Building vs Buying Cost Comparison

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19 Responses

  1. John says:

    Well ladies and gents, I just got back from my local home depot and got better pricing than what is listed here for vinyl boxes. I am building 3 boxes for our first attempt, 2 double side and one single sided. This is equivalent to building 5 single boxes. Date s 04-01-2012, three years after the original post. Here is the breakdown

    4×4 posts 72″ long $14.97 each (bought 3 for 3 squares totaled $44.91)
    4×4 post caps, pyramid style, $1.97 each (bought 12 for $23.64)
    1 3/4″x5 1/4″ side rails for $9.97 each (bought 10 for $99.70)

    Total for this is $168.25 for 5 single boxes at $33.65 per box or $67.30 for 2 double sided boxes and $33.65 for 1single sided box. I did not include soil or weed barrier cloth yet. How did I do?

  2. Emily says:

    Jherri–I don’t have personal experience, but cinder blocks will absolutely work. Best of luck!

  3. Jherri says:

    Do you have any experience with building a raised bed from cinder blocks. The ones I am looking at are 8H x 8D x16L. It will come out to be 4’x4’x8″…will that be deep enough.

    BTW…your site has me sooooooooooooooooooooooo excited to attempt SFG’ing. Thanks

  4. Emily says:

    Gerry–some will complain about the environmental impact of the PVC in vinyl. I think the white vinyl looks the best, and is nearly maintenance free. From a sturdiness point of view, the Easy Garden Box can’t be beat, and they are a little taller. I just wish they would offer something other than “cammo” (I think it’s supposed to look like stone).

    During the winter you might “decorate” with something like these Copper Daisy Flowers. Maybe even there’s a shop or art class that could work with the kids to make their own?!

  5. Gerry says:

    I would like to set up a square foot garden (actually – from 6 to 9 beds) at a middle school. I want it to look very presentable during the winter as well as the summer because anyone visiting the school or picking up students will see it. Is is safe to use the vinyl fencing type of enclosure? It would be look very nice but I don’t want to use it if anyone knows of a reason why I shouldn’t. We will be growing vegetables and herbs as well as flowers. I don’t really want to do wood because of the maintenance involved. Sam’s club has very affordable kits but I don’t know what is in the material. It isn’t as tall as I’d like, nor does it look anywhere as nice as the white vinyl.

    Thanks for any information you can give me.

  6. Emily says:

    The rule of thumb is to NOT use pressure treated wood. I am thinking particle board is treated, and may include glue and chemicals to hold it together. I also think it would likely fall apart as it is moist from the garden.

  7. Brock says:

    Hi Emily,
    I have space for 4 sqf garden boxes. 3 boxes that are 2′ x 4′ and one box that is – 2′ x 3′. I have a lot of scrap particle board (ply wood) left over in my garage from building and I am wondering if I can use that type of wood to build my boxes. It is .5″ thick and 8″ wide and I have plenty of length. I am just worried that type of wood will be damaging to the garden or won’t work. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

  8. Paula says:

    I bought a 4×8 6″high raised bed garden kit from Sam’s club for about $40. It includes the weed mat. I bought 2 and may go back and get another. 🙂


  9. Emily says:

    I’ll add this to my post, the more options, the better!

  10. Jayson says:

    You should check out Their prices are by far the most reasonable I’ve found!

  11. Mel says:

    Lee Valley sells Trellis Netting. $9.50 USD or $10.50 CAD.

    ‘This soft woven nylon trellis netting has large, 7″ square openings so you can reach through it for easy tending and harvesting. At 56″ wide and 175″ long, it can easily be cut to size and is perfect for growing many types of plants vertically, allowing you to grow a great deal more in a limited area.’,33286&ap=1

  12. Toni says:

    Love your website! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Emily says:

    It looks great! What did you use to connect the conduit?

  14. Heather says:

    We just finished our beds and took a picture of them. Just to get an idea, we liked them and they were very inexpensive to put together. I posted them on my blog at
    We made the trellis out of 10 ft conduit pipe.

  15. Emily says:

    I’ve found it at the Home Depot. It’s about $4 for a 4×8 piece of it, but that can almost do 2 trellises. I will say, sometimes it’s there, sometimes it’s not. I usually find it outdoors hanging near tomato support items.

  16. Heather says:

    Can you get nylon netting anywhere locally? I’ve never seen it at stores?

  17. Emily says:

    Thanks for posting! I’m glad to have another idea of where to get them and the price. To compare it “apples to apples,” you would need to add $35.98 for grids (two of them), $4 for weed mat (8 feet), and $48 for Mel’s Mix (24 cubic feet). Total would be around $224.

  18. Katie says:


    Another option is to have a vinyl fence company do it for you. I ordered 3 4×8 vinyl boxes (11 inches high- 2 stacked rails). Each box was $136.00 because I ordered 3.