Patio Planter Project

Over the few days spent at my parents house for Thanksgiving my dad and I put together a container planter for our patio that we could grow lettuces and other small plants in. The project first began in my mind as a trough type planter but slowly evolved into something a little more user-friendly; instead of having the planter itself hold the soil I decided to build the planter box around three plastic bins that could easily be removed individually to dump out, fill with new soil and plant in.

Already having the patio dimensions, we searched the dollar store, Wal-Mart and Big Lots for inexpensive plastic bins and settled on some that were $2 a piece. We then figured out the overall measurements based on the bin size, allowing ourselves a little wiggle room so we could still fit our fingers in to lift the bins out. We used 1×6″ boards for the sides and 1×4″ boards for the inner supports {all of which my dad had extra of in his shop}.

Here’s an exploded Sketchup model of the planter to show how all the pieces fit together. The two vertical supports in the middle are to keep the three plastic bins equally spaced and the staggered bottom supports allow any drainage water to fall through to the ground. It would have been easier to just make the bottom out of one solid piece of wood but we decided to have open spaces beneath the bins to avoid having to flip the whole thing over to dump out any spilled soil or water.

We used wood glue and a pneumatic stapler to connect the two long side pieces to the bottom supports and two screws at each corner to connect the side and end boards.

Then we clamped the whole thing together and let it dry overnight.

In the morning we spackled the staple holes and since we didn’t want the screws to show, my dad suggested we sink them further into the wood and cover them with wood plugs. After the spackle was dry I sanded the whole thing down to make every edge and corner nice and smooth.

The last step was adding some soil and baby plants to the bins. Luckily my dad is a pretty darn good gardener and he already had some potting soil mixed up as well as a bunch of baby lettuces in his greenhouse to choose from.

Don’t they look so happy in their new planter box?

We still haven’t quite figured out the best way to mount it on our railing so for now it’s sitting a couple feet off the ground on a couple of cinder blocks. It makes me so happy to see those little bits of green every day now that winter has turned the grass brown. Not too bad for just $6!

Tags: , ,

40 Responses to “Patio Planter Project”

  1. Autumn Bucket List « life by britney Says:

    […] Build something with my dad and bake something with my mom {half […]

  2. Mikalee Byerman Says:

    You make it all look so easy. And accomplishable!

    Even for me…and trust me, I’m no green thumb or DIY diva!

    Great post. :)

  3. runtobefit Says:

    The planter look great!! I will take two please :-)

  4. dearexgirlfriend Says:

    me and manual labor dont get along too well, so i applaud your efforts!

  5. auntbethany Says:

    What a great idea! I can’t tell you how long I searched at Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Loewe’s, etc. to find this very same item for our flowers this spring. And yours looks so much nicer than what these stores had to offer! Great post, and congrats on FP!

  6. enjoibeing Says:

    thats super cool. i have been wanting to start a mini garden/veggie garden for the longest and it looks like building your own stuff would be better. thanks for an awesome idea! and congrats on being freshly pressed

  7. savannah Says:

    you’re so talented and creative… and productive. i feel like every time i turn around, you’ve completed some major project that would just stay on my to-do list for months (or even years).

  8. Lakia Gordon Says:

    Oh this is really cool.

  9. Beloved Says:

    This is so wonderful. I am so glad I clicked on your post on the Freshly Pressed page. My husband and son built me a garden box with cedar wood on Saturday. I plan to plant some herbs and essential veggies there with my son. Thank you for this. I send the link to my husband.

  10. britneyanne Says:

    Thanks for the comment love everyone, glad I could share this fun project with you all!

  11. notesfromrumbleycottage Says:

    I am impressed and will have to do this in the spring at my house. Congrats on being freshly pressed.

  12. Evie Garone Says:

    Wow, that is really nice. I like the plastic containers you can take out, great size and shape. If I ever get that enthusiastic again about gardening maybe my boys 3- 2 sons & a husband can help me with that. I love it! Congrats on you ingenuity!

