The Best Teak Oil For Outdoor Furniture

Teak furniture is a great investment, but you need to care for it properly if you want your furniture to look great for years to come.

You might have heard the best way to do this is to use teak oil and now be wondering which teak oil to use.  Let’s take a look at the best teak oil for outdoor furniture.

best teak oil for outdoor furniture

Teak needs a little TLC and a regular coat of oil to stay looking its best. Credit: Shutterstock

What’s the best teak oil for garden furniture?

All teak oils may look very similar, but they aren’t all made the same. Different brands use different mixes of ingredients. This leads to differences in quality as well as price.  Before you run off to buy teak oil, however, you might want to know that the best treatment for outdoor teak furniture is NOT teak oil.

If you’re doing research online or buying teak furniture from an online store, you might unintentionally be given bad advice. A lot of the online stores don’t have contact with the furniture and therefore doesn’t really care if the care instructions are correctly given or not.

You don’t need to apply teak oil to newly bought teak furniture. Teak wood contains its own natural oil that will keep the wood safe from weather, pest and rot damage. By applying more oil, you can create a sticky residue on the furniture since very little oil will be absorbed. This happens due to the wood being already saturated with its own oil.

Worst case scenario, applying extra oil may actually lead to the natural oils being depleted. Commercial teak oil contains ingredients that may contain some chemicals that break down natural teak oil. Over time your furniture will start to look dry and become vulnerable to outside damage caused by pests, weather and rot.

Why teak oil can harm your outdoor teak furniture

Teak is one of the best woods for garden furniture and may look great with that golden hue after being oiled, but over time you will notice the colour of your furniture fading away faster. Even the best teak oil doesn’t seem to keep up with the damage being done to the exterior of your furniture.

This is due to the oil actually causing the damage. If you apply teak oil to furniture that still contains its own natural oils, the teak oil won’t be absorbed by the wood. This creates a moist residue on your furniture and the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, mould and fungi.  You may notice dark spots appearing on the surface of the wood. These black spots are caused by fungi or mould growth that is fed by the unabsorbed surface oil.

Artificial teak oil also contains chemicals that break down natural oils in the wood. This exposes the wood to rot, weather damage and pests.

How to keep your teak furniture looking as good as new

Teak wood naturally turns a silvery grey colour as it ages. If you don’t mind this process, you can simply let it happen and your wooden furniture will look great for years to come. The wood will stay weather, rot and pest resistant for much longer as well.

aged teak furniture

Aged teak furniture can look beautiful. Credit: Farawayfurniture

To care for your teak furniture, simply use teak cleaner to deeply clean your furniture every few months. This will keep your furniture dirt-free and looking great.

If you would like to keep the stunning golden hue of newly bough teak furniture around for longer, you can consider using teak sealant to lock in the colour. Teak wood fades due to oxidation and UV ray damage. If you seal the wood, the oxidation process is slowed down and UV rays are blocked from the surface.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean the wood won’t lose its colour over time. There are special sealants on the market specifically designed for use on teak. These sealants shouldn’t affect the natural oils in the wood keeping it weather, rot and pest resistant. The sealant will only need reapplying once a year if done correctly.

The best oil for teak

If you still prefer to oil your teak furniture instead, there are a few options to choose from.

before and after teak oil treatment of wood

Before and after applying teak oil. Credit: Shutterstock

Keep in mind that you will need to reapply the oil every one to three months to keep your furniture looking great. If you’re not scared to do the work, consider the following oils for your teak furniture:

Starbrite Premium Golden Teak Oil

This oil has a reputation for preserving the golden hue of teak for a long time. This oil is also quite gentle on your teak which means it will keep the surface in good condition for longer than most. Once your teak gets older and loses some of its natural oils, this teak oil will penetrate the wood preventing it from getting damaged.

Furniture Clinic Teak Oil

This oil is quite thick in viscosity and is often used to resurrect old, damaged wooden furniture. It is meant for teak and other hardwoods. The main ingredients in this oil are tung oil as well as linseed oil. It does take much longer to dry than most oils so make sure not to apply it too thickly.

FAQs

Is there a difference between teak oil and danish oil?

The main difference between teak oil and danish oil is the way they dry. Teak oil usually dries to a matt finish where danish oil has a more glossy finish.

How often should you oil teak garden furniture?

Every 2 to 3 months. The oil will only preserve the teak colour for around two to three months before it will start fading. At this point, you will need to reapply the oil.

How do you protect outdoor teak furniture?

The best way to protect outdoor teak furniture is to apply a teak sealant. The sealant will prevent oxidation and UV damage which in turn will preserve the golden hue of your furniture for longer.

Why Is Well-Draining Soil Important For Plant Health?

As gardeners, we often hear about the importance of well-draining soil, but what does that really mean and how does it affect our plants?

In this article, we will look at the importance of well-draining soil for plant health, how to recognise drainage problems and what to do about them.

Why is well-draining soil important?

Well-drained soil has spaces between the soil particles which hold water and oxygen. These two elements are both necessary to keep your plants healthy.

Well-drained soil retains water for long enough to allow roots to absorb what they need but also drains quickly enough to allow the plant’s roots to keep breathing.

watering sprouts

Credit: Shutterstock

If your soil retains water for too long, it can cause the plant to drown and develop root rot in the process. Poorly drained soil also makes it very difficult for the roots to grow and spread since the soil particles are packed so tightly together.

How to check soil drainage

If you’re worried about your soil not draining quickly enough, you can do a simple test to determine how fast it lets water through. Dig a hole of around 30 centimetres (12 inches) wide and deep (it doesn’t have to be exact) and fill it with water.

Once the water drains, fill it again and take note of how long the second round of water takes to drain.  If you have soil that drains well, you should notice around a 2.5 to 5 centimetre (1-2 inch) drop in water level every hour. If your soil drains any slower or faster than that, you might have to make some adjustments.

Benefits of well-drained soil

Well-drained soil has quite a few benefits for plants. Here are the most important ones:

Signs of poorly drained soil

If you have poorly drained soil, it will become obvious pretty quickly. Water will pool instead of draining away and the soil will be very compacted. Poorly drained soil usually contains a lot of clay.  In clay soils, the particles are very small making it easy for them to create a dense, near solid structure. There is very little space for anything in between these particles which includes water and oxygen.

It is also very difficult for plants to push these particles apart to expand their root systems. This can lead to poor growth and even death unless you choose a plant that prefers these conditions.

earth and clay

Clay soil holds a large amount of water; credit: Shutterstock

If your plant prefers well-drained soil, you will quickly notice a loss of vitality, dull, yellowing leaves, a horrible smell coming from the base of the plant due to root rot and even mould growth on the soil. Very quickly you will notice falling leaves and your plant will rot away and die.

Problems with soil that drains too well

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you get sandy soils that drain too well. In this type of soil, the water drains through so quickly that the plant can’t absorb enough of it to sustain itself. If this is your soil, you will notice signs of drought stress in your plants such as:

basil plant wilting

When the soil drains too well plants suffer from drought stress; credit: Shutterstock

How to improve soil drainage

It is fairly simple to correct drainage for both clay and sandy soils. Simply add organic matter like shredded leaves, compost, hemlock bark, or peat to your soil. You can even use a combination of these for the best results.

For poorly drained soils, organic matter that doesn’t absorb water like hemlock bark works best. The bark will increase the airspace between the particles which will, in turn, improve drainage and aeration.

pine tree bark mulch

Fix poorly drained soils with tree bark; credit: Shutterstock

In soils that drain too fast, compost, peat and shredded leaves work great to retain some water. This will allow the plants to absorb what they need before it all drains away.

For the best results, your amendments must make up at least 30% of the total volume of your garden bed. If you’re unsure how much to use, simply spread around 7.5 to 10 centimetres (3-4 inches) of organic matter across the surface of your garden bed.

Make sure to work this organic matter well into the first 20 to 30 centimetres (8-12 inches) of soil to improve drainage enough for plants to survive.

FAQs

What happens to plants with poor drainage?

Plants that are left to stand in saturated soil for a long time will start to develop root rot, their growth will be affected, the leaves will turn yellow and start to fall off. If the plant is closely inspected you will notice lesions where the leaves burst due to being too swollen with water.

plant dying

Over saturated soil causes root rot; credit: Shutterstock

Eventually, the plant will slowly wither away and die.

Which is the fastest draining soil?

The fastest draining soil type is sandy soil. The particles are very large which creates large air pockets between them. This allows water to drain through very quickly.

What are the 6 types of soil?

Soil is classified into 6 categories namely clay soil, loamy soil, peaty soil, chalky, silty soil and sandy soil. Of all these soils, loamy soil is the best for creating a well-drained substrate for plants.

How to Improve Your Garden Soil in 6 Steps

High-quality soil is essential for growing healthy, strong plants. Whether you want better yields from crops, more abundant blooms from flowering plants, or to simply give your foliage a better chance against pests and diseases, the condition of your soil is a fundamental factor. Knowing how to improve your garden soil is important; keeping it in a good condition is a continuous process that needs to be worked on every season.

a gardening fork and trowel on  a background of dark soil

The basics of great garden soil

The best garden soil to support your plants will be rich in nutrients, minerals, beneficial microorganisms and organic matter. Its consistency should both absorb water and allow for drainage, support your plant while still creating room for root development and provide air circulation. Improving your soil is about understanding deficiencies in the earth that you have, and rebalancing its composition so that it can nourish your plants and support all everything growing in it.

Soil naturally ranges in consistency, from heavy and clay-based to light and sandy. Clay compacts easily, becomes waterlogged and ultimately suffocates plants. Sandy soil, on the other hand, allows moisture to drain faster than plants can absorb it. The ideal consistency is somewhere in the middle, where the soil has a loamy consistency and is rich in organic matter.

How to improve your garden soil in 6 steps

Any type of soil can be transformed into healthy garden soil with a little dedication and hard work. Improving your soil takes time and is an ongoing process. Organic matter needs to be replenished frequently to keep the cycle going. Below are seven ways you can improve garden soil.

close-up of a hand holding earth - how to improve your garden soil

1. Start by testing your soil

You won’t know what’s going on with your soil unless you look. Start by identifying the type of soil you have – whether it’s chalky, clay-based, sandy etc. –  you can usually add some water to it and feel the consistency between your fingers. The Royal Horticultural Society has some great information on understanding soil types.

The next step is to understand the current composition and mineral balance of your soil. You can get a professional survey done, but it will be much cheaper to start with a home testing kit, which you can find at most garden centres or buy online. Soil tests will tell you about the levels of nitrogen, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulphur, organic matter and lead in your garden, as well as the pH balance. Knowing this will help you understand how to improve your garden soil by boosting elements that are deficient.

It’s good practice to carry out a soil test every few years to check the balance of your soil, and that your routine for conditioning your soil is working properly.

garden compost ideas: a small enclosure made from pallets to keep a compost pile contained

2. Combine it with compost

The simplest thing you can do to improve your garden soil quality is to mix decomposed organic matter – compost – into your flower beds and vegetable patches. It improves the soil structure, feeds the microorganisms living in it and helps your garden earth retain nutrients and moisture, while allowing better drainage and air circulation. Compost can also neutralise your soil’s pH, and generally give your plants the support they need to fend off disease.

Compost is made from natural, carbon-based materials that have broken down – like grass clippings, coffee grounds, dried leaves, vegetable scraps and untreated cardboard. Once it’s decomposed together, the consistency of compost will create vital pockets of air in clay-based soil, and help sandier earth clump together so that plants can thrive. It will also provide organic matter for tiny organisms in the soil to consume and convert into the nutrients your plants need to feed on.

Making your own compost is a great way to sustainably manage some of your household waste. Our complete guide to composting will tell you more.

a wheelbarrow full of well-rotted animal manure to improve garden soil

3. Mix in manure

Aged animal manure from chickens, cows, rabbits, horses and sheep will improve your soil structure, and is high in nutrients that will fertilise your soil. It’s important that you use well-rotted manure that’s at least several months old, as fresh manure can harm both plants and humans.

If you’re buying manure, it’s important that it comes from animals that haven’t been eating hay or grass covered with pesticides. These chemicals can pass through into the manure, and then remain in your soil for a long time.

garden tips for selling your home include putting mulch on your flower beds

4. Add a layer of mulch

Covering the surface of your garden beds with mulch is going to improve your garden soil in several ways. It’s great for helping your soil retain its moisture and keep the ground cool and, more importantly, mulch will also slowly break down to release more nutrients into the soil. Plus, mulch stifles weed growth and makes your garden look more attractive, with uniformly-mulched beds that look neat and tidy.

a row of crops covered in mulch, between two wooden sleepers for walking on

5. Keep your soil loose

Compacted soil is bad news for your garden. Not only does it limit water flow and stifle the microorganisms that create the nutrients for your plants to feed on, it makes it harder for your plants to grow the fine roots they need to search for water and nutrients elsewhere. It’s a vicious circle, and usually results in dehydrated soil that starves the foliage above.

There are several things that contribute to compacted soil, but all of them can be fixed. Clay-based soil is the most likely to become compacted, especially after heavy rain or snow. Regularly mixing in loamy compost will help to rebalance the texture of clay-based soil. Waterlogged soil will also compact easily, which is why it’s important not to over-water your garden, and to allow it a couple of days to drain after wet weather.

The final thing you can do is avoid walking over the soil you intend to grow plants in. It’s much better to have designated flower beds with lawns or paths between them that you can walk on.

6. Rotate your crops

Crop rotation is an essential part of growing vegetables in your garden long-term, as different plants will absorb different elements from the soil. There will also be a build-up of soil-based pests and diseases that target particular crops, so planting something different in the same soil the following year will kill off most of the pests and keep the soil healthy. Failing to rotate your crops will force them to struggle against depleted soil nutrients and greater numbers of pests and pathogens that can cause problems.

Three years is the recommended gap between planting the same crop in the soil. So, the best routine is to divide your vegetable bed into four sections, and rotate the crops into a new section each year (bonus points if you can leave one section fallow for a year). It’s also helpful to know that some plants can replenish certain components in the soil – for example, peas and nasturtiums will deposit nitrogen back into the ground, which is useful after growing a nitrogen-hungry crop, like corn or brassicas.


Learning how to improve your garden soil is the best way to grow happy, healthy plants and crops year after year. Although there’s no quick fix, consistently conditioning your soil will reward you with stronger plants, higher-quality crops and bigger, brighter blooms. Happy growing!

How to Make a Triangular Planter Box

Triangular planter boxes are very unusual and they’re an easy shape to construct. A triangle can be joined to any straight line in your garden environment such as the back of a bench or a wall.

You can decide the length and depth of your planter which can be positioned on the wall or ground. Triangular planter boxes often seem to be made of wood but there are plenty of ceramic, metal, and plastic versions available too.

Do you want to DIY your own triangular bench? Interior or exterior, this shape offers interest anywhere. Keep reading for ideas and plans!

Deluxe exterior triangular planter box

Who wouldn’t dream of lounging about on this double bench? With a triangular planter box attached to the back of the bench, imagine this filled with lavender in summer or wallflowers in spring.

triangular planter box

Image credit: @decustomtrades

You could make it in attractive wood with a visible grain. The planter would need lining in order to plant flowers.  What a fantastic place to relax with a cool drink after the backbreaking work of mowing the lawn!

Raised bed vegetable triangles

If the allotment is more your style, try triangular shapes for vegetable planters.

triangular raised bed

Image credit: railwaysleepers.com

Wall-mounted triangular planter boxes

Use these attractive triangle-shaped planters to brighten up any wall or building, like a shed. Their unusual shape is eye-catching and if you fill them with trailing flowers they will look fantastic in any season.

wall mounted triangular planter boxes

Image credit: Woodshed Ltd

Think clematis, nasturtiums, and busy Lizzies in summer. Primroses, cyclamen and pansies would look stunning in spring. Herbs are another alternative – parsley, basil, and chives will thrive in these planters provided they get some direct sunshine.

These triangular boxes come ready-made from treated wood, which makes them long-lasting as well as beautiful. They’re made of tanalised timber from responsibly sourced forests.

Other materials for your triangular planter boxes.

Plastic is an ideal material for an indoor planter. A triangular shape makes it easy to position in a corner or you can use it as a centrepiece filled with flowers. It can also accommodate an easy-care, shade-tolerant plant, such as a spider or snake plant.

Glass. Although not strictly triangular, an exotic greenhouse or terrarium offers extra protection for delicate plants as well as being eye-catching and quirky in your home or garden.

concrete triangular planter boxes

Fill your home with quirky, triangular planters. These are made from concrete. Image credit: @livingart__official

DIY triangular beds

If you want to make your own large or small planter box, then the only limit is the space available and the material you use. If you have younger gardeners to help, make a recycled can planter box!

1. Tin can planter

You’ll need to collect 90-100 recycled cans. Most food cans have a 3 inch (7-8 cm) diameter so that’s 25 for each side plus a few extra to fill in any gaps.

  1. Wash them well and then stand them in the area where you want your planter bed.
  2. Measure the space available and then cut some cardboard as a guide to the pointed shape. Or make a string guide for the length of the planter and fix this in place with the string tied to sticks.
  3. Make one guide at 90 degrees as the right angle, then place 2 others at the other points of the shape. This is your outline and now you will add a row of cans to complete the triangular shape.
  4. Fill the cans with stones to keep them steady.
  5. Make the next line of tins and fill these too.
  6. Complete the triangular shape by adding more cans along the cardboard outline to suit your space.
  7. Once they are in place, create a lining by placing plastic or architectural fabric over the cardboard that’s already in place.
  8. All that is left is to think about drainage and then soil. Make some holes in the plastic. The cardboard will absorb lots of the water but may get waterlogged so make a few holes in this to allow excess water to drain away easily.

2. Brick planter

Bricks are another option. You will need some expertise to make the bed if you want to fix the bricks with cement. However, if you are happy to just lay them on top of each other and trust the soil to hold them in place, bricks can offer a rustic feel to any planter.

  1. Make a triangular shape in the same way as the tin can planter above, and position the bricks in the shape you want. There will be some issues at the corners and you will need to practise to get this correct! You can lay them at a right angle with one brick’s edge making the point of the triangle.
  2. If this all sounds like too much trouble, move on to the next option.
old brick triangular planter box

Stack old bricks to make an effective planter. Image credit: Pinterest

3. Large decorative dry stone planter

This is the easiest option of all 3. The stones will make a bumpy, textured edge to your triangular planter box, adding a natural finish and an excellent background for your plants to drape over. Farmers all over the world have found stones and slates when they were digging their land and used them to make a boundary for cattle or to define ownership of land. There are wonderful examples of dry stone walls worldwide. Go beachcombing or digging in the garden and wash the stones down well before placing them in shape.

stone planter

Hone your stone-walling skills and create an incredible planter. Image credit: Pinterest

Tina’s Tips

DIY corner planter box and plans

These links will give you some ideas on constructing your triangular planter box.

How to Make a Corner Box Planter

Corner box planters can be used indoors and outdoors to fill an under-utilised space with foliage and bright colours. They can sit beautifully on a shelf or fit neatly into the corner of a balcony or patio. Some outdoor planter boxes even incorporate a shelf in their design.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could try a pond corner box, bringing some wildlife and aquatic plants to your garden. Read on to discover the best design to suit your space and how to make it.

corner box planter

Image credit: @parkersplanters

There are a few things to consider before you start:

Weight

How much weight will your corner planter box have to take?

If it is mounted off the ground, consider the material of the planter box. If it’s made from wood, it’s likely to be heavy, especially when filled with soil. When you water it, the soil becomes heavier again so you may want to choose a plastic or wicker planter box.

If your planter is on the ground, you don’t need to worry about the weight. You can buy corner planters made from wood, plastic and ceramic to suit all budgets and spaces. However, if you decide to have a pond corner box, think carefully about the weight of the box and the water when it is filled up. See more below.

Light

How much light will your planter get in both summer and winter? Does the sun ever reach this corner? If not, you will need to ensure that you provide artificial lighting or that you choose shade-loving plants.

