Do you want to grow fruits and veggies but have limited space? A DIY garden box may be the perfect solution for you. Whether you want to grow your own food or just some pretty flowers, garden boxes are a great option for every gardener. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, they also offer better drainage, higher quality soil and require less weeding than planting directly into the ground.
How to Make a Garden Box for Your Best Yard Ever
See post: Mary | Raised Garden Beds
DIY Garden Box
There are many different ways to build a garden box. Some of the most popular building materials are:
- Cinder block
- Brick or stone
- Galvanized metal or stock tanks
Wood Garden Boxes
Types of wood suitable for garden boxes are redwood or cedar. These woods are naturally rot resistant and have been known to last for up to 20 years.
Is pressure treated wood safe to use for garden boxes?
Contrary to popular belief pressure treated wood is safe to use for garden boxes as long as the wood was produced after 2003.
Up until 2003, the most common preservative used for pressure treated wood was chromated copper arsenate (CCA), a compound that used arsenic as its primary rot protectant. There was a risk of the arsenic poisoning the soil and anything that touched it. The wood industry, in cooperation with government recommendations, phased out the use of CCA for all residential and most commercial wood pressure treatment.
CCA was replaced with either copper or chromium as the primary preservative, which improved the safety dramatically. Unlike arsenic, which is well absorbed into and retained by the body (explaining its toxicity even in long-term, small exposures), these new products (though toxic in large amounts) are not absorbed efficiently by the body so the minuscule exposures from touching or working with these products are safe provided simple exposure precautions are taken, such as hand washing and collection of the sawdust.
How to Make a Garden Box Out of Pallets
Are Pallets safe to use for garden beds?
Crafters and makers have been recycling pallets into all sorts of garden and home décor projects for years. But how do you know if a pallet is safe to use?
Once you have found a clean pallet, the next step is to check for a stamp or marking on the sides of the pallet otherwise known as the IPPC stamp. These are some of the codes you will find:
- HT = Heat treatment
- MB = Methyl Bromide
- DB = Debarked
- KD = Kiln Dried
A pallet is safe to use as long as it does not have the MB stamp on it. MB stands for methyl bromide and means that it has been treated with methyl bromide fumigation. This is a potent pesticide linked to human health problems and ozone layer depletion.
If you find an MB pallet (likely from Asia or Oceania), please do not use it for your craft projects or as firewood, find a waste-removal company that can dispose of it properly.
If you don't see a stamp, use it with caution. A pallet may be perfectly safe without this logo, but you won’t know for sure.
Supplies for pallet garden box:
- Pallet wood
- Decking stain
- Jig or miter saw
Directions for Pallet Veggie Bed
- Use a jigsaw, circular saw, or handsaw to cut the slats of wood so that they are all the same size.
- Nail the planks together onto long wooden rails that are 2x2 inches.
- Stain the wood if you like. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing it will also help protect the wood.
- Connect the sides together and then fill up the middle with dirt.
- Add capping to the top of the garden box if you wish.
- Plant flowers, seeds, or veggies start.
Small Town Homestead made similar garden boxes for his yard out of pallets. After he put the sides of the garden boxes together, he used some large 4x8 pallets and broke them down. The pallets had eight 1x6 boards in them. He used these boards to go around the raised beds and hold the sides together.
Once the garden beds were placed where they would go permanently, he stacked 12 of the quarter pallets inside each one to take up some of the space inside the raised beds. This reduces the amount of soil required to fill the beds.
The inside of the boxes was lined with heavy landscape fabric which prevents the soil from washing out while allowing good drainage.
He then painted the borders of the boxes and sealed the outside of the beds to give them extra durability against the elements.
Small Yard Garden Box
How big should you make your garden box?
Even if you have a very small yard you can maximize the vertical space with a raised planter.
Make your bed as long as you like or build multiple raised beds for different crops. The depth of the bed can vary, but six inches of soil should be the minimum. Most garden plants need at least 6 to 12 inches for their roots, so 12 inches is ideal.
Courtney Killpack created this small space garden box to plant flowers. After selecting a sunny spot in her yard, she used pressure treated wood to make a raised garden box on a level surface and then filled it will fresh soil from the garden center.
Cedar Garden Box
See post: LRN2DIY | $23 DIY Cedar Planter Box
LRN2DIY made a cute garden box out of cedar picket fences and 2x4’s
Simply cut the pickets apart with a miter or jig saw like the other Hometalkers did above with their pallets and then reassemble them into garden boxes.
