How to Build (nice) Planter Boxes Economically

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I am building cedar planter boxes for my deck to create an elevated kitchen garden. You can build one too with a few easy steps!
  • how to build nice planter boxes economically, container gardening, gardening, how to, raised garden beds, woodworking projects
First let’s take a look at the finished product. The beauty of this planter box design is that it can be built to any dimension that you choose with a few simple steps. The planter box I built took full advantage of the materials I used to produce as little waste as possible.
  • how to build nice planter boxes economically, container gardening, gardening, how to, raised garden beds, woodworking projects
Step 1: Gather your materials and tools.
  • how to build nice planter boxes economically, container gardening, gardening, how to, raised garden beds, woodworking projects
Step 2: Measure and cut the lumber for the basic box.
You will need:
(8) – 70″ planks for the front and back (long sides)
(8) – 23″ planks for the ends (short sides)
(6) – 22″ 2 x 4s
(2) – 69 1/2″ 2 x 4s (floor supports)
  • how to build nice planter boxes economically, container gardening, gardening, how to, raised garden beds, woodworking projects
Step 3: Assemble the long sides.
Lay one plank on a 2 x 4 aligning the top edges. The plank should overlap the 2 x 4 by the depth of an end plank. In this way the corners of the basic box will be level and smooth. Attach a 2 x 4 on the other end of the plank. Continue fastening four planks to the 2 x 4s to create one long side. Assemble two long sides.
  • how to build nice planter boxes economically, container gardening, gardening, how to, raised garden beds, woodworking projects
If you flip over the sides, you should have something that looks like this:
  • how to build nice planter boxes economically, container gardening, gardening, how to, raised garden beds, woodworking projects
Attach a 2 x 4 piece to the center of each side for a brace. (This is where I made a mistake.)
  • how to build nice planter boxes economically, container gardening, gardening, how to, raised garden beds, woodworking projects
Step 4: Attach the floor support.
Decide how deep you want the soil to be in your planter box. Then measuring down from the top, attach a floor support to each side. Use 2 1/4″ or 2 1/2″ deck screws. You may need to drill your holes first.
  • how to build nice planter boxes economically, container gardening, gardening, how to, raised garden beds, woodworking projects
Step 5: Build up the short sides.
Line up the long sides. Starting at the bottom, attach a plank on each end. Build up the ends one plank at a time.
  • how to build nice planter boxes economically, container gardening, gardening, how to, raised garden beds, woodworking projects
At this point, you could skip to Step 7 (cut your floor boards) and call it a day. This would reduce the cost of your planter by a little over $33. However, I chose to trim out the corners and top to make a more finished look.
Your planter box should now look like this (except for the center brace):
  • how to build nice planter boxes economically, container gardening, gardening, how to, raised garden beds, woodworking projects
Step 6: Trim out the corners and top.
Measure and cut eight trim boards for the corners. Attach the trim boards with finishing nails.
  • how to build nice planter boxes economically, container gardening, gardening, how to, raised garden beds, woodworking projects
Measure and cut trim boards for the top. Miter each corner 45 degrees for a polished finish. Use finish nails to attach the boards.
  • how to build nice planter boxes economically, container gardening, gardening, how to, raised garden beds, woodworking projects
Step 7: Cut the floor boards.
With the remaining planks, cut floor boards measuring 22 1/2″ long. You will need 13 floor boards, however, the last board will need to be cut in width to fit your box. Using a hand saw or jigsaw, cut the floor boards to fit around the 2 x 4 pieces.
  • how to build nice planter boxes economically, container gardening, gardening, how to, raised garden beds, woodworking projects
Step 8: Do your happy dance!
You have just completed a very attractive planter box at a fraction of the cost had you purchased it as a kit or fully assembled! You are a financial carpentry genius!
The finished planter:
  • how to build nice planter boxes economically, container gardening, gardening, how to, raised garden beds, woodworking projects
For more details and a few tips, visit the blog: http://southernwilddesign.com
  • how to build nice planter boxes economically, container gardening, gardening, how to, raised garden beds, woodworking projects
My planter cost me just at $115.00 excluding tax. I did have a box of the longer (2 1/2″) deck screws that I did not have to buy. I purchased all of my materials at The Home Depot.
What’s next? I will be staining my box with a transparent outdoor stain…probably Thompson’s WaterSeal. This isn’t necessary, however, cedar does turn gray as it weathers and ages. I will be lining my box with a commercial grade landscaping cloth and filling it with good soil in preparation for planting those seedlings I hatched recently (see that post here) and planting more seeds.
Oh, don’t you just love spring!

Suggested materials for this project: