Last May, the Dude and I picked up the materials to build three planter boxes for our balcony. We finished building them in June, and I did the first two coats of paint shortly thereafter. I didn’t get around to painting the third coat until August. The plants were purchased and planted in September. And now it’s the end of October and I’m finally blogging about them.
These planters were supposed to be done in June but then life…
So anyway, I pretty much followed the instructions in this tutorial to build the planters except ours are much longer and they are not vertically stacked.
We have a super long balcony, and I’ve been wanting to plant some stuff to fill the space. When I looked up the price of modern fiberclay rectangular planters I choked and decided to DIY it using wood and a few coats of paint.
We picked up all our materials from Home Depot, and the cost of making the three planters came just under $200 (materials are listed below). I can’t even buy ONE fiberclay planter in the same size for $200!
I planted blue oat grass, an evergreen grass, which I got from Hunters Garden Centre in Kits. Blue oat grass doesn’t need much water, which is a good thing, because watering plants is a chore I prefer to do sporadically. For soil I combined container mix and landscape soil.
The plants look a bit wispy at the moment but perhaps by next year they will fill out. I just hope they don’t die during the winter because that’ll be $120 that just withers away.
1 – 2” x 8’ x 12’ pressure treated wood
1 – 2” x 8’ x 10’ pressure treated wood
18 – 1’ x 6’ x 4’ cedar
12 – 3” screws
72 – 1 ½” screws
1 – roll of landscape fabric
1 gallon – exterior white paint (I used untinted Behr exterior paint)
Tips for making rectangular planter boxes
- Pre-drilling all the pilot holes is a must when constructing the boxes. It’ll make things go much faster and easier.
- The tutorial says to use deck screws but we used regular ones for the 3” screws.
- For the gaps between the boards on the long side of the planter, we just eyeballed it. To prevent soil from seeping out through the gaps, I stapled landscape fabric in the inside of the box.
- For drainage, place empty milk jugs at the bottom of the box, put a sheet of landscape fabric on top of the milk jugs so the soil doesn’t fall through, and then plant your plants on top of the sheet. Another reason I created the false bottom was to avoid filling the entire box with soil.
- If using white paint it’s worth doing 3 coats. I found that 2 coats wasn’t enough for an opaque finish.
The great thing about making these ourselves, besides the satisfaction of building something with our bare hands, is that it allowed us to make them the exact dimensions that worked for the space. When I was shopping around for planter boxes they were either too big, too small, or the wrong colour (and definitely the wrong price!).
I’m pretty happy with how these planters turned out, and I hope they’ll look better as they age and get weathered.
Shortly after planting the blue oat grass, I felt inspired to go get more plants. I had some leftover soil, so why not? Here’s a cheerful collection of potted greenery, mostly herbs.
Our balcony is finally coming together, and I look forward to spending more time out on it next summer to enjoy our new plants.