Sometimes it absolutely astounds me just how expensive ready-made garden beds and planters are, especially given that making your own is way easier than people think. You guys have already seen us make our huge raised beds, but this week we’ve gone smaller and made a couple of long wooden planters for our front garden. Honestly, it’s so easy and in total, we made two really long planters for a hundred quid. Chuffed does not cover it.
So we took you guys along as we made them in the video, but we promised you that we’d give you a breakdown of all the supplies so you could see for yourselves how we did it. So firstly then, our list of materials. We got all of this from B & Q which is our local hardware store but they are pretty standard so you should be able to find this stuff near you.
- 14 x Deckboard (1800x120x24) – £98 (the actual planter)
- 2 x rough sawn treated timber (1800x47x50) – £12.94 (posts for corners and feet)
- You’ll also need some screws – we used 20mm long wood screws which we already had
As always, Kate had already worked out a rough plan of what we were doing so had chosen these measurements of wood specifically to fit the space, for ease of work (less sawing and less wastage) and most importantly, we knew this length would fit in the car. Don’t underestimate the stress-free build of materials that you can transport without a headache.
So, we used 6 full-length boards for the sides and bottom, and 1 was chopped to make the end panels.
So This Is Our Basic Plan.
As I said, we aimed for as little sawing as possible, therefore the sides and bottom are made of single pieces of full-length decking board. Obviously, you can decide to go shorter or longer.
2 for the side, one on top of another to make it double-height tall (240mm)
2 for the bottom
On the bottom, you’ll see that we’ve left a channel, this is to allow for decent water drainage from the planter. You can make this whatever width you’d like, just remember to cut the end pieces to the length needed to accommodate this.
We laid out all the pieces on a level surface so that we could check that we had all the boards facing in the same direction (the boards we chose have a different pattern of grooves on each side) and that we had cut and placed the ends in the same position on each end and left an even gap for the drainage channel. Trust us, you don’t want to be putting in the final screw only to notice that you have one piece in the wrong way around!
Start by laying down the 2 pieces for the base and use something to keep them from touching in the middle – this will create the drainage channel. We used an off-cut of wood from another project that gave us about a 20mm gap – you can use whatever you happen to have as long as you make sure the gap is even at both ends of the planter. Place the corner posts on the outside corner of the base pieces and then you can attach the first layer of the walls. We made our planters 2 boards high, so we attached all of the pieces for the bottom layer first and then repeated the process with the next layer. Start by joining one long piece and one short end piece at a right angle to make your first corner. We use the rough sawn timber as corner posts, which gives us the piece to screw the sides to.
Repeat for all four corners and you will now have one layer complete. Add the second layer by attaching the next set of side and end pieces.
As our planters are 1.8m long we strengthened them by adding additional posts at the midpoint of each side, these are slightly off-set so that they don’t create a “pinch point” that would make planting harder as our planters are quite narrow, however, if you are making a wider planter then you can place them opposite each other.
Once you have attached all the posts you need to attach the base. Pick up the frame and turn it over, then put the base pieces back into position on to of the posts (don’t forget to leave the gap in the middle) – screw the base pieces to each of the posts. For extra strength, you could also screw the base pieces to the sides around the bottom edge.
We added feet to the planter to raise it up off the ground to allow for good drainage and also to keep the base from rotting if it is sitting in contact with the ground. The feet are made from the same material as the corner posts, cut to be the width of the planter and are attached from the inside – lay the feet on the ground so you have one at each end and at least one in the middle (more if the planter is longer than the ones we made), pop the planter on top and screw through the base into the feet.
Hurrah, you have now completed the building stage – stand back and admire your lovely new planter!
The next step is to line the planter to help keep the compost from dropping out through the drainage gap, and also to help protect the wood from water damage. We used some heavy-duty rubble sacks that we happened to have, you could use old compost bags or something similar, just staple the lining into place.
We have left our planters unpainted, however you can paint or stain them to match your garden if your wish – go mad!
Finally, you can put your new planter into position and do the fun part which is to fill it up with compost and plants (we highly recommend putting it in place first and then filling it with pretties rather than trying to lift it when its full of compost as unless you have superpowers it will be too heavy to lift!!)
Hopefully, this quick guide will take the fear factor out of building planters for your own garden, hopefully, you can see from the video below it’s really easy and the sense of achievement when you look out at what you have created will fill you with joy.
See the video to accompany this blog post: https://youtu.be/WJNvR6p759k