Dr. Mark Gardener
Dr. Christine Gardener

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Planting boxes are a useful addition to any garden. They are expensive to purchase and you cannot always get the size you really want. I decided to make a couple of planters to go just outside our back door. They are in a spot that gets morning sun but is also tucked away under the kitchen window.


Step one - buying materials

The first phase is designing your planters and working out what you need to buy. I got treated timber planks 2.4 m long and 10 cm wide (they are 15 mm thick). These form the major part of the planters but I also needed some corner posts. Once I got everything I needed I cut the bits to size and collected everything together ready for final assembly.

Materials ready for assembly

Step two - first layer

The next phase involves laying out the first layer of the planter. I started with a single corner, joining a long and short side and the corner post. Effectively I worked upside down, resting the post on the floor and aligning it with the two planks.

Once one corner is done the layer was completed and secured with nails/screws.

The first completed 'layer'

The first corner is assembled

Step three - build up layers

Now that one layer is completed the rest may be added quite simply. The planks are merely screwed or nailed to each other and to the corner posts. I used three layers in total to create a 30 cm high planter (i.e. about a foot).

The first layer is completed and the second added to it to make another course.

Once the layers are complete you can start to think about adding the bottom.

The sides of the planter are complete - 3 layers here to make 30 cm height overall


Step four - adding a base support

So far we have four sides but no bottom. To add a base we use short sections of plank held in place on a narrow rail formed by the same material as the corner posts. Before you do this though, think about the 'feet'. If your planter is very long you may want to add extra posts to make additional legs for your planter. I added legs about mid-way along to give six feet in all.

Rails are added which will eventually support the base

Step five - adding the base planking

It is a simple matter to drop short sections of planking onto the rail and secure them. Where you have a post a bit of material will need to be cut away. Once the planks are in a few nails or screws will secure them. Use a drill to make a few drainage holes, even if there are gaps between the planks it is a good idea to be reasonably generous with the drainage.


Cut the base planks to fit around the corner posts

Add the bottom planks

Once the drainage holes are done the planter is complete. I painted the outside of mine a green using some shed paint I had left over. Do the outside and the inside of the top plank.

Drill drainage holes in the base

The planters in position

Painted and ready for action

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