Indoors

Light can be provided by artificial bulbs but my advice is to place plants here that are tolerant of low light conditions. The snake plant, Sansevieria, Boston ferns and some palms will thrive and also improve the air quality. NASA ran some tests on many indoor plants to see which showed positive results for cleaning the air of toxins and these all proved to be successful.

triangle planter

Brighten a corner and improve indoor air quality at the same time. Image credit: @little_emerald_thumb

Outdoors

Ferns and hostas add wonderful foliage to shady corners and if there is sun higher up, you could plant a climber or even some bamboo which will climb to reach the light. All of these are frost tolerant – just check the label. If in doubt, you can move the planter under cover when the temperature plummets.

Watering

Will you be using a watering can or a self-watering system to water your plants? If the planter box is full of succulents, this task is easy peasy because they need infrequent watering but otherwise, you need to consider how to water if the corner box is in a hard-to-reach place.

Soil

Soil is the final component of your planter box. Think about the type of plants you intend to grow there. A sunflower will struggle to find enough nourishment in a small corner box but you can certainly plant herbs, which do not have very long roots or any number of colourful annuals.

Indoor corner planter boxes

Tall, metal corner planter boxes can fit nicely into urban indoor corners, their metallic finish contrasts beautifully with green foliage. The size of the planter will determine how tall the plants inside will grow.

A corner box planter on a shelf is a simple, inexpensive way to add some colour to the area. Choose plants to suit the light conditions.

An aquarium corner box planter is a great option if you have a large budget. Many aquarium suppliers offer options to fit a corner box aquarium in your living room.

There are some pretty, fern-like plants available that will add greenery to a lit tank. Buy some water snails in bright colours who will earn their keep by cleaning up the surface of the tank.

Outdoor corner planter box

Keep reading for some DIY options for your outdoor corner planter box.

My favourite corner planters are the tiered wooden boxes like the one pictured below. You would need some treated wood to make this and also to line the boxes to make it waterproof.

tiered wooden boxes corner planter

Image credit: @homeathomestore

You could grow tomatoes or climbing vegetables in the lower part of the box one year and decorative, colourful cabbages the next!

The top box could house herbs or colourful geraniums, pansies or sweet peas. If you decide on sweet peas, don’t forget that they will climb so add some bamboo supports at planting time. Another idea is to use flowers that hang over the edge, like trailing petunias. They will offer colour all summer long as long as you keep removing the old, wilted flowers.

For suggestions about which plants to use, see Best plants for a planter box

DIY aquarium corner box planter

Provided that you ensure it is waterproof by using a pond liner, then your outdoor corner box planter could have fish swimming in it and plants such as a dwarf waterlily or a climber.

DIY brick semi-circular corner planter box

Use up any old bricks leftover from building work by creating a shape to fill the corner. Find a corner space outside, where you can place a waterproof liner with bricks to hold it in shape. No cement will be used; the bricks will keep the liner in position and bricks can have some gaps, making an attractive pattern.

old brick triangular planter box

Stack old bricks to make an effective planter. Image credit: Pinterest

  1. Place a planter box liner to fit the space in the area, allowing extra for the vertical height of all sides of the planter box. You can cut it to fit the actual shape once you have draped the liner over the top layer of bricks
  2. Lay the first bricks in a semi-circle at the front of the planter box area, with the liner ready behind.
  3. Make sure all bricks on the ground are touching each other to make a semi-circle to fit the corner.
  4. Then, pull the liner up behind the bricks, as you lay the second layer of bricks and then a third. By now you have 3 bricks high and you can add soil to the level of the highest bricks. This may be deep enough, or you can add a fourth layer of bricks.
  5. Ensure that the edge of the liner is now underneath the last row of bricks you lay. Fold it in neatly and lay the bricks on top. This way, the liner won’t show and you can fill the corner box to the top with soil and compost.
  6. Plant up the box with your chosen plants

Corner planter box plans

Here are some ideas to download to help you construct your corner box planter:

10 Autumn Garden Jobs to Do Right Now

With the days growing shorter and temperatures falling, now is the perfect opportunity to go outdoors, tend to those autumn jobs and get your garden ready for winter.

autumn garden jobs to do now

What can I do with my garden in autumn?

Autumn is a tricky time of year in the gardening world. The once bright perennials have died back, leaves are falling and in general, the garden can look a bit of a mess. Tackling a little light pruning, clearing and tidying is well worth the effort and will save you precious time in spring.

Here’s a list of jobs you can tackle over the next few weeks to get your growing space in tip-top condition for the new year:

1. Tie back and prune

If you’re wondering what to cut back in your autumn garden read on! Tie back and prune climbing plants such as vines. You can also prune fruit bushes and trees like apple and pear to encourage the replacement of old shoots with healthy new growth. It’s also a great time to take cuttings from fruit bushes such as blackcurrant and gooseberry, in a few years you’ll have a good-sized, fruit-bearing plant.

autumn garden jobs

Cut any finished perennials back to ground level but leave those that have decorative seed heads such as alliums, teasels, hydrangea and Erygium (sea holly). They provide food for birds and the long stems create shelter for insects. You can cut them down in spring.

You can also cut back irises, lilies, salvia, rudbeckia and catmint.

2. Clean and tidy

clean up and tidy

Time for an autumn clean up. Image credit: @gardenfairysurrey

Clean and tidy the greenhouse, shed or polytunnel ready to receive spring plants. Don’t forget that you can re-use old compost too. If it looks very tired you can use it as mulch but if it’s free of roots and not compacted, it’ll be perfect in next year’s pots.

Autumn is a great time to clean out storage boxes and pack away garden furniture cushions if you haven’t already. Stack pots that housed summer flowers or plant some autumn and winter flowering blooms instead.

Rake up any leaves from deciduous trees. You’ll need to do this a few times as more leaves fall but it’s worth keeping on top of it to prevent damage to grass and other plants. Rotted leaf matter makes excellent compost so add it to your existing compost heap or consider building one. You can also use leaves as mulch.

3. Tackle light weeding

Tackle light weeding now and it will save you precious time in spring. Weeding can burn between 200-400 calories an hour and is a great way to get those endorphins flowing.

It’s surprising how many dandelions there seem to be in autumn so hooking them out now will prevent the inevitable multiplication if they go on to flower next year.

4. Mulch, mulch, mulch

mulch mulch

Image credit: @bioreact.gt

Mulching is used to retain moisture, reduce weed growth and promote healthy soil. This is the perfect time of year for mulching where there is still some warmth in the soil and plenty of moisture which you can trap beneath a cosy blanket of mulch.

Mulch is dead, organic plant material that provides precious nutrients to the soil as it decays. You can use wood chips, grass cuttings and fallen leaves. Add a layer of mulch around trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials.

5. Plant winter vegetables

plant winter vegetables

Image credit: @my_southern_chapter

If you’re growing winter vegetables, now is the time to sow radishes, broad beans, rocket and even winter lettuce. Plant onions, garlic and shallots in well-drained soil or raised beds and cover with fleece for extra protection from the elements.

6. Clear gutters

Clear gutters on garden buildings and remove any fallen leaves, moss and other debris that may have accumulated. Make any repairs that might be needed and check gutters are secured adequately. If you decide to replace some gutters here’s how to repurpose the old ones to make a gutter planter box.

It’s also a good time to lag outdoor water pipes to prevent them from freezing in the depths of winter.

7. Tidy your tools

tidy tools

Organisation goals. Image credit @lysbethabrams

You won’t be using your garden tools much over winter so rather than wait until spring, organise your most useful gardening implements so they can be easily reached next year. Give everything a good clean and apply any oil to shears or secateurs if needed.

It’s a great time to give the lawnmower a little TLC too.

8. Protect and insulate

insulate plants for winter

Image credit: @mrfothergills

Many plants will overwinter just fine, but it’s a good idea to move tender plants into a greenhouse or add some insulation to those which will bear the brunt of the winter chill. You can wrap horticultural fleece or bubble-wrap around plant pots and re-use it each year.

It’s also a good idea to net any hardy brassicas to stop those hungry pigeons from feasting on them throughout winter.

9. Plant spring-flowering bulbs

plant spring flowering bulbs

Image credit: @smallwondersfarm

Plant spring-flowering bulbs now for a welcoming burst of colour next year. You can plant them in pots or directly into the ground while the soil is still warm. Here’s a list of beautiful flowers that will illuminate your garden in spring:

Try grouping different coloured tulips in pots for a dramatic display of colour.

10. The final cut

the final cut

Image credit: @lawnpatrolcornwall

Give the grass one last cut before winter sets in. Choose a dry day and don’t be tempted to cut the grass too short. It needs some length to help it soak up as much of the weak winter sun as possible.

You might also like 10 of the best plants for winter garden colour.

Winter Pansies Growing Guide: Easy Winter Flowering Plants

Would you like to inject some colour into your dull winter garden? Pansies won’t let you down. These stunning smiling flowers will bring some life back to winter. In this article, we’ll look at everything you need to know to grow and care for pansies.

Winter Pansies Growing Guide

By Colin Smith, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wiki

What are pansies?

Before you run off to buy your favourite winter pansies, it’s important to know a bit more about this plant. This will help you to figure out when to plant pansies, where the best place is to help them grow and how to care for them.

The first thing you’ll need to know is that pansies are short-lived perennials. In some climates, however, they are annuals. Most of the time gardeners treat pansies as annuals regardless of the climate even though they can technically survive for two to three years if cared for properly.

The reason for keeping them as annuals is mostly due to their growth pattern in summer. Pansies tend to become quite leggy in warm temperatures which can look unattractive to some. The best time to have pansies around is from autumn until the end of spring.

These pretty flowering plants will flower even in snow. The flowers have heart-shaped overlapping petals with patterns that appear to be a smiley face. You do, however, get quite a few varieties of pansies with a range of different colours and patterns.

To complement your winter pansies, plant them alongside violas, primroses, trailing lobelia and sweet alyssum.

Winter Pansies viola

Credit: Pxfuel

A quick guide to growing pansies

In-depth growing guide for winter pansies

Pansies aren’t difficult to grow. As long as you water them properly and feed them every now and then, they should be just fine. If you want to know a bit more about pansies than just the basics, keep reading.

Lighting

If you live in a cool climate, you can plant your pansies in an area with full sun. In warmer climates, it’s best to keep them in an area that gets morning sun and shade throughout the rest of the day. Midday and afternoon sun may be too much for these cold-loving plants.

If kept in containers, you can move them around to the appropriate light conditions. Just keep in mind that these plants are even less tolerant of heat when kept in containers. You’ll need to make sure you pay attention to your pansies to keep them alive and blooming away.

Watering

The biggest problem people tend to have with their pansies is underwatering. If your pansies look a bit sickly, try giving them more water. Generally, it’s a good idea to water your pansies every day.

If you’re scared of overwatering, make sure the top inch of soil is dry before you water. Pansies don’t like to dry out completely so make sure to pay special attention to them on hot days.

This is especially important if your pansies are planted in an area with full sun or when kept in containers. These plants may need to be watered more than once a day if the soil tends to dry out quickly. If your plants aren’t getting enough water, you’ll quickly notice them wilting.

Winter Pansies watering

Credit: Pixabay

Soil

Pansies are best kept in moist, humus-rich, well-drained soil. These plants despise drying out but won’t do well in standing water. It’s best to find a comfortable in-between. To keep the soil moist, you’ll need to make sure that you use something that retains some water. The humus content should help with this.

To make sure the soil still drains well, you’ll need materials such as bark, perlite and vermiculite. These will help water to drain slowly so the plant can absorb what it needs to survive.

The humus content provides the pansies with a slightly moist, acidic environment to grow in. It will also help to retain some moisture for the pansies to absorb.

It’s also best to monitor the soil temperature before planting pansies. Your pansies will grow best in a soil temperature that’s between 7 and 18°C (45-65°F).

Winter Pansies soil

Credit: Pixabay

Temperature

Pansies are frost tolerant plants. They do well in temperatures far into the minuses (or teens if you’re working in Fahrenheit). Pansies prefer cold areas, they can be grown in warmer climates as well but will become annuals instead of perennials.

In the UK pansies will mostly be grown as annuals. If you live in an area that gets severe frost, you will need to protect your pansies by using mulch. If you’re only dealing with snow, there’s no need to worry. Snow insulates and protects pansy plants while they continue flowering throughout.

Winter Pansies frost

Credit: Pixabay

Expected size

Pansies come in different sizes, patterns and colours. What you decide to choose for your garden depends on taste and climate. The variety referred to as winter pansies grow about 15-23cm (6-9″) tall and 23-30.5cm (9-12″) wide.

To make sure your plants aren’t overcrowded, make sure your single plants are surrounded by a minimum space of around 25cm (9″) all around.

Toxicity

Pansies are more than just a pretty flower in your garden. These beauties are edible too. They are said to have a mild minty flavour and are often used as a garnish in salads and desserts.

edible Winter Pansies

Pansies are edible too. Credit: Pxfuel

Fertilising

To keep your pansies blooming, you will need to feed your plants a balanced all-purpose fertiliser. It’s best to choose a solid slow-release fertiliser. This way you can be sure that your plant gets the nutrients it needs even in winter when snow may make fertilising more difficult.

If your plants will be kept in containers, a weekly liquid fertiliser feed will do the trick. Just make sure to water thoroughly before applying liquid fertiliser to prevent burn damage. The only fertiliser that should be avoided is one with high nitrogen content. This fertiliser isn’t necessarily bad for your plants, but it will reduce the number of blooms quite drastically.

Pruning

The best way to prolong flowering in your pansy plants is to deadhead any faded or dead flowers. This means picking out the flowers in question and snipping them off at the base where it joins the plant.

Once your plant starts to become leggy, most people rip them out and replant it next season. You can, however, continue to care for this short-lived perennial if you like.

Propagating

Pansies aren’t the easiest plants to grow from seeds. They are quite finicky and should be barely covered by soil to succeed. This makes it very difficult to not wash the seeds away in the first few days before the seedling emerges.

Most gardeners opt to skip the seedling stage. They simply buy their plants ready for transplanting from a nursery. This is definitely the easier way to do it unless you don’t mind quite a bit of disappointment until you get the hang of growing pansies from seeds.

When to plant pansies

The best time to plant pansies is in autumn. By doing so, you give them a chance to establish before winter hits. You can also plant pansies in spring, but doing so means you’ll need to help them survive summer.

Pansies aren’t the best heat-tolerant plants. If you live in a climate with very hot summers, these aren’t the flowers for you. Pansies get very leggy when exposed to summer heat. For this reason, they are often planted as annuals during autumn.

Pansy problems

pansy problems

Image credit: Pinterest

Pansies aren’t the hardiest of plants. For this reason, you need to be wary of quite a few problems. Here’s what to look out for:

Mosaic viruses

The signs for mosaic viruses are quite variable. Some signs you can look out for are irregular leaf mottling (yellow, light and dark green patches on the leaves), stunted, curled or puckered leaves with lighter veins than normal, dwarfed plants compared to healthy neighbours, fewer flowers than normal, and dwarfed, deformed or stunted flowers.

Downy mildew

This disease thrives in humid conditions. You can expect to see pale green to yellow spots forming on the leaves that later turn brown. You might also see dark purplish fuzz growing on the underside of the leaves. Most fungicides will help to sort out this problem. Also, try to reduce the humidity.

Powdery mildew

The first sign of this disease is pale yellow spots on both the upper and underside of the leaves. These spots slowly merge into larger blotches. You will then notice a powdery substance appearing on the affected areas. Treat your plant with a fungicide to get rid of this problem.

Crown and root rot

Crown and root rot is often caused by overwatering in poorly drained soil. The soil will force the water to stand around for much longer than necessary. This means the plant’s roots won’t be able to breathe and start to die off.

The earliest symptoms of this problem include wilting despite being in wet soil, yellowing of the leaves, a bad smell around the roots and mould appearing around the base of the plant.

To solve this problem, water on a regular schedule and make sure that the first inch of soil is dry before watering again. Also, repot with well-draining soil to avoid standing water.

Rust

Rust appears as pale spots that eventually turn into spore-producing structures called pustules. These structures are usually rust coloured, hence the name. You can use a fungicide to treat this problem.

Grey mould

Grey mould, as the name suggests, usually appears as grey-brown lesions on the leaves of your plant. It can also be seen on the flowers where they will appear as small grey spots. You can treat this problem with a fungicide.

Spot anthracnose

This problem usually appears as tan or brown irregular spots on the leaves. The leaves will also usually appear distorted, cupped or curled. In severe cases, you will experience dropping leaves. Treat your plants by removing any obviously affected leaves. Spray the remaining leaves with a copper-based fungicide.

Slugs, snails, and aphids

Pests are quite common on pansies, we’re not the only ones that think they’re good to eat! To treat pests, spray your pansies with an organic, pest-specific spray and see our guide for naturally keeping slugs and snails away.

Underwatering

Underwatering is a common problem in pansies. Plants that have been underwatered will wilt, develop brown, dry leaf tips and develop fewer flowers than they would normally.

Leggy pansies

Pansies usually become leggy in warm to hot temperatures. To solve this problem, either grow your pansies as annuals and replant every year or trim back the stems by making a cut right above the last leave set closest to the base of the plant. Make sure to fertilise the pansy afterwards to help it recover.

Final thoughts

Now that you know how to care for winter pansies, it’s time to start growing your own. Just remember to use well-draining soil, water regularly and provide your pansies with enough morning light to keep them growing.

growing winter pansies

Image credit: @khatoani

FAQs

When should I buy winter-flowering pansies?

Pansies usually go on sale in early September in the UK. You can buy and plant them at this time. The latest you should buy them is in mid-October as this allows the plants to establish themselves before winter hits. 

Do pansy flowers bloom in winter?

Yes. Pansies prefer the cold and will start to flower when the temperature drops in autumn. In some areas, they can flower throughout the year. 

Are winter-flowering pansies perennial?

Yes, but most people tend to treat them as annuals. Pansies aren’t the easiest to care for during the summer months and can become quite leggy and unattractive in the heat. 

How do pansies survive winter?

Pansies are very hardy plants that prefer the cold. When snowed on, the snow acts as a protective blanket that insulates the pansies. You can also use mulch to protect your plants in areas with frost. 

What do you do with winter pansies after flowering?

Most people replace the pansies with a plant that will flower in summer. If you prefer, you can deadhead the flowers and keep your plant alive throughout summer.

Happy gardening!

15 Tips for an Autumn Garden Clean Up

When it comes to cleaning up your garden in autumn, it’s easy to lose yourself in the details. But trusting nature with your garden is often the best way to make sure it stays healthy and beautiful.

Focus on the essential autumn garden cleanup tasks, the ones that really matter. Don’t be afraid of a little disorder on your green patch. It’s part of nature’s way and, just like those shredded leaves that can become mulch for your flower beds, continues the cycle of the seasons.

Of course, that still leaves plenty of essential things to do in your garden this autumn.

autumn garden clean up tips

Credit: Pixabay

What needs to be done in the garden in autumn?

You want to rake excess leaves, clear dead and diseased plants and weeds, remove spent crops, mulch and protect vulnerable plants, and give the grass a final cut.

Autumn is also the time to compost leaves and tidy up your flower beds. Depending on the flowers you grow in your garden, you may have to divide perennials and shelter certain plants.

If the weather is on your side, you can also plant winter crops, which may involve preparing for them your vegetable beds and/or greenhouse, polytunnel, and cold frames.

Read on for tips on all the important things you need to do in your garden before the frosty weather comes.

So, how do you clean up an autumn garden?

Cleaning up an autumn garden may seem like a lot of work. But if you break it down into steps, you’ll find the workload more manageable.

1. Rake or blow the leaves

Leaving a thick carpet of leaves over the ground can be smothering for the grass and living plants and harbour pests. You also want to watch out for leaf piles around the trunks of young trees. They make perfect hiding spots for rodents that may gnaw the young trunks.

The best way to rake leaves is by doing it a bit at a time. This is especially true if you have a large deciduous tree in your garden or many plants that shed leaves around this time of year. If you wait for all the leaves to fall, by the time you finally rake them, they may have already damaged the grass and other low-lying plants.

raking leaves

Rake up the leaves in sections. Image credit: @fgm_f20

Raking is also good for the grass since it helps to aerate it. You may want to use a lightweight plastic rake rather than a heavy metal one. It’s less work on your hands and won’t damage thick grass either.