  13. rtcrita Says:

    This is great! I love to garden and I wanted something like this that I could keep close to my back door seperate from my regular garden for just a few little plants that I like and that don’t take up much room. Can’t wait to make one next spring!

  14. sannekurz Says:

    I’ll keep this idea for spring…right now a bit snowy here :)
    but I love how lovely you made those simple buckets look…a real designer piece!

  15. mybakingempire Says:

    very resourceful, enjoy all that yummy lettuce!

  16. Young dad Says:

    You’ve actually made me really….really…really want to try and make something like that.

    And I am NOT a DIY type person. The thing looks beautiful. Kudos to you, truly.

  17. jule1 Says:

    Great execution. I think your design is especially well thought out. For most of us, though, it would cost more than $6 because you had all the wood, the soil, and the plants. I think your only cost was for the bins, which you found for $2 apiece, right? I think the design is great and the end product is attractive, and know that for me this project would be pricier because I’d have to buy the wood, the soil, the plants, and might have to borrow a saw in order to get the cuts right.

    • britneyanne Says:

      Both Home Depot and Lowe’s will cut the wood for you free of charge so if you had the measurements figured out ahead of time you could have the store do the cutting for you when you buy the wood. I agree that I was really lucky to have my dad’s stockpile of materials and gardening resources at my disposal, I guess that’s why I did the project in the first place!

      • jule1 Says:

        Actually, Home Depot will only make one cut for free, I’ve tried that a number of times because I don’t own any type of electric saws (and don’t have room, live in an apt.). So if you need several cuts on a piece of wood, they charge for the rest. :-(

  18. broadsideblog Says:

    These look great. Love the idea of being able to move the plastic bins in and out — my partner made three like these, long and narrow, for our balcony and they’ve lasted for years. We painted them and I made feet for them which I wrapped in copper sheeting to protect them from moisture. The color and metal adds a nice touch; you might (?) consider staining yours or painting them.

    I love DIY projects and it’s so much more fun to create something than buy it.

  19. tiallarising Says:

    wow! that’s great! :) Congrats on FP!


  20. mysoulforsale Says:

    What a great idea. Thanks for sharing, and congratulations on being freshly pressed!

  21. portableking Says:

    i try this at my home. it is so simple.

  22. Ava Aston's Muckery Says:

    Congrats on being handy enough for DIY projects –I’m not handy like that. And congrats on being Freshly Pressed. :)



  23. muslimmarriage Says:

    The planter look great!!

  24. Jeffrey Scott Thomas Says:

    nice project

  25. atomsforgreen Says:

    i can’t believe you did that for $6. I want to try it out now! question: how did you tackle drainage for the plastic bins? are there holes in them?

    • britneyanne Says:

      Yes, I drilled about 6 holes in the bottom of each bin. Because of this, I would suggest not going with the cheapest plastic bins because they might crack. Good luck!

  26. sayitwithmusic Says:

    A great planter and a great family project! I am absolutely HOPELESS with anything DIYish… I am in awe… well done!

  27. thestinkies Says:

    Bravo! This is great! I love making my own home decor items! I would love to make this in the spring! I found you in freshly pressed and I think I might become a regular! Those pumpkin cookies looked delicious!

  28. Pink Orchid Tree 10 Seeds – Bauhinia monandra Says:

    […] Patio Planter Project « life by britney […]

  29. alely124 Says:

    Hehe cool.. Did you use google sketchup?

  30. alely124 Says:

    oh i dident read.. I have sketchup 8…

  31. 12 OTHER BLOGGERS VOICES – 12.13.10 « Horiwood's Blog Says:

    […] Patio Planter Project by Britney […]

  32. Brooke Says:

    This looks like such a good idea for herbs! If only my dogs wouldn’t eat leaves and trees and whatnot.

  33. Generation 26 Says:

    Can I just say it’s awesome to meet another SketchUp user.

  34. Planter Box Update | life by britney Says:

    […] planter box that my dad and I made a few Thanksgivings ago moved with us to CA and this spring it is finally […]

  35. Jason Says:

    Thanks for posting this… We’re going to try something similar. One question, those side pieces look like 1x8s, not 1x6s. No?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: