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

Cost: Low
Skill Level: Easy
Time: A few hours

Tools and Materials

  • (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
  • level

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.

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Plant a Kid-Friendly Garden

Encourage your kids to embrace their inner gardener this season.

Raised Bed Gardens

A raised bed garden remains neat and tidy all season long with well-defined walking areas between the beds.

How to Make a Flower Basket Tote

Learn how to make a simple wooden crate that doubles as a fun twist on a traditional basket.

Tips for a Raised-Bed Vegetable Garden

Raised-bed vegetable gardening takes very little space and allows vegetables to be grown closer together.

Horticultural Therapy

This garden at a hospital features a gardening therapy program for patients in rehabilitation.

How to Build a Plywood Skateboard for Pennies

If you’ve got leftover plywood lying around, you can easily turn it into a new skateboard. Make extras for gifts and ride with your friends.

How to Make a Vertical Herb Garden From a Fence

If your yard is short on space, go vertical with a garden wall made from a section of metal fence, basic lumber and redwood planter boxes.

How to Grow Yams

Yams and sweet potatoes have been confused for centuries, find out the difference and which one is best to plant in your garden.

How to Store Rutabagas

Rutabagas keeps for months when properly prepared and placed in the right kind of storage space: humid and close to freezing.

How To Grow Rutabagas (Swede)

Planting seed in the proper season, along with good soil preparation, will contribute to success with rutabagas.

On TV

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.