Introduction: Garden Vegetable Planters

During the Corvid-19 outbreak in the UK we found ourselves in isolation at home with two young children and a waning supply of fresh vegetables. Before the UK went into full lockdown we decided we needed something entertaining for the kids and useful for us, cue garden vegetable planters!

This basic planter design is easy to reproduce using almost any scrap wood you have laying around and can scale up or down to suit your needs.


  1. Lengths of timber board (fence slats, decking boards, standard planks will all do)
  2. A section of fence post or other sturdy timber to support the weight (10x10cm)
  3. A thinner post to use as corner blocks (CLS, 4x4cm or strips cut from a thicker plank will all work)
  4. Sheet timber to enclose the base (plywood or OSB is fine but NOT MDF or chipboard)
  5. Wood screws + drill attachment
  6. 10mm drill bit
  7. Staple gun
  8. Outdoor wood stain/treatment
  9. Flower bed weed cloth (44x44cm box requires about 1 meter sq.)
  10. All purpose compost (or soil appropriate to your plant)

Step 1: Prepare Materials

The exact measurements described here may change for your application. Please pay attention to the method and then measure and cut as appropriate.

  1. Measure your length of plank timber and calculate the length of four sides you wish to create. In this example the boxes are 44x44x15cm as this was the most convenient size to cut four lengths from a single plank
  2. Cut four corner blocks no taller than the width of the plank timber, these will secure the four sides and provide a secure assembly point for the base
  3. Measure your length of fence post and cut evenly into four legs. Ensure that the legs are of greater width than the corner blocks
  4. DO NOT attempt to cut the base at this point. It is easier to assemble the box and use it as a template

Step 2: Construct a Box

  1. Take one side and lay it flat on a secure surface or workbench
  2. At each end mark a line for the plank widths, this will mark an inset for the corner blocks
  3. Repeat step 1 for another side
  4. Screw two corner blocks onto each side section aligned with the inset marks
  5. Create a right angle with two sides and secure to the inset block
  6. Repeat step 4 to make another right angle
  7. Bring the right angles together and secure against the corner blocks to make a square

Step 3: Secure the Base

  1. Take the box and place it on top of the sheet material, to save cutting time try and use the existing corners of the sheet material
  2. When the box is aligned mark the outer edges and cut out the base segment
  3. Turn the box upside down and place the base on top of the box frame
  4. Screw through each base corner into the corner blocks of the box frame

Step 4: Secure the Legs

  1. Around each corner block partially insert two screws into the base
  2. Secure the leg in a clamp or workbench and place the box on top of the leg
  3. Fully turn the pilot screws down through the base and into the leg
  4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 for each leg
  5. You may want to drill drainage holes in the base to allow excess water to exit rapidly. This will prolong the life of the box and help protect it from rot. In our case we drilled half a dozen 10mm holes

Step 5: Painting & Lining

  1. Although not mandatory you should consider painting the entirety of the planter in wood stain or other paint to provide some protection against rot
  2. Line the inside of the box with weed cloth. It is advisable to fold the weed cloth in half to produce a lining two layers thick, this helps retain soil while allowing water out of drainage holes in the base.
  3. Secure the lining with staples to the inside of the box

Your fantastic planter is now ready to go! Happy growing and don't forget to let the kids plant something or even decorate the outside of the planter for fun!

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