One of my early DIY projects was actually a tall slatted planter similar to the one we’re building today. But this time, I’m making it even larger. This massive outdoor planter is about 4’ wide, 32” tall, and almost 2’ deep.
Despite the large size, we were able to build two planters for right around $300 using pressure-treated wood. Good luck trying to find a planter box this tall and wide for that price!
We made these planters to flank either side of our deck stairs and wanted them to match the design of our DIY planter privacy screen. It’s basically the same planter that we have over there, but a little taller. I’m not sure why I have a thing for super tall planters, but I do.
Alright, let’s start DIYing!
- Nail Gun
- Miter Saw
- Kreg Jig
- Staple Gun
New to DIY? Check out our post on beginner woodworking tools to determine which tools to get!
What You’ll Need For One Planter:
- (23) 1x2x8s (we used pressure-treated pine)
- (5) 2x4x8s
- (2) 1x4x8s
- (2) 5/4x6x8 deck boards
- Something that is ½” thick to act as a spacer (we used scrap plywood)
- 1.5” nails
- 2” nails
- 2.5” exterior Kreg screws
- Clear construction adhesive
- 10’x25’ construction film (for lining the planter)
- Exterior stain and sealer (we used Cabot Semi-Solid Stain and Sealer in Black)
- ⅜” staples
Prefer printable plans and visual cut lists that show you how to minimize waste? Grab the printable plans!
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How to Make a Large Planter Box
If you’re planning to use pressure-treated lumber on this project, buy it early! Pressure-treated lumber is generally pretty wet at the store, and you need to let it dry out before you can cut or stain it. We bought ours about a month before completing the project and let it dry outside in the sun as much as possible.
STEP 1: CUT THE 2x4s AND 5/4s DOWN TO SIZE
Following the cut list above, cut your 2x4s and 5/4” deck boards to size. For the middle slats, you can cut them between 42-46” long. These do not need to be precise and it’s better to err on the side of being too small than too long.
STEP 2: DRILL POCKET HOLES
Using the 1.5” settings, drill (2) pocket holes on either end of the 24” and 18” 2x4s.
Pocket holes are the foundation of most DIY furniture. Become a pocket hole pro in less than an hour in Pocket Holes: Explained.
STEP 3: STAIN
We chose to stain early on in this project because we didn’t want to have to worry about evenly applying the stain in between all the individual slats later.
This was the longest step of the entire project, so another option you might consider is using a paint sprayer to apply your stain at the end of the project.
STEP 4: ASSEMBLE THE FRONT/BACK PIECES
We will assemble (2) identical structures for the front and back.
Grab your 24” 2x4s and your 46” 2x4s. Using 2.5” exterior Kreg screws, attach a 24” piece to either end of your 46” pieces.
Then attach a 24” piece in the middle of the two 46” pieces.
STEP 5: ADD THE MIDDLE CONNECTORS
On one of the pieces you assembled in step 4, attach the middle connectors using 2.5” exterior Kreg screws.
First we’ll place a middle connector approximately 9.5” down from the top. This will result in our planter area being about 8.5” deep. You can adjust this measurement to make it more or less deep based on what kind of plants you are hoping to grow.
We used a scrap piece of wood as a spacer to keep the distance consistent across all 3 on the connectors.
Next, install a middle connector on each corner of the planters.
STEP 6: CONNECT THE FRONT AND BACK
Flip the side with the middle connectors installed onto the second piece you assembled in step 4. Line up the middle connectors and screw them in with 2.5” exterior Kreg screws.
STEP 7: CUT THE SLATS
Now that you have the main structure assembled, you can cut all of the slats. Before cutting the slats, confirm your measurements with the final measurements of the main structure.
The short slat measurements will match the short sides, and the long slats will be the length of the long sides + 1.5”.
We set clamped a spare board to our miter saw stand and workbench to create a stop. This allowed us to quickly make repeat cuts without needing to measure between each cut.
STEP 8: INSTALL THE SLATS
To install the slats, we’ll use clear construction adhesive and 1.5” nails. Start by securing the top slats. They should be flush with the top of the planter.
Once you’ve secured just the top piece on each side, flip your planter over so that the top is on the ground.
To make installation easier, we clamped a scrap board flush with the side of the planter. This allowed me to quickly push the slats up against the scrap wood instead of making sure the slats were lined up on either side.
We used a scrap piece of ½” plywood as a spacer between each of the slats to get consistent spacing.
Install the short slats first and then touch up the end grains of the slats with stain.
Then install the long slats. As you’re installing the long slats, continue using the spacer, but focus on lining up the ends up with the short side slats that are already installed, even if that means your spacing doesn’t perfectly align with the spacer itself.
STEP 9: INSTALL THE MIDDLE SLATS
Place your middle slats into the planter box so that they are evenly spaced. There will be slight gaps between the boards.
Use 2” nails at alternating angles to secure the middle slats. By alternating the angles of the nails, you “lock” the boards into place. If you were to just nail straight in, you would be able to pull the boards right up.
STEP 10: INSTALL THE TARP
Staple your tarp along the inside of the planter and then cut off the excess. We also decided to line the bottom half of the planter so that the gaps between the slats were black instead of letting the light shine through.
Cut some holes in the bottom of the tarp that align with the gaps in the middle slats. These will allow for drainage.
STEP 11: ADD THE TOP FRAME
Cut your top frame pieces down to size and then install using clear construction adhesive and 1.5” nails. The outside of the 1×4 will be flush with the top 1x2s. The inside of the 1x4s will overhang into the planter slightly.
There you have it! Now you have your very own large slatted planter. These planters are heavy so you definitely don’t need to worry about them tipping over when it’s windy!
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