How to Build a Planter Box: Budget Build :

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How to Build a Planter Box: Budget Build

Build these simple large garden planter box on a serious budget

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This is the year, the year our dream garden comes to life.

When we bought this little plot of land three years ago, we knew we wanted to have a garden… eventually.

The house needed a ton of work first though, so the “dream garden” took a back seat. Now that we have the house under semi-control we decided it was time to work on our garden.

How to Build a Planter Box: Budget Build

Last year Adam assembled us a small makeshift garden. It consisted of two long planter boxes made out of existing railroad ties the previous owners left us. That worked perfectly fine last year, but this year we wanted to start from scratch.

We recently leveled the ground for our new garden and fenced in the area with 4×4 boards and wire fencing.

We still need to create some kind of “floor” using gravel and make some fancier updates to the fence, but for now we are ready to start planting!

How to Build a Planter Box: Budget Build

I knew from the previous garden I wanted to use raised garden bed planter boxes for our vegetables and flowers. So I started shopping around and found out real quick just how expensive they are…

Since I don’t want to spend our life savings buying garden planter boxes I decided to grab some wood and DIY our own version.

DIY Planter Box Supplies:

  • (6) 2×6 Boards
  • (4) 4×4 Boards
  • Exterior Paint
  • 3-1/2″ Exterior Screws

DIY Raised Garden Box

Constructing these planter boxes was honestly super simple and we chose the planter box sizes so that we had zero waste.

If you are adding these planter boxes to a new garden, I highly recommend mapping out where the garden beds will go with spray paint first. This made visualizing our garden layout so much easier.

By mapping out the garden bed arrangement first we were also able to easily see how many and what size garden beds would work best. We DIY-ed two sizes, medium planter boxes (5’x3′) and large planter boxes (8’x4′).

Here is the cut list per box for each size:

DIY Large Garden Planter box cut list

Medium Planter Boxes:

  • (6) 2×6 @36″
  • (6) 2×6 @60″
  • (4) 4×4 @18″

Large Planter Boxes:

  • (6) 2x8x8
  • (6) 2x4x4
  • (6) 4×4 @18″

Planter Box Construction

Start by cutting the boards to size using a miter saw. For the medium planter boxes we cut one board at 60″ and the remainder came out to be 36″. So we were able to create one short and one long side piece out of the same board.

After the long and short side pieces were cut, we started cutting the 4×4 supports. For ours we chose a length of 18″ so that the support pieces would stick out slightly taller than the planter box itself. We did this so that later we can add solar powered cap lights to the four corners.

For the large planter boxes no cuts were necessary besides the 4×4 support pieces. We plan on using these large planter boxes for pumpkins, squash, etc.

Assembling the Garden Planter Boxes

DIY Large Garden Planter box cut list

Now that all the pieces are cut it’s time to start assembling the garden planter boxes. Try to assemble the boxes on a relatively flat surface if possible.

Start by assembling the two long side pieces. Clamp one of the 4×4 support pieces to the inside of a long side piece. The long side piece should be flush with the end of the 4×4.

Assembling the Garden Planter Boxes

Use a framing square to make sure the angles are correct.

With the side piece clamped to the support, use 3-1/2″ exterior wood screws to secure the pieces. Drill from the side piece into the support piece.

Once one side is attached, repeat the same process at the other end. Construct two long sides total to start.

Assembling the Garden Planter Boxes

After the long sides are built, add the small sides to each end using clamps. The small side pieces should cover the edge of the long side pieces.

Assembling the Garden Planter Boxes

Screw these side pieces in with the same exterior screws. I did not use wood glue also but you definitely can.

Assembling the Garden Planter Boxes

Now that you have the bottom half of the planter box complete, continue building the side pieces up until you have three layers.

This is what the completed planter box should look like:

Assembling the Garden Planter Boxes

Finishing the Garden Planter Box

After the planter boxes are built you can fill the screw holes with wood filler and sand them down.

I will be honest and say I didn’t do either of those things, because these planter boxes aren’t for “show” and I didn’t mind the screw holes.

Finishing the Garden Planter Box

If you plan on staining these planter boxes I do recommend sanding them though. Sanding the wood before staining will help the stain adhere better.

For our planter boxes I used my favorite exterior paint, Black by Behr. This paint goes on really smooth, I have used it for multiple outdoor projects and it holds up amazingly!

I applied two coats total to the planter boxes, but I did not completely paint the inside of them. I only painted one board deep since the rest will be covered with filler, dirt, etc.

How to Layer a Raised Garden Bed

After the planter boxes were built we placed them into the new garden area, leveling them as best we could.

These planter boxes are obviously pretty deep so to save money we added multiple layers before adding the topsoil. Remember we are trying to build an inexpensive planter box, not spend $100’s on topsoil alone.

How to Layer a Raised Garden Bed

We started by filling the bottom with large branches and wood to take up space. Next we added a layer of cardboard, followed by a layer of dead leaves, plants, etc. Finally we topped the planter box with topsoil.

How to Layer a Raised Garden Bed

Layering a large planter box is a great way to save money and use up natural materials like dead leaves and grass clippings.

DIY Planter Box

Now we are officially ready to start planting, well after the last freeze happens…

How to Build a Planter Box: Budget Build

The “dream garden” is one step closer to being complete and I can’t wait to watch the vegetables and flowers grow. .

How to Build a Planter Box: Budget Build
How to Build a Planter Box: Budget Build

We still have a lot of projects to complete in this garden but for now we are ready to start planting. Next on the list will be adding a garden trellis for our snap peas, tomatoes, and cucumbers. 

How to Build a Planter Box: Budget Build

Let me know what you think of our inexpensive DIY planter box build and when you plant to start planting.

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