This DIY from Gathered in the Kitchen is similar to the wood boxes from LRN2DIY except she added craft finials to finish off the top corners of her garden box. The result is elegant and professional.
Stair Stringer Planter
Another cute way to build an herb garden box is to use stair stringers like Julien K. A stair stringer (also called 'string' or 'stringer board') is the housing on either side of a flight of stairs, into which the treads and risers are fixed. A staircase will have two stringers, one on either side of the steps. Stair stringers can make a lovely tiered garden box that is perfect for growing herbs or flowers.
Supplies for Stair Stringer Garden Box
- Stair Stringer (x2)
- 24" Plastic Planter Boxes (x3)
- 2x2 Piece of Wood
- 2 Nails
- Potting Soil
- Herb Garden Seeds
Directions for Stair Stringers Garden Boxes
- Lean your stair risers against the wall or surface they'll be used on.
- 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.
- Hammer a nail through each stair riser into the piece of wood to attach them together.
- Place one planter box on each step of the stair riser.
- Fill each planter box with potting soil.
- Add a different herb or vegetable to each tier of the planter and use garden markers to label them.
How to make a paving stone planter
Garden boxes don’t have to be made out of wood. Check out what Ana Illausky and her husband built in their yard. They used pavers they bought on clearance to create a cute paver garden box for their cottage.
Supplies for a paving stone planter
- Steel tamper
- Paving base
Instructions for paving stone planter
- Dig out the ground where you want the paver garden box to go and make it as level as possible.
- Use a 2x4 and level to ensure that the area is flat.
- To keep the stones from shifting use bags of paver base and a tamper to level the ground.
- Stamp the paver base into the ground and measure again for leveling.
- Lay out the pavers in a rectangle pattern, stacking them two or three high.
- Fill the garden box with soil and flowers.
See post: Dan Berg | DIY Faux Stone Raised Planter
Faux Stone Raised Planter
This gorgeous garden box made by Dan Berg was constructed using wood and faux stone Airstone from the home improvement store. This planter can be made in a variety of sizes and shapes using the same techniques with wood, faux stone veneer, and backer board.
Supplies for Faux Stone Raised Planter
- Plastic bin
- Pressure treated 4x4 and 2x4’s
- Faux stone veneer
- Hardie Backerboard
- Contractor cement
Instructions for Faux Stone Raised Planter
- Decide on the plastic container you will use to plant your flowers or veggies in and create a wood frame for it out of 2x4’s. Next, add notched 4x4’s on each corner.
- Use cement backer board to build the walls on each side of the planter that the Airstone will adhere to.
- Use contractor cement to attach the stone to the backer board.
- After it is completely dry stain the 4x4’s with wood stain
- Add your soil and flowers to the planter.
How to Build Flower Boxes for Railings, Deck Planters or Windows Boxes
Pascal Tremblay added cedar flower boxes to the railings on his front porch. Plastic flower containers can be easily placed into the cedar boxes to hide the plastic while adding rustic country curb appeal to your home.
Supplies for flower boxes
Instructions for flower box planters
- Determine size and cut the pieces.
- Assemble the wood pieces with screws.
- Finishing and attaching to railings with screws.
- Decorate deck or patio with flowers.
Galvanized Livestock Tank as Planters
Nancy T found the perfect way to plant large trees and shrubs on her back deck. She used a galvanized livestock tank. Normally you would find these tanks out in a field filled with water for horses but they work perfectly to use as a garden box. Galvanized metal is long lasting and comparable in price with a ceramic pot of the same size. These tanks are perfect for planters as they come with a built-in drainage spout, are lightweight and because they are galvanized - they never rust.
Instructions for galvanized metal garden box:
- Fill the bottom with Styrofoam to take up space so that you don’t have to add as much soil. The foam also helps with drainage.
- Add soil and plant your favorite tree or shrub
You can add wheels to the bottom of the tank in order to move it around more easily.
Building a garden box is an economical and rewarding way to grow more flowers or veggies in your yard this year. Whether you only have room for a small flower box or have the space to add large raised vegetable beds on your property there is a garden box project for everyone. Experiment with materials and designs to make your outdoor space truly one of a kind.
Have you built your own garden boxes before? Share your projects with us by posting them on Hometalk!
Written for the Hometalk community by: Adrienne Carrie Hubbard | Crafty Little Gnome