How to Build Plant Shelves


Plant shelves, as the name implies, are shelves meant for placing plant pots and containers as opposed to putting them on the ground. People who have back problems and cannot bend too low, or those who have limited gardening space, prefer to use these. A simple plant shelf's design is in the shape of a staircase that provides easy access to the back and prevents the containers placed in front from blocking out the sun is one even a novice gardener can make. Place these shelves on your porch, balcony, terrace or backyard to enjoy a splash of natural color.

Step 1

Lay both the pre-cut three-step stringers on the ground so their tops are next to one another but their bases face opposite directions. Hold a 3-foot long 1-by-4 inch wooden board vertically, just against the topmost step of the stringer, to create a vertical support for the staircase shelves. Drill galvanized woodscrews into the support that penetrates the top step of the stringer to hold them in place securely. Repeat the process with the other 3-foot-long board to connect it to the second stringer.

Step 2

Stand both the stringers 2 feet away from each other. Have someone hold each stringer up as you position a 2-foot long, 1-by-4-inch base support board horizontally at the base of the last step. Check to make sure the edge of the board is flush against the outside edge of the stringers, and overlap them. Drill galvanized woodscrews to attach the base support board to the stringers.

Step 3

Move to the back of the staircase shelves and position the second 2-foot long, 1-by-4-inch base support board to support the vertical standing supports. Keep in mind that these back edges will not be as flush as the front edges were. Drill galvanized woodscrews into the base support board to penetrate the vertical standing supports.

Step 4

Place a 4-foot long, 1-by-4-inch wooden board over the stringers at the end of the stairs. Align it in the center to ensure 1 foot of it protrudes from each end. Measure the protrusion on each side to make sure it is equal before attaching this board to the stringers by drilling woodscrews on each side. Once secure, repeat the process to attach the middle and top step to the stringers.

Step 5

Sand the edges of your staircase plant shelves to make them smooth. Paint it to protect it from extreme weather conditions, so it lasts longer. Allow the structure to dry thoroughly before placing them over your desired location.

Things You'll Need

  • Two wooden three-step stringers
  • Two 3-foot long 1-by-4-inch wooden vertical support boards
  • Drilling machine
  • Galvanized woodscrews
  • Two 2-foot long 1-by-4-inch wooden base-support boards
  • Three 4-foot long 1-by-4-inch shelf boards
  • Sandpaper
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint


  • "Mother Earth News: Gardening on the Back Porch"
Keywords: plant shelves, diy plant shelves, plant staircase shelves

About this Author

Tanya Khan is a freelance author and consultant, having written hundreds of thousands of words for various online and print sources. She has an MBA in Marketing but her passion lies in giving her words wings.