Building your own planter boxes is a great way to showcase your DIY skills and add some built-in flower or herb gardens around your porch or deck. They’re also easy enough for beginners to tackle. Whether you’re making one as an afternoon project or several as a weekend build, check out this step-by-step guide for all of the materials, tools, and steps needed to make your very own planter box.
First, what exactly is a planter box?
If you’re not sure what a planter box is, don’t worry! A planter box is just a box built to hold soil and plants. They can be made from any material that is durable enough to hold the weight of soil, such as wood or plastic. These boxes are usually built outside on your patio, deck or porch area so that they get plenty of sun and water.
Planter boxes can be used for growing flowers or vegetables in your back yard; however some people choose not to plant in them because they prefer their flowers/vegetables fresh from the supermarket. If you decide to plant your own vegetables in a planter box then be sure that it has access to both sun and water so that your crops will grow properly.
Before you start your DIY, there are a few things to consider.
Before you start your DIY, there are a few things to consider:
- What do you want to grow?
- What are the dimensions of your planter box?
- Where will it go in your garden or on your deck/patio?
Now let’s talk materials.
Now let’s talk materials. We’ll be using wood for the planter box, but you can use any material that you want. The most popular choices are:
- Wood planks
- Wood strips
- Wood boards
- Wood slats * Wood shingles * Plywood panels
You are now ready to start building. Here are the steps:
Step 1: Cutting the lumber to size
The first step is to cut your lumber to size. Since you have already decided on the height, width and length of your planter box, it’s now time to measure and cut each board accordingly. For example, if you want a 4 feet by 8 feet long planter box then take out your tape measure and start measuring from corner-to-corner. That would be two 2 foot by 8 foot boards (or 48 inches), two 2 foot by 4 foot boards (or 24 inches), four 2 inch by 8 inch strips and four 2 inch by 4 inch strips.
Now that all of these pieces are cut out, let’s move on!
Step 1 – Cutting your lumber to size
Once you’ve decided on the size of your planter box, it’s time to take those measurements and get cutting.
- Measure the length and width of your chosen area where the planter box will be built, then add an inch or two to each measurement (depending on how tall you want your wall to be).
- Cut all four sides of your lumber using a circular saw and miter saw (if necessary). A small square can help keep everything straight as you cut each piece.
- Sand down any rough edges with 80 grit sandpaper until smooth and ready for priming!
Step 2 – Attaching the boards for the bottom of the box
This step is easy, but it’s important to be careful.
- Using your saw, cut each of the boards to length so that they’re equal in width and height. If you’re using a circular saw, make sure to clamp the board down before cutting because it can be difficult to hold while you cut. The final dimensions should be:
- 4 x 6” plywood = 4′ x 6′
- 3/4″ cedar = 4′ x 6″ (with rounded corners) – for a total of two pieces
Step 3 – Attaching the side panel boards
Attaching the side panel boards is a two-step process. First, attach the boards to the base frame with glue and nails. Use a level to make sure each board is straight and even with its neighbors (this is especially important for the front of your planter box). Once you’ve attached all of your boards, move on to attaching them together into one piece.
Next up: Step 4: Finishing touches
Step 4 – Adding the front and back panels of your box
Now that you have cut your boards to the right length, it’s time to make sure they are all at the right angle. You will want to make sure that:
- The front and back panels are at a 90° angle (right angles)
- The side panels are at a 45° angle (also called mitred corners)
- The base frame is also at a mitred corner with the bottom of each side piece and top of each end piece
Step 5 – Assembling the base frame and attaching it all together
To assemble your planter boxes, you’re going to need the following materials:
- Wood glue
- 2x4s (cut into 4 equal lengths) or 2x6s (cut into 6 equal lengths) for the base frame
- Screws for attaching the base frame to the side panels
After gluing and screwing together your side panels and back panels, attach them to one another in a rectangular shape. When this step is done, attach your base frame by driving screws through each end of one of its boards, into each side panel. Then drive some more screws through two other ends of that board (one behind each front panel), into either end of the back panel. Finally, drive some more screws through two other ends of that board (one behind each front panel), into either end of another piece from your set—in this case, a second piece from step 3b above.
Step 6 – Attaching decorative boards and reinforcing with glue and nails
In this step, you will attach decorative boards to the front, back and sides of your planter box. To do this, use a hammer or nail gun to attach nails at each joint. Next use a saw to cut the decorative boards to size. Finally drill holes into each board where you will be attaching them with glue and nails as shown in Figure 4 below.
Step 7 – Adding your drainage holes and filling your planter box with dirt! You’re done!
Once you’ve attached the bottom of your box to the sides, it’s time to add drainage holes. We used 1/2″ holes on our planter boxes and then filled them with dirt.
Your planter box is now ready for plants!
I hope this blog post has inspired you to build your own planter boxes! Now go out there and find a nice sunny spot in your yard or garden, fill them with dirt, add plants of your choice, and enjoy the sunshine.