Introduction: How to Make a 3-Level Planting Rack

About: Maker and engineering student from Germany, mechatronics enthusiast and woodworker. I love arts and gathering new skills, that's why I'm here.

Just like humans, plants need a place to live. And just like in a crowded city, the available space is limited. What did humans do to solve this problem? Right, they invented multiple-floor houses. We should do the same for our beloved green friends so that they can all fit on one balcony.

In this Instructable, I will present the build of this space-saving planting rack. This version offers space for three boxes full of plants - but of course you can expend it as you will. Sky is the limit.

The planter is not complicated and makes a good project for one or two weekends. The exact dimensions developed while building. There was no solid plan, only a design idea. This is why I can't offer plans to follow in detail - just build as you think it looks good.



We used spruce for the legs and pine for the planter boxes. Not because they are particularly suitable, but because I had them laying around. Make your choice, but keep in mind that the planter may get in contact with water, wind and weather. If using MDF or plywood, you might get problems if the glue is not water resistant.

Planting Boxes:

The shown construction is built around 60x22 cm plastic planters. Adapt the dimensions and plan according to what you have.

Additional Material:

You might need some bolts and nuts or wood screws to connect all pieces together. If you don't need to dismount your planting rack again, you can as well glue it all together. Furthermore, make sure to apply a protective layer of oil or wax.


A pen and marking tools, chisel, hammer and a hand saw are basic tools you will need. Additionally, I used a mitersaw, a handheld router and an orbital sander - those make life easier, but you can as well work without them.

Step 1: Cutting and Joining the Side Pieces

The side pieces might be the most challenging part of this project - so let's start right away. To get the desired shape (resembling the greek letter lambda), we need two pieces for each side: A broad standing piece which will hold the planters, and a narrow, slightly tapered foot. Cut those pieces according to the size of your planter. I then put them in an orientation I liked, clamped them together and transferred the edges from one side on the counter piece.

The overlap needs to be removed from both sides. You can do this the classic way (hand saw and chisel) or the easy way (router, template and flush-trim bit). We did both. The pieces should fit tight but precisely. As you can see, it did not turn out perfect - but we can compensate for slight gaps when finishing the pieces.

Step 2: Making the Planting Boxes

The planting boxes are made relatively easy. We took the relevant measures, made a template and cut the six side pieces on the miter saw. To make room for the front and back panels, we cut a slot in the edges using the router table. Those panels are cut quickly on the miter saw as well.

Step 3: Glue-Up and Finishing

Now you can start glueing all parts together. Assemble the side pieces and all planter boxes. We used a router to round over the edges and give the piece a more organic look. For the final assembly, we drilled holes into the side pieces and boxes. Socket head screws and bolts make a sturdy connection that can be unfastened for transport (got no pictures of this part because.. forgot to take them).

Give the parts a nice finish by sanding them down. Treat the surface with wax, oil or anything that seals it and prevents wa

Step 4: Final Assembly

There it is, done, assembled and ready to give your plants a home.

I hope you could follow the (admittedly) few pictures and instructions. If not, let me know. Anyways, feel free to use and adapt the design. If you do so, I would be happy to see the result.

Thanks for reading this, have fun!