I’ve been a DIYer for like ever but I have to say this is one of my favorite DIY projects to date. I mentioned last month how I was going to build some outdoor planters and last week, Matt and I built two outdoor planters for the courtyard to frame the French doors. When I first started this project I planned on a Chippendale style, but stopped at the basic criss-cross pattern – the simplicity appealed to me. We’ve built a lot of things together, but these are my new favorites!
We referred to Ana’s cedar planter plans to get us started but varied the height and width of the cuts, and then added the X pattern detail at the end. We used a combination of pine and poplar from Lowes, here is the wood cut list for each planter and how we assembled them:
Wood Cut List Per Planter:
Sides: 1 x 6” boards cut at 21.5” length (12 pieces)
Legs: 2 x 2” boards cut at 24” length (4 pieces)
Top + Bottom Slats: 1 x 3” cut at 16.5” width (8 pieces)
Interior Supports: 1 x 2” cut at 16.5” width (2 pieces) and 1 x 8” at 16.5” width (2 pieces)
Criss Cross Pattern: 1 x 2” cut at 42 degree (4 pieces at 22.5” length) and 7 degree angles (8 pieces cut at 10.5”length (see diagram below))
Tool + Supply List:
Compound miter saw; Kreg Jig; measuring tape; safety eyewear; power screwdriver; brad nailer (or hammer and brad nails); wood screws, sander, respirator (for sanding and spray priming/painting); paint or stain, wood (see cut list).
We built and assembled these as a team, first Matt cut all the boards we needed for the planters (see cut list above) – safety eyewear is important when working a miter saw, splinters can fly! (hey do you recognize that table? yeah, that’s how we roll.)
I assembled each of the sides and nailed them all together with our brad nailer – you could also use simple brad nails and a hammer.
We used a Kreg Jig to drill holes in the interior of each side, two in each corner. (is it just me or do you also love the smell of sawdust? It’s one of my favorite smells ever, strange but true.)
Next we added a wood screws on the interior, one on each 1 x 6” board to keep it all tight.
The holes from the Kreg Jig make it easy to assemble four sides quickly with a power drill.
As a last step in the assembly, we used rough cut 1 x 8” lumber to make two slats and stabilized them 14” below the top (see Ana’s plans for further details).
Some of the corners were a little rough so I smoothed them out with an orbital sander, but a mouse or detail sander would work too.
To make the criss cross X pattern you have to cut your 1” x 2” boards at the right angle with the saw so that they line up with the top and bottom boards.
If you duplicate, your angles may be different but for ours, the first criss cross board edge was cut at a 42 degree angle.
We cut the smaller pieces to form the “X” at a 7 degree angle where they meet in the middle to form the X.
Here’s a diagram for reference (but make angle adjustments for your own planter box pattern).
Attach 1 long piece and 2 short pieces on each side to form the criss cross pattern.
At this point you’re done assembling them – leave them in a natural state and coat them with an outdoor Polyurethane or stain them (I’m crushing on Weathered Gray like on this planter bench), or paint them which is what I did.
I used one can of Zinsser Bullseye primer on each one (water based primers are better outdoors, not the oil based Cover Stain which is what I use on furniture and cabinets indoors). Make sure you wear a respirator when you spray paint to avoid breathing the fumes.
After the primer dried, I applied two coats of white paint in “Raindrops” by Glidden, they make a water based mildew resistant formula that works well outdoors. I also used some paintable caulking to fill in a few wider gaps between boards (not shown).
Inside each finished planter, I added weed barrier to support the soil – water can get through it but I also l punched a bunch of holes in the bottom to guarantee good drainage.
I planted a dwarf Meyer lemon tree in each one – this variety will do well in full sun (our courtyard faces west) and it will be so great having more citrus in the yard. Lemonade! Limoncello! Lemon cake! Lemon tart! Lemon anything, amen.
These outdoor planters are totally custom, completely gorgeous, and handmade! I’m so proud of this project!
They perfectly frame our set of French doors – our dining room is on the other side and this is the view from the kitchen door.
I thought this planter project would take longer than it did, and I was surprised how fast we assembled them once Matt made all the cuts. We spent more than I planned, I wanted each to be around $40 and we ended up spending twice that with the more expensive wood we chose – not the cheapest DIY project but so worth it since they make such a statement in the yard and we’ll have them forever. Wood prices vary by area and also by quality and type of wood so recreating them in your town may be much less expensive.
Isn’t it great when friends and family visit and say “where did you get that?” and your reply is “Oh, we made it!” That’s what I love about DIY, raise your hand if you agree!
This post is a collaboration with 3M™ TEKK Protection™ Brand – all words and opinions are my own.