Whether you live in acres of land in the country, or in the city with access to a balcony, planters are an easy way to bring flowers, herbs and vegetables closer to your living area. With a few basic tools, you can even build them yourself, with custom measurements to fit exactly where you need them to go.
Here are four planting ideas to get you started, all of which you can use to plant flowers, herbs or small and climbing vegetables for general purposes. I have ordered the planters from easiest to most challenging difficulties, but none of them should be too tough if you have access to a hardware store and room to do some cutting.
For all these planters, you want to take into account the wood you use. All the wood that comes in contact with the ground eventually rots. Dyeing or painting cheap pine from a hardware store is an option. Cedar is of course rot-resistant (but not root-proof) and although it costs more, you can leave it unfinished or put a light stain on it and it will hold up quite well, especially if you apply every year or two. For all wood, if you reapply stains at regular intervals, the planter will last a long time and retain its appearance.
The stacked planter
Necessary tools:, , circular saw (optional: non-iron blade for cutting iron, or tin clips for cutting metal flashing), stain brush
material: Planks (1.25×6 inch cover boards pictured, but choose a size that fits your space), 1×4-inch pine strips (or smaller as needed), wood screws, wood stains, gravel, planting soil, metal flashing or angle iron (optional)
If you are installing on a hard surface: Planks or plywood cut to size for the bottom, garden lining fabric
Measure the space where you want to install the planter and cut the screen to the desired dimensions. Screw the corners together at 90 degree angles, creating as many squares (or rectangles) as you want, depending on how high you want the planter to be. Stack the individual boxes on top of each other and secure them by placing a piece of 1×4-inch wood vertically in each inner corner of the planter and securing on both sides with wood screws.
If you plan to leave the planter resting directly in contact with the ground, (not a deck or patio), fill the planter with gravel or dirt. Otherwise, screw a solid piece of wood – or slats – horizontally into the bottom of the planter and attach the garden cover to hold the ground in. But if you choose to finish the bottom, you need to make sure that water can come out, so that you can drill some holes if necessary. For a modern finish, cut a piece of angle iron or flash the height of the planter so that it fits over the corners and fasten with glue or screws.
Vertical wooden plants
Necessary tools: Measuring tape, power drill, circular saw,, stain brush
material: Planks for bottom and top (1×4-inch pine), planks for sides (and bottom if needed, 1×6-inch cedar in picture), external wood screws, gravel, planting soil, garden lining (optional)
This planter consists of two square or rectangular frames for the base and the top, joined by any number of vertical planks. Start by measuring the width of the vertical boards you will be using to fill in the sides of the planter. This saves you from having to rip or cut a board along its length, which can be difficult without a table saw.
Once you have built the square or rectangular base and top, attach two vertical planks in each inner corner to one of the squares (a total of eight) and form the planting structure. Slide the vertical posts that are now attached inside the edge of the second square and secure them in the corners with screws. Now you can attach the top frame. Cut a horizontal board (I used 1×4-inch pine) to paint with the miter saw at a 45-degree angle and attach to the top of the planter for a finer finish. Add floor and garden lining if you do not install the planter directly on the ground.
Corrugated metal plants
Necessary tools: Measuring tape, power drill, circular saw, miter saw, tin cutter, stain brush
material: Planks for bottom and top (1×4-inch pine pine), corrugated sheet metal, external wood screws, gravel, planting soil, garden lining (optional)
This planter uses the same construction method as the previous planter, but instead of vertical boards, the planting walls are made of corrugated metal sheets. Decide the boards you want to use and cut them to the desired length. You need eight pieces to create two square or rectangular frames for the top and bottom. When you have completed the upper and lower frames, attach the vertical posts in each corner of one of the finished frames with screws.
For the vertical posts, you can use either two boards in each corner, or an angle that flashes. When the posts are attached to a frame, turn it over and screw it to the other at the opposite end of the posts. Action to determine the dimensions of the metal panels and cut the panels to size. Attach the metal panels to the inside of the horizontal posts with screws. Add trim around the top edge of the planter as before to cover the metal edges and create a cleaner look.
Necessary tools: Measuring tape, power drill, circular saw,, stain brush,
material: 2×2-inch pine, concrete pavers, gravel, planting soil,
Find four square or rectangular concrete pavers to use for the sides. Create two wooden frames that are similar to the university’s football goal posts of 2×2 planks (make sure that the width of the opening and the height of 2×2 exactly match the dimensions of the paving material). The floor layers will be inside these frames. Attach the two frames to each other using two other 2x2s, measured to fit, and screws. Fill the bottom of the planter with the 2x2s cut to fit. The end result is a frame structure with space for pavers on all four sides.
You will insert two screws through each upright piece of wood to connect the horizontal pieces, so you will need to distort the height of the screws so that they do not obstruct each other. Apply construction glue as liquid nails to the inner edges of the 2x2s and the resting strips in place. Tighten the structure to hold it in place while the glue dries with an exciting load strap. Wipe off excess glue. Tip: Build these where they will sit, as they are quite heavy.