Do it Yourself Wooden Planters


Plants and flowers can brighten any landscape or deck. Wooden planters provide much needed room for plants to grow and thrive. Their natural look coordinates with any type of outdoor furniture and requires little maintenance. To enjoy the look of wooden planters without the expense, opt to build your own.


  • Ideally, the wood you choose for your planters will be weather- and insect-resistant so the planters will last for many years. Some of the most popular wood used for outdoor furnishings are cedar and cypress. Both repel water and resist cracking or splitting. Cedar also deters insects and is an economical choice.

    For fancier planters, you may opt to use Brazilian cherry or mahogany. Both woods are also weather-resistant and initially are dark, saturated colors. Over time, the woods will fade to a silvery color. If you want to maintain their color over time, you will need to plan to stain them every few years.

    In addition to wood, you will need a screwdriver and stainless steel screws to prevent rust, as well as a hammer and finishing nails for the trim. If you already have measurements for your planters, ask the home improvement store to cut your wood. Some will make the first two cuts for free and any additional cuts for a small fee. Otherwise, you will need a saw to cut your wood at home. If you are going to use the planter for edible plants, do not use treated lumber because the chemicals may leach into your food.


  • Determine where you plan to use the planters and decide what you will be planting. It is important to understand how big the mature plants will get so you know how deep and wide to make your planter. Planters filled with dirt are extremely heavy, so if you plan to move the planters often, make them smaller.

    Once you have your measurements, mark the wood and cut to size. Wear safety goggles to prevent dust and debris from getting into your eyes as you saw. Cut wood for the frame and bottom. For added decoration, cut trim pieces for the top as well. Cut each end of the trim at a 45- degree angle so the pieces will fit together properly. Use a miter box to mark and cut the angles correctly. Screw the four sides together using a screwdriver, then screw the frame to the base.

Final Touches

  • To maintain good drainage, it may be helpful to drill several holes into the base. If you will be placing the planter in an area that could be damaged from draining water, opt instead to add a layer of gravel to the bottom of the planter. Flip the planter over and use the finishing nails to add trim. Paint or stain if desired, then fill with soil and plants.


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