How to Build a Tree Planter

Overview

Tree planters provide distinction to a yard by breaking up the overall landscape. An average-size tree planter is roughly 3 feet by 3 feet square and can be made of any building material including brick, concrete, stone and wood. When creating a tree planter, verify the average radius of the tree that will be planted there to ensure that the tree doesn't outgrow its planter.

Step 1

Measure the area where the planter will be placed. For a tree planter, it is recommended that the planter be at least 3 by 3 feet square or have a radius or 1 1/2 feet if round.

Step 2

Mark out the area with chalk to guide where the stones will sit.

Step 3

Dig a 12-inch-wide and 8-inch-deep trench just behind the chalk outline for the planter's foundation. Fill the hole with large feldstones placed as closely together as possible.

Step 4

Pound the feldstones firmly into the ground with a 4-by-4 piece of wood. This will ensure that the foundation is sturdy enough to hold the weight of the feldstone planter.

Step 5

Lay the second level of stones on top of the first. Use the longest flattest stones possible for the corners. Avoid using mortar on the first five layers to provide drainage for water.

Step 6

Set up a string representing the top of the planter after the first few layers are in place. Attach the string to the wooden stakes and wrap it tightly around. Verify that the string is level by hanging a line level in the center of each side.

Step 7

Mix up a single batch of mortar in the wheel barrel. Place the mortar on the back half of the stones. This creates a more natural look.

Step 8

Continue stacking the stones and laying mortar in between each layer. Reserve the flattest, largest stones for the top layer of the bed.

Step 9

Fill the mortar bag with mortar and squeeze the mortar into the joints of the top wall layer. Smooth over the mortar with a putty knife.

Step 10

Allow the mortar to dry overnight and apply a layer of masonry sealer in the morning using a spray bottle.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk
  • Shovel
  • Various sizes of feldstone
  • 4-by-4 wood piece
  • Mortar
  • Wheel barrel
  • Trowel
  • Wood stakes
  • String
  • Line level
  • Mortar bag
  • Putty knife
  • Masonry sealer
  • Spray bottle

References

  • Popular Mechanics: Build A Stone Planter
  • Extreme How To: Backyard Planters Big and Small
Keywords: build tree planter, feldstone, landscape

About this Author

Ann White is a freelance journalist with prior experience as a Corporate and Business Attorney and Family Law Mediator. She has written for multiple university newspapers and has published over 300 articles for publishers such as EHow and Garden Guides. White earned her Juris Doctor from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in English literature.