Summer Project: DIY Planter Boxes

My husband and I have a little Yorkie named Gus. He's getting up there in years, his eyesight is going, stairs are almost impossible, and his selective hearing is becoming hearing loss. It was getting more difficult for him to get out to the yard to relieve himself. So, we invested in the Porch Potty for our old man to make it easier for him to do his business. It's not an eyesore, but I knew it could look nicer, so I decided to make him a little oasis by building planter boxes around his potty area. Yes, I am aware my dogs are spoiled.

Here is where most other websites, blogs, videos, etc., will tell you it's a quick and inexpensive project. That's only true if you already have a garage full of power tools! While this project can be done without power tools, you'll still need tools to get the job done, like a handsaw, hammer, hand drill, sanding block, etc. It will also take a good bit longer to complete without them.

Continuing on, after taking measurements of the Porch Potty and the intended location, I created the basic design and layout. I planned on making 4 long, rectangular planter boxes that would be the width of one fence picket. I wanted to stagger the height of the boxes, so the plants in the front wouldn't block all the sun for the plants in the back. Also, making them separate planter boxes meant I could change the layout down the road and wouldn't be stuck with one, giant U-shaped planter. I ultimately would need 10 fence pickets for this project. I purchased my fence pickets from Lowes for a relatively low price of about $2 a picket. An eco-friendly option is to source pickets from fences that are being replaced; most of the time, you can snag these for free!

Continue reading for the step-by-step process of making simple planter boxes out of fence pickets!


  • miter saw
  • nail gun
  • nails
  • clamps
  • sander
  • sandpaper
  • power drill
  • tape measure
  • pencil
  • wood glue
  • fence pickets, which can be found at salvage yards or hardware stores (I got my for right around $2 each)

Step By Step

  1. Start by measuring and cutting the fence pickets to your desired length for the planter box. The basic, narrow rectangle planter box will require two side pieces, two end pieces, and one piece for the bottom. I cut the bottom piece shorter than the two side pieces for my design. This way, the two side and end pieces will form a frame into which the bottom fits. Depending upon the length of your planter boxes, you'll need to cut three to four brace pieces that will go across the entire bottom of your planter box. This will add support and keep the wood elevated off the ground so it's not sitting in drainage water.

2. Drill out four to five drainage holes in the bottom board with the power drill. For most plants, it's not good for their roots to sit in excess water. Adding drainage holes helps to remedy this common plant killer.

3. Use the sander to smooth out any rough spots on the edges and surfaces of the fence pickets. I kept this to a minimum, just making sure to eliminate any areas that would give me splinters.

4. Next, lay out all the pieces to form the planter box and apply glue to the edges of the bottom board.

5. Place your first side in the glue on the bottom board, ensuring the sides are flush. A clamp can be used to keep the two pieces in place, but it is optional.

6. Apply glue to the outside edges of the two narrow end pieces where they will align with the side pieces.

7. Place the two narrow end pieces on the glue lines on the bottom board. Make sure the sides are flush, and the corners are square. Again, a clamp can be used, but it isn't required.

8. Add your final side piece to complete the planter box. Here, it is a good idea to use clamps to secure the form of the box as you continue to the next step; however, it isn't necessary.

9. Using the nail gun, secure the end pieces to the side pieces. Then nail the side and end pieces to the bottom.

10. Flip the box over so the bottom is facing up. Space the brace pieces evenly along the bottom; make sure not to cover the drainage holes.

11. Apply glue to the brace pieces and nail them into place along the bottom edge of the outer side pieces.

12. Sand the planter boxes for a smooth and polished appearance.

13. Allow the glue to dry before staining, painting, or filling it with plants. I decided not to paint or stain my planter boxes. Over time, they will naturally take on a grayish tone, giving them a more rustic look.

With these easy steps, you can create a simple yet stylish planter box out of fence pickets. Whether you want to grow herbs in your kitchen window or display a beautiful arrangement on your patio, these DIY planter boxes are a great way to add some greenery to your outdoor space. So why not grab some fence pickets and get building?

Next month, I'll share some tips on how to select plants and filling your planters.

Don't have a green thumb? Not to worry, easily add some flowers to your front porch with our All Seasons Wreath Bouquet Bundle. Or get festive with our Summer Bundle, which includes our new Patriotic Plate!

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I'd be happy to help you with some frequently asked questions! Check out the answers below:
How long will it take to get my order?

All orders are made-to-order and WILL take up to two weeks to create from the date of purchase. Potentially less, depending upon the time of year.

The two weeks timeframe does not include shipping.

How will I know when my order has shipped?

We will send an email with your tracking number when your item has shipped.

Why don't the colors look the same?

Colors can appear different in person because of the settings on the screen or monitor. Photos are only lightly edited to ensure what you receive is as close to the picture as possible.

Also, wood products will have natural variances due to grain patterns, knots, and crevices.

NO returns, refunds, or exchanges are accepted because of color or wood variances.

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