Picture of Raised Planter Stand
This is a solution I came up with for planting a garden above my septic system leach field. I didn't want to plant directly on the field, or even create a raised bed. I had access to 55 gallon juice drums and thought I would make use of 3 of them. The stand features the 3 drums cut in half lengthwise, supported by a series of assemblies connected by 2x4 stringers. A good solution for the leach field issue, plus it's easier on my back.
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Step 1: Assemble The Assemblies

Picture of Assemble The Assemblies
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To begin, I created the 4 support assemblies that will be connected by the 2x4 stringers later on. For simplicity, I made them all identical and symmetrical. The two legs are made from 4x6 pressure treated (PT) lumber, and in my case, they measured 26-1/4" long (high). The cross members that connect each leg are 2x4 PT and connect to the legs via dadoes cut in the legs. To create the dadoes, I carefully laid them out and hogged out the material using my table saw with the blade set to 1-1/2" high and the miter gauge. With a series of kerfs cut, I turned to my chisel and hammer and cleaned the dadoes up, making sure a 2x4 would fit in snugly. Note that the legs are connected by 2 cross members. Structurally, 1 would be sufficient, but I like the symmetry of using 2 (plus I had the material handy). When the dadoes are done, cut a couple of cross members to length (31" in my case, which produces a perfect fit for the drums later on), lay on some construction adhesive and put a couple screws in each connection point. For my 6 half drums, I needed 4 assemblies. There is one more thing each assembly needs: a couple of pieces of wood that will straddle the longitudinal 2x4 that supports the underside of the drums. The inside of each piece go 3/4" off the centerline of the cross members, so as to create a 1-1/2" pocket that will hold the longitudinal piece.
ToolboxGuy7 months ago

Love the build!

hoka1 year ago
I have got to try this!
martind171 year ago
How'd you wash them out? And what were the barrels used for before this?
RushFan (author)  martind171 year ago
Once the barrels were cut in half, I used hot water with some dish soap. These particular ones were used for aloe.
cpeds1 year ago
That came out looking great. Excellent work.
RushFan (author)  cpeds1 year ago
Thanks! I also have a 7' length of 24" diameter corrugated plastic drainage pipe that I am doing the same thing for.
kooth1 year ago
Awesome! When the barrels are filled with soil they will be quite heavy. But your framing is so stout, the barrels aren't going anywhere! Way to go!
RushFan (author)  kooth1 year ago
Thanks for the kind words! I tend to over build things - in this case it's a good thing!
jw_wp_11 year ago
I have thought about doing this type of garden with the barrels. I have a few worries about drainage, over drying or over heating of the soil along the sides, and the edges not having the depth for roots. Have you used barrels this way before for gardening?
RushFan (author)  jw_wp_11 year ago
I have used barrels before - and haven't had any issues. The drainage holes seem to be working just fine, in fact, I hardly ever see much water coming from them. From time to time I will burrow down just to check the moisture levels. Over drying isn't an issue either. As for room for roots, I just choose plants that do well in containers. For something like carrots, I just move the row more towards the center.