be sunk, so that 50mm is above the ground. This'll make sure that the grass won't grow back into the garden bed. Make the trench deep enough so that you can also lever up the concrete slab.
Use a crowbar to lever up and loosen the concrete on all sides. Use a sledge hammer or lump hammer to break the concrete into smaller pieces. After the concrete is broken, use the crowbar to also lever up the broken pieces. Put these in a wheelbarrow to take them away. Use the mattock to dig out the rest of the grass and dig a trench for the sleepers to sit in, so that 50mm of the sleeper sits above the ground.
Once the trench is the right depth, start putting the ends of the garden bed together. Use batten screws to join a sleeper on the side of the garden bed to the end. Use two screws, one at the top and bottom of each joint. Repeat this process for the other end of the garden bed. Once you've joined both ends together, have someone help you lift them into place.
Put the four side sleepers in place. Run a string line from one end of the garden bed to the other, to make sure the sleepers are straight. To do this, drill in a screw at both ends of the garden bed and tie your string line to this. Adjust the sleepers so that they are straight and at the right height. Repeat this process for the sleepers on the other side.
Once the sleepers are straight and at the right height. Hammer in a stake to join them at the centre. Drill four galvanised screws into the stakes to join the sleepers together. Repeat this process where the sleepers join on the other side. Depending on the size of your garden bed, you may need to hammer and drill in more stakes to keep the garden bed secure. Backfill the soil, so that it sits evenly in your garden bed. Now your garden bed is complete, add the necessary compost and fertiliser to help your plants grow.
Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.
When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.