10 DIY Raised Garden Bed Plans for Seniors and Disabled

DIY Raised Garden Bed Plans for Seniors and Disabled

Elevated and waist high raised garden beds are perfect for elderly and disabled people and allow wheelchair access. These raised beds are relatively easy to DIY on a budget. We’d like to show you some simple plans and also some great inspirational ideas. Building an elevated garden bed will require several hours of work and some lumber treated for outdoor use.

Let’s start with the most comfortable plans for elevated designs that are suitable for all ages but especially for seniors, people with back or knee problems, or people in wheelchairs. It’s basically a raised garden bed with legs, also called a foot garden, perfect for wheelchair access.

Also, see Raised Garden Bed with Greenhouse Top – 13 DIY Plans and Ideas.

10 DIY Plans

If you ever wanted to know how to build a raised garden bed for elderly or disabled people on wheelchairs then these plans will provide you with the answers.

1. A Simple Raised Garden Bed with Feet Designed for Wheelchair Access

Elevated raised garden bed plan with metal mesh bottom

Here’s the simplest and the least expensive plan from instructables.com. This raised bed is on 30″ legs, which allows people in wheelchairs to get close to the garden, rolling their front wheels underneath. Another feature is that it uses less lumber than other plans, so it’s cheap.

Stability is achieved using lag bolts (also called lag screws), which are stronger than regular wood screws and ideal for fastening large pieces of wood together. You do need to pre-drill holes in the wood to use lag bolts.

Cedarwood is often recommended because of its superior ability to resist moisture. A less expensive alternative is fir. The only other materials used in this plan are a piece of fine gauge steel fencing and some landscape fabric to hold a few bags of soil.

Many hardware stores will cut wood for you at a low cost, which can make this an even simpler project.

For a clear, detailed set of instructions that takes you through 16 steps with great photos, go here.

A similar raised box planter has a good set of instructions and a helpful video at madebymitch.net. This plan is also easy and can be built on a budget. Whichever you choose to build, it’s nice to have two sources to get more details about the design.

2. An Elegant DIY Waist High Garden Box with Legs

DIY elevated planter box plan with corrugated steel walls

This design adds a few more sophisticated features, including the option to include corrugated steel instead of wood for its sides. Legs use two cornered boards instead of one solid block. And some extra trim gives it a finished look.

Two sizes of wood screws are used, and boards are still predrilled to prevent the cedar, a dry wood, from cracking. Instead of a few slats and steel mesh, the base of this planter is solid wood.

This elevated plan is nice but more expensive. It’s good for the elderly and seniors, but not for disabled access.

For instructions, photos, and a few extra tips, go to instructables.com

3. How to Build a Square Elevated Garden Bed for Double Access

Square elevated garden bed plan

Two people in wheelchairs can work in this raised garden at the same time, since its square shape adds depth and its height is ideal for wheelchairs.

As a cheap alternative to cedar, the builder used pressure-treated lumber, with the warning that its sawdust should not be inhaled. She built her square raised bed for $110. She spent $50 on soil, using equal parts peat moss, vermiculite, and manure.

For written and video instructions loaded with enthusiasm, check out ifonlyapril.com.

4. A Raised Planter with Legs Using Metal Joist Connectors

Raised garden bed with legs idea for elderly uses

One of the best ideas for keeping costs down is to use metal corner joist connectors to attach legs to your garden box. This simple plan uses a minimum of wood and screws without compromising stability.

An option this builder demonstrates is to put your raised bed with legs on feet as well. Small squares of wood bigger than the leg bases help to keep your raised bed level so water is distributed evenly. These feet also reduce how much moisture the legs touch.

The source site also mentions that the floor of your flower or veggie box should have some holes in it so that water can drain out rather than remaining on the wooden base. Another option for drainage is using slats for the base and placing them slightly apart.

This site doesn’t give detailed instructions, but the picture itself explains a lot.

5. Try this Self-Watering Raised Planter with Wheels

Self-watering waist-high garden bed on wheels

This design includes a DIY watering system. Plastic containers serve as self-watering gardening beds, with the wood structure providing a frame to hold them. You’ll need to buy your plastic containers first before you can finalize the measurements for your frame.

This self-watering design is ideal for growing salad greens and other plants that rely on regular moisture. A reservoir of water at the base of each container is wicked up to the roots of your plants as they need them. This takes the guesswork out of how much water to use.

Placing the raised bed on casters turns it into a mobile garden, great for seniors or disabled people who can place it wherever it’s most convenient to work. Pictures show one built with a shelf, ideal for soil and tool storage.

The author at the site provides links to more information about salad tables.

6. Elevated Square Foot Garden With Grid – DIY Plan

University guide on building an elevated garden bed

A foot garden is another name for a raised bed since you can work there while standing on your feet. This design is elevated in more ways than one; a wooden grid placed above the soil helps to organize the spacing of the plants, and corner balusters give it a decorative finish.

This instructional PDF from Florida university is clear and well-presented. This plan is good for disabled people who require wheelchair access.

It also recommends the best potting soil, or a home-made mix of peat moss, vermiculite, and five different types of compost, as described in Mel Bartholomew’s book, “All New Square Foot Gardening“.

7. Waist-High Deep Raised Planter Box from Etsy

Waist-high deep garden bed plans - great for seniors

The plans for this deep garden box are sold on Etsy for $5.97. It’s one of the bestselling designs available at the site for raised garden beds, and customers seem very pleased with their outcomes. One person said it took about two days to build, another said with a helper it was finished in one afternoon.

The depth of the box allows for plants with deeper roots to grow successfully, all with the convenience of not having to bend over to pick your flowers or veggies! There’s no better gift for a senior who loves to do foot gardening.

