How to Build Attractive Backyard Planter Boxes

Let the summer projects begin!! Now that summer is in full swing here in Idaho and we've officially been in our house for a year, we've started tackling some of the outdoor projects that we've been talking about for months. Are the projects never ending at your place too? There's always some sort of brainstorming going on around here. One of the items on our list for this year was building a couple of planter boxes for our backyard. We have a lot -- no, a TON -- of rock along our fence and a lot of vinyl fencing so to break it up and to add a little privacy we decided planter boxes would help eliminate some of the eye sores in our backyard.
Here's the supplies we use and how we did it:


Wood (see below)

Landscape Fabric




Paint Brush

Sprinkler System parts (optional)

Paver Base Sand

River Rock

Top Soil


Staple Gun & Staples
To start, we decided how wide and how tall we wanted the planters to be. We made them fairly big in order to fill up the space along our fence. This will vary depending on the size you're going for. To build both planters, we bought 16 - 4x6x8 cedar, 2 - 2x4x8 dry redwood, 2 - 4x4x8 douglas fir posts, 4 - 1x4x8 cedar board and 1 - 1x4x10 cedar board.
Then we cut all the wood based on the final dimensions we decided on. Our planters ended up being 5' 6" x 32". We had the front and back boards overlapping the side boards so we made sure we cut them accordingly.

Next, we started assembling all the pieces together. This took a decent amount of time, especially since we were making two of them.
Once they were assembled, we started staining (I didn't take any pictures of this step because I was doing it myself and didn't have enough hands to paint and take pictures at the same time). The stain we bought was Olympic's semi-transparent stain from Lowes. After reading a little bit more about this type of stain (see Olympic's FAQ) we learned that one coat is sufficient.

As we began staining we were a little nervous about the color. It seemed more of a solid color than transparent but don't let it scare you. It's a big contrast from the unstained wood vs. the stained wood! Once it's all stained it looks great and not as orange as we originally thought.
While the stain was drying (which we waited about 24 hours before we moved them), we worked on leveling the ground out. We did this by first moving all the rock and laying down the landscape fabric.
Then we poured the paver sand onto the fabric and spread it out with the back of a rake.
After that we layered it with the river rock.

Now it was time to place the boxes and make sure they were level as well. This was a pretty easy step. We used our leveler to make sure they were right where they needed to be. Once this was done, we lined the insides with the landscape fabric using the staple gun and staples. We did this to give the wood a little more added protection from the elements and to keep the dirt from falling through the cracks. Keep in mind we didn't build a bottom for the planters. We kept it open and flush to the ground so it was easy to get in and staple the fabric up on the sides.

To find out how we finished our planter boxes (we even added irrigation!) or to see other DIY projects visit,
Dreams & Midnight Jabber
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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  1 question
  • Vero nica Vero nica on Jun 14, 2016
    can I use this stain on my wood rails on my front porch ,and wood chairs the kind that comes from Cracker Barrel, Restaurants?

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  • Terri Adams Terri Adams on Jul 28, 2017
    Very nice! Exactly what I'm looking to do in a dry area of my yard.

  • Donna Donna on May 22, 2018

    Beautiful Work & I am inspired to attempt to making one for a veggie & fruit garden Thank you for sharing 😊🍓🥕