Project Book: Simple Jumbo Vegetable/Herb Planter

Welcome back to the Koopman DIY Project Book! This month we’ll be looking at a very affordable and efficient way of making jumbo vegetable/herb planters. Because we’re a lumber yard, we pride ourselves on multiple uses for plain old lumber. If aesthetics isn’t your highest priority – and utility and economy are, then this project might be for you! With an hour or two and a couple pieces of framing lumber, you can build a 5’ long planter with 5 cu ft of dirt and have a great deck planter to grow herbs and vegetables up and away from most predators, and conveniently located on your deck. One of my favorite things to do is grab a couple tomatoes from the main garden, some basil from my jumbo planter, dice it up with some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and even some mozzarella and then YUM! It makes for a great summer treat.

Difficulty: Medium
Time: 1-2 hours
Total Cost: $30-$50 (Without Tools)

Jumbo Planter 2608KDSUPPLIES LIST

  •  6 – 8’ 2×6 KD lumber – we used untreated Kiln Dried framing lumber
  • Screws – we used 6″ FastenMaster Headlok screws and some 2″ galv drywall screws or similar
  • 8’ of landscape fabric

Jumbo Planter circ saw 0198028TOOLS YOU’LL NEED

  • Circular Saw or Chop Saw
  • Drill/Driver – preferably impact driver
  • Staple Gun
  • A few bar clamps are handy

REMEMBER: Always observe safety precautions with any project. Eye protection is often “overlooked” until it’s too late.


planterdiagram2Start by cutting your 8’ boards into 5’ and 3’ pieces. You’ll use four of the 3’ pieces as your legs. Bolt the pieces together as shown.

Note the numbered diagram.  Bolt pieces #1 & #2 together keeping the end of #1 flush with the side of #2.  I found it easiest to assemble this part upside down, so leave #2 on the ground to start.  Add #3 on top of #2 to double the depth of the planter.  Next add #4.  Bolt through #1 into #4 and bolt #4 and #3 together in at least 2 places.  #4 carries a lot of weight, so make sure that connection is solid.  That completes one half of the planter.

Now, simply make the mirror image #6 to make the other half using the same technique.  Now cut one of your 3′ pieces to make 2 of #7‘s – one for each end.  Clamp your two halves together and secure with your smaller screws (#8 to #4, and #7 to #5 and #1)  I also bolted through pieces #2 & #3 into #7.

I’m sure there’s prettier ways to do it, but like the introduction said, if you want quick and effective, this will get the job done.

Jumbo Planter HeadLok screwsPersonally, I love the FastenMaster Headlock screws. They have a spider drive head that’s unbelievable; I don’t think I’ve ever stripped a head. I used 6” screws because when the planter is loaded with damp dirt, it’s very heavy. I used simple drywall screws when securing the two halves of the planter together.

Jumbo Planter Dewalt Impact DCF815I also never cease to be amazed by the impact driver. I used the Dewalt 20V tool (you can learn more about Impact Drivers HERE). The tool is light weight and incredibly powerful. The biggest difference is the lack of arm fatigue. Plus, I hardly have to apply any force to keep the bit engaged with the screw. This was a huge help since I was working alone with no one to hold pieces for me. I made four planters and only changed the battery once – driving over 100 6” screws.


To keep the soil in the planter and allow water to seep out, line the inside with landscape fabric (I used Jonathan Green fabric). Staple the fabric to the wood to hold it in place until the dirt goes in. Now you’re ready to place the planter where you’re going to leave it and THEN fill with soil (it’s pretty heavy fully loaded). Mix some soil (I used some from my garden) and Miracle Grow Organic Soil from the bag. You can also add Buxton Hollow Organic Compost Tea to the soil as an inoculant and fertilizer (you can learn more about Compost Tea HERE).

One very important word of caution: at 3’ tall, these planters will be a bit top heavy. This year I built four new planters. This is because the one I built several years ago tipped over in a recent wind storm and crashed apart (it had some help from the temporary greenhouse it was in that was acting like a kite). So be sure to secure it with bracing, wider legs, or tie it to your deck rail like I did.


Jumbo planter DarrellFinally, feel free to modify or amend to fit your needs. If you make it longer than 5’, you’ll need a brace in the middle to hold up the bottom. You can use different kinds of lumber too. You may want to paint or stain it with waterborne products. Whatever the modification you’d like to make, Koopman Lumber can provide for all kinds of variations of this project.


If you do decide to build one of these great planters, please feel free to send us your photos! We’d love to hear from you. This year I’m going to grow some Rosemary in one of my planters because I’m looking forward to roasting some delicious poultry on my Big Green Egg. In another planter will be all sweet peppers because my kids love munching on them! You can also learn how to build a Raised Vegetable Garden HERE. If you have any questions at all, feel free to stop by one of our 6 locations or visit us online at www.koopmanlumber.com. Happy building!

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