DIY Projects

How to Build a Patio Planter

By: Danny Lipford

This outside planter is made entirely from pressure treated pine, so it will last for years. The sides are 17¾” wide on the front and 20¾” wide on the side, and the planter with mitered top measures a total of 24¾” high.

The planter is easy to build and is perfect for a patio, deck, or porch. Here’s how to go about building it.

Tools Needed:

  • Tape measure and pencil
  • Square
  • Hammer
  • Safety glasses
  • Circular saw, miter saw, or handsaw
  • Drill/driver (drill bits, countersink, screwdriver bits)

Materials List:

  • 3 – 2” x 4” x 10’ pressure treated pine
  • 6 – 1” x 4” x 8’ pressure treated pine
  • Landscape fabric
  • Corrosion resistant deck screws and nails

Cutting List:

  • Legs: 8 – 1½” x 3½” x 24”
  • Top and bottom inner frames, front: 4 – 1½” x 3½” x 11½”
  • Top and bottom inner frames, sides: 4 – 1½” x 3½” x 17½”
  • Mitered top, front: 2 – ¾” x 3½” x 18½”
  • Mitered top, sides: 2 – ¾” x 3½” x 21½”
  • Front and side boards: 12 – ¾” x 3½” x 20½”
  • Top and bottom rails: 8 – ¾” x 3½” x 10½”
  • Bottom: 4 – ¾” x 3½” x 17½”


Pressure treated wood is often slightly thicker and wider than standard dimension lumber and may require minor adjustments to the cutting list.

Building the Planter

Follow these steps-by-step instructions to make the patio planter.

Measure the legs and cut to length, making sure both end are square.

Nail or screw the legs together at a right angle, using a scrap as support.

Measure and cut the pieces for the two inner frames. Assemble the inner frames, so that the outside dimensions of each frame measure 14½” x 17½”.

Attach the 1” x 4” bottom pieces to the bottom the inner frame. Screw the legs to the frame, supporting it with scrap, so the frame is 3½” from one end of the legs.

Turn the planter over, and attach the other frame flush with the end of the legs. Next, attach the front and side boards to the top and bottom frames so they’re flush with the ends of the frames.

Attach the top and bottom rails so they are flush with the top and bottom front and side boards.

Miter the four top pieces so the inside of the miter is flush with the inside of the inner frame and attach to the top of the planter.

Drill several holes in the bottom to allow for drainage, line the planter with landscape fabric, fill with potting soil and plant.


Please Leave a Comment

20 Comments on “How to Build a Patio Planter”

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  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    September 7th, 2015 at 8:30 am

    Glad to hear the planters were a hit!

  • Ron Hogan Says:
    September 6th, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    Thanks Ben, sorry it took so long to get back to you. You were correct, and it did help. I made 2 for my wife and 1 for my daughter. They loved them.

  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    May 15th, 2015 at 8:51 am

    The cutting list is correct, there are 3 vertical 1×4 side boards between the corners on each side of the planter for a total of 12 side boards. The 2×4 corner legs are butt joined, with the wider part of each corner facing the wide sides, making the space between the corners on each of the sides 10½”. Hope that helps!

  • Ron H Says:
    May 15th, 2015 at 12:12 am

    You say that you need 12 side and front boards of 1 x 4.
    Should it not be 14 as you show 4 boards for the sides and 3 boards for the front? I’m almost finished but need to order the 1 x 4’s yet. Adding up your requirements on the 1 x 4’s I should have 2 feet of wood left for the 2 extra sides, is this correct?

    I watch your show every weekend.

  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    May 23rd, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Hi Mary,
    We have several videos we just posted on playsets at Tips for Purchasing a Childen’s Play Set and Tips for Installing a Play Set in Your Yard. While they don’t contain detailed plans for building your own play set, they do have some good general information on the subject. Good luck with your project!

  • Mary Doughty Says:
    May 22nd, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    This is great and easy, thank you. Would like to know if you have listing on how to MAKE YOUR OWN play gym and swing set for children. I would like to make my own for my five gransons. Please reply to my email. Thank you,
    Mary Doughty


  • Jessica Says:
    March 23rd, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Great! Thanks again.

  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    March 23rd, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Since the framing is made from 2x4s, you should be able to go to one and a half to two times the size listed above with no problems.

  • Jessica Says:
    March 22nd, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Thanks for those dimensions. Now any advice on scaling this planter to a large size? The framing seems beefy enough to handle a slightly larger scaling of it, but I wanted to see if you any suggestions.

  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    March 22nd, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Hi Jessica,
    The inner dimensions of the patio planter are 11½” by 14½” with an inside height of 17” measured from the bottom to the top of the mitered frame.
    Good luck with your project!

  • Jessica Says:
    March 21st, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    Finally, a great plan for a simple and elegant (and substantial) planter! Can you give me the inner dimensions of the planter? I also wanted to get your opinion on scaling this plater to a larger size…any advice or suggestions about how big I can go? Thanks again for the great project…very doable and can’t wait to do it.

  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    February 18th, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Hi Joel,
    The bottom of the planter is made from pressure treated pine to prevent rotting. The gaps between the planks will allow water to drain, but it wouldn’t hurt to drill a few holes in the bottom as well.
    Good luck with your project!

  • Joel Says:
    February 17th, 2010 at 10:15 am

    So is there a certain type of wood needed for the bottom of the planter? Does there need to be holes for water drainage? Does the wood rot over time or can you treat it beforehand?

  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    October 5th, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Hi Bonnie,
    I added another photo of the finished planter at the end of the article. Hope that helps!

  • Bonnie Says:
    October 3rd, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Do you have a different photo of the patio planter? The photo on the web site isn’t a very good representation of the item.

  • Roberta Says:
    June 5th, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Due to water drainage from our neighbor we cannot plant in our dirt and would like to create raised planters. We are seniors and my spouse is disabled. How large could this planter be made supports needed etc. Thanks

  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    May 28th, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Hi Nancy,
    Glad to know the planter worked out. You could use plastic sheeting (black holds up better), just be sure to punch holes in the bottom corresponding to the drain holes. Another option would be to place a large pot or bucket inside the planter to hold the soil and plant.

  • Nancy M. Says:
    May 27th, 2009 at 10:21 am

    The planter is finished and it looks great on our patio! Could you suggest any alternatives for the landscape fabric? I can only find the fabric in very large quantities.

  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    May 26th, 2009 at 9:18 am

    Hi Nancy,
    Glad it helped. We hope to post plans for the planter with it in the future but wanted to get it up as soon as possible since we have had several requests for it.

  • Nancy M. Says:
    May 26th, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Thank you for posting the directions for the Patio Planter. I am nearly finished with the planter. It would have been helpful to have a schematic drawing, in addition to the photos, of each step.

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How to Build a Patio Planter