Have you been looking for the perfect tall planter box for your porch or patio? Instead of spending hundreds of dollars, why not build your own? These DIY tall planters are a timeless design and pretty simple to make.
Once you get the angles figured out that is. Luckily, we’ve done most of the heavy lifting for you!
They were the perfect addition to my mom’s front porch. So perfect that I might have to build some for myself too…
Between all the wood and the planter inserts, we were able to build two planters for right around $75. Each planter took us about 1.5 hours to make…and another hour or two to torch 😉
Alright, let’s start DIYing and build some large planter boxes!
- Miter Saw
- Kreg Jig
- 90-Degree Pocket Hole Driver
New to DIY? Check out our post on beginner woodworking tools to determine which tools to get!
What you’ll need (for 1 planter):
- (4) – ⅝” cedar fence pickets
- (2) – 2x2x8s (we used furring strips)
- (4) – 1” corner braces
- 1.25” outdoor Kreg Screws
- 2.5” outdoor Kreg screws
- 14” planter
- Wood glue
- Optional: ¼” slats to use as spacers
|For?||Board Size||Quantity (for one planter)||Size (inches)|
|Top Slat||⅝” Cedar Fence Picket||4||14.25 (5-degree miter on both sides)|
|Second Slat||⅝” Cedar Fence Picket||4||13.25* (5-degree miter on both sides)|
|Third Slat||⅝” Cedar Fence Picket||4||12.25* (5-degree miter on both sides)|
|Fourth Slat||⅝” Cedar Fence Picket||4||11.25* (5-degree miter on both sides)|
|Fifth Slat||⅝” Cedar Fence Picket||4||10.25* (5-degree miter on both sides)|
|Legs||2×2||4||28.5 (5-degree bevel AND miter on both sides)|
|Supports||2×2||2||13.25 (5-degree bevel on both sides)|
|Middle Supports||2×2||2||9.25 (5-degree bevel on both sides)|
All measurements for angled boards reflect the length of the longest side.
*we recommend using the measuring technique outlined in step 1, rather than measuring and cutting these boards according to the cut list.
If you prefer printable plans, you can get yours HERE.
How to Make a Tall Planter Box
STEP 1: MAKE YOUR CUTS
Make your cuts according to the cut list above or the printable plans.
For the legs, you don’t need to worry about cutting them to exactly 28.5”. It gets complicated to measure with the double angle. If you end up cutting them a tad longer, that’s okay, you’ll just have a little more of a gap between the bottom slat and the ground.
For the slats, start by cutting your first slat into a trapezoid shape, with a 5-degree angle on either side. Once you have the first piece cut, flip the remaining fence pick over so that the longer side is facing outward.
Line the shorter side of the piece you already cut up with the long end of your fence picket and mark where the short board ends. The length of the bottom of your piece should match the length of the top of the piece that sits underneath it.
Make your cut and repeat the process until you have 5 boards of decreasing length. This will make up one side.
If you prefer video, check out our Instagram Stories.
STEP 2: DRILL POCKET HOLES
Since these fence pickets are slightly larger than ½”, we’ll adjust the drill bit collar to be a hair lower than the ½” setting. Just make sure not to adjust it too low or the pocket hole will poke through the edge of the board.
Drill 2 pocket holes on either end of each of the fence pickets.
You’ll also add two pocket holes to either end of the short side of the middle supports using the 1.5” settings.
STEP 3: SAND
You can wait to sand until the end, but I always find it easier to knock out my sanding before there are a bunch of nooks and crannies to work around.
We sanded everything quickly with 120 grit sandpaper. If you are using a stain or a paint finish, it is generally recommended that you sand with 220 grit sandpaper before applying those finishes.
Since we are planning to burn ours and they’ll be outside, we decided to stop at 120.
STEP 4: ASSEMBLE TWO SIDES
The most difficult part of this project is figuring out how to position the angled legs properly so that the angles all work out in the right ways. It really threw us for a loop, but luckily we figured it out so you don’t have to.
Since there is not one, but two angles on both sides of the legs, there is a “lowest” point on each side.
Locate the lowest point on the bottom of a leg. The lowest point for the bottom of the leg will be placed in the “top” inside corner. Top meaning facing up towards the roof rather than down towards the ground.
I know, confusing. I tried my best, but I know it’s still probably confusing. If you come up with a better way to phrase it, pop it in the comments! You can see it on our Instagram Stories and we circled the lowest point of the bottom of the leg in our assembly photos.
Alright, now that we have the leg positioned, you’ll attach the slats. The largest slat will be flush with the top of the leg.
We placed ¼” slats underneath our planter to slightly indent the slats from the legs.
Attach your slats to the first leg using glue and 1.25” Kreg screws. The slats will all be butted up against one another.
Then attach the slats to a second leg. Again, when looking at the bottom of the leg, the lowest point will be placed towards the slats and facing up to the ceiling.
Once we have one side made, we’ll attach slats to the other side of one of the legs. We want to create two separate pieces each complete with two legs and two sides. We’ll attach them together to make a four-sided planter in a bit.
STEP 5: ADD THE PLANTER SUPPORTS
Before we attach the four sides together, we’ll install the planter supports to two of the sides.
We placed the top of our support boards 11.25” down from the top of the leg. We like the top of the planter insert to sit flush or just below the top of the planter box. I hate when half of my plant is hiding inside of the decorative planter!
If you like for your planter insert to sit further down into the planter, that’s great, but you might need to adjust the size of your support boards so that they aren’t too big. Since the planter tapers, the further down you go, the smaller the space gets.
To install the supports, we’ll start by attaching the 1” corner braces to the short side of the 13.25” support boards.
Then you can place the support board along the inside of one side of your planter. Again, we placed ours so that the top of the support was 11.25” in from the top of the leg.
Secure the corner braces to the 2×2 legs with the screws provided with your braces. The support board will likely not be touching the cedar slats. That’s okay.
Repeat this process with the second support. Before you attach this one to the legs, mock up your planter assembly and make sure that you’re placing it on the correct side.
Now that we have those supports installed, we can install the middle supports. These should be placed so that they fall underneath the planter insert.
Double-check the placement you need with your planter, but ours was approximately 3” in from either side.
Attach using glue and 2.5” outdoor Kreg screws.
STEP 6: ASSEMBLE THE PLANTER
Now it’s time to attach the two pieces we’ve made to create a cohesive planter box. We’ll use glue and 1.25” outdoor Kreg screws.
Place one of your pieces flat on the ground or on your workbench and then flip the second piece on top of it, making sure that the slats all line up with the top of the legs. Then add your screws.
For the bottom of the planter, the space gets a little tight for the normal Kreg drill bit. We like to use the 90-Degree Pocket Hole Driver to get into these tight spaces easier.
Once you have the sides of the planter all attached, you can attach the middle supports to the second support board using 2.5” Kreg screws.
STEP 7: FINISH YOUR PLANTER
Now that you’ve built yourself an awesome tall tapered planter, it’s time to finish it to your liking. You can use paint or stain or whatever your heart desires.
We decided to burn ours using a plumber’s torch. It’s the same technique we used to burn these countertops, but instead of a light burn, we torched them until they were completely black.
This technique, called shou sugi ban, is a great option for outdoor projects because it helps protect the wood against sun damage, termites, rotting, and water damage.
Once we finished burning them, I wiped them off with a clean rag and then decided to seal them with spar urethane – which is great for outdoor projects.
You don’t need the spar urethane, but I had some extra laying around and wanted to add a pretty satin sheen to these planters. I ended up doing 3 coats and loved the result. Between the sheen and the richness that the spar urethane added, I’m glad I did the extra step.
There you have it! Now you know how to build some pretty awesome DIY tall planters using cheap cedar fence pickets.
Prefer printable plans? Get yours here!
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