Easy Flower Planter
This easy-to-build planter makes your most brilliant flowers portable.
By Cliff Muehlenburg, Pewaukee, Wisconsin
Last summer, we attended a backyard graduation party for my daughter's classmate. It was a perfect summer afternoon for an outdoor party. When we walked into the yard, we were simply amazed at the variety of color and flowers everywhere! The blooms definitely decorated the backyard.
On the way home, my wife, Marilyn, said, "I think I'd like to add more flowers to our yard. Ours is way too green."
I agreed, and we decided to tackle it little by little. To get a start, I surprised her with this portable planter that could be placed anywhere and moved whenever she got the itch to redecorate. She loved it!
A Few Tips Before Starting
To make a planter just like this one, you'll need just basic tools and a table saw to cut the pieces to the proper width. I chose rough-sawn cedar because I like the rustic look and it weathers well. But I must warn you—rough-sawn cedar has one rough and one smooth side. You'll want to be sure, whichever side you choose to face out, that you keep it consistent throughout the project.
A variety of other woods will work, too...redwood, cypress or green treated are all fine. And, I've recently found out the new green treated lumber can be stained after just a few weeks. Just test first...the green can affect the color of the stain.
To give this project a finished, professional look, round the edges with a sanding block and 100-grit paper, and countersink the screw holes. I suggest using coated or stainless steel deck screws so that, over time, the screws don't weep and stain the wood. Finish staining is optional, or just let the wood gray naturally. It doesn't really matter...once you plant it, the flowers will steal the show!
- Enlarge the handle pattern to 4-3/4" wide. You'll need four copies in all. Tape to the ends of the planter sides and cut out, following the pattern with a jigsaw. Sand and round handle edges so they feel comfortable.
- Cut two legs from one 24"-long board. Measure out a 20" leg (angled on one side) on the board, avoiding knots where possible. The top of the leg is 3-1/2", and the foot is 2". Tack on a straight scrap board as a sawing guide for your jigsaw. Editor's Note: If using rough-sawn cedar, draw one set of legs on the rough side and one set on the smooth side.
- Predrill and countersink screw holes in the legs. Position the angled edge of each leg outward, facing the handles. Glue, square and fasten to each side (A) with 1-1/4" deck screws. Fasten the ends to each set of legs from the inside with 1-5/8" screws. Position the screws so they miss the leg screws.
- Fasten the cleats that hold the bottom with 1-1/4" screws, 1/4" up from the bottom edge of the sides and ends. Set the blade on the combination square to 1/4" to make the setback consistent.
- Cut the plywood bottom to fit easily inside. Drill several 3/4" drain holes with a spade bit and saw an inch off of each corner for added drainage. Cut weed barrier to fit.
Fill the planter with a good potting or soilless mix rather than topsoil. This will help your plants thrive because it drains better and will make your planter lighter to move.
- Two 3/4 in. x 4-3/4 in. x 44 in. sides (A)
- Two 3/4 in. x 4-3/4 in. x 11 in. ends (B)
- Two 3/4 in. x 7-1/4 in. x 24 in. legs (C)
(each makes two 20 in. legs)
- Two 3/4 in. x 3/4 in. x 20 in. side cleats (D)
- Two 3/4 in. x 3/4 in. x 9 in. end cleats
- One 1/2 in. x 11 in. x 22-1/4 in. plywood bottom (E)
- Two 1x8 x 8' rough-sawn cedar
- 1/2 in. x 2' x 4' treated plywood
- 12 in. x 24 in. weed barrier
- 1-1/4 in. and 1-5/8 in. coated or stainless steel
- deck screws
- Waterproof glue
- Deck stain (optional)