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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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Spring Refresh: No-Sew Pillow Covers

The next phase of my spring refresh is tackling my faded pillows. We have a couple of rocking chairs on our front porch year-round. While our porch is fairly well-shaded, our pillows are showing their years of sun exposure. They look faded and are in desperate need of a refresh!

While I know how to sew and am ok at it, I don’t particularly enjoy it. I saw a bunch of no-sew pillowcase tutorials, and I thought, “Well, that’s the ticket!” Keep reading to see my methods, learn some tips and tricks, and perhaps follow along to refresh your pillows (whether inside throw pillows or outside decoration).


  • Scrap fabric or old clothes. – I used the leftover outdoor fabric from making my faux rug and a couple of old t-shirts.
  • High temp hot glue gun with glue sticks. – High temp should help them hold up better against the summer heat.
  • Scissors
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Pillows
  • Ribbon
  • Marker
  • Tape
  • Floral Stems

Quick Trick: 

Wrap an extra throw pillow in plastic bags to use outside. It’ll help protect it from the elements; bonus, those bags aren’t going to the landfill!)

Wrap it like a present!

This first method was so much fun for me because I love wrapping gifts! I have watched so many different YouTube/Instagram/TikTok videos showing new and fancy ways of wrapping presents. I thought that would be a perfect way to update a pillow!

I found this wrapping style a year ago and fell in love with it. It looks so lovely, and it creates pockets! It’s perfect for adding sprigs of flowers and greenery for a little extra something. (Unfortunately, I can’t remember which video I watched to give that gal credit. I’ll update this post if I run across it.)

I used the extra fabric for this pillow cover from making my faux rug, a high temp hot glue gun, some lacy ribbon, and a few small floral stems.

Two Tone Knitted Border

Have a couple of old shirts lying around? Upcycle them by making this easy pillow cover. I had a couple of old shirts from the last company I worked at. Typically, I cut them up for staining and sealing wood, but they’re great for this project since cotton shirts don’t fray and have a good stretch.

This would be a great summer activity for the kids! To make these covers, spend an afternoon using fleece, old sweatshirts, t-shirts, or any non-fraying material.

Quick Tip:

Measure an inch on your thumbs, and mark the beginning and end with a marker. This little trick will make measuring and cutting the tabs around the fabric much quicker.

You’ll need 2 pieces of fabric roughly 2 inches larger than the pillow, a ruler, scissors, and a pillow. This pattern creates a fun triangle-type border. If the notches are a bit much, you can skip that step and tie the tabs together for more of a fringe look.

Other Options

Do you have some extra ribbon lying around or a handkerchief with a fun pattern? Turn it into a new pillow cover.

This handkerchief pillow cover is cute, quick, and easy. I got the handkerchief from Walmart a while back, and it’s just been sitting in a drawer. I used an old t-shirt for the back (from the previous tutorial), some extra ribbon, a ruler, scissors, and a hot glue gun to round out the materials.

I always have a bunch of ribbon lying around; this pillow cover is a great way to use it! You’ll need lots of glue sticks for this project, but it comes together very quickly. I like to use striped ribbon; it makes it easy to know if it’s straight. You can get creative with your pattern; a basket weave pattern would be gorgeous or diagonal stripes would be fun too.

All of these pillow covers were completed in less than a day; you can probably see the green marks on my thumbs in most of the videos. They’re also inexpensive projects, all the material I had around the house. You can make them as fancy or as simple as you’d like.

Of course, the Spring Refresh inspiration came from my new All Seasons Wreath. The bright colors and beautiful designs needed equally beautiful surroundings! Order your wreath by clicking the button below!

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Spring Refresh: DIY Doormat & Faux Rug

Last month I put up my new All Seasons Wreath, and it inspired me to do a spring refresh of my front porch. I started by painting my somewhat beat-up front door. This month I decorated my first doormat; it did not go according to plan. I read different tutorials, watched a few videos, and thought, “I got this!”. I did not have it, but it ultimately turned out okay-ish.

First of All, Don’t Trust Walmart’s Online Inventory 

I searched for the coir mat and found a plain 18×30 one from Walmart for $6. I checked online to see which Walmart had it in stock; of course, the store 5 minutes from my house didn’t have it. After driving the 30 minutes to the store that was supposed to have it, it turned out they, in fact, did not have it (thankfully, I had other errands I needed to take care of, so it was not a wasted trip).
I was super bummed I would have to get the $20 coir mat from Amazon; I didn’t even want to get groceries from that Walmart. So on my way home, I stopped at the Walmart by my house. As I was finishing up my shopping, I thought, “Well, if the online inventory was wrong, maybe this location does have it.” It took a minute, but I found the aisle I needed, and sure enough, there was a stack of plain coir mats in the wrong spot!

That was my first misadventure in my quest to make this mat.

I Did It The Hard Way

For better or worse, I like to try new things and not necessarily follow directions. It’s a blessing and curse; sometimes, it works out, but this time it did not.
I mentioned previously I did read and watch different tutorials, and they all had different advice. Some said to use spray paint, some used contact paper, some used stencils, and some used tape. I wanted to make this something that anyone could do without all the fancy equipment that I have. I regretted that instantly.
Yes, you can do this by printing a design on computer paper and using an x-acto knife to cut that design out of tape or contact paper. I went way too intricate and small for this project. It was the worst, most tedious, and time-consuming idea, and I quickly gave up on it. Can it be done? Absolutely, but I highly recommend large, simple designs that are easy to cut out. In a nutshell, don’t do what I did the pictures!

