A lifestyle website, for a girl with no life

DIY Planter Box

Our best bet for growing any plants involves a planter box. If we plant anything closer to the ground, it either freezes or gets eaten by bunnies.

We built a jumbo planter box 2 years ago and use it as our vegetable garden. The beast measures 10 feet by 4 feet, and holds a whole lot of plants. It’s really hard to weed, though, because it’s so wide. My little T-Rex arms can’t reach all the way across, so it’s pretty unkempt for most of the growing season. However, it’s a lot easier to access plants when the ground is higher, so we’re big planter box fans.

Planter box #2

My gentleman friend suggested we build a second planter box on the side of our house, next to our stairwell. This narrow stairwell is not our main entrance, but it comes in handy for compost disposal and grocery trips. It’s very visible from the driveway, and we unfortunately let it become an eyesore.

planter box area before

Old pallets provide such a decorative touch, don’t you think? Especially with weeds growing through the boards…Landscaping 101 right there.

Not only is the stairwell narrow, it’s an odd shape. The steps are very steep, so it’s a sharp angle to the ground. But, my gentleman friend had no problem visualizing the final product, so we got to work.


  • Hemlock boards x 6 (1″ x 6″ rough cut)
  • Pressure-treated deck boards
    • 5  of the 1-1/4″ x 6″
    • 3 of the 1-1/4″ x 4″
  • Support posts (4″ x 4″)
  • 1 sheet of lattice
  • Screws
  • Nails
  • Glue

The big build

We used the existing stairwell support posts as the starting and middle points.

planter box 2 sides

We placed the level on each board before it was secured to the posts to ensure the box was straight. You can see how even our ground is by the giant gaps under the bottom boards. The whole yard is a tripping hazard, frankly.

For the remaining 2 sides, we placed 4″ x 4″ posts in the 3 corners for support, plus a smaller one in the middle front.

planter box 4 sides

(Pay no attention to the super-large gap on the right side…we added another board to the bottom after this picture was taken.)

My gentleman friend broke out the reciprocating saw to trim the tops off the 4″ x 4″ posts for a nice, even top. At this point, we started dumping rocks into the box. Not only does this provide good drainage for the soil that will eventually live here, we get rid of the bajillion rocks that keep showing up in our yard. #winwin

planter box inside

It contains big rocks, small rocks, and everything in between.

Finishing touches

Three pressure-treated deck boards were trimmed at 45 degree angles to make a top cap for the box.

planter box angled cap

We used both screws and glue to hold these corners together, since our winter weather tends to split our outdoor wood builds with mitered cuts.

At this point, the box itself is perfectly fine. But it looks boring with just the stairwell behind it.

Enter the lattice. We leaned the lattice against the stairwell and drew a line on it for trimming. Once again, the reciprocating saw made an appearance.

Shop safety moment: Cutting a sheet of lattice basically shreds the wood and sends it flying in all directions, so wear every possible piece of protective gear you can find.

To give the lattice a finishing touch, we cut pieces of the smaller pressure-treated boards to serve as a frame. These were partially nailed to the stairwell, and the lattice was slid behind them to cover the edges.

planter box lattice frame

However, we had a small problem:

planter box lattice triangle

The lattice didn’t cover the entire opening under the stairwell. And that opening could easily allow free access to bunnies (or larger, scarier critters).

Luckily, the lattice that we cut earlier left a triangle that was the perfect angle to sneak into this opening.

planter box lattice triangle closed

A little extra gravel around the bottom, and the gaping triangle was no more.

The finished product

Here she is, in all her glory:

planter box final

Now we just need some dirt, and some plants. The dirt we’ll get before the snow hits us, but the plants can wait until next year.

I’m going to plant so many sunflowers in here, and they’re going to be beautiful, damn it. I can tie any flimsy or super-tall flowers to the lattice as well, so it’s pretty and functional. What more can you ask for?

Leave a Reply