One person who purchased the plan gave it the high praise of being error-proof, and all 38 reviewers found the design clearly explained and were happy with their final products.

To purchase the PDF, go here.

8. Build a Raised Planter for Potatoes

Waist-High Potato Planter Box from Etsy

Yes, potatoes do have to be under the ground to grow, but the plants on the surface are raised, and a convenient door gives you a peek at the harvest.

Reviewers liked how easy and detailed this $6.46 plan was. The only complaint was that measurements had to be converted from metric to inches.

To get the potato planter plan, go to Etsy.

9. A Solid, Simple Elevated Raised Garden Bed Plan from Kreg Tools

Waist-high outdoor raised garden bed plan from Kreg

DIY tool manufacturer, Kreg Tools lays out step-by-step instructions for this two-foot high raised bed that is great for wheelchair access.

While it may not be tall enough to stand and garden, it’s a whole lot easier to reach than the ground. Someone who has difficulty bending over could sit alongside the bed in a chair and work at it comfortably.

This garden box has no bottom, but landscaping cloth and wire mesh are laid down on the ground inside it to keep out weeds and gophers. Its depth allows for deep root growth.

The plan uses 10 boards, each 120″ long, and two kinds of screws. All the wood is either 2″x 4″ or 2″x 6″.

10. How to Make an Elevated Garden Bed from Recycled Furniture


From a vintage desk to a salad table – imagine how many things you could turn into raised beds if you used your imagination!

In her blog post, Tara Nolan, author of “Raised Bed Revolution” shows how to make a veggie bed out of an old table or desk. This type of bed won’t be deep enough for some plants, but it’s perfect for lettuces.


More Ideas for Beds With Legs That Give Wheelchair Access

Everyone can enjoy the convenience of a raised garden bed – people in wheelchairs, elderly people or those with injuries or other disabilities. Most people, by the time we reach senior status, would rather not have to crouch down or bend over for too long! Planting, watering, weeding and harvesting are all more enjoyable when your reach is easy.

A man on wheelchair is accessing an elevated garden bed

The raised bed shown above is ideal for people with disabilities. Anyone in a wheelchair or another chair has access to their beloved plants from three sides. Anyone who enjoys DIY projects can probably think of some senior they know who would love the extra time working outdoors that a raised bed could provide for them.

It’s hard to give up the strenuous activities you love, but gardening doesn’t have to be tiring or exhausting if you can easily reach your plants! Garden boxes on legs make it possible to tend your garden for hours. It would be a fun family project for kids to help you make one for their grandparents.


Waist High Raised Garden Bed Ideas

Also called counter height garden boxes, these structures aren’t only convenient.

Counter height raised garden bed designs

A man watering his raised foot garden in comfort without bending his back

You can put different types of soil in different boxes to provide just the right environment for all the varieties of plants you may want to grow. The more raised beds, the more you can diversify and keep your soils mixes contained for their ideal plants.

This is how a wooden raised garden bed looks inside

The picture above illustrates how simple a raised garden bed can be to build. As you can see, this one is made with only wooden planks, a hammer and nails. Of course, your construction needs to hold up to the weight of a lot of soil, so make sure your planks are sound and your corner posts and nails large enough to stabilize the box.

Tongue-and-groove lumber can make the job easier. Add a nail gun and building a garden box becomes a whole lot easier!

Building a DIY raised bed with a nail gun is much quicker

Recently got your fence replaced and have spare wooden planks lying around? You can use your old fence to make a raised garden bed. The bed design that you see in the above picture is waist high and quite deep, providing the roots with enough room to grow and spread. For better support, add wide top boards around the perimeter so you can lean on them while working on the plants.

A nice raised salad planter plan build from pine planks using screws

The attractive raised bed shown above was put together using wood screws. The wide boards attached at the top serve as a convenient surface to place your gardening tools or plant pots before you plant them in the bed. And it’s all so much more enjoyable when you’re standing instead of crouching on your knees!

 An elderly woman leans over the garden bed while taking care of her flowers

If you can’t decide which plant varieties to grow, pick the herbs, vegetables or flowers that you like best. It’s a lot more fun to grow what you can look forward to seeing or eating. Many plants need at least six hours of full sun, so study your yard before you decide on placement. A raised bed close to your kitchen makes it easy to harvest food you can prepare and eat the same day.

This DIY raised bed is waist-high with sections for different plants, all built from recycled wood. Remember, beds can be built or bought in different shapes and sizes to fit the space you have.

A plastic net protects a raised garden bed from Cabbage White Butterflies

Here, a waist-tall raised bed is covered with a plastic net to protect leafy vegetables from Cabbage White Butterflies and small animals. Higher corner posts add interest and make it easy to place the net over the plants.

Small raised garden box on legs

If you like spending time on your patio, you can make these small raised wooden garden beds to up the game of its décor, and have easy access to herbs at the same time. Place them in the corners or use them placed side-by-side all around the patio to define its space. Edible flowers mixed with herbs can provide both use and beauty.

Shallow garden bed designs on feet

You can use these small beds on feet to line your driveway, walkway, staircase, or even your terrace. Small in size and easy to maintain, they can make any space gorgeous and offer additional convenience to seniors.

About Joe Hats 177 Articles
Joe Hats is the founder of FreshPatio.com. Joe has been remodeling homes since 1997 when he bought his first fixer-upper. He has built many pieces of indoor and outdoor furniture with his own hands and has every DIY woodworking tool in his possession. Coming from an engineering background, he has designed and built many patio fixture plans. Following his wife's lead, he is also very passionate about home decor and together they keep track of the latest trends. When he is not remodeling or trying a new woodworking tool, he is busy gardening or designing a new outdoor plan.