If You’re Still Interested, This is How You Should Do It


  • coir mat (this is the one I picked up at Walmart)
  • freezer paper (aka wax paper)
  • an iron (nothing fancy, low temp setting; no steam)
  • paint of your choice (spray paint, flex seal, or craft paint doesn’t matter)
  • pain brushes if you’re using craft paint
  • X-acto knife (if you don’t have a cutting machine)
  • printer and paper or stencil if you don’t have a cutting machine
  • tape
  • outdoor fabric
  • scissors
  • glue

DIY Doormat

  1. Pick your design. You’ll want to choose a large and simple design, especially if you don’t have a cutting machine. You can also purchase a stencil to use. Again, pick something easy. The more intricate the design is, the longer it will take to cut it out by hand. 
  2. Cover your mat with freezer paper and iron it down. This is the magical trick that I did not do when I started this project. Nothing really sticks to this type of mat; I tried everything: tape, contact paper, and permanent vinyl! The freezer paper’s wax melts when you iron it to the mat—making it the only thing that will stick to the mat and give you nice clean, crisp lines. If you’re going to use spray paint, cover the whole mat. Spray paint goes everywhere!
  3. If you have a cutting machine, you can run your freezer paper through the machine and save yourself some time cutting by hand. A super sticky mat is needed.
  4. Place your design/stencil where you want it. You can try taping it in place, but tape and wax don’t really work. A few dabs of glue should do the trick.
  5. Using your x-acto knife, cut out your design/stencil. Then remove the cut pieces from your design, leaving the word or outline to be painted. 
  6. Paint! Simple enough, right? Nope, you’re going to need a lot of paint. Coir mats are a weird material, and they soak up everything. Be generous when applying your paint to get a nice saturated look. With spray paint, you may only get one attempt at it, so be
  7. Time to dry. If you remove the paper while the paint is still wet, do so cautiously so you don’t smudge your awesome new mat. Otherwise, you can remove the freezer paper after the paint has dried.

I repeated these steps multiple times, painting over my original design. This project can be very forgiving.
If this is too much for you, I completely understand. I was not a fan of the project; I could have done better, but I’m stubborn. There are a bunch of cute pre-made coir mats you can order. You can even find a place that will make you a custom mat!

Moving on to my favorite part, the faux rug!

No-Sew Faux Rug With Tasseled Border

I would see all these cute mat and rug combos in pictures, but I didn’t want to spend very much money on an outdoor rug. Since I would need a weird size in front of my door, I probably wouldn’t find what I needed anyway. So here is how to make a no-sew faux rug that is relatively cheap, and you can customize it to your needs. The best part, it can be thrown in the washing machine when needed!

  1. Measure first! Take measurements of your coir mat and how much coverage you want in front of your door. You can have your rug a few inches larger on all sides of your coir mat. Or, if you like to have several decorative items around your front door, you can choose to cover a much larger area.
  2. Select your outdoor fabric. JoAnn’s Fabric has a large selection of outdoor fabrics, and they usually have a sale or a coupon you can use to get it at a much lower price. You’ll need to order more than your measurements to accommodate the border. It also takes me a few tries to get a perfectly straight cut. 
  3. Cut to size. My coir mat is 18×30, and I want my rug to be 3 inches larger than my mat on all sides; plus, I also needed 3 inches to tie the knots, so I cut the fabric to measure 24×36. 
  4. Fray the edges. You can knot your rug horizontally, vertically, or all the way around. I went with just horizontal knots on this rug, so I pulled out 3 inches of horizontal strands. Also, I saved the strands I pulled out to make tassels for next month’s No-Sew Pillow Cases project—just a heads up in case you want to do the same.
  5. Tie the knots. I tied a knot every inch. You want to stay somewhat narrow; otherwise, your rug will bunch up. It doesn’t have to be exact; no one will notice if it’s slightly over or under an inch. Measure out an inch on your thumb, then use a sharpie to mark the inch. When finished, wash the marker off your thumb; it’ll save you time by giving you a quick inch measurement when tying your knots. 
  6. Run a bead of glue down the edges. I ran a thin glue line along the backside of those edges to ensure my rug wouldn’t fray on the unknotted sides and allow it to dry. Elmer’s glue, rubber cement, and super glue are great options. I didn’t want to risk using hot glue, the glue melting, and my rug getting stuck to my porch.
  7. Put out your new doormat and rug!

If tassels aren’t your thing, don’t worry, you can simply fold the edges over, hit them with a warm iron, and glue. It’s an easier option that will look great!

Hopefully, you’ve had a good little giggle at my frustrations. I don’t mind; I know I messed up. It turned out to be a blurry hot mess that no one could read after the first attempt. The good thing is I don’t give up easily, and ultimately the second attempt turned out okay-ish. It really does not photograph well. It’s all starting to tie in well with my All Seasons Wreath.

Next month, I’ll show you how to use the extra fabric for no-sew pillow covers! It will go much better!