How to Make a Tiered Planter Box
Cultivate your kids’ love of gardening with this DIY patio garden planter. No greenhouse? No problem! This planter is easy to build and is sure to take your meals to the next level.
You don’t need a big garden to enjoy fresh herbs and vegetables. This tiered planter box looks good, tastes good and is a fun weekend build to do with your kids. You can store your tools in the bottom and keep your herbs and vegetables up top to make your next meal extra fresh.
DIY Tiered Garden Planter 05:07
Skill Level: Easy
Time: A few hours
- (3) 1x8 x 8’ wood boards
- (2) 1x2 x 8’ wood boards
- exterior wood glue
- wood stain or exterior paint
- garden-safe plastic liner
- 220-grit sandpaper
- 1-1/4 ” and 2” wood screws
- drill and 1/8” drill bit
- miter saw
- long clamps
- measuring tape
TIP: When buying wood for this project, pick a naturally rot-resistant wood to prevent moisture damage. Here are a few suggestions: teak, cedar, cypress, redwood or untreated pine (this wood type would need to be completed with a seal).
Step 1: Cut List
To start, cut your boards to the following sizes:
- Piece A: (8) pieces of 1x8 @ 17” for the front and back of the boxes and the bottom shelf
- Piece B: (4) pieces of 1x8 @ 9” for the sides of the boxes
- Piece C: (2) pieces of 1/4” plywood @ 17” x 11” for the bottom of the boxes
- Piece D: (2) pieces of 1x2 at 24” for the vertical legs
- Piece E: (2) pieces of 1x2 @ 36” cut at 45 degrees from each corner opposing directions for the angled legs
Step 2: Assemble Boxes
Use two A Pieces as front and back and two B Pieces for the sides. Attach these pieces using wood glue and 1-1/4 ” screws. Pro tip: pre-drill using a 1/8” drill bit to avoid splitting the wood. Mark three spots on the face side of your A Pieces and mark the same spots on the ingrain of your B pieces. This way, when you go to screw them together, they join.
Step 3: Attach Bottom to Boxes
Use wood glue and a brad nailer to attach the C Pieces to the boxes to create the bottom of the boxes. Parents, this is a good task for you, but kids can help glue and hold the bottom in place.
Step 4: Assemble Bottom Shelf
Create the utility tray on the bottom by using four A Pieces. Glue along the long sides of the meeting boards. Clamp the pieces together and let them dry for at least one hour.
Step 5: Attach Vertical Legs
Use wood glue and 1-1/4” screws to attach one Piece D to each side of one planter box flush to the top of the box.
Step 6: Attach Angled Legs
Attach both Piece E to each side of the same box flush to the top. The bottom 45-degree angle will meet both the top of the planter box and the floor, flat and flush. Use both glue and 1-1/4” screws to make the connection.
Step 7: Attach Lower Planter Box to Angled Legs
Attach the second box to Piece E (the front angle legs) only for a tiered effect. Use wood glue and 1-1/4 ” screws to attach the pieces. To make sure your box is connected straight, use a level before screwing.
Step 8: Attach Bottom Tray
Attach the tray to the bottom shelf to all four legs, one inch up from the floor using wood glue and 2” screws. To ensure your tray is straight, use a level to adjust before screwing.
Step 9: Finish
Use sandpaper or an orbital sander to smooth over any rough spots or splits in the wood. Wipe away sanding dust with a rag or even a hairdryer. Stain or paint the planter according to your style. Use weather-resistant outdoor stains and paints.
Tip: Oil-based resins, stains and varnishes with pigment added provide a weather-proof finish while adding a touch of color to your planter box. Exterior acrylic paint provides a safe, protective coating for your planter box. You may have to apply two coats of an acrylic finish in order to get the same protection as a heavy coat of natural oil or oil-based stains and varnish.
Add a plastic liner to prevent your plants from coming in contact with the inside of the box.