Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Vertical Garden Planter

Vertical gardening makes a lot of sense in more than one way.
Small spaces is something a lot of us can relate with because it hits close to home.

If you live in a condo or an apartment with a small balcony or patio, you can still garden.  Simply do it vertically.  This vertical garden planter is small enough to fit on said balcony or patio and will fit through a standard size door way.

The planter boxes are a size that makes perfect for picking up and moving from an outdoor setting to an indoor setting depending on the weather.

We live in a subtropical climate so cold weather isn't somthing I spend a lot of time thinking about.  We have only a handful of nights were it will dip below 40 degrees but, on those few nights when frost might be an issue, it will be nice to just remove the boxes from their perches and set them inside the shed.  Simple and easy!  Nice.

Vertical Garden Planter


2 - 2x3s
12 - 1x4s
2 - 1x3s
7 - 1x2s
1 box of 1-1/2" Screws
8 - 3" Screws
8 - 3-1/2" Bolts with Nuts

The following materials comes with an *.

Wood Glue (rated for outdoor use)
1-1/4" Brad Nails

* I am not a fan of using wood glue for planter boxes, vertical or otherwise, because of the obvious exposure to moisture and the subsequent swelling and shrinking the lumber will do in such an application.

Yes all outdoor projects made with lumber undergo these same stresses but not to the potential severity and frequency that a planter box does.  I'm not talking about the decomposition of the wood itself, I am merely talking about swelling a shrinking.

Glue is by nature a static conditioner.  It's job is to hold pieces in one place.  Lumber when exposed to high levels of moisture will expand and pull against the glue joint.  This constant expansion and contraction will, sooner rather than later, cause failure of said joint before the wood itself fails.

In this planter wood glue is used but not at points critical to the structural integrity of the planter boxes themselves and never alone.

Obviously the wood glue and brad nails can be replaced with screws.  That is the route I usually take however, I was running out of screws in my shop and didn't want to stop and make a trip to the home improvement store to buy more.

I believe this also illustrates an important point to keep in mind on your DIY journey.  Their is always more than one way to build something.

Cut List

6 - 1x4's @ 24.5"
6 - 1x4's @ 36"
4 - 2x3's @ 48"
72 - 1x4's @ 9"
12 - 1x3's @ 9"
16 - 1x2's @ 10.5"
16 - 1x2's @ 19.5"
8 - 1x2's @ 16"

Here is the Project Build Video:

Here is the Extended Bonus Footage Video:

Step 1

Attach the side slats to the base of the vertical garden planter with 1-1/4" screws.

Step 2

Attach the shorter side slats in the same manner as illustrated in the project build video.

Step 3

I measured 9" down from the top of the posts and 9" up from the top of the base side slats and marked a line.  The line is where the ledges will be attached to the posts with 3" screws.  The vertical planter boxes will sit on the ledges and be secured in place with bolts from the sides as shown in the project build video.

Step 4

It is time to assemble the planter boxes.  For the shorter side just align the slats next to each other and attach the rails to the top and bottom with glue and brads (or screws if you so desire).

For the longer sides we need an overhang equal to 2x the width of the thickness of the material being used.  In my I was using 3/4" thick material so I needed an overhang of 1-1/2".  Never measure if you don't have to.  In the video I show how to do this without a tape measure.

Note:  Each of the longer sides as well as the bottom has a slat that is a 1x3 instead of a 1x4.  I placed mine in the center for aesthetic purposes only.

Step 5

Attach the four sides together by placing the shorter sides inside the longer sides and driving a screw that is at least 1-1/4" long through the sides of the overhang.

Step 6

Attach the bottom ledges.

Step 7

The bottom slats are simply laid in place on top of the bottom ledges.  A couple drainage holes can be drilled in two of the bottom slats.

Note: One of the sides has been removed from the picture below for illustrations purposes only.

Step 8

Now the planter boxes can be set in place on their ledges.  A spade bit can be used to countersink a hole for the head of the bolt and then a regular drill bit will finish things off.

I found some 4-1/2" bolts I've had in my shop that I pulled off of a piece of furniture someone was throwing out a couple years ago.  They were way to long but it works. Of course nuts as well.
One without the other won't do much good.

Final Thoughts

I would like to say thank you to Julianne from DirtPatcHeaven for her efforts in helping with this project.  She provided some wonderful insights that helped improve the design of this vertical garden planter.

Thanks Julianne.

She has lots of informative videos on YouTube to help you get more production out of whatever size homestead you happen to call home. She also has a website, and and etsy store.  You can find her on Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr as well as her personal blog.

As always if you have any questions for me simply shoot me an email or leave a comment on the video and I'll help as best I can.

Happy DIY'ing


  1. Did you use pressure treated wood? Since this is for a garden, wondering if there are any concerns with pressure treated wood. Also, what did you coat it with? I'm assuming some type of lacquer, again wondering what to use for a garden.

    1. I never use pressure treated lumber especially where I may be growing food. I know they say that with the new techniques they use to pressure treat they have removed the health risks but I don't buy it and I'm not one to roll the dice on this subject. Use it if you want. I don't. I treated it with an outdoor waterproofing stain on the exterior only. Again, It is up to you. I didn't cover it because I don't want people to get caught up in those type of details. These posts are how to build the project and not a debate on anything beyond that. Good Luck.

  2. What is the length of the material list prior to cutting?

  3. What is the material length prior to cutting?

  4. hi , what you mean by 2x3s what is (s) ?


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