Sunday, May 1, 2016

Tall Planters for the Front Porch

Hi there!

It's a rainy spring day here, so I figured I would catch up on some blog posts. I love that I can be working outside again!  I'm totally exhausted, but very happy!  Anyone with me?  If you have been looking for a new planter, but are surprised at the cost of them, I might have a solution for you!  Here's my latest home made planter box:

I have made planters a few times before, which you can see here and here, but these tall skinny ones fit perfectly on either side of our front door.  We had a few deck boards left over after building our deck last fall (post coming soon!), so I decided to make use of them and build these. My favorite part is that they are tapered; the top is wider than the bottom.

I'll write down the instructions to build a box to the size I made, but keep in mind that you can scale this for your needs.  They are made to hold a square pot inside, so I suggest buying that first and building a planter to fit.  My version is just under 11" at the top opening, so your pot can't be wider than that for the dimensions I'm using.  

Each planter took about 20' of deck board, which is 5.5" wide.  The basic process is to build squares that you will stack on top of each other.  Then, use the trim pieces to hold the squares to each other.

So, to make the top square, cut 4 pieces on a miter saw at a 2.5 degree angle, that are 12" on the longest side.  The short sides will come out to about 11.5".  Make note of the exact length for the next step.  Screw them together like so, so that each side is of equal length:

View from bottom of planter

Next, cut 4 more pieces, at a 2.5 degree angle, with the long side at the measurement you took in the previous step (about 11.5").  Measure the short side again (it will be about 11"), then screw them together.

Repeat this process until you have 5 squares, or you reach the height you want.  
Stack the squares on top of each other, and attach trim to each square using 1x2's and 1x3's for the trim.  Or, if you are really particular, cut them down so that each side will be exactly the same once you put them together.  I also braced the bottom couple squares internally, but it was probably more trouble than it was worth, and i could only go up part way to avoid interfering with the square pot.

Next, use more trim to frame out the very top. I cut these at 45 degree angles, but you could also just use square ends.

view looking inside from top

Finally, cut two pieces to use as a cleat and another piece to sit on top of the cleats.  This will give your pot something to sit on.  Screw this in at the appropriate height for your pot.

I stained by planters in the shade "gunstock" because I'll be adding some cedar window boxes to the house, and wanted these to be similar in color.

 Don't forget to fill with your favorite plants (and maybe a solar light if you always forget to turn on the front porch light like me...)!  These pansies and primrose were my choice for early spring.  I'll be planting the primrose in the flower bed and adding some more summer-y (heat tolerant) plants soon.

I made these out of scrap wood, but it looks like for 3 8' deck boards and some trim you would be out about $20.  Much better than some of the prices for large planters!

I like that since these are pressure treated lumber, they should be able to withstand the elements for a long time.  My front porch gets very intense heat in the summer, and plastic pots just get brittle and break within a season or two.  

As always, if you need any clarification on how to build these, just leave a comment!

Hope you are enjoying the spring!