Disclaimer: we aren't professionals

Thanks for reading our silly little blog! As the disclaimer says, we aren't professionals in either blogging or house stuff, but we try. This is mostly to let our friends and family know what we've destroyed so far in the house. We post irregularly and usually forget to take pictures, so thanks for your patience, and please feel free to comment with your thoughts and suggestions!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Veggie Tales: building a planter box

Because we are a bunch of tree-hugging hippies*, Chris wanted to have a garden somewhere in the backyard so we could grow vegetables (like tomatoes, which is weird because he only eats them in ketchup, salsa, or sauce form, and not even chunky sauce).

*(Chris has informed me that
i am the sustainabilitist
you are a normal person
with good intent")

Unfortunately, the backyard is shady due to the eleventybillion pine trees, and gardens like full sun. I have noticed that our deck is sunny (and that there is a stump next to it, so it is probably only recently sunny). So we were like hey, let's make a garden on/near the deck! And so the idea of a planter box was born.

The easiest and cheapest way to get the size we needed was to find some plans to build our own. A quick google search revealed this site. Most of the stuff on there is irrelevant, but this lady had made her own urban garden container and has plans available for free download. This particular box is 6' x 2', which is a lot bigger than most of the other plans, which are basically for making window boxes.

We downloaded the plans and modified them a little to suit our needs. She used redwood, which is a) expensive and b) I'm a hippie National-Geographic-reading tree-hugger who doesn't want to encourage the harvest of redwoods. Therefore we just used pressure-treated wood. Because we don't want chemicals leaching into the soil and our veggies, we decided to line the box with plastic sheeting and put trim over the top to hide the staples. The bottom is supposed to be made out of fence planks. Since we need to leave gaps for drainage, and we still don't want chemicals getting into the soil, we'll use cedar planks over charcoal-fiberglass screen mesh so that soil doesn't fall out through the cracks for drainage, but also that it isn't in contact with any fiberglass stuff. We would have just used landscape fabric, but it was about 3x the cost of the window screen.

Ok! So here are pics of the building process!

Plans from teh interwebz


Mighty miter saw

Boards being laid out (sort of). I cut those boards myself! 

See?! Now I know how to use a miter saw! I am unstoppable! (and safe: glasses, check; earplugs, check; pink work gloves, check!)

We laid the boards out for the sides of the box and screwed some side supports in

The ribs will be on the insides of the box

Attaching the short ends to the long sides. Again, note the awesome pink work gloves. Chris will never mistake them for his gloves. Also, we really need to epoxy that garage floor cuz it's splotchy green all over. Yuck. 

We flipped it over, put some 2x4s on the long sides to hold the cedar fence planks, attached 4x4 legs underneath the 2x4s, and flipped it back over.

You can see the lip formed by the 2x4s, and the inside corner supports.

The legs are attached using these 90-degree angle bracket thingies and exterior 2-1/2" screws. They're each 2' long, which means when they are resting on pavers on the ground, the bottom of the box will be just about level with the deck.

Here I've started to put the 4-mil clear plastic sheeting on the inside of the box. It's stapled top and bottom, and will be covered by 1x2 trim on the top and by the cedar fence planks on the bottom. 

So that's all the work I've done so far. I still need to:
  • plastic-ify the long sides
  • staple the screen on the bottom
  • cut and nail in the cedar planks
  • add the top trim
  • paint the outside of the box (probably not the legs, it's not worth it)
  • move it to beside the deck
  • fill with soil
  • plant seeds
  • ... etc. etc. to infinity and beyond


  1. If you have alot of pine trees, try planting azaleas if you have enough sun. Although pine needles' acid usually kills everything azaleas seem to love them :)

  2. I also found this video while trying to find ways to contribute to Sam's landscaping in the back which would help with pretty-ing up a shady backyard. Lots of helpful videos on the side too! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5qZUFyxGqU

  3. Wow guys, what a cool project! May sound crazy, but did you consider the roof? Lots of sunlight up there :)

    Can't wait to see the final product on Sunday!

  4. Lovely. The-Sustainabilitist-approved! :)