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.
Time: 1-2 hours
Total Cost: $30-$50 (Without Tools)
- 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
TOOLS 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.
STEP ONE: BUILD THE FRAME
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.
Personally, 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.
I 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.
STEP TWO: LINE THE PLANTER
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.
STEP THREE: CUSTOMIZE IT!
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!