How to Build Garden Boxes

You’re mentally ready for spring, but is your garden?! It totally needs something more. Perhaps a cute garden box to plant those fruits and veggies?! I’m thinking yes, which is why I’m here to tell you how to make garden boxes on your own. You don’t need much in terms of tools (saw and a drill, essentially), but you need a decent amount of lumber, which will depend on how large your want to make your garden boxes.

Why waste any more time?! I know you’re ready to learn how to make garden boxes.

Signed samantha sitting on her garden box in her house in front of a white wall with a geometric pattern made from white moulding. The garden box is in her house for this picture because she doesn't like the colour of her fence.

Making the Garden Boxes Your Own

Yes, this photo is in my house. I can’t stand the colour of our fence so needed a pretty one of the garden box for my sanity. Dramatic I know.. back to the point of this section,.

Another great thing about this project is, you guessed it, it’s versatile, and you can really do whatever you want with it. My garden boxes are approximately 4 ft long x 2 ft deep x 1.5 ft high. You can make yours 6 ft long and 2 ft deep, or 1 ft long x 3 ft deep. Honestly, whatever suits your needs, you can make it. Below, I suggest using 1x4x4 boards to save on costs but suggest that if you’re going larger than 4 feet long, choose 2x4xhowever long you need it for some added sturdiness.

You can also choose to cap the top as I did, or not, and what colour you want to stain it. Or paint it. See, so many options yet again!

Garden box sitting outside in the garden bed. It is a black garden box with a non-painted cedar cap. Approx. 4 ft. long x 2 ft deep.

What You Need to Make Garden Boxes

Materials You’ll Need (to make an approximately 4x long, 2 ft wide, and 1.5 ft high garden box):

  • 15 x 1x4x4 untreated cedar boards*
  • 2 x 1x6x5 untreated cedar boards
  • 1x 1x6x6 untreated cedar board
  • 1 x 2x4x6 untreated cedar board
  • 100 outdoor screws (I used decking screws)
  • landscaping fabric (for one layer on the inside of the box)
  • Stain (the colour I used is called grand piano)

Tools You’ll Need:

  • Circular saw (mitre is better if you have one)
  • Drill
  • Carpenter’s triangle
  • Pencil
  • Tape Measure
  • Paint Brush
  • Staple gun

*Notes:

– cedar is said to be the best wood to use to stand up to the weather and untreated is the route you should go if you intend to plant edible fruits and veggies in your garden.

– if you are going larger than 4 ft long, I would suggest moving up to a 2×4 for added sturdiness

 

The corner of a garden box sitting outside in the garden bed. It is a black garden box with a non-painted cedar cap. this shows where the screw goes to get the bulk of the box together.
The corner of a garden box sitting outside in the garden bed. It is a black garden box with a non-painted cedar cap. this shows where the screw goes to get the cap on properly.
The corner of a garden box sitting outside in the garden bed. It is a black garden box with a non-painted cedar cap. this shows where the screw goes to get the mitred corners together.

How to Make Garden Boxes

These are explained throughout my Instagram stories under my “planter box” highlight.

1. Using your circular saw, make your cuts:
+ cut five of your 1x4x4 boards to 2 ft long (so you have ten in total following your cuts)
+ cut your 2x4x6 into four 17 inch high pieces
*you will need the saw again

2. Lightly sand the edges down (if you like) and stain your wood (or do it at the end) and wait for it to fully dry.

3. Once your stain is dry, lay two of the 2×4’s flat on the ground and place one of your longer boards over it. Line up the bottom of the 1×4 with the bottom of the 2×4. Measure a 3/4″ gap between the edge of the 2×4 and the edge of the 1×4 to accommodate the short sideboard.

4. Once you are happy with your measurement above, screw in the 1×4 to the 2×4. I used two screws per side per board. Likely overkill, but it sure isn’t going anywhere. Repeat for the remaining four boards on both sides. Make sure your 3/4″ gap remains the same all the way along.

5. Prop up the two long sides. Screw in the short boards. align the boards with your long boards (I intentionally left a little gap between each so there was opportunity for moisture to dry out in between but you can tuck yours tight if you don’t live in a crazy rainy place like me). Make sure the bottom and the tops of the long and short sides are fully aligned properly – so you can level it both on the top and bottom.

6. Next, you will tackle your corners. I did mitred corners which was a pain in the rear with a circular saw, but doable. You need to decide on the amount of overhang you want. I wanted a 2 inch overhang so, two of my cuts were 4ft 2 inches (measure your boards to make sure they are truly 4ft).a

For the mitre, you want to use the carptener’s triangle to draw the 45 degree angle you need to cut. You want to measure from long end to long end. The long ends will be on same side.

7. Once you have your mitres measured, cut, and you’ve confirmed they fit, lay out the pieces on top of your planter box (ensuring your chosen overhang amount (2-inches) is even all around).

You’re first going to screw at a diagonal so that you’re connecting the two corners – pictured two photos above. Repeat for the remaining corners.

8. Then screw directly into the planter box, specifically the 2×4 that all of the other pieces are connected to. Repeat for each corner of each board. As pictured above.

9. Either stain or touch up your stain on the boxes. When I did my touch-ups, I went right over the screw heads to blend in better. I left the top as the natural cedar colour but with a clear coat of stain.

10. Take your staple gun and landscape fabric and staple an appropriate amount for one layer on the inside of the box.

11. Place in your garden bed, level it, and away you go! Get to planting.

That’s it! Once you’ve done yours, tag me in it @signedsamanthaxo – I would love to see!

Happy Garden Box Making!

Garden box sitting outside in the garden bed. It is a black garden box with a non-painted cedar cap. Approx. 4 ft. long x 2 ft deep.

Comments

  • Erin

    These turned out so pretty! I’ve been wanting to get into gardening so maybe something like this would push me in the right direction.

    • Samantha

      Truth be told, I made it for the look not for the gardening aspect – I still am not great at the gardening side haha!

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