Stair Riser Planter Garden

9 Materials
20 Minutes

I've always dreamed of a super simple, easily accessible and manageable herb garden. I've tried different methods of keeping them in the past, but they always end up growing into one another, being displayed poorly, or being infested with bugs. This option is appealing, eye-catching, and extremely functional. Now, I can quickly snip, pull or pick the herb I need for my next meal, right outside my back door!


- Stair Risers (x2)

- 24" Plastic Planter Boxes (x3)

- 2x2 Piece of Wood

- 2 Nails

- Hammer

- Potting Soil

- Herb Garden Seeds

- Gloves (Optional, but recommended as the wood is sharp)

Step 1) Lean your stair risers against the wall or surface they'll be used on.

Step 2) Cut a thin piece of wood approximately 2" shorter than the length of the planter box. Place it between the two stair risers at the bottom front. No need to place one at the top of the stair risers, as the surface it is leaning on will secure it, if it's flush against the wall.

Step 3) Hammer a nail through each stair riser into the piece of wood to attach them together.

Step 4) Place one planter box on each step of the stair riser.

Step 5

Step 5) Fill each planter box with potting soil.

Step 6) If you're creating a vegetable or herb garden like I did, plant your seeds. I did three different herb options across in each planter box to allow for growth.

Step 7) Add popsicle stick labels, so you can remember what you planted before each herb begins to grow.

Be sure to water and ensure they receive some sunlight. Then be patient, and wait for your garden to grow!

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Suggested materials:

  • 24" Plastic Planter Boxes (x3)  (Home Depot)
  • 3 - Step Stair Riser (x2)  (Home Depot)
  • Gorilla Gloves  (Home Depot)
See all materials

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Have a question about this project?

4 questions
  • Patricia Crouch
    Patricia Crouch
    on Apr 16, 2017

    I'm a beginner DIYer. Could you show steps on how to make one of these to be free standing and not leaning against a wall?
    • C Van Houten
      C Van Houten
      on Apr 17, 2017

      I'm not the OP, but I did replace our back stairs with the store bought risers and I can tell you that if you want it to be free standing, you'll need something secure in the back to attach the risers to. If I were making this freestanding, I'd make a platform for the bottom out of a 1/2" thick piece of plywood. I'd attach two 2x4's to one end of the platform. I would attach the top of the risers to the 2x4's, and then attach the bottom of the risers to the other end of the platform. That will make the unit free standing. However, it won't be very portable, unless you put wheels at the bottom of the platform.

    • R Walter
      R Walter
      on Apr 17, 2017

      You could also put 1X4's on the inside at the top of the risers that go vertically at the back and attach a cross piece like the front at the bottom to make it stable in the back and then run a 2X2 or 2X4 horizontally in between the risers at the top back. to be even more secure put one horizontally in the middle.
    • Ann
      on Apr 17, 2017

      Purchase two sets of risers and secure them together at the top and a board from the bottom of each to the other. It would double your space.
    • Karen Loske
      Karen Loske
      on Apr 17, 2017

      Two sets, back to back? That's what I was thinking, if you have a large enough space. Oh, now I'm thinking strawberries, just because I never have that many herb plants.
    • Eroque022810
      on Apr 17, 2017

      I thank you for your post but was wooed about siding of home. I do like Ann idea about 2 back to back. Like a ladder.
  • Joanne Hoffman Keltz Simon
    Joanne Hoffman Keltz Simon
    on Apr 17, 2017

    Are there drainage holes in the planter boxes?
    • Ann
      on Apr 17, 2017

      I would and put some gravel in the bottom or rocks.
    • Barnegat Pollyanna
      Barnegat Pollyanna
      on Apr 17, 2017

      Planter boxes seem to be plastic, so I would drill some holes and be sure to place planters where the excess water run off won't matter.
      I like having drainage holes because if it rains, I don't worry about my plants flooding. After drilling your holes, you could line it with landscape fabric which allow for drainage but keeps the dirt all in.
      ADDED NOTE: I just went to the Dollar Tree store near me and bought a 4'x8' pkg of landscape fabric (The kind that allows for drainage) that would work perfect in this project.

