Garden Planter

Making a garden planter for your outside space is a great project that can be done in next to no time. It is also a great way of using up any off-cuts that you have lying about too!

Tool menu

Dimensions of each piece of wood

  • 8 x Rails - 435 x 20 x 45mm
  • 4 x Rail inserts - 345 x 20 x 45mm
  • 4 x Legs - 345 x 45 x 45mm
  • 16 x Side panels - 300 x 95 x 15mm
  • 2 x Decorative top rails (long) - 500 x 75mm
  • 2 x Decorative top rails (short) - 347 x 75mm
  • 1 x Ply bottom - 338 x 445mm

Step 1

Select pieces of wood and cut to above dimensions. We used Western Red Cedar, but Larch, Pine or treated woods would work well too.

Make a Garden Planter
Select pieces of wood and cut to dimensions shown above

Top Tip - If cutting multiple pieces of wood to the same size, clamp pieces together to make marking out quicker.

Step 2

Making the joints in the top and bottom rails. Using one of the pre cut side panels, align 5mm in from the outside edge of the leg and draw a line. (See Pic) Use a marking gauge and set this up from pencil line to mark up all rails. Using a cutting gauge set the same as the marking gauge and mark out. Repeat for each joint.

How To Make A Garden Planter
Make the joints in the top and bottom rails

Top Tip - Use a marking gauge with the grain and a cutting gauge for marking across the grain.

Make A Garden Planter
Use a marking gauge or a cutting gauge depending on the task (see above top tip)

Step 3

Using a hand saw, cut away unwanted material on all rails. (See pic)

How To Make a Garden Planter
Cut away any unwanted material on all rails using a hand saw

Step 4

Mark on each of the rails where the pilot hole for each screw needs to be. (See Pic)

Make A Garden Planter
Mark the pilot hole ready for each screw

Step 5

Using a 3mm drill bit, drill all marked out holes.

Build A Garden Planter
Drill the pilot holes using a 3mm drill bit

Top Tip - Make a drilling guide out of a couple of bits of wood, screwed together at right angles to speed up drilling. (See pic)

Step 6

Glue first rail joint and screw into place. (See pic) Repeat process until you have made up two frames.

Build A Garden Planter
Glue first rail Joint and screw into place. Repeat as per instructions above.

Top Tip - Wipe away excess glue whilst still wet.

Step 7

Using the remaining rails, join the two frames together. Again, glue the joints first then screw through the pilot holes. (See Pic) Repeat until all rails are connected to the frames.

Build A Garden Planter
Join the two frames together

Top Tip - Use a G-clamp and a square to align and hold in place the rail and the frame.

Garden Planter
Use a G-Clamp and square to align
Garden Planters
Offset the screws

Step 8

Insert two of the rail inserts into the bottom spaces of the garden planter frame. (See pic) Glue, pilot drill and screw both pieces into place - we used three screws. (Do not fix the top rail inserts into place as this will be done at the end)

Build A Garden Planter
Insert the rails
Garden Planters
Glue the frame

Top Tip - Offset the three screws, this will allow the wood to pull together evenly.

Step 9

Dry fit one side of side panels. Slide the middle panel out to reveal the frame and draw a pencil line roughly in the middle . Transfer that line to the side panels and, using a ruler, mark out screw holes 15mm in from each side. Use two screws on each bottom panel. Mark out the top ones too. Repeat for all side panels.

Build A Garden Planter
Dry fit the sides
Building A Garden Planter
Mark screw holes

Top Tip - Don’t make side panels over tight as they are likely to expand when the planter is in use. You can use a hand plane to trim down if required. (See Pic)

Garden Planters
Plane the edges

Step 10

Using a 3mm drill bit, pilot drill all the holes and screw all panels in place on the bottom only. (The tops of the panels will be screwed at the end)

Making A Garden Planter
Drill pilot holes

Top Tip - To make sure all panels are aligned correctly use a scrap piece of wood and a clamp when screwing in place. (See Pic)

Making Garden Planters
Screw on panels

Step 11

We are now left with the decorative top rails and 2 rail inserts. Take the two longer decorative top rails and clamp one of the rail inserts to both of them. Drill three pilot holes through the insert into the rail. Repeat with the remaining insert and long rail (See pic) and dry fit into place.

Building Garden Planters
Dry fit pieces

Top Tip - Use one of the smaller decorative top rails to align the insert into the middle of the long top rail. (See Pic)

Step 12

Take the two short decorative top rails and dry fit them onto the frame. If all fit okay, remove and draw a pencil line roughly along the centre of the frame (See pic). Drill three equally spaced holes through the frame. (See pic)

Make A Garden Planter
Decorative top rails

Step 13

Clamp decorative top rail into place and turn upside down. Screw into place. (See pic)

Garden Planter
Clamp the top rail

Step 14

Screw all top screws of side panels into place. This will tie all parts together. (See pic)

Garden Planter
Screw top screws

Step 15

Take the ply bottom and drill holes for drainage. We used a 7mm drill bit and drilled 6 randomly spaced holes. Simply insert the bottom into the garden planter frame.

Making Garden Planters
Drill a drainage hole

Top Tip - Using a lip and spur drill bit reduces break out on the wood. (See pic)

Step 16

To finish, we used an Osmo UV protection oil.

Step 17

Plant up your planter!

Garden Planter
Plant up the garden planter