I wanted to build a planter for our back deck, but couldn't find any plans similar to what I had in mind. I'm not great at taking process photos, but I wanted to share the final product.
The 2x4s and 1x4s are salvaged from pallets, the 1x6s are salvaged from a roadside drainage project.
Circular or table saw (or a hand saw and a strong arm)
Palm sander (optional, I used a random orbit sander to clean up the boards, especially the corners)
Straight edge to mark your cuts(I used a speed square, but a combination square or even a ruler would work)
Lots of clamps are always helpful
24 - 1 1/2" screws (these could be fancy, outdoor decking screws, or just simple drywall screws like I used)
12 - 2" screws
12 - 1 1/2" nails
Stain or paint (optional, I read a few things about people worried about using chemical stains or paint on the wood if you intended to grow food in the planters, and since we're growing herbs and strawberries, I decided not to do anything)
Step 1: Materials List and Plans
The basic idea is, well, exactly that: to make a leaning planter. I wanted to make a planter than leaned against the railing of our deck and featured progressively larger boxes as it went down.
The sides are 2x4's I pulled from pallets. The bottom angle is 15°. I trimmed the back of the top as well.
The boxes are 1x6's. The bottom box is 12" deep front to back on the inside, the middle is 8" deep and the top is 6" deep. They are all 33" long. I added a 1x4 down the bottom middle of each box to support the weight of the dirt and plants. I drilled pilot holes for everything to limit the chance of the wood splitting out. There are two screws in each box corner, two screws on each side attaching the boxes to the legs, and two nails on each side of the boxes holding the 1x4 support in place. If you really wanted to make the box corners strong, you could add wood glue or make fancier joints. Personally, I wasn't worried about being too fancy or how much load the boxes would need to sustain. The final product seems plenty sturdy.
I spaced the boxes about 8" apart vertically. That just seemed like a nice number. Using 1x6s and making the boxes 6" tall was also a good thing in the end, too. I originally thought about using 1x4's for the boxes, but they wouldn't have been deep enough to plant in.
Once the boxes were built I lined them with landscaping cloth (also known as weed cloth). This both holds the dirt (obviously) and in the case of over watering or rain allows excess water to drain and not rot the wood.
I used about a 1 1/2 of the big bags of potting soil to fill the boxes.