    • Lynn
      on Apr 17, 2017

      If you're on a budget, a couple coffee filters will keep dirt in as well.
    • Danielle Odin
      Danielle Odin
      on Apr 17, 2017

      I use coffee filters (the brown kind)and gravel and have no problem.

    • Danielle Odin
      Danielle Odin
      on Apr 17, 2017

      Where can I buy the Risers as I am handicapped and cannot do this any more but i can put it together. So tell me where to get the risers, please.

    • Lynn
      on Apr 17, 2017

      Hi Danielle, most Home Depot or Lowe's will ship via UPS. I'm in Bakersfiel, CA, and can order the risers to ship for $6.99. Any amount over $45 ships free. I keep a Home Depot list on my fridge right next to my grocery list. When I'm close to the $45 I'll place an order online. (If you're not quite there, add some cleaning products or something fun 😊)
    • Pat
      on Apr 18, 2017

      I put disposable diapers in my planters and hanging pots. Keeps the dirt in and retains moisture. I then don't have to water as often. I like this idea using the risers! I have just the spot for this.
    • Laurel Predmore
      Laurel Predmore
      on Apr 23, 2017

      Newspaper works well in the planters also. This is what my Master Gardner's group uses.
    • Danielle Odin
      Danielle Odin
      on Apr 24, 2017

      You can use the used coffee filters and include the coffee as plants love that stuff.
  • Gina Pace
    Gina Pace
    on Apr 17, 2017

    I love the look of this! But I'd want to attach the tops of the risers to the wall they are up against, or a strong wind storm could blow the whole thing over? Also, putting a couple of short pallet boards across each "step" under the planter boxes and mailing them to the risers would increase the strength of it too... But it's awesome!
    • Janis K Harrison
      Janis K Harrison
      on Apr 18, 2017

      The weight of the soil-filled planter boxes should be fully sufficient to prevent them from flying in the wind. I have 2 laid across brackets and they have never moved in the highest winds I've experienced on my balcony (gusts over 30 mph) You wouldn't need boards across the risers for the same reason, unless you want to cut holes in them to hold flower pots and display a row of pots instead of a planter box.
    • Bzm11686139
      on Apr 24, 2017

      We have hurricanes in Miami, so it would have to be super secure or brought indoors. It's a great idea, though, and I'm going to try it. Cross your fingers that there won't be hurricanes this year!
    • KP Callahan
      KP Callahan
      on Aug 19, 2017

      Betty, just a thought... Find old belts at a thrift store or GoodWill and belt the planters to the risers! The buckle would add a little zip to the front of the planters, and you can easily undo them if you need to clean out a box or two.

  • Gladys partain
    Gladys partain
    on Jun 26, 2017

    I do not know much about planting herbs. When should they be planted?
    • W  C
      W C
      on Jul 1, 2017

      > As a general rule, you plant herbs after you are sure no more frost. Night temps of upper 40s a good start.
      > Planter boxes should have holes for drainage. If not, drill some about 5 1/4" holes for boxes shown. > Do keep them in area that's morning sun or not too much heat, especially at the start--seeds might cook in the heat. When they sprout,let them get used to the heat before putting in permanently in risers. A removable attachment to the riser may be advisable. This will.allow you to bring them in the fall if you can get them to winter over (herbs can be hard to keep alive through the winter if they are annuals). If you've tried and no success from seed, wait for hardware store sales. Get them then, then plant in your riser garden!!

Join the conversation

2 of 49 comments
  • Noddy crafts by Carol
    Noddy crafts by Carol
    on Mar 8, 2020

    Really love your idea... I am going to set it on the side of my house where nothing grows and instead of herbs I will fill with flowers... love it

  • Chloe
    on Jun 30, 2020

    Lovely landscaping idea! Thanks for the inspiration! 😍

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