But don’t get carried away by all that raking. You can also leave some small leaf piles out of the way. They may provide shelter to pollinators over winter.

Tip: Rake or blow your leaves into a pile and use your lawnmower to vacuum them. Then dump the mower bag into your compost bin or straight over the places that could do with a layer of mulch.

2. Compost leaves and the remains of withered plants

If you don’t have a compost bin, autumn’s the best time of the year to build or get one. Through the alchemy of nature, a compost bin will transform this year’s fallen leaves and dead plant matter into rich compost for your soil next year.

More on this: Bin Storage Ideas: How to Hide Your Wheelie Bins and Conceal Your Compost

Speed up composting by mixing carbon-rich brown leaves with nitrogen-rich green plant remains, food and vegetable scraps, and grass clippings. Keep the compost pile slightly wet—or trust the rain to do it. You also want to aerate it by turning it with a fork now and then.

Important: Be careful not to compost diseased plants or their remains. The disease may survive in the compost bin and return next year.

3. Remove spent crops and residue from the vegetable garden

Prune, cut, and dig them up if you have to. If you intend to plant winter crops, start with the beds reserved for them to make sure they will be ready in time for autumn planting.

Tip: Leave the roots of peas and beans in the ground since they provide a rich source of nitrogen, fertilising other crops. Simply cut these plants off at ground level.

15 Tips for an Autumn Garden Clean Up 1

Remove spent crops and plant winter vegetables. Image credit: @growingyourgreens

Consider sowing a winter crop or green manure to improve the quality of the soil.

The rest of the vegetable beds you can cover with mulch, tarp, or landscape fabric to fight off weeds and preserve them for spring.

Don’t forget to remove bamboo canes, temporary trellises, and other supports that are no longer necessary. Wash them and store in a sheltered place.

4. Tidy up the flower beds

Cut back the perennials that bloom first in spring about 4-5 inches. Think irises, lilies, peonies, and bulbs. Using a hedge trimmer rather than garden clippers can save you time on this task.

Don’t forget to clean up any diseased foliage from roses. You also want to cut or deadhead self-seeding plants. Autumn winds may spread their seeds all over your garden.

You can leave the rest of the flower bed clearing to early spring when the flowers put forth new growth. Not only is this convenient, but it can help beneficial insects find shelter over winter. Keep in mind too that stems with attractive seed heads can be a treat for the birds.

tidy up flower beds

Old foliage can provide shelter for many insects. Image credit: @happyhorticulturist

If you have any tender plants that freezing temperatures may damage, now’s the time to move them to a sheltered place or use winter wrapping materials such as straw or fleece to insulate them.

Tip: Leave some leaves in your flower bed, they will break down and feed the soil. It will save you time from raking now and mulching in spring.

5. Divide and reposition crowded perennials

Got lilies, peonies, or hostas in your garden? Like other perennials, they can benefit from being divided every few years if they’ve become crowded.

A perennial clump needs to be divided if the flowers or the plants in the middle look unwell. Dig out the perennials carefully with a spade. Also with the spade, divide the plants into smaller ones and replant them giving them more space around each other.

6. Prepare the roses for winter

Remove diseased leaves from your rosebushes. You also want to stop deadheading your roses around 10 weeks before the first frost of the year.

If your roses have long stems, trim them to make sure they won’t snap during strong winds. You can also trim back branches that may rub against each other and get damaged.

15 Tips for an Autumn Garden Clean Up 2

Image credit: @garden_tender_

7. Remove weeds

While tidying your garden, you’ll invariably come across some weeds. Weeding now will save you precious time in spring so you can focus then on planting new flowers and veggies.

Tip: To make weeding easier, do it after a rain so that the soil is loose. Your hands will thank you for it.

8. Give the grass a last cut (and make it longer)

Caterpillars and other soil-enriching bugs like burrowing into autumn grass. Mow it too closely, and you’ll upset them big time. Leaving the grass a bit longer than usual in winter will protect both the soil and the grass.

So, after raking the leaves from your grass, set the blades of your lawnmower to a higher setting. After the last cut of the year, clean your lawnmower and remove the grass from it.

Tip: Got a shredding mower? Use it to turn unraked leaves into leaf little that is nourishing for the soil.

If your grass patch joins footpaths, garden beds, ponds, and other garden features, you can use a gardening knife or edging tool to neaten and redefine its edges before the soil hardens.

cutting grass for winter

Give the grass a final cut. Image credit: @vanpeltyarnies

9. Remove broken branches from the trees

Autumn is not the time for any serious pruning—leave that to spring. But cleaning off any dead branches is good for the trees.

Use sharp pruners to make a cut close to the trunk. You may need a ladder for this task, and someone to hold it, alternatively use a pair of long-handled pruners.

Tip: If you have fruit trees in your garden, make sure to remove any fallen fruit from around them as these may attract pests.

10. Remove leaves from the pond

If you have a pond in your garden, remove any leaves that have fallen into the water. If they rot, they will reduce the quality of the water and affect the wildlife.

Remove any pumps or equipment from the water too. Depending on the size of the pond, you may also want to drain it and clean the water features before winter settles in your garden.

removing leaves from the pound

Image credit: @quberesin

11. Neaten the bushes and ornamental borders

Tidy up ornamental bushes and borders if you want to. But hold back any serious cutting until spring. Ornamental borders shelter beneficial insects.

You don’t want to prune berry bushes either unless you know the cultivar you’re growing needs it. Apply a layer of mulch to the bushes that are less winter hardy. If they are in an exposed area, consider creating a windbreaker to protect them from winter storms.

Don’t forget that autumn is a good time to plant more shrubs and trees. If your garden needs them, go ahead and plant them.

12. Add organic matter to the soil

To improve growth conditions next year, consider testing the soil in your garden. If your soil is very alkaline, amend it with sulphur. If it’s too acidic, use lime.

Once the plants in your garden have entered dormancy, you can add shredded leaves or compost to fertilise the parts of your garden that need it the most. Rotten manure is also great.

This takes a bit of work. But if you work the organic matter a few inches into your soil now, planting and growing things in spring will get easier.

13. Make winter a litter easier for the birds

Do birds stop by your garden? Check and repair any birdhouses you may have in your garden. Remove leaves from the bird fountains and birdbaths and clean them up if necessary.

Pumps, fountains, and other mechanisms that may freeze will have to go inside the shed. Until freezing temperatures arrive, try to keep the water in the birdbaths fresh.

Don’t forget to clean any nest boxes and bird feeders. You can fill the latter with seed mixes and other bird-friendly foods.

winter garden birds

Spare a thought for our feathered friends. Image credit: @psanna_wildlife

14. Get your garden tools and accessories ready for winter

Clean and sand garden tools before putting them away for winter. Disinfect any pruners or shears you’ve used to cut diseased plants. If any tool needs mending, now’s the time to do it or make a note and fix it one winter day when you have nothing better to do.

Use diluted bleach to clean any clay or ceramic pots before storing them inside. You don’t want the frost to crack them, do you?

And don’t forget to remove the water hose and turn off the water if it runs the risk of freezing in winter.

garden tools

Don’t forget to give your garden tools some TLC too. Image credit: @gardenandwood

15. Repair all those things you’ve been putting off repairing during summer

Last but not least, repair the compost bins, raised beds, polytunnels, or cold frames that need it. Also, check any outdoor garden furniture to make sure it’s winter-ready.

Paint any wooden furniture, benches, fences, shed doors, or the like with spray paint containing a sealant. That way you’ll prevent rot and make your garden look nicer, too.

Oh, and if your wheelbarrow wheel has gone flat, now’s as good a time as any to see to it.

FAQs

When should I clean my garden in autumn?

The best time to start an autumn garden clean up is after the first few freezing nights come round. By this time, most of the foliage and the last blooms of the year will have fallen. Perennials too will have entered dormancy.

Avoid cutting back plants too early or you may encourage new growth before winter, which may damage them. It’s often easier and more beneficial for your garden to clean it in multiple rounds rather than in one go. It’s also less stressful and enables you to focus on one task at a time.

What plants should be cleaned in autumn?

Clean up blooming perennials, self-seeding plants you don’t want to take over your garden, and any dead or diseased plants, including those in your vegetable patch. Don’t forget about peonies, lilies, roses, or irises. You can also remove dead branches and old fruit from the trees.

Other than that, you don’t want to be pruning plants for the sake of it unless you’re certain they need it. You’ll be doing plenty of pruning in spring once the plants put forth new growth.

what plants should be cleaned in autumn

Image credit: @sarah_rivett_carnac

What autumn cleanup chores can I skip?

You can save time on your autumn garden cleanup by leaving any leaves in your flower beds to rot there at their own pace. You can also leave dead foliage on most plants except those that may harbour pests.

Lastly, you can leave sunflowers and other seed-rich flowers where they are since their seeds can feed wildlife in the colder months. But be careful about self-seeding plants or they may spread.

15 Vegetables to Plant in Autumn and Winter

If you’ve got some spare planting space in your unheated greenhouse, cold frame, or vegetable patch, grab your gardening gloves and plant some autumn vegetables.

Some vegetables don’t mind the cold that much. Plant them in autumn, and they can yield a crop throughout winter or earlier than usual next year. And the best part is that many of them are easy to look after.

autumn winter vegetables garden

Image credit: @cityfarm.wien

What vegetables can be planted in autumn and winter?

From asparagus to spinach, there are many vegetables you can plant in autumn. Some you can harvest in winter, and these include spinach, lettuce, salad leaves, radishes, and potatoes. Others will give you earlier spring or summer crops next year compared to planting them after the last winter frost.

Where and how you plant them is important, so read on to discover our full list of vegetables to plant in autumn together with tips and advice.

Good to know: You can also plant onions, spring onions, garlic, or shallots in autumn but because they need time to grow, you won’t be able to harvest them until next summer.

Here’s our list of 15 vegetables to plant in autumn and winter:

1. Spinach

spinach autumn winter garden

Image credit: @windyriverecofarm

Rich in vitamins and minerals, spinach is one of the best vegetables to plant in autumn. You can enjoy it throughout winter provided you plant it in successive rounds after the end of summer.

Ideally, you want to plant it in a greenhouse, garden tunnel, or similar structure to shield it from inclement weather and frost. But you can grow it outside too. Spinach grows best in moist soil.

Tip: Harvest spinach regularly to keep it cropping well into spring. Watch out for the flowers and remove them once they appear so that your spinach won’t run to seed.

2. Winter lettuce

winter lettuce autumn winter garden

Image credit: @maggyheintz

This hardy lettuce can provide a healthy green crop throughout winter. Sow the seeds before the end of early autumn, ideally in a greenhouse or another covered structure. You can also sow winter lettuce outside and use plastic sheeting to protect it from freezing temperatures.

Often, the best way to grow winter lettuce is to sow into trays and then transplant the young seedlings. Plant it in rows, leaving around 6 inches between seedlings.

Tip: Harvest the outside leaves from multiple plants rather than a whole lettuce at a time. This way, winter lettuce will keep on growing.

3. Rocket

Rocket is another dependable cold-weather crop that you can sow after the summer heat gives way to autumn. It’s actually better to sow rocket in autumn than summer to avoid bolting.

You can harvest rocket one leaf at a time throughout winter until the warmer days return and the plant flowers. Rocket grows quickly, so if you plant it early, you can count on enjoying some as early as the end of autumn.

Tip: Plant rocket seeds in clusters, leaving around 8 to 10 inches between each cluster, depending on the variety of the plant.

4. Salad seeds

salad seeds autumn winter garden

Image credit: @julieorganicgarden

Looking forward to some healthy winter salads without trips to the supermarket? Get a variety of cold-weather salad seeds and sow them in an unheated greenhouse.

Some varieties you can grow in winter include leaf collections, land cress, lambs’ lettuce, or cos lettuce. You can find these seeds sold individually, or as part of autumn seed mixes. If you want to grow lettuce outside, choose cold-tolerant varieties like butterhead lettuce or romaine.

Salad seeds grow more slowly in colder temperatures. The upside is that they don’t grow to seed which makes them taste bitter. You don’t need to protect them unless you’re getting deep frosts. If that happens, you can use clear plastic sheeting to speed up their growth.

Tip: Don’t harvest the entire head but rather use the cut and come again harvesting method to help the plant recover and put forth new growth.

5. Pak choi

spinach and pak choi are both vegetables that grow in shade

@homegrown_patch

You may have tasted pak choi at your local Asian restaurant. Sow this hardy leafy green into a greenhouse or polytunnel.

Pak choi typically takes around 45 days to mature, but colder temperatures may slow down its growth. Even so, you may be able to enjoy it in later autumn or winter if you plant it early in September or, with a few more risks, in October.

Tip: Don’t harvest all your pak choi leaves during winter. Let a few of the plants mature so you can chop the succulent stems into delicious stir-fries.

6. Radishes

radishes autumn winter garden

Image credit: @shorts.n.shovels

Got some leftover gardening space in your green patch? You can sow some winter radishes or another hardy variety. You can also sow radishes in containers and move them to the greenhouse or the garage once cold weather makes itself at home in your garden.

Radishes don’t like growing in hot temperatures. If you sow the seeds 4 to 6 weeks before the first frost, you can still get a harvest within a month or so. For best results, choose a fast-growing variety.

Their size, speed of growth and simplicity makes radishes one of the best plants to grow with children.

Tip: Plant radishes in a sunny spot or they may become too leafy. Leave around 6 inches between radishes. Amend the soil with an all-purpose fertiliser or aged compost. Harvest once the surface roots are about 1 inch in diameter.

Radishes are also a good companion plant for spinach as they protect it from insects.

7. Potatoes

potatoes autumn winter garden

Credit: amia_cat

To enjoy a potato harvest in time for Christmas, plant seed potatoes in pots early in autumn. After the first frost, move the pots indoors or within a protected gardening structure.

You can also grow potatoes in bags in a greenhouse. For this, you’ll need an 8-litre potato bag or similar container, multipurpose compost, and a chitted potato tuber.

Important: Use cold-stored potato tubers rather than potatoes harvested in summer. The latter enter dormancy and won’t yield a crop in winter.

Planting seed potatoes in early autumn means you can harvest second cropping potatoes within 10 to 12 weeks, just in time for the winter holidays.

Good to know: Growing potatoes in bags makes them less vulnerable to pests.

8. Spring onions

spring onions autumn winter garden

Image credit: @craig_grows_veg

Crunchy and flavourful, spring onions are great in stir-fries and soups. Sow them in early autumn so you can harvest them in spring, before slower-growing onions poke their heads out of the ground.

Tip: Sow the seeds thinly so you won’t have to worry about having to make space between them later.

9. Onions

onions autumn winter garden

Image credit: @down_the_back_today

Onions are yet another autumn vegetable you can plant directly in the ground while the weather is still mild. If you’re not in a hurry to harvest them, that is, because you won’t be enjoying them until next summer.

You can find both yellow and red varieties that are cold-tolerant. Plant a mix of them for diversity, or choose your favourite and stick to it.

Tip: To enjoy a harvest early in summer, plant onion sets, which are partly grown onions.

10. Shallots

shallots autumn winter garden

Image credit: @theconscientiouscook

Whether you prefer them pickled or raw, sweet shallots can make the difference between a good dish and a great one. They go fantastically with stir-fries, soups, and salads.

Plant autumn varieties as late as October so you can enjoy them early next summer. They’re no more difficult to grow than onions and as long as you’re patient with them, they’ll grow just fine.

Tip: Add garden compost to the soil you grow shallots in. You’ll get a heavier and tastier crop.

11. Garlic

garlic autumn winter garden

Image credit: @girl_in_a_gale

Garlic is easy to grow if you plant it in autumn. You’ll need fertile, moist soil, and a bit of patience since you won’t be enjoying it until summer.

Make sure to choose a variety that can withstand the cold. That way, you can plant it outdoors without worrying about having to protect it from the elements.

Tip: Plant garlic in soil that’s not too acidic and that drains well. For accurate results, get a simple pH meter.

12. Asparagus

asparagus autumn winter garden

Image credit: @samgraacres

Next, how about a delicacy that doesn’t only taste good, but is a rich source of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants?

Good to know: Asparagus needs a few years to become established in a garden. But once it does, it can crop for decades. From each asparagus crown you’ll be able to harvest dozens of spears.

If you’ve always wanted asparagus in your garden, plant it in autumn to give it the chance to become established over winter.

13. Broad beans

broad beans autumn winter garden

Image credit: @helioskitchen

Gardeners around Britain plant broad beans in late autumn to enjoy in mid-spring. Look for hardy varieties that thrive in British winters. That way you can plant them outdoors and save space in your greenhouse for more delicate autumn-sown vegetables.

Tip: Broad beans grow well in deep trenches and in soil that drains well. Constantly moist soil may damage them.

Learn More: 13 Types of Beans That Need a Trellis and When to Trellis Them

14. Peas

peas autumn winter garden

Image credit: @wrenfarms

Living in Southern England? You can get a serious headstart on harvesting peas next year if you sow them in mid to late autumn.

Sow the seeds under the cover of a cold frame so you won’t have to worry that the cold may damage them.

Tip: Make sure to factor in the support that some varieties require. Often, it’s easier to install trellises when you sow the seeds than later on.

15. Carrots

carrots autumn winter garden

Image credit: @five.acre.creek

Don’t forget about carrots. You can sow them in November for an early and crunchy orange crop in spring.

If you’re worried about a hard frost, use a homemade mulch to protect your carrots until the weather warms up. You can make this mulch from chopped leaves or straw.

Tip: Sow carrot seeds near garlic and onions to deter pests.

More on this: How to Grow Carrots in Your Garden 

FAQ

What veggies grow in autumn and winter?

Veggies you can grow in autumn and winter include winter lettuce, spinach, oriental salads such as rocket and pak choi, potatoes, and radishes. You can plant these in early to mid-autumn and harvest them in winter.

Carrots, broad beans, peas and allium vegetables like onions, spring onions, garlic, and shallots also grow in winter given adequate conditions. But they won’t crop until next spring.

For best results, choose hardy varieties adapted to UK weather. The quality of the seeds is an important factor when it comes to growing vegetables late in the year. Get the best you can find.

What can you plant in autumn and in winter?

Cold-resistant vegetables you can plant in your garden include radishes, potatoes, onions, garlic, winter lettuce, rocket and other salads, spinach, carrots, peas, and broad beans. All of these can handle colder temperatures.

If you have a greenhouse, polytunnel, or cold frame, you can plant many of these even after the cold weather comes knocking at your garden gate. Make sure to get the soil ready by adding compost if needed and weeding it in time for planting.

greenhouse autumn winter garden

Image credit: @moving_with_nature

What vegetables are good for a winter garden?

The best vegetables for a winter garden are hardy and don’t require much looking after. They include spinach, salad, lettuce, onions, garlic, potatoes, radishes, peas, broad beans, carrots, and asparagus.

Some of these vegetables won’t be ready for harvesting until next year. Even so, they can give you an earlier crop than you’d normally get if you planted them in spring. Also, by giving them enough time to become established in your garden, you may find that they taste better. You can plant them outside before the ground becomes cold and hard.

Where to plant autumn vegetables?

You can plant autumn vegetables in an unheated greenhouse, cold frame, polytunnel, special planting bags or sacks (for potatoes), large pots, or directly in the soil. Spinach, winter lettuce, rocket, radishes, and potatoes are cold hardy. They can grow outside with minimal protection provided you choose the right varieties.

Bear in mind that some vegetables like onions, shallots, garlic, carrots, peas, broad beans, and asparagus have a longer growing cycle. Planting them in a greenhouse or polytunnel won’t accelerate their growth. You’ll still have to wait until next summer to harvest them. But gardening structures can help protect all vegetables you plant late in the year from frosts and pests.

