This modern version of a library box is also a planter box. The neighbors are sure to be impressed. If your house is near the school bus stop, entice the kids to read with comic books and children's classic titles.

Step 1

Cut Back, Sides and Base

Use a miter saw cut the 1x12 into the following lengths: 25” for the base (bottom), 25” for the back, one 15” and one 13” for the sides. Cut the top edge of the two side pieces at a five-degree angle.

Step 2


Attach the side pieces to the outside edges of the base. Pre-drill the screw holes and apply wood glue before screwing the pieces together. Repeat with the back piece.

Step 3

Make Wedge Piece

Measure, cut and then attach the back wedge. Lay the library on its back and place a 1x4 board where there is a missing wedge. Draw on the board where you need to cut in order to fill in the gap. Use a circular or table saw to make the cuts. Attach in the same manner as the previous step.

Step 4

Cut Top Piece

Keep the miter saw set to the same angle (five degrees) as you cut the top of the side pieces, cut the roof piece to span the top of the library box (26-3/4”). Attach the roof as you have attached all prior pieces.

Step 5

Make Frame Around the Top

Measure and install the frame for the living roof. Hold the 1x4 board up to the front of the box and mark where you need to cut it to create a frame around the box; make sure to account for a 3/4” overhang on each side to accommodate the side pieces. Cut two of these and two side pieces that are as long as the short sides of the library are wide (11-1/8”).

Step 6

Nail Frame to Top Piece

Attach the frame to the top piece so that it creates a planter space that is 2-1/4” deep.

Step 7

Make Door Frame

Measure, cut, and assemble the door pieces. Using a circular or table saw, rip a length of the 1x4 in half, creating two 1x2 pieces. From those, cut a frame that will fit the front of the library box. Determine the size of your cuts by holding the 1x2 pieces up to the box and marking where they lay flush with the sides. Once measured and cut, assemble your door by screwing the pieces together.

Step 8

Install Upper Door Jam

Install an upper door jam. From a scrap of wood, cut a small piece to fit the top edge of the opening on the library (1” x 25”) and attach it to the roof behind the planter frame.

Step 9

Prep and Paint

Fill all the small holes where the screws were installed with wood putty. When they’re dry, sand the entire library inside and out. Paint or stain the entire library, including the door, and inside the planter box. We used a wood-protecting stain outside and exterior-grade white paint on the inside.

Step 10

Add Door Insert

Measure, cut and install the Plexiglas window inside the door frame. Lay the Plexiglas over the door frame and mark it where it needs to be trimmed. Cut the Plexiglas by first scoring it deeply on both sides with a drywall knife. Lay the edge you want to remove over the side of a table and with a forceful whack, hit it so that it breaks along your scored line. Attach it to the inside of the door frame by pinching it under large-headed screws or short screws with small washers added to them.

Step 11

Attach the Door

Install the hinges on the taller side of the door first. Hold the door up to the box and start by tacking one screw into each hinge. Test the door and make adjustments before adding and tightening all the screws

Step 12

Install Latch and Knob

Test the finished seal of the door and install foam either along the top edge or all the way around to insure a tight seal and a nicely closing door.

Step 13

Prepare Roof for Planting

Apply silicone caulking around the inside, bottom edges of the planter. For extra protection, you can line the top with Visqueen and staple it into place. On the side of the roof that is the lowest, drill three small holes on the sides to allow for drainage.

Step 14

Fill Planter Box

Fill the roof with a thin layer of pebbles and top that with potting soil. Plant your roof with sedum and succulent cuttings.

Step 15

Install Post

Dig a hole where you want to install your library. Place your post in the center and fill the hole with concrete, make sure your post is level before the concrete sets.

Step 16

Add Books

Attach the library to the post, fill it with books to share and wait for the neighbors to cheer!