Step 2: Build The Box

In order to get the wood home from Lowes, it has to fit in the car (Note to self: buy a truck already), I had them cut the Cedar boards into 6 foot lengths. The base and the sides will be constructed from the 8" wide boards. I hate getting my wood cut in the store because they inevitably miss the dimension by 1/8" to 1/4" depending on who does the cutting on any particular day. For this project, it does not matter that much - it's not fine grade furniture.  If you build everything with reference to the left end, then you can adjust for unequal lengths on the far end. Things may look a bit raggedy but then only on the far end. 

The first thing to do is to remove the staples form the boards. I have no idea why, but just about every board had staples in. They come out easily as Cedar is pretty soft wood. 

The base is built from 3 of the 8" wide by 6ft long boards. The boards are joined together using pocket hole joinery. This is a quick way to make really strong joints. 

On one edge of 6ft x 8" board, set the Kreg Jig for 3/4" and make a pocket at 8 inch intervals. Then slide a second board next to the first and use a clamp to align the left edge and keep the boards together. Set the torque adjustment on the screw driver to prevent stripping the screw out. You can practice on a piece of scrap to get the torque setting right. Cedar is very soft so keep the torque low. Screw in the first 1-1/4" exterior self tapping screw.

Work your way down the board until you have all the 1-1/4" exterior self tapping screws in.

Now make pocket holes on the 3rd 6ftx8" board and screw to the first 2 boards so that you have a base 3 boards wide by 6ft long. All the boards are aligned on the left edge. If the wood is not all exactly 6ft long, the right end will be a bit raggedy. If this is too extreme, you can use a hand held circular saw to trim the far end flush. In my case the boards were all +/- 1/8 inch so I let them be.

Now it's time to do the long vertical sides. Make pocket holes every 8 inches along one edge of each of the two 6ft by 8" side boards. It is useful to clamp the side board to the base panel to keep it properly aligned while you screw the side to the base. Make sure you keep the left edges aligned with the base.

The 8" boards are not exactly 8" wide so use a tape measure to measure the inside distance between the 2 side boards. You should have 2 off-cuts from the original 8" boards that you can use as the end boards. They will need to be cut down on the table saw to match your inner measurement. In my case, the end boards needed to be cut to 20".

Do not cross cut the boards on a table saw with the fence in place. This is very dangerous. Measure the cut length using the fence and then move the fence out of the way before making the cut. Alternately, you can insert a 0.75" thick piece of wood between the edge of the end board and the fence, measure up and then slide the 0.75" piece of wood out of the way so that the edge of your board clears the fence. If you cross cut with the fence in place the board can get wedged leading to damage of the saw, the board and most importantly yourself.

Thank you for an excellent and very detailed Instructable.<br><br>I altered the design slightly to add extra depth, and constructed the main body from 38mm scaffold boards (low cost, high strength). I then lined it with 1200gsm damp proof membrane, stapled around the rim, with holes in the bottom for drainage. There's then about a 40mm deep layer of 20mm shingle before the soil, to aid drainage.<br><br>We then primed the wood with a spirit-based primer, followed by two coats of external grade wood paint in satin. I also added a 75mm wide rim to the top, as it hides the edge of the DPC membrane, and frames the foliage nicely.<br><br>It looks the part, and is producing enormous root vegetables. We're considering installing a drip-hose irrigation system just under the lip, to save having to water the trough each evening.
<p>Hey, great job! </p><p>Was it much cheaper using the scaffolding? I really want to build a lower cost version of this (poor student...) but not lose the great design. Most important of course is making sure that the materials I use don't leech anything nasty into the soil and veg. But surely anything I use will be fine as long as it is well lined with plastic sheeting and weed membrane? Also, does your scaffolding not show any signs of rotting?? </p><p>Any thoughts on this massively appreciated. :)</p>
<p>That looks awesome! </p>
<p>I was the guy from San Francisco who had trouble getting Cedar and settled for some rough redwood from Home Depot. Made a mistake and got two inch planks which made for some really thick boards but I think it turned out well. My wife requested a waist high planter and this article was extremely helpful. We decided to go for a wider planter. The dimensions are 36&quot; wide by 72&quot; long and 12&quot; deep. Mostly everything stayed the same. Let me know if you guys got any questions!</p>
<p>Hey, great job building a great design! Just wondering, was it much cheaper using the Redwood? I've set myself the task of building the lowest cost version of this but without losing the great design. Most important of course is making sure that the materials I use don't leech anything nasty into the soil and veg. But surely anything I use will be fine as long as it is well lined with plastic sheeting and weed membrane?</p><p>Any thoughts on this massively appreciated. :)</p>
<p>That looks great!</p><p>I'm almost done building my plantar. I live in Toronto. April weather here is unpredictable. So a cover for cold nights or days is needed. I've had numerous ideas about how to build a cover. I see you used plastic tubing. That will work really well. A simply but brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing your pictures. I'll post mine when I'm done. BTW I used 5/4&quot; cedar decking boards from Home Depot. </p>
<p>Wow, that turned out very nicely! </p>
<p>For someone with minimal building skills, I'm proud to say I made this planter. The directions were clear and the measurements were very helpful. Instead of a vegetable garden, my daughter and I made this into a miniature fairly garden with a water feature. Thank you for such an inspirational Instructable!</p>
<p>That is simply fantastic! Well done!</p>
<p>Hello all, I am wanting my husband to make a few of these for me over the next year and I was wondering if any one else has experience with these beds in the desert, I live in Salt Lake City so we have a dry climate and I am concerned about the soil drying out. </p>
<p>Hello i am looking to do this project for my backyard and wondering how much in total all these materials cost. If you could give me the total it cost for you that would be great.</p>
<p>I spent about $160 at the time. Read the comments below. Others have found ways to build for less. The cedar boards I used were the major cost driver. Cedar decking boards might be cheaper. </p>
<p>Ok thank you very much for this.That is very helpful.</p>
<p>I spent about $160 at the time. Read the comments below. Others have found ways to build for less. The cedar boards I used were the major cost driver. Cedar decking boards might be cheaper. </p>
<p>I spent about $160 at the time. Read the comments below. Others have found ways to build for less. The cedar boards I used were the major cost driver. Cedar decking boards might be cheaper. </p>
<p>Great Instructable. Thank you for documenting your project so well.</p><p>It's been about 3 yrs since you posted this Instructable. My wife just discovered it and wants me to make one. I'm curious what lessons you learned over the past 3 years about your construction, drainage, etc. Would you build one today exactly the same or is there some updated advice for making this project?</p>
<p>I would add a mesh cover to keep insects, birds and squirrels out! There is a good example of a cover made with PVC piping further down (see comment by <a href="https://www.instructables.com/member/Silhouette01" style="">Silhouette01</a>). A squirrel literally went nuts in our box last weekend and destroyed all the seedlings. </p><p>Thanks for your comments and enjoy the build!</p>
Beautiful box!!! Clear instructions! But...isn't there always one?.. For the price of just one of those several power tools you call out, the wood and screws, and wow your time(pocket set screws. really?) you could buy an awful lot of veggies. And even cedar isn't forever. Aesthetic, spastetic, Is this a planter box, or a show piece?
Also, a 6 foot long garden? At best one or two trips to the produce dept.Large plastics totes set in a PVC frame..3 tines as long at 1/3 the cost.
<p>A 6' long garden bed isn't unusual, I currently have a 4'x8' raised greenhouse Guarden bed, and am planning on making a couple of these boxes. For some people, it's not about the end product (vegetables) it's about having a garden, maintaining the garden, and enjoying the fruits of your labor. To simply put a price tag on this isn't the point. Also, any kit you could buy for less would have low quality wood and fall apart within a year. I did a ton of research before we built my potting bench. For about $250 I have a $800 value redwood bench that we can proudly say we built, and will last for years.</p>
<p>Very nice looking bench.</p>
<p>Thanks! It's been working well, still looks great!</p>
Thanks... I think!
Thanks for the comments. The power tools I have had for a long time. They are not the greatest quality but they get the job done. I have been a maker since forever. A large number of the furniture pieces in my home were made by me. Building the box the way it is is an extension of the furniture building techniques I use. Building is therapy for me. I built this for my wife who is thrilled to have it. It wasn't about building the cheapest planter box.
<p>Great box I'm going to make one this weekend. The box is a great balance between functionality and grace. Not only do I want some homegrown herbs but also when I look out the back window I want to see something that fits well with the landscaping. By the way cost -- What is the cost of any hobby and what is the benefit. I think if you lived in an apartment or an RV you may not want to build this project...</p>
<p>Thanks - having an aesthetically pleasing box was important to me. Post pictures when you are done. There are some great examples of in these comments of other people's builds.</p>
