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How to Build a Planter Box

Spring is in the air here in East Tennessee and our household is gearing up for another attempt at container gardening. Although we love our little apartment, one very unfortunate downside is the inability to put our budding green thumbs to work. Since Jack and I very much enjoy the labors of tending a garden, we had to figure out a way to make due without a plot of land.

Our first year in Tennessee, we purchased a few inexpensive starter pots for a bit of trial and error in East Tennessee growing. The second year, we got smarter. We borrowed three large cylinder buckets from Linda out at Aunt Willies Wildflowers that were deep enough to allow better root growth for larger plants. The buckets aren’t pretty but our tomatoes grew much bigger and stronger because of them. We also attempted to put together our first planter box. When this project was attempted however, Jack did not own his own saw or a decent drill so we relied heavily on the great staff over at Home Depot to make the appropriate cuts for us.

This last Christmas, Jack was gifted a new saw and drill (you can imagine how much our neighbors are loving us this Spring). Jack’s biggest goal with his new toys has been building wall book shelves that work around his desk. This is a slow process and we have had some extra wood pieces lying around the house because of the project. Last weekend, with the beautiful weather beckoning us outdoors, we decided to get the porch ready for planting and since we had the materials, we decided to build our second planter box too. This one is WAY better!

I asked the lovely husband to write up these simple instructions for those of you looking to container garden this spring.
Please don’t hesitate to shoot us an email if you have any questions.

_Tools & Materials:_

Plywood sheet-whatever size you want (we used 3/4″ plywood that was 8′ x 14″)
8 L-Brackets
1 package of Screen Door nylon
Wide head tacks or staple gun
1 extra piece of lumber-(4′ 1×4)
Wood screws or nails


  1. Cut four equal (and they really do need to be equal!) lengths of wood (I used some scrap 3/4” plywood that was 8′ x 14”).
  2. Attach L-brackets to each side, forming a square.
  3. Cut a sufficient amount of screen material to cover the bottom of the box (I use twice as much and doubled it over).
  4. Using a staple gun (or tacks with a wide head) fasten the screen material to the bottom of the box, keeping it tight.
  5. Fold the excess screen material back inward (under the box) and staple it. This serves a two-fold purpose—it gives some strength to the staples (in case the screen rips) and it hides the excess without having to cut it off.
  6. Cut two equal lengths of a smaller kind of lumber (I used a 4′ 1×4) and miter the ends at a 45º angle, making each look like a trapezoid (viz. not a parallellogram).
  7. Screw (or nail, if you’re brave) the two 1x4s to the bottom of the box diagonally.

That’s it! The quick and dirty way to throw together a planter box for Spring. Of course, you can grab some outdoor stain or sealant if you’d like to further protect the box. We, however, have come to like the gray, weathered look of our first box and thus decided not to treat the wood at all.

I hope this helps. Once again feel free to email us with any questions or clarification needs.

Happy Building!