Okay y'all, this was for sure my largest "building" project so far. I've made small things in the past, like my very simple raised bed for my veggies. But this required specific measurements and was more detail oriented.
I've spent so many days working on my yard and loving it but there was one major eyesore. We have a raised concrete patio and the sides always seemed to look dirty to me. So I decided that it was time to build planter boxes to surround it!
I'd bounced the idea around for a while but finally committed to it at the start of spring. It was so easy and satisfying that I had to share!
Before I jump in, I want to give you a list of materials! It really is so simple.
x Pressure treated wood (I used 1x6xlength of area per section)
x Saw (or have lowes/home depot cut it for you... word of caution they tend to be a bit off sometimes because they do rough cuts with a larrrrrge saw)
x 1x2x height of the box you're building as "anchors" (these pieces will go in the inner corners of the box and will be used to attach the long boards)
x Cinder blocks
x Landscape fabric
x Staple gun and staples
x Outdoor wood stain
x Paint roller and tray
x Potting mix
So... any good project post starts with a beginning photo, right? Well I forgot to take one. So here is a low quality picture from probably a year ago just so you can get a feel for the starting point.
If you're hung up on the fact that I used to have a fern in FULL sun... you have every right to be. Even I see this now and facepalm. Poor guy never stood a chance.
This is how it all began. I'm a very visual person so I started with a little drawing and used it to record my measurements. After I knew what I needed, I placed an online order, Waylon and I picked it all up and away we went!
As you can see in the picture, I have steps that come off our patio. I wanted the box to be as wide as that top step. Which was 12 inches. So I cut the "width" boards to be 10 inches because the width of the actual boards would add an inch on each side equaling 12 inches!
Length-wise, The box on the left needed super specific measurements since it was going in between the steps and the wall of my house. It ended up being 8 feet and a few inches. The longest box was 9 feet. The smallest was about 3 feet.
I did purchase my own saw for this. Which... if you're not a skilled carpenter, and I'm not, it takes a steady hand and loooots of patience. About halfway through my project my kind, caring, compassionate neighbor walked outside and offered his table saw to me. *cue the tears*
That table saw was a GAME CHANGER! I whipped out the rest of the cutting in a quarter of the time and was able to have my boxes assembled that night and the next day I stained!
For the filling. My boxes were about 3 feet deep. You will never have a plant (or at least one that fits in these boxes) who's roots will reach 3 feet. So between that and the cost of dirt in mind, we came up with a little cheat! I don't have a picture of this part :( But i'll do my best to explain.
For each of our boxes we bought cinder blocks and stood them up longways. To get maximum height. I spaced them about a foot apart in each box. From there, I laid a board across the top and stapled weed cloth to the sides all around. Here's a picture of the completed inside.
The weed cloth allows water to drain from the box, but holds onto the dirt which keeps it all in place. Do not use plastic!!! It will be terrible for your plants. The rest of the project went from there!
Then we got to filling them with dirt. There are a lot of great online sites that allow you to put in your box measurements and it'll tell you how many cubic feet of dirt you'll need. We finally got to the planting!
If you take on this project and want advice for what to plant, I'd love to help!
In regard to planting I kept three main things in mind.
1. These plants will get full and direct sun all day
2. I didn't want to replant these every year so I'd need a few that would come back
3. I wanted a few things that would keep their leaves year round
After considering that criteria, I came up with this finished product! I also decided to add two trellises for another element of height.
Both Jackson and I have loved our little addition to the backyard. It's made it feel finished in a way. AND it did cover those cement sides beautifully! If you take on this project I want to see!! Either email me or tag me in your pictures on Facebook or Instagram (@ashhley).