Around most of the country, spring is fully in bloom at this point. Gardens are planted, and some of the early season veggies are already ready for harvest. Unfortunately for me, we live in the high desert, where nighttime lows are still solidly in the 20s, so it’ll be another month before planting anything outside is an option. But that doesn’t mean I can’t start planning the garden and preparing new planter boxes. If you’re wondering how to build a planter box with legs, then I’ll walk you through exactly how to build a beautiful version for your home or garden.
These planter boxes are a great way to liven up a small garden space or patio or spread around the garden. I love that I can tend to them while standing, kind of like our metal raised garden beds. They stand at 32 inches tall, the same as a standard countertop in your kitchen, so working in them will feel totally natural.
They are also big enough that they can easily hold a TON of veggies or flowers. Adding one of these standing planter boxes outside your back door or near the kitchen and loading it up with leafy greens and herbs will make cooking with homegrown ingredients a snap.
The best part about building these planter boxes with legs is they require only a few tools and can easily be completed in an afternoon.
How to Build a Planter Box with Legs
Feel free to either follow along with this guide or, if you want a full breakdown of the exact measurements and a detailed step-by-step build process, you can purchase the plans for this build from our Etsy shop.
I always like to have a detailed set of plans in front of me for any project I’m building if only to prevent having to make 5 different trips to the hardware store because I’m short a piece of wood or a few screws.
The great thing about this build, though, is you can customize it to fit your space as needed. I worked through a few iterations of these plans to create a finished product that wasted as little wood as possible when breaking down the 8ft long cedar boards. I know how expensive cedar can be, so I wanted to make sure to use every last piece!
Material Needed to Build the Standing Planter Box
To get started with building the planter box, you’ll need some cedar, or other rot-resistant wood like redwood (do not use treated wood for this project), outdoor-rated wood screws, some landscaping fabric, and heavy-duty staples. That is it!
- 9x – 1″x4″x96″ cedar boards
- 2x – 2″x4″x96″ cedar boards
- 3x – 2″x2″x48″ cedar boards (you can usually find these at the big box hardware stores back by the fencing supplies)
- ~120 1 1/2″ outdoor wood screws
- 4x 2 1/2″ outdoor wood screws
- 1 Roll of landscaping fabric
- Heavy-duty Staples
Tools Needed to Build a Planter Box with Legs
There are only three tools needed to complete this project. If you don’t have a miter saw and can find someone at your local lumberyard who is willing to be precise with their cuts, you can have all of your lumber cut for you. We have a detailed cut list in our plans that you could bring to the lumber yard to make things easy.
If that isn’t an option then the tools you’ll need to complete this project are:
If you’ll be building more garden projects in the future then having all three of these tools will open up a world of possibilities. Many of our woodworking plans were designed to use just these three tools as they are relatively cheap and easy to use.
How to Build the Standing Planter Box
These planter boxes have many cuts for all the components, but once those have all been completed, then the rest of the assembly goes together fairly quickly. A miter saw with a stop block table makes for really quick work of these cuts as many of them are the same length.
If you’ve ever been interested in outfitting your shop with a miter saw station for projects like this, then I highly recommend checking out these plans. These plans are not mine, but they are a simple and affordable way to level up your shop.
Cutting the Material to Length
I will break down everything you need in this post, but you can always check out our build plans on Etsy if you want a more detailed breakdown of the build.
We’ll start with breaking down the 1″x4″x96″ cedar boards first. These boards will make up the sides of the planter, bottom of the planter box, and shelf supports.
Break down the boards using your miter saw so you end up with the following list of pieces.
1″x4″x96″ Board Cuts
- 28x 16″ lengths
- 8x 48″ lengths
- 2x 11 1/2″ lengths
Next we’ll move on to the 2″x4″x96″ boards. These will make up the four legs of the planter box.
When designing the planter box I built it to be just below a normal countertop height of 34″. This makes gardening in the planter box feel natural and is easy on your back!
With that said you can easily modify the height higher or lower to better fit your needs and space. These cuts on normal length 2×4 boards allow for plenty of room to increase or decrease the height.
2″x4″x96″ Board Cuts
- 4x 34″ lengths
Lastly we’ll break down the 2″x2″ boards. These boards are used as internal support inside the planter box so give the bottom a bit more strength rather than if they were attached directly to the sides.
2″x2″x48″ Board Cuts
- 2x 48″ lengths
- 2x 9 1/2″ lengths
Assembling the Planter Box
To begin assembling the frame we’ll want to start with the sides.
Attach the three of the 48″ 1″x4″ boards to the two legs at the top. These will be the sides of the planter box. Then, near the bottom, attach the remaining 48″ board. This will be the bottom support for the shelf.
Attach all of these boards with 1 1/2″ outdoor rated wood screws and pre-drill all holes. Cedar is prone to splitting, so pre-drilling the holes will ensure you don’t end up with any weak joinery.
Next we’ll want to attach some of the internal support components.
On the inside of each of the two sides of the planter box you’ll want to attach the 48″ 2″x2″ boards so that they are even with the bottom of the planter box.
You’ll also want to attach the 9 1/2″ 2″x2″ to the center of the planter box. This will help prevent the boards from bowing out and provide an extra level of support for the bottom of the box.
Next you can finish the basic frame assembly by attaching the sides using the 16″ 1″x4″ boards. Once again, pre-drill all holes and assembly using 1 1/2 wood screws.
Attaching the Bottom and Shelf
Now that the basic frame is assembled we can finish the lower shelf and bottom of the planter box.
Even space ten of the 16″ 1″x4″ boards on the bottom of the planter box. Pre-drill the holes and fasten with 1 1/2″ wood screws.
You can then flip the entire box over and repeat with the next 10 16″ 1″x4″ boards. The two ends next to the legs are filled in with the 11 1/2″ boards.
Attach these boards by screwing them into the internal 2″x2″ supports rather than the exterior boards using 1 1/2 screws.
At this point the assembly of the planter box is complete!
I like to finish all of my outdoor cedar projects with a penetrating oil finish. This helps keep the wood from taking on a cracked, gray tone from the sun.
When applying these finishes to planter boxes I only apply it where there will be no contact with the soil. So on this project this would be the outside of the frame, the legs, and bottom shelf. The inside of the planter box will be covered with landscaping fabric but just to be safe I leave that wood unfinished.
Adding the Landscaping Fabric
The last step to finish up the planter box is to add landscaping fabric to the inside of the box. This step both helps prevent any soil from leaking out and help better protect the wood from direct contact with the soil.
Simply cut the fabric to length and attach around the inside edge of the frame using heavy duty staples. I like to keep the edge of the fabric an inch or so below the top edge of the box to hide it from view.
Final Thoughts on Building your Own Standing Planter Box
We hope this walkthrough was helpful for building your own standing planter box for yourself or to sell. Building these planter boxes is a great way to make some extra income woodworking in the spring as they are quick to make and extremely popular when promoted with local gardening groups.
Once again, if you’d like a detailed set of build plans including cut lists, materials, and drawings then feel free to check them out on our Etsy shop.
Derek grew up woodworking in his father’s shop and has since gone on to start up a successful woodworking business on Etsy. In his spare time, you can find him mountain biking, skiing, or writing.