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How to Build Box Container Gardens

By Karen Ellis ; Updated September 21, 2017

A box container differs with a raised-bed garden container in that it has a wood bottom attached. A raised bed is merely a soil-filled wood frame set onto the bare ground. The box container is most often used on decks, patios, porches, apartment landings or other locations where ground level growing is inhibited. It requires minimal wood-building skills to complete a box container garden.

Create a plan for your box container garden. Decide how much space you have for your garden and how many boxes will fit within that space. Remember, most plants, especially vegetables, require a full-sun location for six or more hours per day.

Create a wood container box, 2 feet square, for your first box. However, you can choose to make your boxes any size that works best for the garden location.

Measure, mark and cut the lumber. You need two boards, 2 feet long, for the front and back of the box container. You need two boards, 1 foot 10½ inches long, for the sides. Since the 1-by-12 boards only measures 3/4 inch thick after the lumber yard has planed it, the box side board measurements must accommodate for this.

Place the four boards in a box-frame shape. The front and back (longer boards) should be placed parallel to each other. The two shorter, side boards should be placed crosswise inside the longer boards at the ends. It should look like a box with no bottom.

Use your drill and a screwdriver attachment to work galvanized screws (rust resistant) into the boards to attach them permanently. Use four screws vertically across the surface of each end of the front and back boards. As the screws go through the top board, they will enter the sides of the end (crosswise) boards. The box frame is complete.

Measure, mark and cut a piece of plywood, 2 feet square. Place the plywood on top of the box frame. Use the drill and screwdriver attachment to insert 1-inch screws around the outside surface to attach it to the frame.

Remove the screwdriver attachment and replace it with a 1/2-inch drill bit attachment. Drill holes randomly across the plywood bottom to allow excess water to drain out the bottom of the box container.

Repeat the process of making box containers for the rest of your garden. Fill them with nursery garden soil and plants or seeds after placing them in the permanent locations. They may be too heavy to carry and move about after they are full of soil and plants.


Things You Will Need

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Rot resistant lumber (1-by-12 inches)
  • Tape measure
  • Saw
  • 1 1/2-inch galvanized screw
  • 1-inch galvanized screws
  • Electric drill and attachments
  • 1/2-inch plywood


  • You may pre-drill holes for the screws if you desire.
  • Cedar, cypress and redwoods are the best types for outdoor use--they are the most rot resistant.

About the Author


Karen Ellis has been a full-time writer since 2006. She is an expert crafter, with more than 30 years of experience in knitting, chrocheting, quilting, sewing, scrapbooking and other arts. She is an expert gardener, with lifelong experience. Ellis has taken many classes in these subjects and taught classes, as well.