Wednesday, August 7

DIY Planter Boxes

I know I've been posting about our front porch a lot... I think my pregnant brain wanted it all pretty before the baby came and we had new baby visitors. But I think this is my last update for now! We knocked out one last project to finish off the space and give it some interest and life. Planter boxes!

I was inspired by some planters I saw on, but I have a seriously tiny porch so I made up my own plans for a (much) smaller version. And you can build some too! They super to make, and cheap to boot!

To build one planter box you'll need:
  • 1  -  1x8 @ 8' long
  • 1  -  2x2 @ 8' long
  • 1  -  1x2 @ 8' long
  • 1 1/4" pocket hole screws or 2" screws
  • 8" flower pot (or landscaping fabric)
  • 2" screws
  • 1 1/4" finishing nails
  • glue
  • sandpaper
  • finishing supplies (wood filler/paint/stain/poly/etc.)
Cut List:
(A)  4  -  1x8  @  23 1/2" (sides)
(B)  4  -  2x2  @  23 1/2"  (corners)
(C)  4  -  1x2  @  11" with mitered corners  (trim)
(D)  2  -  1x2  @  8"  (supports)

The finished dimensions of my planter is 11" wide x 11" deep x 24 1/4" high. You can easily adjust the size, though. Just cut your boards longer or shorter for a different height, and you can make the planter wider/deeper by using 1x10's or 1x12's instead of the 1x8's.

Please read all the directions before beginning, and cut your pieces as you go, measuring before each cut. Use 2” screws or pocket holes with 1 1/4" screws unless otherwise indicated. Always use glue. Pre-drill and countersink your screws. And have fun!

Let's put it together! Start by attaching one side piece (A) to two corner pieces (B). They should be flush at the top and bottom, and the side panels should be centered on the corner pieces (you can just eyeball it, no need to be exact on this one). I attached my pieces using a Kreg Jig, but you could also drill through the legs into the side panel with 2" screws & glue.

Attach another side panel to each of those corner pieces as shown below. Center each side panel horizontally on the corner. Again I used a Kreg Jig to make pocket holes in the side panels and attached them that way.

This is what my boxes looked like at this point, you can see the pocket holes on the inside.

Next you can install the support boards. These will hold up whatever your flowers are planted in. I designed the boxes to hold 8" diameter flower pots (which is what I used) but you could also just line the opening with a couple layers of landscaping fabric and then fill it with potting soil. Measure the height of your pot to see where to place your boards. My pots were 7 1/2" tall so I installed the supports 7 1/2" below the top of my box. Attach the boards using finishing nails (through the side boards, into the ends of the support boards) and glue.

I originally planned to use four boards, but found that two was plenty for holding up my pots. If you go the landscape fabric amount you may want to do 3 or 4 to make sure it doesn't sag down in the gaps too much. Here we are installing them:

Next build the last wall section of the planter. Attach two corner boards to the remaining side board using a Kreg Jig & pocket screws, or 2" screws.

Attach this wall section to the planter as shown below. You won't be able to the get in there with pocket screws this time, so just drill through the corner pieces into the side panels and attach it using 2" screws and glue.

Now attach the top trim. Line up the four pieces to make sure the miters fit together nice and tight (the inside edges of the trim should be flush with the inside edges of the sides, but it's not a big deal if it doesn't fit perfectly), then attach them using finishing nails and glue.

And extra set of hands is very... you know, handy... for getting everything lined up together.

After that you're done with the building! An 8" pot should fit right down inside like this, or like I said you can line it with landscape paper instead.


Now you just need to finish it off. Start by filling any holes and sanding everything smooth. Then you can finish with stain (we used minwax praline, I believe) and outdoor polyurethane, or any outdoor paint you like!

I did a coat of stain and a coat of outdoor poly... probably should have done two to be safe, but I was in a pregnancy rush. ;)

Then I filled my pots with potting soil and a few pretty plants and slipped them into the planters.

It turns out when you wait to the end of July, the pickings get a little thin in the Lowe's garden department. Seriously, the only flowers they had left were purple. So we just rolled with it, and I think it turned out just fine!

Now if I can just remember to keep them watered....

And now the nitty gritty details - how much did it cost?! Here's my breakdown for building one planter:

$11  -  wood
$3  -  flower pot
$0  -  paint/stain (left over from who-knows what!)
$0  -  screws, etc. (we always have something lying around)
$14 Total

So for two I spent just about $28. Not too bad for some nice, custom sized planters! They flank the door perfectly, even on my tiny little porch.

My dad made one other little update for us too. Do you see that ugly mess right in front of the door? That was our old doormat. It faded to the same color as the carpet and was literally disintegrating.

So my dad ran down to Big Lots and $5 later brought home a spiffy new welcome mat! Thanks dad!

Hey, friends! Come on in!

It's a much cheerier porch than it was even a few days ago! I think we've done about all we can without tackling some bigger (and probably more expensive) projects. We still want to fix up several other things:
  • Replace the awning with ???? I don't know. Something.
  • Do something about the carpet on the stairs (it's ripping off in just the right places for tripping. yikes.)
  • Re-paint the rusty railings
  • Do something with the screen door - possible replace it or at least replace the screens

But for now I'm really happy with how far we made it pre-baby. And loving how big and funny this boy is getting. He was determined to help with the building, but didn't want to listen to the "oud" saw.

FYI, if you don't have time to put your "lellow knock knock" down before the saw starts, there are some creative options for getting your hands free.

He also likes to measure and mark all over the place.

He's just spotted the opportunity of a lifetime...

"Beeg knock knock!"

This is his "they took my big hammer away" face. Poor guy.

Anyone else planning to build some planters before summer is over? What's your favorite way to give your porch a facelift?


  1. How lovely! We are currently working on our outdoor space and this would work great for our Clematis! I am really digging the stain, lol pun intended :)

    1. Ha ha, thanks! :) I'd love to see how it turns out if end up building some.

  2. Really love how you explained everything, step by step. I have begun making my own planter boxes from a pattern from a DIY magazine. You were clever enought to figure it out on your own and being pregnant to boot. Wonderful job!

  3. Beautiful. I can't wait to see a short version also.

    1. Well you're in luck. ;)