How to protect autumn vegetables from freezing

Cold hardy vegetables can handle lower temperatures. But if you face an early freeze or are concerned about the vegetables you’ve planted outside your greenhouse or polytunnel, you can cover them for protection. Use a row cover, garden cloth, tarp, or a blanket. For carrots and other root vegetables, you can use a deep layer of mulch.

protecting autumn winter garden

Image credit: @growingyourgreens>

How should I water vegetables in cold weather?

Once the cold weather comes, you’ll have to change the watering schedule for your plants. You won’t have to water them as much as in summer. Water them when the soil is dry unless a specific vegetable has different requirements. It’s best to water them during the warmer part of the day to avoid damaging the roots. Avoid watering the leaves to prevent them from freezing.

The wrap up

With so many vegetables you can plant late in the year, you can start your kitchen garden this autumn.

The best part is that vegetables like potatoes, radishes, lettuce, spinach, or salads can give you healthy crops throughout winter and help with foodscaping. Brush up on the basics of growing your own vegetables, plant them well, and you won’t have to wait long for the fruits of your labour.

In the end, it would be a pity if you didn’t make the most of your vegetable garden this autumn, wouldn’t it? Choose the veggies on our list that you like the most, and plant them while there’s time. And if you miss out, there are always more veggies to plant in the spring.

Top 14 Vegetables To Grow In Winter

Would you like to grow fresh vegetables throughout the winter season? There are many varieties of vegetables that do just fine in the cold, in fact, some even prefer it. If you want to succeed, you’ll need to start planning your winter garden in summer.

Here’s what you need to know to grow your own winter crops.

winter vegetables

Winter vegetables by Hans Splinter

When to plant winter crops

The best time to plant winter crops will depend on the type of vegetable you’re thinking of planting. Some vegetables need to be planted in mid-summer to be ready for harvesting in mid to late winter.

If you want, you can also stagger the planting process to have your crops ready at different times of the year. This will ensure that you never run out of fresh vegetables. Just make sure to change your plants according to the season. Some plants will never produce anything in winter.

Keep in mind that crops also tend to grow very slowly during the cold season. If you want them ready to harvest on time, you’ll need to plan the planting early enough. Some vegetables taste better after experiencing some frost. For instance carrots. For this reason, many gardeners opt to expose their carrots to light frost. This goes for a few others as well.

Before planting anything, however, make sure to do your research. Seedlings often need protecting before they are hardy enough to withstand the cold.

How to protect your winter crops

The best way to protect your vegetables in winter is to plant them in a cold frame or greenhouse. You can also use mulch to protect the roots and base of the plant against cold and frost. Some vegetables do just fine in very cold weather without protection. This is especially true for those that can grow in snow.

Your protection against harsh weather doesn’t have to be expensive. You can simply place a thin bedsheet over your plants to protect them at night. Just make sure to open them again in the morning.

If you leave your plants closed up, they might not get enough sun to survive. The winter sun is already quite weak so make sure they get as much as they can.

Best vegetables to grow in winter

1. Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a vegetable that can be grown all year round. There are many varieties with different harvest times. When planting this crop, make sure it doesn’t mature mid-summer. It’s best to have them mature in winter.

The cold will slow down growth while preventing the heads from splitting. The best temperature to grow cauliflowers in is around 16-18°C (60-65°F).

You can stagger the planting to make sure your cauliflowers don’t all ripen at the same time. This way you’ll have fresh veggies all year round. Also, make sure to choose the right variety for the right time of year. Some kinds of cauliflower will ripen property in summer despite the heat.

cauliflower winter vegetable

Credit: Pxhere

2. Broccoli

Broccoli is another plant from the brassica family that does well in winter. Make sure to plan your planting time in such a way that your broccoli will be ready to harvest in winter.

The best temperature for ripening the head is no more than 24°C (75°F). The reason for this is that the growth of the plant will be slowed down which allows more nutrients to the flower. It also makes it easier to grow the head without it dividing into separate florets.

This plant can be grown in either full sun or partial shade, but make sure it is fed properly and watered enough. Failure to provide what it needs will result in a ruined crop.

broccoli winter vegetable

Credit: Maxpixel

3. Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts are cool-season veggies that do best in mild winters. They can withstand short periods of freezing, but long-lasting cold snaps and snow will result in no Brussels sprouts forming. It’s best to grow them in a greenhouse if you know your soil temperature will drop below -12°C (10°F).

Brussels sprouts need to be harvested in late fall or even winter. To get your timing right, plant your seeds 3-6 months earlier depending on the variety. These plants do best in temperatures between 7-24°C (45-75°F). They can, however, withstand short periods with a temperature as low as -7°C (20°F).

brussel sprouts winter vegetable

Credit: Pxhere

4. Cabbage

Cabbage, just like cauliflower, can be grown all year round. It’s also best to avoid harvesting this crop mid-summer depending on the variety. If you want to stagger the harvest time, plant different varieties with different maturing times. Some varieties even prefer to ripen in summer. This way you can have cabbage all year round.

Cabbage seeds will germinate in temperatures as low as 4°C (40°F). This makes it possible to sow even in winter. You will need to protect the seedlings, however, so it’s best to start them in planting trays or cover them with row covers.

The best temperature for growing cabbage is between 13-24°C (55-75°F).

cabbage winter vegetable

Credit: Pxfuel

5. Carrots

Carrots can be grown almost all year round. If you protect them in winter, you might even be able to grow them whenever you like. These plants prefer loose soil without any rocks and a soil temperature between 7 and 30°C (45-85°F).

To grow these delicious vegetables, make sure to choose the right varieties. The ones that mature quickly are best for growing in winter. These are often referred to as candy carrots. The reason for that is that carrots are sweeter once they’ve experienced some frost. It’s best to grow carrots in cool temperatures between 13 – 24°C (55-75°F).

carrots winter vegetable

Credit: Pixabay

6. Celery

Celery prefers to grow in areas with a cool temperature ranging between 15°C and 21°C (60-70°F). In colder winter areas, you’ll need to protect these plants against frost and snow. You can do this by growing them in cold frames or greenhouses.

It’s possible to harvest at any time without killing the plant. Simply cut off the stalks on the outside of the plant. Once your celery plants get exposed to hard frost, however, they will stop growing. To prevent this, make sure to cover them at night.

celery winter vegetable

Credit: Maxpixel

7. Collard greens

Collard greens are known to be the most cold-hardy of all the species in the brassica family. It’s always best to harvest them before spring arrives. Once they start to flower, the leaves will turn bitter.

It is possible to keep them tasting delicious for a while longer by planting them in cold rooms. This will delay flowering somewhat. For the best results, make sure your plants grow at a temperature between 13- 24°C (55-75°F).

collard greens winter vegetable

Credit: Pxhere

8. Green onions

Green onions are very hardy plants. They will survive the winters in most hardiness zones. Usually, you can harvest them at any time once the plant reaches maturity. Just make sure to not eat them once they start to flower.

In areas with frost, you will need to protect your plants to keep them alive through winter. The best temperature to grow green onions in is between 20-25°C (68-77°F). For this reason, try growing them in a greenhouse for the best results.

green onions winter vegetable

Credit: Maxpixel

9. Kale

Kale is one of the hardiest vegetables in existence. It can withstand temperatures as low as -24°C (-10°F), but it grows best in temperatures between 13- 24°C (55-75°F).

Kale is very easy to grow in winter. You don’t need to care for this plant at all. When the ground freezes, you don’t need to water or feed it. It will simply exist and resume growing once the ground thaws.

If you want your kale to keep on growing throughout winter, keep it in a cold frame or a greenhouse to prevent the plant from experiencing frost.

kale winter vegetable

Kale in the snow by Simon Webster

10. Leeks

Leeks are a great plant to store in the ground in winter. Mature leeks will stay fresh covered in a layer of snow. Simply harvest one when you need it. Make sure to plant your leeks early enough to ensure the plant is mature when the first frost hits.

Leeks grow best when the maximum temperature remains below 24°C (75°F). It’s best to sow leeks in spring. They will usually be started in containers before being transplanted into the garden. The leeks will then complete their growth and be ready to harvest in late autumn and throughout winter.

leeks winter vegetable

Credit: Pxfuel

11. Mustard

Mustard is very finicky in hot weather. It will often quickly go to seed without you having a chance to harvest it. For the best results, plant mustard greens in autumn and every 4 to 6 weeks after that. You may have some trouble with germination if the soil temperature is less than 4°C (40°F) Make sure the last bunch you plant will be ready to harvest before the temperature exceeds 24°C (75°F) in spring.

mustard winter vegetable

Garlic mustard leaf under snow by Jenn Forman Orth

12. Parsnips

Parsnips have a reputation for being very difficult to grow. This is usually due to people trying to grow them at the wrong time of year. Parsnips are cool-season vegetables that prefer some frost for the best taste.

Parsnips that experience some frost have a stronger, sweeter flavour than those grown in any other season. The frost causes the starch in the root to turn to sugar. If your parsnips were grown in winter, they’ll most likely have a nutty flavour.

To achieve this result, leave your parsnips to experience at least two weeks of temperatures between 0-4°C (32-40°F). During this time, the plant will slow down its growth and turn starch into sugar in the root to sustain itself.

parsnips winter vegetable

By Jeffery Martin – Own work, CC0, via Wiki 

13. Radish

Radishes are quite tolerant of frost. They will even survive severe freezes that damage the foliage of the plant. Once they defrost, the foliage will grow back from the roots. Like parsnips, radishes will have a stronger flavour when they’ve experienced some frost.

They can usually survive temperatures as low as -6°C (20°F). That said, radishes prefer a temperature between 4-21°C (40-70°F). You can also leave your radishes in the ground during winter. As soon as you’d like to eat one, simply dig one up for your meal.

radish winter vegetable

Credit: Pxfuel

14. Swiss chard

Swiss chard is a duel vegetable. It grows very well in hot summers as well as freezing cold winter, in fact, this vegetable may even taste better if it experiences some frost. That being said, don’t grow swiss chard in an area with temperatures below -9°C ( 15°F) without protection.

You can use a cold frame or a greenhouse to offer some protection to your plants. You can also leave them to overwinter with some protection to harvest in the next year.

swiss chard winter vegetable

Credit: Maxpixel

Final thoughts

Growing vegetables in winter isn’t impossible but may not always be easy. To be successful in your mission, make sure to choose the right varieties during the correct season. Also, make sure to do some research beforehand. Some plants need protection to survive winter.

Whatever you choose to do, have fun doing it.

Happy gardening!

FAQs

What are the best vegetables to grow in winter?

Any vegetables from the brassica family like cauliflower, broccoli, kale or cabbage are a great choice for winter gardens. You can also try root vegetables like carrots, radishes and parsnips.

When can I grow winter vegetables?

It’s best to start winter vegetables in late summer or autumn depending on the type of plant. This way the plants will be ready to harvest in winter. If you live in a frost-free area, you can plant throughout the season. Just make sure you don’t harvest in mid-summer.

How do you start a vegetable garden in the winter?

For the best results, start by planting your seeds in a seed tray. Keep them inside a greenhouse or other protected area while they grow into established seedlings. Once ready, turn over your garden, add some compost and plant your seedlings. You will need to protect them until they are mature enough to handle the cold by using row covers.

10 of the Best Garden Plants for Winter Colour

In the depths of winter, when deciduous plants have dropped their brightly coloured leaves and bare branches and empty pots take their place, it can be a gloomy time for the garden. We’re here to help you inject some much-needed colour into your outdoor space with our pick of the best plants for a winter garden.

10 of the Best Garden Plants for Winter Colour 3

Add a splash of winter colour to your garden. Image credit: @sarahpajwani

What plants can I put in my garden for winter?

Adding a selection of plants with brightly coloured flowers or foliage can have a huge impact on your winter garden. Read on to discover plants in a rainbow of shades that will brighten even the dullest of winter days:

1. Dogwood

10 of the Best Garden Plants for Winter Colour 4

The red stems of dogwood are perfect for winter colour. Image credit: @
petersons.crystal.cottage

This large shrub provides interest throughout the year but the red bark that’s left behind when the leaves fall, makes it stand out above the other plants. It’s a fast-growing plant and can tolerate being cut back pretty hard. The branches make beautiful additions to winter flower arrangements, wreaths and festive table decorations.

2. Photonia Red Robin

photonia red robin winter garden plant

Add seasonal colour with a red robin. Image credit: @viversbarri

These hardy, evergreen plants will grow just about anywhere. I’ve got really dense, clay soil in my garden and the photonias thrive in it. The more you prune them, the redder the new growth appears. They can be bought as shrubs or standards and are very easy to prune into the shape and size that you need them to be. They also make excellent hedging.

3. Purple Beautyberry

purple beautyberry winter garden plant

Add a pop of colour with a beautyberry. Image credit: @caroline.prairie

One of the most beautiful plants you can add to your garden, the beautyberry easily lives up to its name. Delicate pink summer flowers are followed by a dramatic display of purple berries that last throughout winter. The leaves also put on a fabulous show of colour, changing throughout the year before falling in autumn. Perfect for flower arrangements, this is a plant you won’t be disappointed with. It can grow up to 3m but you can keep it in check with regular pruning.

They may not look like it but beautyberries are edible. They have an interesting flavour and are best cooked and used to make beautyberry tea, jelly and wine.

beautyberries cake

The beautiful berries can be eaten too. Image credit: @organikibakery

4. Acer palmatum Winter Flame

Acer palmatum Winter Flame

Enjoy the changing colours of this acer all year round. Image credit: @perennialpotty

Add some zen to your garden with a Japanese acer. These plants are famed for their vibrant colours as the leaves change dramatically over the seasons. The winter flame variety puts out pink edged new leaves in spring which turn green then to gold in autumn whilst the bark becomes especially vibrant. Acers like a sheltered position and will grow well in pots so this variety is ideal for brightening up a patio.

5. Pink pampas grass

Pink pampas grass winter garden plant

Pink pampas really is a thing. Image credit: Gardening Express

Once a feature of the 70s and falling out of fashion due to its carefree connotations, pampas has swung back into style and for good reason! The dried flowers are high in demand and a feature of trending home social media accounts.

Pink pampas is more of a subdued blush colour than a candyfloss pink. These are large plants and can be invasive so take care where they are planted. Also, the leaves are extremely sharp so this plant won’t be suited to a garden with children.

Pampas grasses are hardy and the flowers that appear in late summer last well into autumn and winter. This grass won’t be for everyone but a pink variety will provide a beautiful burst of colour in a large garden or raised bed.

6. Winter honeysuckle

winter honeysuckle garden plant colour

Add fragrance to a winter garden with honeysuckle. Image credit: @talesfromourcountrygarden

Lonicera fragrantissima is one of the most sweetly scented honeysuckles and it blooms from November into March. Clusters of creamy flowers form on bare stems after the leaves fall. Take care not to prune this plant after April because that year’s winter flowers will form on the new spring growth. Not only do the flowers last throughout winter, but the heady scent will be a refreshing addition to a winter garden.

7. Mahonia

mahonia winter garden plant colour

The eye-catching yellow flowers of Mahonia will brighten up the dullest of borders. Image credit: @countryhome.andthedogs

Mahonia are evergreen shrubs with glossy, spiky leaves. These low-maintenance plants are ideal in borders and the ‘winter sun’ variety will produce stylish spikes of yellow flowers throughout winter, followed by attractive blue berries. It can grow up to 4 metres tall but can be kept smaller by pruning.

8. Heather

heather winter garden plant colour

Add glorious colour with compact heathers. Image credit: @kerryjanephotoart

Often overlooked but worthy of placing in any garden, heathers will produce a blanket of rich colour throughout winter. Producing flowers in a huge range of shades from hot pink and yellow to crisp white, heather is ideal for borders and pots and will bring welcome winter colour to any space.

In larger gardens try combining several different coloured heathers for a patchwork effect and in smaller areas, you can add a couple of heathers to a border or place several together in a planter.

9. Torbay Palm

torbay palm winter garden plant

Beautiful in borders and raised beds. Image credit: @sometimes_in_my_garden

These beautiful, hardy cordylines have deep purple leaves with bright pink edging. They’re easy to care for and provide a vivid splash of colour amongst more subdued green and brown foliage. These plants look great all year round and will withstand frost, although you may want to move them to a sheltered spot in deepest winter.

10. Camellia Yuletide

camellia yuletide winter garden plant colour

Bring festive cheer with camellia yuletide. Image credit: @the_knitting_gardener

The ruby-red flowers of camellia yuletide will add a festive feel to a winter garden. Flowering from November to March, this evergreen plant has glossy green leaves all year round. It’s an adaptable plant and can be left to grow as a shrub, trained against a wall or trellis or placed in a large pot.

When should I start a winter garden?

It’s best to plant new trees and shrubs between October and April, especially bare-rooted varieties.  This is because many trees are dormant during the winter months and they should need less in terms of TLC.  

The ground is moist during autumn and winter and it gives trees a good chance to establish their root system, ready for the spring growing season.  Potted plants can be planted at any time of year. Avoid planting if the ground is frozen or waterlogged.

If you’re keen to add autumn and winter flowers to your garden, check out: 14 of the best flowers for a blooming autumn garden.

14 of the Best Flowers for a Blooming Autumn Garden

When the leaves start to fall and your once bright summer perennials come to the end of their natural lives, it can be tricky to keep your garden looking bright and welcoming.  You may be asking yourself, do any flowers bloom in autumn?

The answer is a resounding yes, there are many flowering plants that will keep your garden in colour well into the colder months.

autumn garden flowers

Here’s our pick of the best flowers for an autumn garden that will flower from September onwards:

What flowers can I plant in autumn and winter?

There are plenty of plants that will flower throughout the colder months. If you time the planting right, you can have a seamless display of blooms through every season.

Star flowering plants for autumn include pansies, dahlias and crocosmia. The winter-flowering clematis will provide interest at the end of the year along with Christmas roses and delicate snowdrops.

Here’s our pick of the prettiest flowering plants to grace your autumn and winter garden:

1. Dahlias

Dahlias deserve a place in every garden. With over 40 species and thousands of cultivars of jewel-coloured, intricate blooms to choose from, you can enjoy these resplendent flowers well into autumn.

dahlias autumn

Dahlias have to be of the most spectacular of all flowering plants. Image credit: @choosingcalm

Dahlias need a fair bit of space (allow 40cm between plants) and the tubers can be sown directly into the ground from late April after the last frost has passed. You can also start them in pots inside from February onwards. You’ll need to pinch out the top leaves of the main shoot, leaving the top pair of leaves. As the tuber sprouts more shoots, remove all but 5 from the tuber, it sounds a little extreme but fewer stems mean stronger stems.

Make sure you stake the plants as they grow as a strong gust of wind can easily snap a dahlia stem. Each dahlia tuber can produce hundreds of flowers and as they are the perfect cut flower, you can create endless brilliant bouquets.

2. Pansies

pansies autumn flower

Brighten up your winter garden with bold pansies. Image credit: @rocio_marga

We couldn’t compile a list of autumn-flowering plants without mentioning the humble pansy. These cheery little plants are ideal for filling gaps in borders and adding vibrant colour and interest to pots or hanging baskets.

Pansies can flower throughout winter and even into spring but it’s worth planting them in early autumn as it gives the roots time to toughen up. Pansies planted out from November onwards may not survive the frost.

There are hundreds of varieties of pansies to choose from in a full spectrum of colours. They’re one of the easiest and most reliable plants to care for and sure to brighten even the bleakest winter day.

3. Sedum

sedum autumn flower

Bring in the pink with a flowering sedum. Image credit: @woodbridgenursery

Sedums are a fantastic plant to include in a garden border. Their unusual foliage provides interest from spring and colourful pink flowers appear from August, lasting well into late autumn. Once the flowers die back, you can leave the dried flower heads on the plant until spring.

Sedum is extremely easy to care for and will grow in pots or the ground. There are hundreds of varieties to choose from, including creeping and upright plants.

4. Crocosmia

crocosmia autumn flower

Bold and beautiful, crocosmia will light up an early autumn garden. Image credit: @mike.park.books

With its spiky leaves and stalks of fiery coloured flowers, crocosmia is an elegant addition to an autumn garden. Crocosmia bulbs should be planted in early spring for flowering in mid-summer to autumn. Although crocosmia won’t flower for the first year or so, it’s well worth the wait. They will add glorious colour to your garden when other summer flowers have faded.

