Capture Some Sunshine!
Flowerpot shelf is a perfect way to put color where you least expect it.
Cliff Muehlenberg, Pewaukee, Wisconsin
I've heard it said that the nice thing about gardening is that you're never really done. It's always a work in progress, which is how this simple flowerpot shelf came about. Our yard is shady most of the time, thanks to the sprawling branches of our 130-year-old oak tree. My wife, Marilyn, is always trying to capture some light for her sun-loving flowers, but knows getting rid of the tree is out of the question. So she's been eyeing a sun-drenched section of our back fence.
"Let's put some pots on it," she suggested. My reply..."They'll fall off!"
After she shed some light on her idea for a flowerpot shelf, I whipped together this little number for about $30, including pots. Now Marilyn's happy, our flowers have never been brighter, and my favorite oak remains well rooted in the backyard!
This project is so easy you'll be able to assemble it in an afternoon. You don't need fancy tools; most are of the standard household variety, but a table saw is required to rip a few boards to width. If you don't have one, ask the lumberyard to cut them for you or ask a neighbor or friend to help. A simple compass is helpful for scribing the flowerpot cutouts.
I like the natural look of the rough-sawn cedar, so that's the side of the board I wanted to see. You may prefer the smooth side. Keep in mind that the rough side accepts stain more readily. If you're not sure which side you like best, test your stain on both sides of a scrap cutoff.
Carefully Cut Holes
The holes for our pots measured 5-1/4 in. diameter, but carefully check your pots, since size may vary. I recommend cutting a test hole in a piece of scrap board for your flowerpots first, and adjusting the size if necessary.
After cutting the holes in the main shelf, it'll be helpful to mark the front edge with a piece of tape so it doesn't accidentally get drilled later. (I hate to admit this is experience talking!)
Lots of Options
To simplify this plan, make the shelf using decorative metal brackets. I purchased a pair of very attractive iron brackets at a local home center for about $12. The metal brackets should be positioned the same as the wooden ones, but are fastened from the front instead of through the back.
If you're ambitious, you may want to create the more detailed fan-style wooden brackets with a beautiful Victorian look. These require a 1-1/2 in. and a 1 in. spade bit to make the cutouts. Drill as straight or perpendicular as possible until the point just begins to poke out the other side, then flip over and finish the hole. A drill press makes drilling perpendicular easy. Finish the holes with a saber saw and file or sand smooth.
When finished assembling, apply deck stain to protect the beautiful natural look of your handy flowerpot shelf. Once dry, mount on your shed, a fence... anywhere you need a vibrant splash of color.
- LAY OUT FLOWERPOT HOLES. Position the end holes so that the centers are 7" from both ends of the main shelf (A) and the edge of the hole is 1/2" from the front edge. Draw the cutting lines with a compass so the holes are slightly smaller than the lip of your pot. Space the remaining holes evenly between the two end holes. Bore an entry hole with a spade bit for sawing.
- ENLARGE PATTERNS for the upper backboard (make two copies) and the wood brackets. Tape the backboard pattern together to make the full pattern. Center and tape it to the backboard. Tape the bracket patterns along the squared end of a board and the perpendicular edge. Cut and sand smooth.
- ATTACH THE MAIN SHELF to the lower backboard with 2" screws. Drill and countersink the holes to keep wood from splitting. Make sure you're not attaching the edge you marked as "front."
- FASTEN THE BRACKETS to the upper backboard flush to the bottom. Then center the backboard on the main shelf and attach the brackets from the underside using 1-5/8" screws. Glue and nail the front edge trim in place, countersinking the nails. Apply your favorite outdoor finish to protect the shelf's good looks.
- One 3/4 in. x 7-1/4 in. x 35 in. main shelf (A)
- One 3/4 in. x 4-1/2 in. x 33-1/2 in. lower backboard, ends cut at 15 degrees (B>
- One 3/4 in. x 6-1/4 in. x 33-1/2 in. upper backboard (C)
- One 3/4 in. x 1-3/8 in. x 35 in. front-edge trim for main shelf (D)
- Two 3/4 in. x 1-3/4 in. x 5 in. bottom bracket base (E)
- Two 3/4 in. x 1-3/4 in. x 5-13/16 in. top bracket base (F)
(Overall dimensions: 11-5/8 in. high x 35 in. wide x 8 in. deep)
- One 1x6 x 6' rough-sawn cedar
- One 1x8 x 8' rough-sawn cedar
- #6 x 2 in. galvanized deck screws
- #6 x 1-5/8 in. galvanized deck screws
- 2 in. galvanized finishing nails
- 6 in. flowerpots
- Waterproof glue
- Deck stain