Reclaimed Wood Planter Boxes

8 Materials
6 Hours

I built 4 planter boxes from the section of fence that fell down in a wind storm. I was amazed at how easy and quick it was to create them. These could easily be made with new wood also. I was replacing some old plastic pots that were in the garden and held the arbors. So you'll see the removal of the old plastic planters and the installation of the new reclaimed wood ones. I don't have pictures of the actual building of the boxes.

In order to determine the size of the new planters, I measured the largest part each of the pots which was the top rim then I would cut the wood 4 inches longer than that - 18" to give room to add more soil. The first step in this project after knowing what size the planter boxes would be was to remove the plastic pots. I removed the old pots one at a time as I was building the new boxes.

For the construction of the planter boxes, I cut a 2 x 4 post for each corner a couple of inches taller than the old pots and then used my nail gun to secure the planks to the posts. Since I was doing the main construction in the garage and would need to do the final assembly in the garden, I left the 4th side open. When the 3 sides were attached to the posts, I then stapled landscape cloth to the inside of the planter box to protect the wood from the soil using the staple gun. With the 3 sides of the first box done, I carried it outside and set it around exposed soil. I made sure the ground under the new planter box was level before attaching the 4th side. Once that side was attached, I reached inside between the new box and the soil to make sure the landscape cloth covered that 4th side too.

With the 4th side attached, I gently broke loose the old soil and added additional soil, filling the space between the existing block of soil and the new planter box then moved on to removing the second plastic pot. After all the planters were in place and the soil had been added, to secure the planks to the 2 x 4s, I also used screws. 

First box installed, 2nd plastic one removed.

When I moved to box I thought I'd attach the boards in an even rather than offset pattern. While I liked the look, I decided to remove the boards and place them offset like boxes #1 and #2. So, this is an option for you when you build your own planter boxes.

Now that all 4 planter boxes assembled and filled with soil, they looked a bit unfinished so I decided to add a 'topper'. I debated on just what look I wanted and then chose to 'frame' them by mitering the corners. The fence planks have only 1" thickness to them, so to create a larger base to attach the top frame, I cut a new 1 x 2 board into 4 pieces for each planter and used screws to attach that extra piece along the top of each side then the nail gun to attach the frame to that structure, adding a few screws for extra strength. 

As you can see, I had run out of full-length boards so I needed to use small pieces for the toppers. While I adore the rustic look, I find that I have a difficult time not trying to make it look this case, I had no choice but to use bits & pieces and the result is rustically charming!

North arbor planter boxes

South arbor planter boxes

Planter boxes with support boards painted. The tools you'll need for this project are:

  • Skill saw or
  • Screws and/or nails
  • Screwdriver and/or hammer
  • Nail gun & compressor (optional)

The materials list is for each planter box. Since I had all the materials on hand, the cost to do this project was ZERO. The estimated price if you are buying the materials is what I have calculated.

Detailed instructions for cutting the wood and assembling the boxes are on my blog at the link below.

Arbor in full bloom

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Christina
    on Jun 3, 2019

    I always like it when I don’t have to “build from the ground up”. But, if the posts are not set in concrete or otherwise waterproofed, won’t they rot?

    • Susan Lundquist
      on Jun 10, 2019

      Did similar thing, but just built around existing wood one that was rotting away (after 13 years). Old one will eventually decompose. When new one rots through, will need to remove and start over, as swing barely fits now. Our posts are old railroad rails welded in an A Frame.

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