Once crocosmia get’s going, it’s a vigorous spreader so it will need to be supported and kept in check by thinning out if necessary. Once the flowers have died back, leave the foliage in place as it provides the energy for next year’s blooms.

5. Asters

asters autumn flower

November asters in bloom. Image credit: @between.gardens

These sweet, brightly coloured star-shaped flowers are perfect for brightening up an autumn garden. You can plant asters in spring for autumn flowering and, if you’re lucky, they may self-seed and return the following year.

Asters come in a range of colours and are ideal in pots or placed in borders.

6. Autumn crocuses

autumn crocuses

Add glorious colour with autumn crocuses. Image credit: @alexander.hoyle

Despite their name, these flowers belong to the lily family. When planted in summer, they’ll flower in September and October. They’re happiest in partial shade and like well-drained soil. Autumn crocuses will flower year after year, providing welcome, reliable colour for your autumn garden.

Note: these plants are toxic so may not be suitable for a family garden.

7. Winter-flowering clematis

winter-flowering clematis

This clematis will happily bloom from November to March. Image credit: @dawns_gardening

Clematis are often thought of as summer plants but several varieties will flower through winter and into spring. Try the evergreen Clematis cirrhosa ‘freckles’ (pictured) and the gorgeous pink-flowered Clematis Markham’s pink for a show of winter flowers.

These climbers reach a height and spread of around 4 x 1 metres so will need the support of a trellis if they don’t have a wall or other plant to ramble over.

8. Cyclamen

cyclamen autumn flower

Cheer up your autumn garden with cyclamen. Image credit: @helenlouise726

One of my favourites, these beautiful little flowers provide a welcome burst of colour throughout the cooler months and they flower for ages! These plants are tuberous and rest during the summer months so resist the temptation to chuck them on the compost heap when they look a little tired.

9. Rudbeckia

rudbeckia autumn flower

Fire up autumnal borders with glowing rudbeckia. Image credit: @ebrahim_1659

Also known as black-eyed Susans, these beautiful flowers will be in bloom from August to October. With their showy golden colour, they’ll add a welcome splash of colour to your autumn borders.

10. Snowdrops

snowdrops autumn flower

True to their name, snowdrops can resist the cold. Image credit: @olbrichgardens

Snowdrops typically flower at the end of winter and into spring but in a mild winter, you may spot a keen bloomer as early as December. A sighting of a snowdrop often signifies the end of winter and they’re a beautiful addition to any garden.

Snowdrop bulbs are best planted with their green leaves intact in the spring, but you can also plant them as bare bulbs in October or November. They aren’t fussy about location and you can pop a few into your lawn for a cheery display. Snowdrops also make pretty cut flowers, simply arrange a few stems in a jam-jar as a simple decoration.

11. Winter honeysuckle

winter honeysuckle autumn flower

Add sweet scent to a winter garden with a honeysuckle. Image credit: @a.zen.gardener

The winter honeysuckle is a striking winter-flowering plant. It flowers from December to March on almost leafless branches, creating a blossom-like effect. Introduced from China, the creamy-white flowers smell divine. Its name, Lonicera fragrantissima, means ‘sweetest honeysuckle’ and the heady scent will be welcome in the depths of winter.

Make sure you choose a trellis for your honeysuckle if you intend to keep this vining plant tamed.

12. Heather

heather autumn flower

Understated and beautiful, heather is a great option for an autumn garden. Image credit: @clivenichols

Heather is often overlooked in favour of showier plants but it provides a welcome blanket of colour throughout winter and offers essential nutrients for bees and other pollinators. This alone makes it worth adding to your winter garden!

There are many varieties to choose from for winter colour, try Erica carnea Corinna for hot pink flowers or Erica darleyensis f. aureifolia ‘Tweety’ which has striking orange foliage with contrasting magenta flowers in winter.

As heathers are evergreen, they provide changing colour all year round. They’re easy to grow and care for and an easy way to bring colour into your autumn and winter garden.

13. Viburnum

viburnum autumn flower

Image credit: @madefound

If you’re looking for an easy-to-grow winter-flowering shrub, a viburnum is a great choice. Viburnum × bodnantense ‘Dawn’ produces clusters of small pink blooms on bare branches throughout winter.

Winter-flowering viburnum will bloom anytime from November to March, sometimes all the way through! These plants won’t flower until they’re 4-6 years old.

Viburnum nudum flowers in the summer but is followed by beautiful pink berries that turn purple, providing an unusual burst of colour.

14. Christmas rose

christmas rose autumn flower

Image credit: @althek3

Helleborus niger, the Christmas rose, is an evergreen plant that produces large white flowers from late winter into spring. It’s not actually related to the rose family, instead, it belongs to the buttercups.

You can plant Christmas roses at any time but they like damp soil and lots of organic matter so add plenty of well-rotted compost when planting and top up each year for best results. I’ll definitely be adding some of these to my garden this winter and look forward to waking up to a garden in bloom on Christmas day.

 

How Sustainable Is Our Wood in the UK?

If you’re thinking of using wood for a DIY project, do you usually check for any sign that certifies the wood is grown sustainably?

If you burn wood as fuel, can you confidently trace its origin? This article will explain the many certifications of sustainable wood and how you can check its environmental credentials.

I apologise in advance for the acronym usage in this article. FSC and PEFC are defined below! So if you spot either the FSC or PEFC logos on the wood you buy, this is a sure sign that it has been cut from forests that are responsibly managed, socially beneficial, environmentally appropriate, and economically viable.

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the PEFC are internationally recognised, not-for-profit organisations which promote responsible management of forests all over the world. Their logos are found on sustainably sourced wood.

You may also spot the “Grown in Britain” and Scandinavian Nordic swan logos on sustainably sourced wood, highlighting wood that’s grown closer to home than the Brazilian rainforest.

sustainable wood

Credit: Unsplash

Did you know?

What type of wood can be grown in the UK?

Ash, beech and silver beech, cedar, cherry, cypress, eucalyptus, holly, horse chestnut, (Douglas) fir, larch, lime, magnolia, oak, Scots pine, silver birch, whitebeam, and walnut can all be grown in the UK.

What does sustainable mean in terms of forestry management?

The FSC and PEFC set the international standards for the sustainable management of forests across the globe. In the UK, the Forestry Commission work to protect, expand and promote sustainable management of our woodlands.

Sustainable is one of the main environmental buzzwords right now and for good reason.  Sustainably grown wood comes from forests that are managed responsibly; preventing damage to wildlife, ecosystems and trees.

Let’s look at the main regulatory bodies for the provenance of wood supplies. The labels certify that the wood was grown to acceptable standards, without damaging natural forests.

fsc logo

FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) is an international, non-governmental organisation, dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests. FSC aims to counteract the destruction of trees illegally and limit the use of harmful chemicals in forests. Their labelling helps consumers to identify wood that has been sourced sustainably.

pefc logo

The PEFC Council (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) is a worldwide organisation promoting sustainable forest management through forest certification and labelling of forest-based products. Products with PEFC accreditation deliver confidence that raw material originates in a sustainably managed forest.

grown_in_britain_logo

Grown in Britain is a not-for-profit company, established in Bristol in 2013.  See more about this organisation below.

forestry commission logo

The Forestry Commission is a non-ministerial government department responsible for the management of publicly owned forests and the regulation of both public and private forestry in England. It was formerly also responsible for forestry in Wales and Scotland, however on 1 April 2013, Forestry Commission Wales merged with other agencies to become Natural Resources Wales, whilst two new bodies were established in Scotland on 1 April 2019.

plant healthy logo

Plant Healthy is an organisation including tree growers, nurseries, and the Forestry Commission which aims to check the biosecurity of any plant material sold and planted in the UK. This will help to avoid the spread of pests and diseases from abroad.

How do we use wood in the UK?

lumber industry

Credit: Unsplash

Wood is used outdoors for fencing, decking, furniture and playhouses. Indoors, it’s used for furniture, flooring, doors and myriad other items.  In the construction industry wood is used to build frames and beams although steel and metal frames are becoming more common. It can also be used as cladding on buildings.

Wooden pallets are used to protect products in storage and transit and unless they are re-sold, re-used, or upcycled a lot of this wood ends up going to waste.

Wood is used in woodburning stoves and open fires. Biofuel and pellets are made from wood for industrial use.

Wood is present in many products, such as plywood, MDF, and imported paper products like plasterboard, newspaper, and cardboard.

A qualified forester’s viewpoint

I spoke to Dave Preskett, a qualified forester from Bangor. He informed me that the UK is the second-largest importer of timber (after China) and that 80% of that timber is imported.

Europe has about 30% forestry cover and the UK is claimed to have 13%. Dave sees that figure as misleading because, since the early part of this century, the term ‘woodland cover’ now includes all wooded areas, no matter how small.

Satellite technology picks up the green of any tree canopy so think of the trees growing in your garden, in public parks, golf courses, neglected woodlands, and roadside plantings in addition to what we all consider to be true forests.

“In the UK, no more than 5-7% is true forest cover”, according to Dave. This is largely due to the Industrial Revolution, in which timber was used in manufacturing and for fuel, leaving large areas of the countryside deforested. These became grass pasture for sheep and grouse.

He tells me 60% of the coniferous forests in the UK are Sitka spruce, non-native trees, originally sourced from a north west Pacific island (Queen Charlotte’s Island) in the 1800s.

The Forestry Commission statistics only differentiate felled timber volumes as either hardwood or softwood.  Hardwood is a small part of the market. Softwood trees are dominated by Sitka spruce.

Dave comments that the timber quality of the wood from Sitka spruce is very poor compared to Norway spruce. However, they can be densely planted – about 2,750 trees at 1mx1m spacing per hectare is the norm for Sitka spruce. They’re fast-growing and can have a 50-year life cycle, locking in carbon as they grow.

Native UK hardwood trees like oak and chestnut need a lot more space and time to mature. In order to lock carbon up in trees, we need to retain the timber products we make for generations.  The uplands where Sitka spruce is often grown only support one sheep per hectare. Dave’s final comment is “We need a massive tree-planting programme in the UK to lock up carbon.”

A final discussion was had about the transport of wood and how a tree grown in the UK has no extra carbon miles added to it, which takes me nicely onto Grown in Britain.

sustainable wood

Image credit: @growninbritain

Forest management with Grown in Britain 

Rachel Lawrence from Grown in Britain (GiB) emphasises that her organisation is very keen to see more woods brought into long term management and a thriving UK timber sector. GiB certifies the whole chain of custody for timber e.g. sawmills, furniture makers and construction, not just the woods.

We want people to know the Grown in Britain logo because that way the timber they are buying is sustainable, legal and home-grown.” Effectively, good management is rewarded by certification which can result in a range of benefits like carbon sequestration, timber, improved biodiversity and flood management.

Grown in Britain is a not-for-profit company that gets involved in research projects with several partners. They are currently working closely with London Metropolitan University and Birling Estate on the Home Grown House project.

Using domestically grown timber and round-wood thinnings, the project is investigating how local, coppiced wood can be used in low-cost house construction and the locally grown sweet chestnut timber is being tested for its durability and mechanical properties.

Coppicing is a traditional method of chopping some young wood stems periodically while allowing the forest to continue growing.

Rachel explained GiB is also extremely concerned about plant biosecurity in the UK, as pests are most commonly introduced through the movement of live plants.

GiB is a certification body for the Plant Healthy Certification Scheme and she encourages nurseries, garden centres, plant retailers and public bodies to take the online assessment on the Plant Healthy website to sense check their level of risk. The Plant Healthy mark is only awarded to a business or a specific site.

“This is because on products, as soon as that product moves, the risk also changes. Plant Healthy aims to make the movement of all plant material more biosecure”. 16 well-known UK companies have joined the scheme including Barcham Trees, English Woodlands, Wyevale Nursery and many more.

GiB is working in partnership with the Morgan Sindall Group, Blenheim Palace and Nicholsons Nurseries in planting new woods in Oxfordshire, which will incorporate 28 carefully selected varieties of trees.

These include hornbeam, lime, sycamore, wild cherry, oak, Norway maple, alder and beech in the mixed woodlands with an understory of woody shrub species including hazel, hawthorn, viburnums, euonymus and dogwoods to create a diverse and self-sustaining eco-system.

Experimental species will also be included to assess climate resilience and a small percentage of conifers planted to provide winter habitats for wildlife.

How can I make sure the wood I use is from a sustainable source?

sustainable wood source

Image credit: @brittpixx

1. Trace the timber – Where does it come from?

Tracing the timber you buy to a forest with a fully implemented forest management plan in line with the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS) requirements and guidelines is essential.

2. Check with local councils and businesses

Councils are advised by government policy and these days everybody wants to show their green credentials. Councils should have policies for locally grown hardwood for use for seats and benches and also keep the environment in mind for the management of their green spaces.

3. Check your woodfuel meets the Timber Standard for Heat and Electricity (TSHE)

Wood biomass. This is a standard to show how the land criteria will apply to any supplier who generates heat and electricity from woody biomass under the Renewable Heat Incentive, Renewables Obligation, and Contracts for Difference.

How can you help?

  1. Consider if you really need virgin wood. Could you use some second-hand wood or upcycle pallets and old garden furniture?
  2. Keep your wood products for as long as possible. If we use old wood to make furniture and keep that table/wardrobe for our lifetime, then the carbon sequestration works and it can be passed down from generation to generation. If you dump the sofa for a more modern one, all that carbon sequestration is wasted. Put it on freecycle.com and make sure it gets a new home!
  3. Only buy wood with the FSC, PEFC, or similar logos to ensure that it is grown in a managed forest. You are the consumer and your money counts.
  4. Make your own wood fuel. Dry your own wood for 2 years to decrease the moisture content. This is very sustainable and involves no travel miles. Branch prunings or vines make excellent kindling. Use the ash created to fertilise your plants too.
  5. Consider attending some workshops about the management of any forest you are responsible for. See FSC and links below.
  6. Buy some land to re-plant with native trees – speak to the organisations listed in this article for advice. Many local owners are working to create more sustainable wood for fuel and create recreational space to enjoy.

What treatments are used on wood and how sustainable are they?

A range of treatments from chemical-free thermal heat treatment to staining and oiling are available to prolong the life of wood.

If using paint, opt for low VOC (volatile organic compounds) formulas and choose natural resins over harmful varnishes.

Teak oil is fantastic for wood maintenance. However, oil needs to be re-applied annually so make sure you use an oil that is sourced locally if possible.

Some good news stories about timber and forests

timber news

Image credit: @nationaltrustsouthwest

  1. In Finland, experiments are converting Norway spruce to a cotton-like textile. Cotton is a very water-hungry crop and uses a lot of pesticides. By substituting a locally grown tree, this is good news both for the textile industry and well-managed forests.
  2. Pesticide use can be restricted by growing pest-resistant trees. Some cedar trees have a very strong scent, which actually deters pests. Cedar of Lebanon is used as exterior cladding in southern Europe and its ability to repel insects is the main reason.
  3. Partnerships like Grown in Britain along with universities, companies and private landowners are happening all over Britain. You can find one locally.
  4. Small local woodland areas can gain accreditation (using the information above) and funding to manage them but you need committed people with time in the team.
  5. Local councils. You can make your opinions known in their timber procurement policy. Ask your council to specify locally grown hardwoods to make benches in parks and encourage them to join the Plant Healthy movement for sustainable nursery plants for parks and public gardens.

Some websites to help

10 Planter Box Ideas to Liven up Your Decking

Are you thinking of decorating your decking with a few planters? There are so many options that you might get a bit overwhelmed. In this article, we’ll look at some deck planter box ideas to spruce up your outdoor space.

Let’s take a look at what we can find.

1. Permanent deck planter box

permanenet planters

Image credit: Piqsels

Permanent planters are great for large decked areas but remember once they’re built, there’s no moving them.  These structures can be designed to complement your deck and you can plant flowers and other foliage to match the rest of your decor.

In the long run, permanent planters will work best. You won’t need to worry about staining on your deck or about where the water goes when your planters drain. If designed correctly, the water should just drain away into your garden.

2. Recycled can planters

recycled planters

Give your tins a new life. Image credit: Pxfuel

If you love your environment, you’ll like this idea a lot. These planters are made from recycled tin cans. If you have a few of these bad boys lying around your garage or home, why not turn them into great-looking planters?

This is also a fun project to do with kids. They can use the tins as a canvas before you put their creations up on the wall.

3. Planter stands

planter stands

Free up floor space without damaging the walls. Image credit: Pxfuel

Planter stands are great for creating a green wall of plants without damaging the wall. You can simply fill a few planters with the greens of your choice and place them on the stand.

These stands are also great floor space-savers. If you have a lot of plants, finding space for them can become a challenge. Fortunately, a planter stand solves this problem while introducing you to the world of vertical gardening.

4. Wall planter boxes

wall planter boxes

Go bold with wall boxes. Image credit: Pxfuel

If you want to do something a little different, then this idea is definitely for you. You will need to attach a few wooden boxes to the wall, making sure they’re quite secure since plants can be heavy. Choose your plants, pot them and add them to the boxes to create a striking effect.

5. Recycled hanging planters

recycled hanging planters

Spice up deck railings with brightly coloured pots. Image credit: Pxfuel

If you have any empty metal buckets lying around, you can easily create these planters. Simply attach a metal hanger that’s strong enough to support the filled bucket.

Paint the buckets any colour you like and hang them on the deck railings. They will add colour and can even complement your decor if painted colours that match.

More on this: 5 Simple Hanging Planter Box Ideas

6. Car tyre planters

car tyre planters

There’s actually a lot you can do in the garden with old tyres. Image credit: Piqsels

Everyone needs to change their car’s tyres every once in a while. Fortunately, there are many ways you can reuse the old tyres to decorate your garden, deck and patio.

You can place the tyres on the wall and place plants inside the rim, simply put them on the ground and fill with soil or create intricate designs like the picture above. For this to work, all you need is some imagination (and of course old tyres).

7. Planters for open decks

planters for open decks

Ceramic or concrete planters are ideal for open decks. Image credit: Piqsels

If you have a deck that’s exposed to the elements, you want planters that can handle the strain. It’s usually best to get large ceramic planters or even those made from concrete. The heavier they are the better.

These planters will need to withstand strong wind and rain. For this reason, you don’t want anything small and light or made from wood. Small planters will easily be tipped over and break while wooden planters will eventually start to rot due to the sun and rain exposure.

Fortunately, ceramic and concrete planters come in many shapes and sizes so you can choose the best planters for your deck.

8. Planters made from pallets

planters made from pallets

Pallets are incredibly versatile. Image credit: Pxfuel

Pallets are excellent for a wide range of garden projects, as well as planter holders. They can also become planters if you’re willing to do a little building (check out our pallet planter guide). No matter what you’re up for, you can use pallets against the wall on your deck to grow a variety of plants.

Simply paint the planter the colour of your choice, add a plank or two where required and insert your planters.

9. Railing planters

pine wood over railing planter box

Railing planters provide a simple way to embellish a deck. Image: Pinterest

Railing planters are great for decks with limited space. They also act as excellent decorations. Simply attach one to your railing, add some plants and there you go.  Railing planters come in a wide variety of designs so you can choose one that appeals to you.

10. Hanging baskets

hanging baskets filled with flowering annuals

Go for hanging baskets to create that cozy vibe on your deck. Credit: Shutterstock

Last but not least is the hanging basket. These planters are great for decks with little or no space for standing planters. You can hang them at the edge of the roof or even on metal stands inserted in the ground next to your deck. No matter what you decide to do with the basket, they are guaranteed to look great.

Final thoughts

Now that you have a few ideas of how to integrate planters with your decking, you can finally go shopping. Hunt down the planter of your choice and bring it home. Just remember to make sure the planter is heavy and durable enough to withstand the weather conditions it will be exposed to.

Happy garden planning!

How To Build A Brick Planter Box

Are you thinking of creating a permanent brick planter on your patio or in your garden? Brick planters are fairly simple to build as long as you follow a few critical instructions. In this article, we’ll look into how to build a basic brick planter box.