<p>Thanks for the great ideas! I made mine with some used wood so I modified the box a bit and also added a sub-irrigation design .</p><p>Thanks again and happy gardening!</p>
Looks great!
<p>You might want to line the inside of the box with plastic (cutting holes lined up with your drainage holes) to protect the wood from moisture, which will eventually warp and rot it. It's optional; but it depends on how long you want it to last. I'd expect a couple years with no plastic, 10-15 years with plastic.</p>
<p>Mine is still in good shape after 3 years. I added fresh soil this weekend getting ready for another season. I wanted to avoid the use of man-made materials as much as possible since they could introduce chemicals we may not want in our vegetables. </p>
<p>I was very excited to find this article. I am having sticker stock though as I can't find any place that sells cedar in or near San Francisco. Lowes and Home Depot doesn't carry it. I asked a local lumber yard and they quote me $8.70 per ft! Holy moly, just lumber alone will be over $600. Anybody got any ideas for me?</p>
<p>Cedar is certainly an expensive choice, but not $8.70 per foot! The lumber yard must be quoting you nicely finished and planed cedar at that price! I spent a total of $160 for all the wood - still pricey but there are no signs of rot yet so maybe a worthy choice. As @silhouette01 mentioned below, rough redwood could be a good option for you if cedar is not available. I wanted to make sure that the wood would survive in it's natural state so as to avoid chemicals leaching into the vegetables - cedar is a suitable choice. If you are using the planter for non-edibles, you have other choices. </p>
Try scaffold boards. With some sanding and a little paint, they'll last just as long, but at a fraction of the price.
<p>Scaffold board will rot in a few years and I rather not paint as it will leech into the veggie we plan on planting. Just came back from Home Depot and went with their 2&quot;x12&quot;x8' Rough Redwood for $29. Got three of those and one 12' at $46. Total came out to exactly $150. We plan on making the planter 6 feet by 3 feet.</p>
made mine a combo wicking bed. the slide and is not in the design... <br>one bit of advice. build it on site unless you have strong backs to help transport.
<p>Look's great!</p>
<p>I have been meaning to build something similar for a while, thanks for the inspiration. Clearly, I have gone a little free style with the timber. I was aiming to keep the cost to a minimum. </p><p>Thanks again for the instructions. (Good luck in the RWC!)</p>
<p>Great job... So I followed your plans to the most part. My wife did not want a 6 foot box, so mine is 4' long x 18&quot; deep by 11&quot; tall and is made primarily of 2x6 rip torn cedar boards that I had laying around and only bought 1x4's for the shelf. I do have one question, how did you cut the PVC cap in half? My first attempt did not go as planned... :)</p>
That looks great! Clamp the PVC cap to work table using vice grips to clamp the wall section of the cap - the one jaw of the vice grips goes into the cap, the other jaw under the table. Hope that makes sense! Then use a hacksaw or jig saw to cut it in half. <br>
LOL,A super great idea to get the hubby build for the wife.As you mentioned about the tools <br>&amp; materials.Well I'm not bragging but I do own all of them &amp; also I can make all my own material,For I'm very lucky to also have my own LM2000 Nowoods bandsaw mill.So now I'll be making these from scratch.A great idea,you got my vote.I'll try different materials.Cause we don't have ceder here in Alberta.I know of wood known by different names called &quot;black popular,or balm.Well I know it resistes rot when wet,So I'll use the for the box &amp; use pine for the supports.And also keep watching for brilliant ideas.
One of the other comments further down suggested using pond liner for the bed. That should help the wood survive a long time but I'm sure research is required to prevent plastics leaching out into your plants if you are doing vegetables.. As with all the other potential makers of the box, post pictures when you are done - I'd like to see them
<p>You can also paint the inside with Henry's Asphalt Emulsion. I grew up in a family business constructing ponds and growing the plants. We always sealed the wood or concrete with asphalt emulsion, since it gets into the cracks, etc. and won't pierce like liner.</p>
I loved the design for this box so much that we had to make two! I'm only 43, but I have pretty bad arthritis and could no longer do the kneeling, bending and squatting needed for gardening...even in low boxes because I'd get stuck down there and couldn't get back up. Yikes! These have given me the ability to have a wonderful garden again. Honestly, I didn't know how to do the pocket holes for screws like you did, so a few do show, but I tried to &quot;toe screw&quot; most of them, so they are hidden. for those that show, I used screws with heads that are sort of nice looking....if that's possible. Haha! I didn't put a solid bottom in for two reasons...one, to save some money in the cost of lumber since I was making two boxes, and two, because I just don't personally have the skills with tools that were needed....I am a girl, after all! I think I did ok, all in all, though. I laid burlap on the wire mesh and put pea gravel over the top of that to hold the soil in. To finish it off, I added a drip irrigation system under mulch. Talk about an almost &quot;hands off&quot; garden! I really, really love it. Thanks so much for sharing this plan!
<p>How did the bottomless box work out for you this season? These are such gorgeous planters!</p>
It worked out really well! I don't think that I've ever gotten so much out of a garden! I couldn't believe it. I'm very, very happy with the boxes. No maintenance, whatsoever, other than turning on the spigot once in a while. :)
<p>Thank you! Now that winter has finally hit, I'm having fun picking out projects for next year -- this will make the list!</p>
Wow, your boxes came out great! That's an excellent Idea for the bottom. Thanks for posting the picture - nice work!<br>
Nice design. I may try an 8' version for this summer.<br> <br> I had the same concern mentioned previously about the pocket holes being a water passage into the wood, I think inverted would be better. I wonder how biscuits and glue would work with cedar - I'll have to look into that.<br> <br> I do have a question about the stand. I see some notches in the cross pieces when I look at one of the last pictures closely (read it first on the phone). Are those for any particular reason? I did not see any reference and figured you pulled something out of my bag of tricks when you made the drainage holes.<br> <br> Thanks for sharing.
<p>Kreg makes plugs for the holes. Just glue them in. Should make everything water tight.</p>
Biscuits will work just fine if u use waterproof glue like Elmer's Max. If u can find wider boards in your area that will be the best. <br><br>The notches are there for the gutters. These were an afterthought to prevent water dripping onto the shelf below. I slit 2&quot; PVC pipe in half for the gutters. I will upload pictures later today.

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