How to Build a Garden Planter

Garden planters are limited only by your imagination. image by Photos by Valerie, Illustrations by MJ Logan


Garden planters come in all sizes, from small enough for a few pansies to large enough for small trees and shrubs. Whether you have a container garden or just need a planter or two for your deck or patio, making your own is both easy and inexpensive. With a few pieces of cedar or redwood lumber from the home center, some plastic for a liner and a little work, you can make a planter in an hour or so. Add some wood stain and water sealer and your new garden piece will last for years.

Step 1

Measure and cut four 22-inch-long pieces from the 2 x 4 board. Cut an additional four pieces 19 inches long. Lay two of the 19-inch pieces parallel on a work surface.

Step 2

Measure and cut four 17-inch pieces from the 2 x 2 board. Lay two pieces on top of and perpendicular to the 2 x 4 boards. See the illustrations.

Step 3

Drill pilot holes to place two 2-1/2-inch screws through one end of each 2 x 2. Fasten the 2 x 2 boards to just one of the 2 x 4 boards with deck screws. Make a second piece of the remaining 2 x 2 inch boards and the other two 2 x 4 x 19 inch boards. These pieces are the sides.

Step 4

Stand both sides up and fasten the 22-inch-long 2 x 4 boards between them. Drill two pilot holes through each 2 x 2, into the 2 x 4. Drive two 2-1/2 inch screws through the 2 x 2 into the 2 x 4 boards. The base is now complete.

Step 5

Cut four 19-inch-long pieces of 1 x 6, and four 20-1/2-inch pieces of 1 x 6. Attach the 19-inch pieces to the same sides as the 19-inch 2 x 4s. The 20-1/2-inch pieces go on the sides with the 22-inch 2 x 4s. Drill pilot holes first, through the 2 x 2s into the 1 x 6, but don't go all the way through. Fasten the 1 x 6s to the 2 x 2s with 2-inch deck screws.

Step 6

Add the remaining four 2 x 4s to the planter. Drill pilot holes and fasten to the 2 x 2s with 2-1/2 inch desk screws.

Step 7

Cut four 22-inch-long pieces of 1 x 6. Drill four pilot holes, one at each end, through each 1 x 6 and into the 2 x 4s that make up the base. Fasten these to the bottom with 2-inch deck screws, 2 on each end of the board.

Step 8

Drill a drain hole in the middle of the bottom about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Line the planter with plastic and pull the plastic through the hole. Snip off the end so the planter drains. A few pieces of broken pottery or a larger stone over the hole will keep it from plugging up with soil.

Tips and Warnings

  • Wear safety glasses and a dust mask when cutting wood. Always wear safety glasses when using power tools of any kind.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 - 8 foot 2 x 4s
  • 1 - 8 foot 2 x 2
  • 3 - 8 foot 1 x 6s
  • Tape measure
  • Speed square
  • Miter or circular saw
  • Drill
  • Drill and driver bits
  • 2-inch deck screws
  • 2-1/2 inch deck screws
  • Safety glasses
  • Dust mask


  • Trelleises, Arbors and Pergolas; Better Homes and Gardens; 2004

Who Can Help

  • How to Build a Planter: DIY Project
  • How to Make a Simple Planter Box
  • How to Build a Patio Planter
Keywords: build, cedar redwood, garden planter

About this Author

Michael Logan is a writer, editor and web page designer. His professional background includes electrical, computer and test engineering, real estate investment, network engineering and management, programming and remodeling company owner. Logan has been writing professionally since he was first published in "Test & Measurement World" in 1989.

Photo by: Photos by Valerie, Illustrations by MJ Logan