How to Build a DIY Tall Planter
Tall, slender planters offer an elegant touch to your home's exterior, but they can come at a steep price. On top of that, many planters require you to fill them with pricey soil or rocks in order to make up the unused space at the bottom. So why not DIY your own tall planters for a fraction of the cost? With our design, there is no need to fill the base of the planter with excess soil. Simply place your plant of choice inside, and swap it out as often as you like.
What You'll Need
Equipment / Tools
- Measuring tape
- Circular saw
- Miter saw
- Chalk box
- Brad nailer
- Screwdriver bit
- Staining supplies
- Orbital sander
- 1 4-foot x 8-foot 5/8-inch exterior-grade plywood sheet
- 15 8-foot 1x2 furring strips
- Exterior wood glue
- 1-inch brad nails
- 1 1/4-inch self-drilling exterior wood screws
- Exterior-grade wood stain
- Exterior-grade wood sealant
- 120-grit orbital sanding pads
Assemble Planter Frame
Cutting the frame at an angle will give the planter a modern, tapered shape that complements the overall design.
Follow all safety guidelines when using a circular saw. Use it only on well-supported material, and wear safety glasses and hearing protection.
Measure Plywood for Cutting
Lay your plywood sheet on a flat work surface and use a measuring tape to measure and mark a line 1 foot from the edge of each short side. Using a chalk box, mark a line from one mark to another, going across the full length of the board. This should leave you with one side of the line measuring 1 foot by 8 feet and the other side measuring 3 feet by 8 feet.
Cut off Excess Plywood
Hang the 1-foot wide section off of your work surface and use a circular saw to cut it off of the plywood sheet. Set this to the side for use in a later project, as you will only need the 3x8 section.
Measure and Mark Plywood
To cut the plywood into the pieces needed for the planter frame, start by marking a line at the bottom of the plywood, 2 inches from the short side. Then, mark a second line 14 inches from the short side. Next, move to the top side of the plywood and mark a line 16 inches from the same short side.
Create Trapezoid Shapes
Use a chalk box to mark a line from the 2-inch mark on the bottom to the nearest top corner, then mark a second line from the 14-inch mark on the bottom to the 16-inch mark on the top. The resulting shape inside the lines should resemble a trapezoid with a 16-inch top and a 12-inch bottom. Repeat the marking of this shape, alternating top and bottom across the plywood sheet until you are left with four equally sized trapezoids.
Cut out Trapezoids
Once you've marked four trapezoids, use a circular saw to carefully cut out each piece.
Once all pieces are cut out, clean up the edges and sides using an orbital sander fitted with 120-grit paper.
Glue Plywood Pieces Together
On one of the trapezoids, run a bead of exterior wood glue down one of the edges, then lay the piece flat against a work surface. Take a second trapezoid and press it against the glued edge to form a right angle. Nail in place with a brad nailer. In the same fashion, run a bead of glue on the top edge of the second board, place a third board against it, and nail it in place. Repeat until the planter frame is formed.
Strengthen Frame With Screws
To strengthen the frame of the planter, fasten each plywood piece together with 1 1/4-inch self-drilling exterior wood screws, placing one screw every 4 to 6 inches.
Add Horizontal Exterior Pieces
The exterior of the planter will be made up of 1x2 furring strips. It may seem tricky to cut the angles, but there is a very simple way to do this after the boards are attached.
What Is a Furring Strip?
A furring strip is a long, slender board used to level a surface and create space for insulation when attaching shingles, wall paneling, wallboard, and various other materials.
Cut and Attach Furring Strips
Cut a 1x2 furring strip to a length of just over 12 inches. Using exterior wood glue and a brad nailer fitted with 1-inch brad nails, glue and nail it in place at the bottom of one side of the planter frame, leaving equal excess hanging off of each side. Repeat this process, spacing each board 1/4 inch apart until you reach the top of the planter. Cut each furring strip slightly larger to accommodate for the increasing width of the planter. Flip the planter and repeat this process to cover the opposite side.
Cut off Excess
To remove the excess and cut the boards to match the angle of the planter frame, carefully cut along the edge using a circular saw. Be sure to only cut the furring strips and not into the plywood. Flip the planter over and repeat on the other side.
Attach Remaining Furring Strips
Repeat the process of attaching and cutting the furring strips on the remaining two sides.
Sand Until Smooth
Sand the furring strips with an orbital sander until smooth.
Add Inner Shelf
Adding a simple inner shelf to the planter will allow you to easily interchange plants all year long.
Cut Furring Strips for Inner Shelf
Use a miter saw to cut two furring strips to a length that allows them to span the width of the planter's interior at your desired point. If necessary, use a planter to gauge how high or low the shelf should sit.
Fasten Furring Strips
Use 1 1/4-inch self-drilling exterior wood screws to fasten the furring strips to opposite sides of the planter's interior.
Nail Shelf Pieces in Place
Cut four furring strips to a length that allows them to sit flat on top of the previously attached strips, then nail in place using a brad nailer.
Stain and Seal Planter
To help your planter withstand the elements, thoroughly stain it and seal it with your desired color and exterior-grade sealant by following the manufacturer's instructions for application and dry times. Once fully dry, place your desired potted plant inside.