Build A Brick Planter Box

Image credit: Piqsels

Let’s get right to it and get you building.

What you’ll need

Building a brick planter can’t be done without the correct tools and supplies. Here’s what you’ll need for this project:

Tools:

Supplies:

How to build a brick planter box:

Once you have all the tools and supplies you’ll need for this project, it’s time to get to the fun part. Let’s start building your brick planter.

Step 1: Create a foundation

To do proper brickwork, you’ll need to first prepare a foundation for the bricks to be laid on. To do this, you’ll need a shovel, measuring tape, a concrete slab and a spirit level.

It’s easier to use a concrete slab as a foundation than to lay a whole new floor. You can still use concrete to create your own foundation, however. Just make sure that the foundation is laid at least 150 mm deep and extends about 100 mm beyond each planned wall.

This will ensure that your brick walls will have a solid base which in turn prevents future problems like cracks and collapsing walls. If you decided to make your own foundation, you’ll need to let the cement dry before you can continue.

Remember to make sure that the foundation is level by using the spirit level before you let it set.

Step 2: Mark the starting point

Before you can lay any bricks, you’ll need to plan your planter. Use some chalk and mark the starting point. Use a measuring tape to make sure the planned wall won’t get closer than 100 mm from the edge of the foundation.

Once done, either mark the ground with the chalk in a straight line or use a string attached to two metal rods to create the line for you. The rods can be knocked into the ground on either side of the foundation.

Step 3: Lay the bricks

To lay the bricks you will need to mix some mortar. Keep your spirit level handy and get your brick and pointer trowels out. You can mix the mortar by following the instructions on the packet. Use a wheelbarrow or similar container to do the mixing in.

Make sure to only add small amounts of water at a time, you don’t want to accidentally make the mortar too runny. Once done, use your brick trowel and scoop out some mortar.

Create a line of mortar on top of your foundation in line with the chalk or string you set up beforehand. This mortar layer should be around 15 mm thick. Start in a corner and place your first brick. Make sure to hammer it lightly to set it into the mortar. Place your spirit level on top of it and hammer the brick lightly until it is level.

Place a bit of mortar on the side of the next brick and place it flush against the first brick with the mortar filling the hole between the first and second brick. Lightly tap the second brick until there is a 10 to 15 mm gap filled with mortar between the bricks. You’ll also need to tap the second brick in place until it is level with the first. Keep your spirit level handy. Keep placing new bricks in this way until you’ve completed the perimeter of your new brick planter.

If you want to create drainage holes, simply skip placing mortar between the bricks in the first layer. Do this to every third or even fourth brick to avoid creating a weak foundation for the rest of the planter.

Step 4: Create the planter walls

After you’ve built the first layer, you can continue with the rest. Lay some mortar on top of the first layer and set the brick in place on top of it. Make sure the brick doesn’t line up with the one below it, however, they have to be staggered. Brick walls with bricks that line up perfectly are weak and easy to crumble. Staggered bricks strengthen the structure.

Place a bit of mortar on the side of the second brick and put it in place. You’ll also need to hammer these bricks in place until they are level. Make sure the mortar level stays the same throughout the whole process. Usually, the layer between the bricks should be around 10 to 15 mm thick.

Make sure to check that your wall is perfectly vertical every now and then. You can do this by placing the spirit level vertically against the wall to check that the wall isn’t bent out of shape.

level measure

Image by Alex Fox from Pixabay

Remove any excess mortar from the sides with the pointer trowel to create a neat finish between the bricks. This extra mortar can be reused to lay the next brick in place. Continue stacking the bricks layer by staggered layer. Once done, make sure to remove any excess mortar and create a smooth finish.

The planter should be around 600 mm high to prevent the bricks from being pushed out of shape by the soil. Now you’ll need to leave the planter alone until the mortar has completely dried. The packaging should be able to tell you how long to wait.

Step 5: Fill your brick planter

It’s always a good idea to fill your planter with something like gravel or rocks that allow drainage. You can also use plastic bottles if you want to do some recycling. The bottom layer should keep the holes created between the bricks open allowing any excess water to seep out.

Once that’s done, you can fill the planter the rest of the way with any potting soil you like to use. Plant the foliage of your choice and your work is done. Congratulations!

FAQs

Should I line my brick planter?

It’s not necessary to line a brick planter. Bricks are very durable and will be just fine in the constantly moist environment created by the soil.

You Might Also Like: Waterproof Liner For Planter Boxes

Can you stack bricks without mortar?

You can, but your brick wall will be unstable and pushed out of shape once filled with soil. If you don’t want to use mortar, then it’s best to keep your planter to a maximum of two bricklayers high. Any higher becomes a risk.

Are bricks safe for raised planters?

Yes, as long as you use mortar and make sure the bricks are laid properly. Just make sure to not exceed 600 mm in height. After this point, the brick wall weakens and may be pushed out of shape by the weight of the soil.

How Do You Make an Angled Planter Box?

Tired of straight lines and average planter boxes? You could build an angled planter box instead.

Angled planter boxes come in a variety of shapes, styles and sizes, they’re also known as tapered planter boxes.

In this article, we’ll show you how to build a simple angled planter box from readily available materials in just a few hours. We’ll also share angled planter box plans and ideas that offer different takes on this project. Ready when you are!

How to build an angled planter box step by step

Getting the measurements and the cuts right is crucial to completing this project successfully. Once you’ve cut the wood, you can attach the trim to the sides and assemble the front, back, and bottom. Staining and adding landscaping fabric to your angled box will make it look better and last longer.

Find the detailed step-by-step instructions for this project below.

Note: Our instructions are for a single angled planter box that’s about 25 inches long and 8-inches tall, and that tapers from a width of 12 inches at the top to 8 inches at the bottom.

tapered planter box

Add a touch of style to your garden with a tapered planter box. Image credit: @timberandfall

Materials and tools you’ll need

Step 1 – Measure and cut the front and back

Lay two wooden boards or pickets side by side horizontally on your worktable. Mark 12 inches at the top and 8 inches at the bottom.

Next, use the square to find the centre of the top line to guide your cut. To give the planter its angle, draw a line from the top marks to the bottom ones. In other words, connect the first top left 12-inch mark to the bottom 8-inch mark and repeat at the other end.

Tip: Adjust the angle of your mitre saw for the best cut. This could mean deviating slightly from the theoretical 16-degree angle.

Repeat this process to make the other side of the planter.

Step 2 – Cut the sides

After you’ve cut the back of the planter, cut the sides out of the remaining boards or picket.

Using a 90-degree angle on your saw, cut four 23-inch boards.

Step 3 – Make the trim strips

To make your angled planter look nice and level, you’ll have to cut some trim strips. These are strips of wood for levelling the wood pieces you’ve cut during the steps above and make them fit in nicely.

You need to cut eight 8.25-inch trim pieces in total. Cut four pieces with the depth side down and four with the width side down.

Step 4 – Get the bottom ready

You don’t need any special wood for the bottom. You can use leftover boards or anything similar. But the bottom should be at least half an inch thick and preferably more to take the weight of the soil.

Cut the bottom boards at 23 inches by 7 inches.

Step 5 – Add the sides to the angled trim

Now it’s time to put the sides and the trim pieces together.

Drill two pilot holes at the edge of each of the side boards with matching holes in the trim pieces. The trim will be holding the boards together. Use ¾ inch exterior screws to fix the sides.

Important: The trim should overhang the side boards by about half an inch. It should be flush with the top.

Each of the two sides of the planter box will need two trim pieces, one at each end. You’ll be using a total of four trim pieces.

Step 6 – Attach the front and back

Assemble the front and back of the angled planter box using the nail gun. Make sure the top of the planter is flush.

Step 7 – Add the bottom

Install the bottom boards, making sure they’re even. Fix them in place with the nail gun at an angle from both the front and the back.

Step 8 – Add the trim to the front and back boards

Nail the trim to the front and back sides. It should cover the holes you’ve made to fix the bottom boards.

Optional: You can also add four pieces of trim to the top of the angled planter box. Since in practice the exact dimensions for the top trim can vary, it’s best to cut and attach them last.

Step 9 – Stain the wood to make it last longer

Use a safe stain and apply it according to the instructions on the label. If you plan on growing herbs in your new angled planter box, make sure the stain doesn’t contain toxic substances.

More than protecting the wood, a stain will also make your planter box look finished.

staining cedar planter box

Credit: Shutterstock

Step 10 – Add the landscaping fabric

You’re not quite done yet. After the wood stain dries, cut the landscaping fabric, and staple it inside the box. Fold and tuck in the sides, making sure they reach the top of the walls without coming out.

Tip: Depending on how thick the fabric is, you may want to fold it in two.

After the fabric is in place, add in the soil and plant some flowers, scented herbs or both!

Angled planter box plans and ideas to inspire you

It’s good to start with a simple angled planter box like the one we shared above. It will help you get a feel for the process and the minor adjustments needed as you assemble all the pieces, such as the trim at the top.

Once you’ve built your first simple angled planter box, you can try other designs. Here are some inspired angled planter box ideas and plans for you to explore:

Tall angled planters

Need to fill up an empty corner or create more privacy around a seating area? You could create some tall angled planters. Get the plans here.

tall planters

Image: Pinterest

Angled cedar planter

Cedar’s a great wood for planters as it’s naturally resistant to rot. This cedar planter has a nice angle that adds a touch of style to it. It’s a worthy addition to just about any garden. Check out the plans for this angled cedar planter.

angled cedar planter

Image: Pinterest

Minimalist tapered planter on legs

Got some spare wooden boards? Turn them into a minimalist tapered planter. Adding legs can make it look even taller without requiring as much wood. Plus, the legs may also help to improve drainage. Get the plans for the minimalist tapered planter.

minimalist tapered planter on legs

Image: Pinterest

Raised angled pallet planter

If you need a large angled planter box for your garden or vegetable plot, this may be just right for you. You can build it from pallets, so it’s cost-effective. Check out the angled pallet planter box plans.

raised angled pallet planter

Image: Pinterest

Angled pyramid planter boxes

Angled pyramid planter boxes look anything but boring. You can make them from pallets or other wood leftovers. They don’t require too many materials either. Check out the plans for these pyramid angled planters.

angled pyramid planter boxes

Image: Pinterest

The bottom line

Building angled planter boxes requires a few more measurements than your average wood planters and you have to be careful with the angle of the cuts, too. But you don’t need any special skills or tools to build an angled planter box from scratch. So, if it’s time to add a new planter to your green patch, why not make it an angled planter?

How to Build and Hang a Railing Planter Box

A bit of greenery never hurt a railing. Building your own DIY railing planter box is a good way to reinvent an old railing or adorn a new one. You can grow flowers or herbs in it and enjoy it for years to come.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to build an over railing planter box that will last. We’ll also look at the different ways you can hang it to the railing and share some creative rail planter box ideas.

So, roll up your sleeves and get ready for this flowerful DIY project.

railing planter box

Image credit: @evanswoodshopanddesign

How to build an over railing planter box step by step

Measure and cut the wood, glue and nail the side pieces and the bottom, and drill drainage holes. Then stain the wood, add the French cleats to the back of the box, and you’re done. Check the more detailed step-by-step instructions below for guidance and tips.

Important: You can make your deck railing planter box as large as you need it to be. But bear in mind that the heavier it is, the more support it requires. As a rule, you should be able to hang or take down the planter box without great effort. If it’s difficult to handle, it’s probably too heavy for hanging.

Note: The following materials are for a simple rectangular over railing planter box for flowers or herbs.

Materials and tools you’ll need

Step 1 – Measure and cut the board

A 1 x 6 wood board is large enough for you to make a deck rail planter box. If you use fence pickets or leftover wood instead, make sure to get the measurements right.

Measure and cut the long side pieces first. Then measure and cut the bottom piece and the end pieces.

You should end up with 2 long rectangular side pieces, 2 square side pieces, and 1 rectangular bottom piece.

Step 2 – Glue the pieces together

Apply exterior wood glue to the inner edges of the long and short side pieces. Fix them in place, working one end at a time. Then glue the bottom piece on.

Important: Use exterior wood glue that is weather resistant. Apply the glue before you varnish the wood. If the wood is already varnished, you may have to sand the edges to ensure the glue sticks to them firmly.

Step 3 – Clamp and nail the pieces together

Good-quality exterior wood glue is strong. But it never hurts to nail the wood pieces together for extra support.

Before you start nailing the wood, clamp the glued pieces in place. The pressure that clamps put on the pieces will ensure a better hold for the glue. They’ll also make it easier to drive the nails in without another pair of hands to help you.

Note: Depending on the brand of glue you use, you may have to wait a few minutes before nailing the pieces together.

Once the glue has set, use the nail gun to drive the nails in at both ends, fixing the long and small side pieces together. Finally, nail the bottom piece.

Step 4 – Drill drainage holes

Turn the deck rail planter box upside down and drill at least 8-10 drainage holes at the bottom. Whether you plan on growing flowers or herbs in it, drainage holes are a must.

deck rail planter

Image credit: @demeyerwoodcrafts

Step 5 – Apply wood stain

Give the wood one or more coats of a good quality wood stain. Even if you’re using rot-resistant wood like cedar, staining the wood is still important.

Tip: Plan on growing edible plants in your railing planter box? Use tung oil, raw linseed oil, hemp oil, or an eco-friendly wood stain.

Step 6 – Add corner brackets (optional)

Metal corner brackets can reinforce the wood boards and make your deck rail planter box look better. The glue and nails will hold the boards together but the wood may still warp at the edges after long-term exposure to the elements. Simple corner brackets can limit warping.

Step 7 – Install the French cleats

French cleats provide an easy and elegant way to hang an over rail planter box. They provide reliable support while being invisible.

They have a bevelled edge with a 45-degree angle, one at the top, the other at the bottom. They can be made from wood or metal, and you can find them in DIY stores or online.

Add the French cleat with the bevelled bottom edge to the railing planter box. You should attach it with screws, which are often provided in the package. Then fix the French cleat with the bevelled top edge to the deck railing.

Note: French cleats are just one way to hang a planter box to a deck railing. Later in this post, we’ll share more ideas on this.

Step 8 – Line the deck railing planter box with landscaping fabric

Use landscaping fabric or similar material to protect the interior of the wood and improve moisture retention. The fabric will also help prevent soil from dripping down the drainage holes along with excess water.

Fold the fabric in two or more and staple it to the planter box. The top of the fabric shouldn’t be visible over the edges of the wood.

Step 9 – Put in the potting soil and plants

Add your soil mix and plant the flowers or herbs into the box before you hang it over the railing.

Step 10 – Hang the planter on the railing

Hook the cleat at the back of the box to the one on the railing. Make sure the hold is good.

And with that, you’re done. Your over the rail planter box is ready.

Over the rail planter box ideas

If you’d like a more sophisticated over rail planter box, here’s a selection of other railing planter boxes you can build instead.

Pine over railing planter box with support cradle

Made from pine wood lined with plastic sheeting, this planter box has a simple timeless look. The support cradle adds a distinctive touch to it. It’s also spacious and herb friendly.

pine wood over railing planter box

Image: Pinterest

Small tiered square railing planter boxes

Got plenty of planting space already? Try a variation on the classic rectangular wooden planter box. Attach three or more small square planter boxes vertically to a wooden board. You don’t need much wood for this project, you can even use leftovers from another DIY project.

small tiered square railing planter boxes

Image:Pinterest

Lattice railing planter

Make your railing planter more interesting by incorporating a wooden lattice into it. Use lattice along the longer sides or on all sides. To make it look nicer, frame the lattice with wooden boards nailed to the planter box.

lattice railing planter

Image:Pinterest

Angled top railing planter

An angled planter takes a bit more effort to build—and calls for more precise measurements. But it’s a nice variation on the usual straight-lined planters. If you want to hang it over the railing, you can angle only its front side.

angled top railing planter

Image: Pinterest

Wooden corner rail planter box

Reinvent your railing with a corner planter box. You can also adapt this idea to hang your planter over the railing. In both cases, you can use wide wooden boards. You can even cover your whole railing with planter boxes if you want.

wooden corner rail planter box

Image: Pinterest

Ways to hang an over railing planter box

Apart from French cleats, you can use brackets, heavy-duty cable ties, holders or baskets, rope, chains, and even bike hooks to hang an over the rail planter box. Each of these has its pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look at each so you can make an informed decision.

Over-the-rail brackets

Providing a quick and effortless way to hang most planter boxes, over-the-rail brackets are often L-shaped. Don’t want to drill holes in the planter box? Look for brackets with a hooked or bent arm on which you can simply rest the flower box.

Other brackets

Need to hang an over rail planter box on a railing that has an irregular shape or is smaller or larger than average? Try brackets you can buy online. Brackets come in a variety of shapes and sizes including deck drapes, rectangular brackets, shelf brackets, and clamp brackets.

Some are made for specific types of railing, for example, 2×4 or 2×6 wooden deck rails. Some feature adjustable straps that make them attachable to just about any type of railing.

Good to know: Average-weight planter boxes of up to 48” in length generally require one pair of brackets. Larger planter boxes require two pairs or more. Check the instructions provided by the manufacturer of the brackets to be sure.

Over railing planter box holder or basket

You can also hang planter boxes over the railing using a holder or basket. Usually made from metal or vinyl, an over railing planter box holder or basket consists of a support frame for the planter with hooks at one end.

This type of planter doesn’t require any drilling or screws. You just hang the hooks over the railing. Look for one that’s long and wide enough for your planter box. Also, make sure it’s waterproof.

Note: This type of over railing planter box should be light to moderately heavy. If you buy it online, make sure to check the maximum depth it can hold. Some holders or baskets feature an adjustable width.

Heavy-duty cable ties

Heavy-duty cable ties can be a smart choice if you’re concerned about the safety of your railing planter boxes. They consist of a cable loop secured with a lock. You can tie them directly to the planter boxes or thread them through eyehooks that you fasten to the boxes.

Note: The downside to cable ties is that once you fix them in place, you may not be able to release them unless you cut the cable. If you decide to move the planter box, you may need new ties.

heavy-duty cable ties

Image credit: Pinterest

Rope

Strong, waterproof rope works well for wooden and resin flower boxes. Wrap the flower box with rope at each end and tie the rope in a tight knot behind the box. Make sure to use rope that’s thick enough to bear the weight of the box. Note that because of the weight of the planter, the rope may bite into the wooden railing in time.

Chains

You can also use chains instead of rope to fix a planter box over the railing. A strong chain can bear the weight of just about any flower box. But it often works best on metal railings since it may scrape and damage wooden ones. You can wrap the chains around both ends of the flower box and then connect the chain with a connector or clasp. You can also add eyehooks to the back of the flower box and hang the chains from them.

Bike hooks

Got a spare pair of bike hooks in your garage? You could repurpose them into supports for railing planter boxes. These may work especially well for heavier planter boxes. Note that bike hooks usually require you to drill holes in the railings. For this reason, they are often best suited for use with sturdy wooden railings.

Railing planter boxes with built-in brackets

Finally, you could also buy flower boxes for railings with built-in brackets. Often made from plastic, these flower boxes don’t have the rustic feel of wood, but they can be a good investment if you want to line a long railing with flower boxes.

plastic deck rail planter

Image credit: Pinterest

FAQs

How to choose the right planter box to hang on a railing?

The right planter box for deck railing isn’t only nice to look at, but easy to hang. It shouldn’t be too heavy or bulky. Also, it should be made from a material that allows you to drill holes in it for support brackets if needed, as well as drainage holes.

Wood, resin, and plastic planter boxes are often the best for deck railings. Factor in their weight when they’re filled with soil to make sure the brackets, holders, or ropes you use can support them.

Are planter boxes for deck railing safe?

Yes, provided you attach them to the railing using appropriate brackets, holders, or ties. If you have a tall railing or are concerned that children or pets may upset the hanging planter boxes, opt for one of the safer hanging methods. Hang the planter boxes to the deck railing using brackets with screws, chains with connector locks or heavy-duty cable ties. These hanging methods provide better support than holders, baskets, or ropes.

Can you attach a planter railing box on top of a deck railing?

