How to Build an Earth Box Garden


For would-be gardeners who don't own a tiller, or who are physically limited due to arthritis or other physical challenges, a container garden is a relatively simple solution. Container gardens limit the weeds that can choke out desirable plants as well as lifting the plant up to a level where caring for them is a manageable prospect. Constructing a container garden out of homemade earth boxes can make gardening even simpler by reducing the amount of time spent watering the garden.

Step 1

Place one of the 5-gallon containers on the ground facing upward. Place the aquatic plant basket on the ground facing upward next to the 5-gallon container. Using a marker, trace a line around the circumference of the 5-gallon container slightly taller than the basket. Use the basket as a guide.

Step 2

Pull on protective gloves and goggles. Use a jigsaw to cut along the line. Discard the top half of the container.

Step 3

Place the lower half of the container face-down on the ground. Place the aquatic plant basket face down in the center of the container. Trace a line around the outer edge of the basket. Pull the basket aside and draw a second circle with a 3/4 inch diameter inside this first circle.

Step 4

Stand the piece of PVC pipe on its end on one corner of the container. Trace around the outer edge of the pipe. Cut out the circle from the pipe, and the inner circle from the basket using a jigsaw. Place the ½ drill bit into the bit and drill holes throughout the bottom of the container. Space the holes every 2 inches.

Step 5

Place the basket in the center of the second 5-gallon container facing upward. Put the bottom of the first container face-down inside the second container. Center the basket beneath the large hole in the center of the first container. Insert the PVC pipe into the hole in the corner of the first container. Drill a drainage hole in the side of both the first and second container just below the level of the aquatic basket's lip.

Step 6

Fill the second container with potting soil. Sprinkle dry granulated fertilizer onto the surface of the potting soil and cover the soil with landscaping fabric and mulch. Pull the mulch back, cut a hole in the landscape fabric and shove the soil aside. Place the root ball of your plant into the pocket in the dirt. Replace the dirt, landscaping fabric and mulch.

Step 7

Water the plant through the PVC pipe until water flows out of the overflow hole. Repeat this step for as many container plants as you wish to create in your container garden.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 opaque 5-gallon containers
  • 1 piece of 2-foot-long PVC pipe that is ¾ inch in diameter
  • Aquatic plant basket
  • Marker
  • Jig saw
  • Drill
  • ½ inch drill bit
  • Protective goggles
  • Protective gloves
  • Potting soil
  • Dry granulated fertilizer
  • Landscaping weed barrier
  • Utility knife
  • Landscaping mulch


  • Homemade Self-Contained Gardening Systems
  • Making a self watering container or Earthbox
  • Build Your Own Self-Watering Container Garden

Who Can Help

  • Home Made Earthbox
Keywords: earth box, container garden, self watering system

About this Author

After 10 years experience in writing, Tracy S. Morris has countless articles and two novels to her credit. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets" and "CatFancy," as well as the "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World," and several websites.