Wooden Planters From Reclaimed Decking




About: Entrepreneur by Day, Woodworker by Night.

When our deck was redone I ended up with excess old weathered redwood decking. I felt bad just letting it go and it just so happened that we needed planters on one side of the house. And so this project began

Step 1: The Plan

I had seen this pattern before so I cannot claim ownership. It is an attractive approach to what otherwise might be a boring planter. Keep in mind most 2 x 6 boards are actually 1.5 x 5.5. So in order to make the pattern work while stacking the boards is to subtract 3" from each alternate layer. I opted to go 4 boards high or 22". The other measurements can be amended to suit your taste.

Step 2: Decking Material

I used weathered redwood decking, some newer planks as well as left over treated wood for the corners. I cut 12 of each of the following measurements: 10", 13", 16" and 19". The corner 2 by 4s were cut at 23". In retrospect I would have gone with 22" to make screwing the floor planks easier.

Step 3: Assembling the Planters

There is a logical way to do this and once you get the hang of it it flows very quickly. I used 1.5" galvanized outdoor screws. Layer as you like: small, large, small, large planks or, the reverse. The corners should be flush. Its ok if they are off a bit though. Voila, all 3 are done!

Step 4: Screwing the Bottom & Paint

As I mentioned before I wish I had kept the corner posts at exactly 22". This would have made the bottom boards a lot easier. I was able to find left over 1 x 6 boards which I cut at 12".
Once finished, I decided to paint them white. The future home of these planters is already flush with with redwood: the fencing and the wood chips. I decided to add a splash of color(s) and white it was. I used left over primer in this case. On the boards that were weathered I decided to leave some of the cracks and holes visible for dramatic nice effect.

Step 5: Adding Handles and Plastic Lining

You will have to move these at some point, so handles are in order. I had left over yellow rope. I cut 12 pieces each 2" long, and burned the ends to stop them from fraying. The yellow on white is a great contrast. Gives it a modern look. I drilled 1/2" holes, inserted and tied the ends.

Next came adding plastic lining. This will prolong the life of the planters. I used standard black garbage bags and stapled them. Next I pulled them out and cut holes for draining. We are nearly there.

Step 6: Planting and Placing

In this case I planted bamboo, you can plant whatever suits you, I recommend a plant that has some height and good color. Once planted, add some kind of mulch or rocks on top for a nicer finish and preventing evaporation. Hope you enjoyed this! Comments and questions are welcome.

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    7 Discussions


    5 years ago

    Very creative! Love the idea, use of reclaimed materials, and end result. Thanks for the tutorial!!!

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you, it didn't take long at all to make these. Most of the waiting was for the paint to dry.


    5 years ago

    Good point framistan. All the wood used is natural redwood without any chemicals. So make sure you pick untreated wood for projects like these. It goes without say any line of work or hobby comes with certain amount of risk.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Decking wood that has a GREENISH TINT is saturated with arsenic poison to keep termites from eating it. So, your deck wood is probably OK, because it is redwood. Not everyone knows about the green-tinted kind, so that is why I made this note: When sawing deck-wood, don't breathe the dust. I don't know if the arsenic could leach into the dirt and into a food plant.... but I wouldn't take the chance. Also, it is not a good idea to burn old decking wood because of the poisonous smoke.