Yes! You can use rope or chain ties, brackets, or simply drill holes through the bottom of the box and into the wooden deck railing to fix the box in place with screws. You can also buy plastic, resin, or PVC planter railing boxes specially made for on railing rather than over railing installation.

However, putting a planter box on top of a deck railing may affect drainage and damage the wooden railing. In some cases, it may also increase the risk of it falling if accidentally hit. So, if you have a wooden deck railing, it’s better to use an over the railing planter box rather than install one on top of it.

The wrap up

Building and hanging a railing planter box only takes a few hours. You can choose from many different hanging methods, including brackets, French cleats, and heavy-duty rope ties. If you enjoy DIY projects, this one shouldn’t give you any trouble.

How To Build A Tiered Planter Box

Building a tiered planter can be a fun DIY project. Fortunately, with some planning, building a tiered planter box is quite simple. You can even get your kids to help you out, this should keep them out of trouble for a while at least!

If you’re up for the challenge, try the method below to build your own tiered planter box.

build a tiered planter box

New cedar planter boxes by Tom Carmony

How to build your own tiered planter box

Before we get into the method of building, make sure you have the following tools and supplies ready:

Tools:

Supplies:

Method:

A tiered planter is very simple to build. You’ll be required to measure out your wooden pieces and stack them as required. Here’s what you need to know.

Step 1: Get your materials and tools

The first step in any project is always to get your tools and materials ready. It will make it much easier to complete the project instead of running to the store every 5 minutes for something you might have missed. Take a look at the list above before you start.

When choosing your wood, make sure to choose something that can handle a bit of moisture. If you’re unsure, cedar is always a good choice since it is naturally warp and rot-resistant.

Step 2: Prepare the wood

To prepare the wood, you’ll need a measuring tape, handsaw and of course the wooden plank. Before you start cutting, make sure you have the measurements right.

You will need 4 planks that are 90cm long, 4 that are 60cm long and 4 that are 30cm long. This should make up a total of 7.2 metres. Once you’ve measured out all your pieces, you can start cutting with the handsaw.

Once done, stack the pieces in piles according to length. Get out the 2×2 piece of lumber and measure out 60cm. Cut along the mark you’ve made. You should now have one 60cm and one 40cm piece of lumber. Set them aside for later use.

Step 3: Create the first tier

Now it’s finally time to start building. Get out your drill, screwdriver, and glue for this step. You’ll also need the 90cm stack of wooden pieces.

Pack these pieces in a square form. Decide which corner you want to start on and grab your glue. Place a bit of glue on the end of the plank and press the planks together to form a neat corner.

Using the drill, insert screws into the corner to make it strong. Wipe away any excess glue that might have leaked out of the cracks. Continue doing this until all 4 corners are secured in place.

number tiered planter box

You could add a house number to the planter for a personal touch.  Image credit: Pinterest

Step 4: Create the second and third tiers

To get started on the second tier, you will need the stack of 60cm pieces of wood. You will need all the materials mentioned in step 3. Follow the same procedure as before; start in a corner, apply glue, secure the planks with screws and then move on to the next corner. Remember to remove any excess glue to keep it neat.

When you’ve completed the second tier, do exactly the same for the third tier by using the last stack of 30cm pieces of wood. You should now have all three tiers ready to be stacked.

Step 5: Start stacking

You’ll need all your different tiers, glue and some more screws for this part. Start by stacking the second tier (60cm) on top of the first tier (90cm). Place some glue on the sides that will be touching the first tier and put the second tier nearly in place. To screw it in place, you’ll have to use quite long screws and work at a 45° angle. Make sure to work on the inside of the planter to keep the outside neat.

Fix the screws into place and make sure they go from the second tier into the wood of the first tier but not all the way through. Repeat until all sides that make contact are thoroughly secured.

Once ready, move on to the third tier and do the same again to secure it in place.

Step 6: Stabilise the tiers

Once all your tiers are secured, it’s time to stabilise the loose overhanging corner. First, grab the 40cm piece of 2×2 lumber. Place it inside the second tier’s overhanging corner with some glue on the parts that will make contact with the corner. Screw it into place after you’ve made sure that it’s level and touching the ground.

Once done, grab the 60 cm piece and repeat the same procedure to secure the 40cm piece into place. Congratulations, the hardest part is done!

Step 7: Treat the wood

boiled linseed oil varnish paint on wood

Credit: Shutterstock

Treating the wood is the most important part if you want to keep your planter looking great for longer. Grab the 120-grit sandpaper and gently round off any sharp corners, splinters and rough patches on the wood.

To prevent the wood from getting unnecessarily damaged, you will need a wood preservative. This generally comes in a can and needs to be applied with a brush or piece of cloth. A paintbrush usually does the best job.

Make sure to read the instructions before you start and apply the preservative accordingly. You will need to cover every single part of your structure to ensure that there are no weak spots, this includes the inside.

Once your structure is dry and the last coat has been applied, you can start filling up your planter. Keep in mind that this planter has no bottom. This means that you will need to use it in an outdoor area.

If you want to place your planter on decking, you’ll need to get some extra lumber to create a bottom with drainage holes.

FAQs

Do I need to line my planter box?

If you want to preserve the wood of your planter for longer, it is a good idea to protect it with a liner. Liners limit the amount of moisture the wood will come into contact with. This in turn lowers the chances of rot setting in prematurely.

Should a planter box have a bottom?

Not all planter boxes need a bottom. If you’re planning on using it out in your garden or as an extension of your patio, you can get away without a base. If you want to use it on your deck or patio, however, a base is preferable to protect the floor from damage.

Is it cheaper to build your own tiered planter box?

Building your own planter box is usually more cost-effective than buying one. This depends on a few factors, however, including how many tools you have.

Do‌ ‌Planter‌ ‌Boxes‌ ‌Need‌ ‌Drainage?‌ ‌

Drainage holes prevent water from pooling in your planter boxes, they also reduce the risk of rot because of excess moisture. So, giving your planter boxes drainage holes is a good idea.

It’s important to consider the type of planter box you’re using. Some planters require more holes than others. Wire mesh planter boxes or porous wooden ones filled with perlite or the like may provide some natural drainage. Even so, it’s best to drill some holes for safety.

planter box drainage

Keep your planter box plants healthy with adequate drainage. Image credit: @labelladahlia

Why you want to avoid poor drainage

Are you careful with how much and how often you water your planter boxes? If yes, you may think your boxes don’t need drainage holes.

Drilling holes in them may seem like extra work, especially if you’ve already settled your plants in the boxes. But poor drainage gives rise to several problems that can harm or even kill your plants.

Wilting

Too much water in the planter box soil leads to a lack of oxygen for the plant. Overwatered plants can’t breathe. The leaves become yellow, and the plant starts to wilt. If the water doesn’t drain, the plant may die.

Root rot

Root rot is a fungal disease that develops if the root system of the plant becomes drowned in water. It can affect any type of plant, including those that like wet soil.

Other plant diseases

Overwatering a plant can also kill the microorganisms that live in the soil. These microorganisms make the soil healthy for the plant by providing it with nutrients. Even if it doesn’t cause root rot, poor drainage can upset the soil balance and affect the plant’s health.

Rain

If your planter boxes are outside, drainage holes are a must. Even if you’re careful not to overwater your plants, the next downpour may not care one bit about it.

Planter boxes in sheltered spots may be safe from the wind. But water can still get to them and saturate the soil.

rain

Photo by Liv Bruce on Unsplash

Protect planter boxes

Wooden planter boxes can rot over time. If they are constantly wet, they will deteriorate sooner. Drainage holes will protect not only the plant roots but also the planters themselves.

More on this: Waterproof Liner For Planter Boxes

How to make drainage holes in a planter box

You can drill drainage holes in plastic or wooden planter boxes without any headaches. For the task, you’ll need a simple electric drill with the right bit for the material you’re working with.

It’s best to do the drilling before you add the soil and put in the plants. Mark the holes before you start. Drill enough holes for water to drain well across the planter. Start at low speed and hold the drill straight. A sharp twist bit will work just fine for wooden and plastic planters.

Tip: Water can speed up the drilling and keep the drilling surface cool. Ask someone to spray water from a garden hose on the surface as you work.

What if you’ve already put in the plant and forgot all about the drainage holes? Taking the trouble to drill them is worth the effort.

Ask a friend or two to help you to lift the planter box on bricks or on another solid base. You need to lift it high enough to be able to go under it and drill the holes.

That’s about it. Your plants will be thankful for the drainage holes you made by staying green and healthy.

Do‌ ‌Planter‌ ‌Boxes‌ ‌Need‌ ‌Drainage?‌ ‌ 5

Photo by Marissa Daeger on Unsplash

FAQs

Do planter boxes need extra drainage holes if they already have holes?

Ready-made plastic planter boxes may come with a few holes. For small planters, these may be enough. But as a rule, if you’re in any doubt, make some extra holes at the bottom for safety. It will improve drainage and it’s a good precaution against some of the holes becoming clogged with pebbles, perlite, or other types of rock or glass.

Does a ceramic, stone, or metal planter box need drainage?

You may not like the answer, but yes. Ceramic and metal planter boxes are hard to drill holes through. Ceramic or stone planters may crack or break in the process. Metal ones call for some serious drilling. Unless these planter boxes come with pre-drilled holes, use planters made from other materials instead.

Does a planter box need drainage holes in its sides?

Usually no. Drainage holes at the bottom of the box should be enough. If you’re worried that the bottom holes are not enough, you can drill some extra in one of the hidden sides. Choose a side not facing a wall or another surface that the water may damage.

Do double container planter boxes still need drainage holes?

Placing a plastic container with drainage holes in it into a larger, decorative planter box can provide some drainage. But excess water that builds between the two boxes may damage the decorative box over time. Plus, you’ll have to check for water constantly. Adding drainage holes save you time in the long run.

Should I still add a drainage layer if I drill holes in my planter?

A bottom layer of stones or rocks will limit how much soil washes out of the drainage holes, further improving drainage. Plus, you won’t have as much to clean.

How to Make a Planter Box From Decking Boards

Chances are you or a friend have a decked area in your garden. Practical and popular, decking boards can be made from wood or composite materials. Quick to install and easy to maintain, they’re a great way to transform a tired area of the garden and give you more space to sit and relax.

Decking boards are usually made from pressure-treated wood, cedar or redwood, all tough woods that will last for many years. If you’ve finished a decking project and have some spare deck boards, why not make your own planter box?

It’s easy to do and is a great way to save money and create a useful item for your garden. You can also buy damaged decking at hugely reduced prices from DIY stores, they’ll be happy to sell it on and it’ll be perfect for a planter.

decking scraps planter box

Use scraps of decking to create perfect planters. Image credit: @wilsonwoodworking310

The advantage of making your own planter box is that you can build any size you want, from a tiny planter to house herbs or a single annual to a long planter, spanning the width of a garden shed, anything is possible!

What you’ll need

tiny decking planters

Make tiny, chunky decking planters for herbs. Image credit: @summer_wooden_planters

How to make a planter box from decking

Sketch out your plans

It’s a good idea to sketch out the planter you wish to build and work out exactly how many pieces of wood you’ll need to create it. Remember that you can use pressure-treated wood for the base.

Measure and cut

Mark and cut the lengths of decking to the sizes you require. You’ll need to drill pilot holes roughly 2.5 cm from the edge of each plank so that the wood won’t split when you screw the planks together.

Create the frame

Begin by creating the frame of your planter, take the 4 edge pieces and screw them together.

If you’re creating a planter box that’s more than one decking plank deep, you’ll need to cut 4 lengths of your pressure-treated wood to act as corner supports to screw the planks into.

TIP: Cut the corner pieces so they are around 1.5 inches shorter than the sides of the planter, that way, they’ll be hidden once the planter is filled with soil.

Add another layer

Add the next layer of decking boards in the same way, screwing the planks together. Keep adding the boards until you are happy with the height of your planter.

Make the base

To create the base of your planter, you can staple a cut to size weed membrane to the bottom of the box frame, followed by a strong wire mesh panel. This can also be stapled to the bottom of the planks. It’ll provide a strong base and you won’t need to worry about rotting wood. There’s a great video explaining how to make a planter box base here.

decking planter base

Image credit: Whitney Baldwin

If you’d like to make a slightly more detailed planter, you can find some easy to follow deck board planter box plans here.

Bench and Planter Box Ideas

After a long day in the garden, whether you’ve mowed the lawn, tidied up or deadheaded flowers, it’s very relaxing to flop onto a garden seat with a cuppa and admire your hard work.

Some gardeners incorporate planter boxes into their garden bench seats or design the seating as an integral part of the garden.

You can go for imaginative, rustic seating designs, including old, sawn-off tree branches, choose upcycled wood and plastic planter benches or opt for a sparkling metal design to add elegance to your outdoor space.

Whether you prefer a raised bed with a lounger bench seat or two planter boxes with a bench in between, keep reading for ideas to find one that best suits your space.

raised bed lounger

Image credit: @letsfrolictogether

Before you start, consider:

1. What can you plant in a bench planter?

Obviously, this depends on the size of the planter but think nothing too tall unless you are going to use it to cast some shade intentionally.

Herbs are the perfect additions for a bench planter.  Lavender is a good-sized shrub and casts perfume around the area to transform it into a relaxing haven, perfect for a siesta. Sweet-smelling wallflowers, followed by sweet peas will provide glorious scents all summer long.

The bench may be overly popular with adolescents for weekend snoozes but can double up as an area where parents and grandparents can have that afternoon nap (I mean, read the newspaper of course!).  This brings me nicely to the next consideration…

2. Who is going to use the bench?

If the bench has mixed-aged users, it may need to withstand a lot of jumping and juggling, afternoon naps and lounging about playing on iPad moments…  The bench needs to be comfortable and strong while the planter needs to be able to withstand sprawling legs, pets or snoozing adults.  My advice is that the plants need to be fairly replaceable. Take cuttings!

bench planter kids

A bench planter will be loved by all ages! Image credit: @ourcapefarmcharm

Here are some ideas to get you started!

1. British Recycled Plastics matching bench and planter box

No splinters, no splits and no rot mean this range of outdoor recycled plastic benches and seats is low maintenance, weatherproof, safe and designed to deal with the most demanding environment (like the British winter).

These designs have the added value of being recycled, they’re made in Britain and they have planters to match. Placed altogether in your garden, you can be sure that you are bringing true British style to your outdoor space.

Another alternative is two planters fixed to a bench. These can be bought in plastic or metal and you can just add small annuals to the planters for a great place to have your lunch.

2. Sawn-off tree branch seat and matching planter

If any of your larger trees require serious pruning, you may be able to make a very unique planter and seat from the logs. Make sure the branch sits securely on the ground and is large enough to hold people, or at least one person.

sawn-off tree bench

Image credit: @janne_wood_carving

  1. Mark out the measurements of the area you want to sit on.
  2. With a saw, you can remove a section big enough to make a seating area. If the branch is big enough, make some back support by cutting out a further section vertically. This can look amazing when you add comfy cushions.
  3. If there is another branch, this can be fashioned into your planter. Because it is from the same tree, the planter bark will match the seat perfectly. A curling branch offers an extremely natural-looking planter or you can add some wire to place a plant pot in and make a very artistic shape.
sequoia planter

This planter has been made from a sequoia tree branch. Image credit: @tribecagrain

This idea not only depends on the branches available but most importantly,  your imagination. Read on for suggestions for what you can plant in your planter.

You can chop any smaller pieces of leftover wood to use as fuel for a wood-burning stove. Dry them undercover for 2 years before you burn them.

3. Square planter box with seats on each side

Make a striking installation on your lawn with a square planter box that doubles up as a seat.

square planter bench

Image credit: Sitecraft

Choose a sunny spot that plants will love. Think of the soil depth they will need and use the centre of the planter box as a direct soil planter, where you do not need a plastic liner. In this way, you can plant a small tree like an apple or cherry on rooted stock so that it doesn’t grow too tall.

Plan the size depending on available space. A 1-metre square is fine if space is tight but if you can fit a 2-5 metre square planter in, it’ll provide you with a fantastic seating area and a handy place to store tools.

Build your planter at least 3 planks tall and measure the length. Assemble 4 sets of your chosen length to make the 4 sides of the planter box. Use gloves and protective eyewear and have screws or nails handy. You may also want some wood glue to give a more secure binding for the plank seats.

Level off the area underneath the side walls and place guides at the 4 corners. Then assemble the planks ensuring you have a correct 90-degree angle at the corners. Continue to add planks sequentially until your planter is completed.

Make the seats with 2 supports for each plank, and nail these securely to the wall of the planter box. Then attach the seat plank and secure it in place with screws or nails and wood glue (if you decide to use that too). The seats can be sanded down and protected with varnish, oil or whatever method you choose.

If the centrepiece houses a tree, it’s best to add this first, see more below. If there is no tree, then it’s time for planting!

Tina’s Tips:

If you’re planting a tree in the centre, you’ll need to dig a hole deeper than the width and depth of the root ball of your tree and allow extra space for the roots to expand. Please consider adding manure and extra compost mixed with garden soil to nourish it well.

Water the tree in well for its first season and when you see new leaf growth, you know it’s beginning to feel comfortable. You can also mulch the topsoil to keep weeds and pests at bay. This will affect what you plant next.

Advice for plants to accompany a tree:

If you have decided to plant a tree in the centre, then you can use the surrounding soil to add life in different seasons. It’s probably best to have plants that will not fight for space with your tree, so small bulbs and seasonal annuals are fine.

Remember that your planter box has 4 sides so 2 sides will be very sunny for more of the day and the other 2 sides will tend to be shadier. Choose plants accordingly!

Plants for all seasons

Spring

You can plant bulbs for early spring, like grape hyacinths and snowdrops, followed by primroses, pansies and tulips for later in the spring. Make sure taller plants are in the middle.

colorful flowers

Image credit: @frostfarmsgardencenter

Summer

Follow Spring bulbs with:

Autumn:

autumn greens

Image credit: @rom_the_hedge_

Winter

Planters can look bare at this time of year so make sure there are a few:

So the planting is done. Now sit back and enjoy the view of your garden from different sides.

DIY constructions 

1. Upgrade an existing garden bench

Just add 2 vertical gardening planter boxes beside it! If the planters are a little unstable, attach them to your bench. This is worth doing if you have balls being thrown around, boisterous pets or younger gardeners.

2. Trellis the sides of your bench

If you have a couple of large planter boxes and a bench available, why not add some trellis support for climbers at either end so you can enjoy some climbing plants while sitting there?

trellis sides bench

Image credit: @handmadebyellis

3. L-shaped corner bench with planter box

If you have a corner to fill this is a beautiful way to do it. Place two wooden benches in an L shape with a planter between them.

How to build make a planter box seat/bench 

Bricks, concrete, wood, pallets (and cushions) can all be used to make a comfortable outdoor seating area. There are lots of ideas in these links to help:

Bench with planter box designs

How to Build a Rustic Planter Box

If you want to give your garden a rustic air, a brand-new planter box may look out of place. Whether you’re keen on a stone or wooden planter box, new materials may simply look too shiny and neat.

The whole point of building a rustic planter box is for it to look old and weathered, like it’s been in your garden for ages.  So, how do you build a rustic planter box?

How to build a rustic wood planter box

When you look up plans on how to build a wood planter box, the first thing is to decide on a size and then calculate how many wood planks you need for your project. With a rustic wood planter box, it’s exactly the opposite.

First, see what materials you have, and then see how big a planter box you can build with them. After all, it’s the scrap wood that gives it the rustic air. So, start by looking around the house for any old boards you could use.

old door rustic planter box

Use whatever materials you can find! This planter has been made from an old door. Image credit: @organizedclutter

Things you’ll need

Step 1 – Scavenge for materials

This is probably the best part about building a rustic wood planter box—you don’t have to spend a penny on materials. Check the shed, the attic and the garage in search of wood boards. If you want to get rid of an old cupboard, take out the shelves and every bit of wood you can repurpose.

If you’re not satisfied with your haul, extend your search area. Knock on neighbours’ doors to ask if they might want to get rid of any old pieces of furniture.

