Terraced Planter for the Porch

3 Materials
30 Minutes

After rescuing these plants from the local rabbit population, I had to find a new way to display them.

Here's what is left of two $15 Kangaroo Paw plants after being in the ground only two days. The neighborhood rabbits thought they were a salad bar  . I dug them up and put them in 12" pots, then put them on a shelf next to my front porch for the time being. I wasn't really happy with two pots just sitting there, so I came up with this:

I had an idea for a terraced planter. I decided to build the planter with 11" openings to fit the bottom of the pots snugly. Here are two pieces of fence cedar from Lowes, and a treated 2x2 deck baluster. It actually took a bit more than 4' of the 2x2, luckily I had some scrap at home.

I decided on two 11" openings. Here I'm marking the long sides for 22". Note that I use a wide Sharpie marker, and try to keep the left edge of the marker to the right of my measurement. This improves accuracy just a bit. When I use my miter saw, the blade will use up this part of the wood.

(Not that we need too much accuracy for this project. The goal here is 'easy'  )

Thuis is MOST of the pieces I need. Here you can see at the top my 22" long sides ( I have not cut the short sides yet, I need to measure first)

four scraps to support the plants

six cross pieces (two fronts two backs, and two shelves for the pots). I cut these 10", thinking the sides would add up to 11" or so once assembled.

four tall 2x2s, and two short ones for corner supports. I cut these just a bit shorter than the width of the fence wood, so I wouldn't have to worry about them sticking up later.

Here's one long side, with the 10" lower front about to be stapled to a short 2x2 for corner support. Take your time to line things up, use a clamp or a friend if neccessary. I love my $23 staple gun, but you could do this with outdoor wood screws and a cordless drill, or even nails if you wanted to.

Here's the bottom half, with short supports in the front corners and tall ones in back.

Next I measured halfway and added the other two tall supports to each long side. Once they were attached I put the upper front on, and the upper back.

Next I measured the distance from the upper front to the upper back and cut my upper sides. I could have cut these first and adjusted the middle corner supports, it just seemed easier this way. You can see the basic shape now.

I can see this being adaptable to both larger and smaller sizes. If you have any doubts, lay your design out on a large piece of paper. I have used appliance boxes in the past to draw things full size before I start working. Measure twice, cut once.

I stapled two scraps inside each 'square' about 2" down. These will suppport the actual plant shelves. They will sit across the open squares. I only used one staple to see if I liked how the location looked, should I want to take it apart and raise or lower them. After I was happy with the fit I brought the planter back in the garage and added two more staples to the supports.

Drop the shelf cross pieces in. No need to staple. Gravity will work just fine.

After three weeks off the ground, the Kangaroo Paws are starting to look healthy again. Looks like a Celosia seed or two snuck into one of the pots ; )

Here's the planter sitting on my front deck shelf. Once the plants bloom up a bit I'll probably slide it out front. Still have a ways to go.

Comment if you have a suggestion to improve this for someone else. Happy planting!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 5 questions
  • Robyn Garner
    on Jul 9, 2019

    Have you considered using things to protect the plants in the ground? I have some perennials that return at this time of year and rabbits (or ???) eat them as they emerge. I rolled large pieces of aluminum foil and placed them surrounding the emerging plants. No more nibbles!

    • Robyn Garner
      on Jul 11, 2019

      Jim, I roll the foil and put it around the base of the plant only. You can't see it unless you walk close to the plants. Once they've come up high enough and aren't so "tender" they don't get nibbled. I put the foil around the plants about 4 weeks ago as they came up (after I noticed them being eaten) and just took it away. The plants are right along the walkway to the front door so it's important they look nice even with the foil.

      Hope that helps! Let us know if it works for you too.

      You could also tie CD's, place fake owls and/or snakes (move them frequently) or spread human hair around the garden (get it from a salon) and it breaks down to fertilizer.

  • Angie
    on Jul 17, 2019

    It’s a great and simple concept.

    if you enlarged it to suit a size needed, it could become a “railing” or divider of space. Keep adding height and beautiful plants. Could build many layers and paint in boat paint, line with pond liner, and make your own fountain or bird heaven?

    make it thinner with sexy legs for height and could be bedside table/ stairs for little kids room?

    i could keep going, lol but you must be getting tired of reading my thoughts!! Loll

  • David
    on Jul 7, 2020

    Hi from South West France.

    What a brilliant easy to build, low cost project. It looks great sat on your deck, are you going to paint it?

    I like it so much that I'm going to build a long one for the outside of my entrance porch, there are a lot of plants there already but I think that this will make them much more attractive to the eye.

    Good one.

    Regards, David

    • Jim Cox
      on Jul 7, 2020

      TY Sir. No paint so far, I have let them weather and blend in. This year I swapped out many red annuals for blue and purple, so the weathered gray look helps those colors pop a bit : )

Join the conversation

3 of 5 comments
  • Watchdog
    on Jul 7, 2019

    Well for nonsense how about a set of caster/wheels on the bottom, makes it easy to move and clean around. Mount on the 2x2sCould recess them that way. Once your critters consume your plants you have a skateboard.

  • Erika Lou Busey Kaufman
    on Jul 6, 2020

    I enjoy your project and feel inspired. I have to say, I really like the gorgeous deck and the shelf space outside of the railing. Excellent skill and taste!

    • Jim Cox
      on Jul 7, 2020

      TY. I'm about to give the front deck a makeover with new rails and balusters like I did out back. (You can see before on the left, and after on the right in the photo) The shelf will stay. You just talked me into it : )

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