To put together the planter box, you’ll need a handful of nails and a hammer. If you prefer, you can use screws.

Important: The only thing you need to check is that the wood boards aren’t rotten and ready to fall to pieces. Don’t worry if they look dirty or uneven.

Step 2 – Determine the shape of your rustic wood planter box

Consider the shape of your box. It needs two long walls and two shorter ones. But if you have four wood boards of the same size and you’d rather not cut them, that’s perfectly fine.

You can build a square planter box instead if you want. That’s the beauty of DIY projects. Instructions aren’t set in stone, and you can be as original as you want. If it looks a bit odd, that’s great as it makes it look more authentic.

rustic wooden planter box

The size and shape of your rustic planter will be determined by the wood you can find. Image credit: @average.joe.woodworking>

Step 3 – Put the rustic planter box together

Now, back to building that rustic planter box. Cut the boards so you get the four walls of the box.  Also, don’t forget that the walls of the box need to be roughly the same height.

Work carefully as old beaten wood pieces tend to be fragile. Figure out which part of the wood board would look better on the outside. You’re aiming for rustic, not ugly.

If you use screws, make sure to pre-drill the holes to prevent the old boards from splintering. To secure two sides together, 2-3 nails should do. You don’t want to hammer too many nails into old boards. 

Tip: For added strength, you can use metal straps to hold the walls together. Check to see if the box seems sturdy enough.

Step 4 – Make the bottom of the wood planter box

We haven’t mentioned the bottom of the planter box so far because this is the least of your concerns. Whatever wood pieces you have left will do the job since no one is going to see the bottom anyway.

It doesn’t matter how thick the bottom board is. Since you’re putting the planter box on the ground, it’s not likely the bottom will fall off.

You have two options. If you have a large enough wood board, you can put the bottom on the outside. That means that you put the box upside down on a flat surface and hammer the bottom on with a few nails.

If all you have left are smaller pieces of wood, it’s best to place the bottom on the inside of the box. Cut the wood board so you can fit it inside the box and hammer it in place. You may need someone to keep the bottom board steady while you hammer the nails in.

Your rustic wood planter box is now ready. Remember to drill a few holes in the bottom to allow the water to drain.

Tip: Put your new old planter box in the preferred spot before filling it with gardening soil. You don’t want to tempt fate and put the soil in before, just in case the bottom is not as solid as you thought!

scrap wood rustic planter box

Scrap wood can make incredible planter boxes. Image credit: @farmhouse.inspired

Rustic planter box ideas

Building a box out of old wood pieces is just one way of making a rustic planter box, but you can be as creative as you like.

Fence planter box

This works best with small wooden planter boxes. All you need are some wood planks similar to those that make up the fence. You can build a 10-inch-long wood planter box using the steps described above.

Since the planter box will go on the fence rather than on the ground, you need to make sure the bottom is sturdy. Liberal use of nails is recommended.

All you have to do is figure out a way to fasten the planter box to the fence. If it’s small enough, you can simply nail it to the fence posts. Another option is to fix it in place using metal straps.

More on this: 23 Fence Planter Box Ideas to Inspire You

Over the rail rustic planter box

If you have a wooden deck, you might want to decorate it with a few planter boxes. You can use hanging brackets but if they look too new, that may ruin the rustic feel you’re going for.

Try using rope or a length of chain that’s been sitting in the shed for years and has a weathered look.

Put the rope around each end of the planter box at least a couple of times, or more if the rope seems too thin. Tie it with whatever knot you can make and then pass the loose ends over the rails of the deck.

You can do the same with a chain, but it’s not as easy to tie. A couple of weathered padlocks would look just great to fasten the chain.

Rustic planter box centrepiece

You can use a rustic planter box inside as well, pop a small box on the kitchen windowsill and grow herbs in it.

Rustic centrepieces also look great on a table, especially for Easter. You can wow your guests with colourful hyacinths or daffodils. A small 10-inch box is large enough for a centrepiece.

rustic planter growing herbs

Rustic planters are ideal for growing herbs. Image credit: @tillycorinnehome

You Might Also Like: How to Build a Window Planter Box and What to Plant in it

Wall-hanging rustic planter boxes

Hanging rustic planter boxes can create a focal point and divert attention from a wall that’s not in the best shape. For this, you need at least three planter boxes of different sizes.

The largest goes at the bottom and the smallest on top. You can tie them together with rope or a length of chain and hang the ensemble on the wall with a hook. If you plant hanging flowers or leafy plants in the boxes, even better.

More on this: 5 Simple Hanging Planter Box Ideas

Weathered rustic planter box

Sometimes you just can’t find weathered wood planks no matter how hard you try. The next best thing is to weather the wood artificially. No one needs to know your planter is built with brand new planks you just got from your local DIY store!

A quick way to age wood is to sand it. For best results, apply a coat of paint to the walls of the planter box. Since you’re not aiming for a freshly painted look, you can dilute the paint. Don’t try to make it look perfect, on the contrary, use broad strokes and don’t worry if the colour doesn’t look even.

Allow the paint to dry and get to the sanding part. Use 100 grit sandpaper, which is the roughest on the market. Start by sanding the parts where the wood would be most affected by ageing, like the edges of the box. If you’ve overdone it and the brand-new wood underneath starts showing, no worries. Just apply a bit of paint to cover it.

If you want to make the planter box more resistant, clean it carefully after sanding and apply a water-based sealer.

weathered rustic planter box

Image credit: @jo.and.co.rustic

The wrap up

Building a rustic planter box is a great way to repurpose old wood pieces and bring some variety to your garden without spending any money. Rustic planter boxes go well in the garden, along the fence, or you can hang them on the wall or over the deck railings.

Round up all the old wood boards you can find around the house and see how big a planter box you can make. Don’t worry if it doesn’t come out perfectly, it’s more authentic that way.

How to Build a Privacy Screen Planter

Whether you want to create a new seating area in your garden or simply mask an exposed part of your property, a privacy screen planter is a space-efficient way to do it.

Privacy screen planters can add personality to any garden. They fill space beautifully and increase your privacy without sacrificing style, plus, you can grow several plants in addition to climbers.

Here’s how to build a privacy screen planter, one step at a time.

How to Build a Privacy Screen Planter 6

Image credit: @woodluck_product

How to make a planter box with privacy screen step by step

For this project, you can adapt the length of the wood pieces to your needs. Start on paper and then cut the wood, assemble the frame, add the cedar boards, install the lattice or pallet board, and add the finishing touches. Having someone to help you with this project will make everything easier.

Let’s take a closer look at the key steps involved:

Materials you’ll need

Step 1 – Cut the wood

You can make the privacy screen as big as you need it to be. Cut the lumber for the frame to the desired length. For a sturdy frame, you’ll need four 2×6 long pieces and six 2×6 shorter pieces for the sides. You’ll also need two 2×6 shorter pieces for extra support at the centre of the longer sides.

Important: Determine the height of the privacy screen. Based on this, you may also have to cut the two 4x4s that will support it.

Step 2 – Assemble the long sides of the frame

Place one of the shorter pieces of 2×6 board vertically at the centre of a long 2×6 board. Drill diagonal pilot holes in it. Drive screws through the diagonal holes and fix the short piece in place.

Turn it over and attach the other long 2×6 board to it. For this, drive holes through the other end of the shorter piece and into the long board. You should end up with a large, horizontal “H”.

Repeat the process for the other part of the frame. Don’t worry about the ends of the frame just yet. You’ll attach them to the 4x4s later.

Step 3 – Assemble the sides of the frame

Now it’s time to build the sides of the frame.

Attach two short 2×6 pieces to a side piece using one diagonal pilot hole and screw for each. This part of the frame should look like a big “C”.

Repeat the process for the other side.

Step 4 – Attach the frame to the privacy screen supports

Attach the two “C” sides to one of the longer, upturned “H” sides to create the front of the frame. Drive two or more screws where the wood meets.

Fix the 4x4s with screws to the ends of the other horizontal “H” to create the back of the frame.

Tip: It’s easier to do this with the 4x4s lying on the ground.

Next, you want to attach the back side of the frame to the front. For this, you’ll have to drive some more screws through the 4x4s so that they reach the ends of the “C” sides.

Step 5 – Add the floorboards

Add the floorboards, screwing each in place with two 2 ½ inch screws at both ends. Work this part with the frame and screen posts standing up.

Note: Depending on the size of the planter, you may have to use more than 10 floorboards.

Step 6 – Add the feet

So that the frame doesn’t sit directly on the ground, you can add 4 feet to the frame. Get someone to help you handle the frame. Fix the feet with screws.

Step 7 – Add the cedar boards

Now it’s time to make your privacy screen planter look nice.

Add the 1×6 cedar boards to the frame you’ve made. Start from the top so that the first board is flush with the top of the frame. Fix each board with two or more screws at both ends.

Work the front and back first and then the sides. Depending on the width you want for the planter, you could make two or three side boards from one long 1×6 cedar board.

Step 8 – Install the privacy screen

Whether you choose to use a wooden lattice, pallet, or wood boards, the process is the same.

Simply nail the privacy screen to the 4×4 posts. You may have to use a jigsaw to cut the lattice or pallet to the right size to fit the boards.

Tip: If you use wood boards to build a custom screen, you can reinforce the boards with a longer vertical board that runs behind the screen. Or you can use long boards that reach from one 4×4 post to the other.

Step 9 – Add the finishing touches

Glue the finials to the top of the 4x4s for a more finished look. If you use a pallet board or nail boards across the posts, finials may not be necessary.

Also optional is to add four horizontal boards to the top of the box. Cut them at a 45-degree angle so that they fit together well.

Step 10 – Stain the wood

You’re almost there, make sure you don’t skip this step.

Staining your new privacy screen planter will make it ready for outside weather. Use a water-repellent wood stain.

staining cedar planter box

Credit: Shutterstock

Tip: Stain all of it, including the inside and the back, to make sure it won’t rot.

Step 11 – Line the planter box

Last but not least, prepare the box for the soil.

Line the inside of the box with landscape fabric. Staple it in place so you can fill the planter with soil without worrying that the fabric may shift under it.

Important: Make sure the fabric you use allows for water to drain from the bottom of the planter. If you’re not sure, make some holes in the fabric.

And with that, you’ve finished building your planter box with privacy screen.

Tip: You can put a climbing plant in the planter alongside other plants so that it will cover the lattice or pallet.

More on this: How to Waterproof A Wooden Planter Box

How to make a planter box privacy screen the easy way

You can save time building a planter box privacy screen by buying a lattice or using a pallet box. You can then simply attach it to the 4×4 posts at the back of the planter or attach it to a custom-sized wooden frame. Then simply fix this to the back of the planter with screws.

Building a privacy screen this way will save you time and money compared to assembling it from boards. The only exception is if you already have some spare wood boards. You can assemble these separately on a wooden frame, fixing them with a vertical board in the middle. Then simply add the screen to the planter.

How to build a screen planter box fast

Our step-by-step guide showed you how to build a stylish planter box with privacy screen. But if you already have some spare lumber and wooden boards, you can simplify the process.

You can build a simple planter box with 8 long boards, 8 shorter side boards, and four 4×4 lumber pieces.

Fix 4 of the long boards and 4 of the side boards to a piece of lumber at each end, screwing it in place with an electric screwdriver.

Repeat for the other side, and you’ll have a simple, bottomless, and legless planter box that you can put directly on the ground.

Line the box with landscape fabric and fix an upright pallet or lattice panel to the back of the box with screws. And with that, you’ve finished with the box and got rid of the boards, too.

DIY planter box with screen ideas

Planter boxes with screens don’t always have to be made of wood. You can play around with other materials, some of which are more resistant. Not all alternative materials look rustic, it’s true. But the end result doesn’t have to look bad.

Here are some interesting takes on the classic planter box with screen:

Brick and PVC pipe privacy screen planter box

If you don’t mind messing around with mortar, you can try building this brick planter box. Get enough bricks for the size you want the planter to be and cement them in place. For the privacy screen, you can use PVC pipes. You’ll need two longer and two shorter PVC pipes for the frame and larger pipe cuttings for the trellis. Glue them with waterproof glue and paint them any colour you want.

Artificial bamboo plants planter box screen

One of the easiest ways to create a privacy screen planter box is to stick tall artificial bamboo plants into an existing planter box. It may not provide as much privacy as a pallet planter, but it works. You’ll need to anchor the artificial shoots well and place the planter box in a sheltered position.

Artificial Bamboo Plants Planter Box Screen

Credit: Pinterest

Wire mesh planter box privacy screen

You can also use wire mesh to create a privacy screen for your planter boxes. You’ll need patience to wait for the climbing plants to cover the mesh, but if you need several screens for multiple planter boxes, it can be a cost-effective solution. You can simply stretch the wire across two 4×4 wooden posts that you fix inside the planter box with clamps and screws.

Wire Mesh Planter Box Privacy Screen

Credit: Pinterest

The wrap up

A planter box with privacy screen can become a standout feature in your garden. More than its functional applications, it can look so good you’ll want to create a seating area near it.

Taking the time to build it well the first time will mean you can enjoy it for years to come. Follow our steps and tips and you can’t go wrong.

Will A Wooden Planter Rot? 10 Ways to Prevent Rot

Are you thinking of adding a wooden planter box to your outdoor collection? Wooden planters are quite popular but how can you prevent the wood from rotting?

Here’s what you need to know if you want your wooden planter box to stay rot-free.

wood planter box rot

Will a wooden planter rot?

Wooden planter boxes aren’t always made from the most rot-resistant wood. This means that no matter how well you care for the box, it will eventually rot.

Fortunately, there are quite a few things you can do to improve the durability of your wooden planter.

How to prevent rot

Preventing rot in your wooden planters may sound quite daunting. Fortunately, it’s quite simple. Here are a few methods you can try to improve the durability of your wooden planter box:

1. Wood preservative

Wood preservatives are always a great option for preventing rot. You can combine this treatment with some of the other methods to make the whole process even more successful.

For this method to work you will need a wood preservative of your choice and a paintbrush. Apply the preservative as per instructions and you’re good to go.

Wood preservatives tend to have similar ingredients due to the worldwide regulations put in place. For this reason, which preservative you choose shouldn’t matter too much.

For the best results, treat the wood with a fungicidal wash before painting on the preservative. This will prevent mould and other spores from growing on your wood underneath the coating of preservatives.

Wood preservative is quite effective in preventing mould and algae from growing on your wood, but preservative isn’t the best at killing already established spores.

staining cedar planter box

Credit: Shutterstock

2. Plastic liners

Plastic liners inside your wooden planters will also help to minimise contact with moisture. Liners are usually used in combination with wood preservatives.

Liners are usually glued or more commonly stapled in place inside the wooden planter. You’ll have to make sure that there are still drainage holes by puncturing the liner directly over the existing drainage holes in the wooden planter.

Liners help with preventing evaporation in planters with too much airflow through them and keep the soil inside the planter. This is quite important in wooden planters that resemble a picket fence.

Plastic liners are usually made from thick plastic sheeting. This makes them strong enough to be manoeuvred into place without breaking. It also makes them more durable than thinner plastic.

3. Plastic inner containers

Plastic containers are very useful in wooden planters made from poor quality wood or those without drainage holes. The container can be removed from the planter before watering. This means that your planter won’t be coming into contact with moisture at all.

You can combine this method with preservatives and plastic liners to make sure the wood is even better protected. There are a variety of inner containers so you can choose one that fits perfectly inside your wooden planter.

Garden planter plastic liners

Garden planter plastic liners by DeepStream Designs

4. Planter stands

Another way to protect wooden planters from rot is by placing them on planter stands. Planter stands elevate the box and in the process prevent it from standing in the pooling water underneath it as water drains.

Planters that stand in water are more likely to rot. This is also true for planters that are in contact with a lot of moisture due to standing on a surface that doesn’t allow airflow underneath the planter.

Planter stands simply take all of these factors out of the equation by lifting the planter and allowing airflow underneath it.

5. Liquid sealants

If you don’t want to struggle with plant liners, you can also consider liquid sealants. Liquid sealants are made from silicone that can be sprayed onto the planter box.

You will need to properly prepare the surface before applying these sealants otherwise they won’t stick. Fortunately, this method is quite effective at preserving wood if applied correctly.

You can also still combine it with some of the other methods like the inner container to make your method of preservation even more effective.

6. Varnish

Varnish is also a very effective method of preserving wood. You have a choice for a clear varnish or stained one. Varnish not only preserves the wood against water damage but also brings out the natural beauty of the wood and preserves the colour.

Varnish can either be sprayed or painted on. Just make sure to pretreat the wood with a fungicide to remove any spores before applying the varnish. This way you can prevent any mould growth underneath the coat of varnish that can lead to wood rot.

7. Fibreglass

Fibreglass can also be used to seal planters, but it’s not the most preferred method. Fibreglass can be quite messy to work with. There is also a health risk while working with this substance.

If you choose to go with this method, make sure you have all the appropriate safety equipment like gloves, glasses and a mask.

8. Waterproof paint

If you don’t want your planter to keep its natural wooden look, then you can paint it with waterproof paint. Make sure to treat the wood with a fungicide before applying the paint, however. You don’t want any nasty spores that will ruin the wood and your paint job.

You can paint the planter box any way you like as long as you make sure that the paint you are using is waterproof. You will also need to paint both the inside and the outside of the planter for this method to be successful.

Will A Wooden Planter Rot? 10 Ways to Prevent Rot 7

Painting your planter box will help it last longer. Image credit: @casaredesign1

9. Placement

If you did everything you can for the inside of your planter, the next step is to protect the outside. You can do this by either using wood preservative, varnish, waterproof paint or planter stands.

Where you place your planter will also play a role. If you want the wood to last without messing with the outside of the planter, make sure to place your planter in an area that doesn’t get rained on or wet for any reason.

By keeping your planter away from external moisture, you can keep the wood looking good for longer.

10. Type of wood

If you have a choice, make sure to choose a wooden planter made from wood that is naturally rot-resistant. These planters can be made from woods such as cedar, ipe, oak and redwood.

Of these woods, cedar and redwood are most often used in planters. They are naturally warp and rot resistant which means that your planter won’t be bent out of shape if it accidentally gets a bit wet from watering your plants.

Final thoughts

If you follow one of the methods above or even employ a combination of them, your wooden planter boxes are sure to last quite a while longer. If you do yearly touch-ups and maintenance on your planters, you can even get more than 10 years out of your planter. A lot of it depends on the kind of wood you’ll be using, however, so make sure to choose wisely.

Happy planting!

FAQs

Do I need to seal a wooden planter box?

Sealing a wooden planter will prevent the wood from rotting. This means that you’ll be able to use your planter for much longer.

What is the best way to protect a wooden planter?

The best way to line a wooden planter is by using a liquid sealant. These sealants sit flush with the wood and prevent any moisture from getting through them. Plastic liners have the disadvantage of not being attached to the wood. This means that moisture can get in underneath the plastic causing the wood to rot.

How do you fill a wooden planter box?

The best way to fill a wooden planter is in layers. The layer all the way at the bottom of the planter should allow for drainage. This means filling the bottom with something like rocks, gravel, broken pottery or even plastic bottles. On top of this layer, you’ll add mesh or something similar to separate the soil from the drainage layer. On top of the mesh add the potting soil of your choice. Now your planter is ready to be planted in.

You might also like: How to waterproof a wooden planter box.

Waterproof Liner For Planter Boxes

Do you have a metal or a wooden planter box that needs some protection against moisture? You’ll be surprised to see how many options you have when it comes to protecting your planter boxes. Waterproof planter box liners come in many forms. Here’s what you need to know to improve the durability of your planter boxes.

Garden planter plastic liners

Garden planter plastic liners by DeepStream Designs

What is a waterproof liner?

Waterproof liners are mostly made from plastic. They come in many forms from plastic containers to plain old plastic sheeting. In some cases, you can also get spray-on liners.

Liners are meant to protect your box from the constant moisture of potting soil. They are the best way to keep your planter from rotting prematurely if you’re using wood or rusting away in the case of metal. If used correctly, you should be able to get many more years out of your planter.

Types of waterproof liner for planter boxes

If you want to line your planter, you’re going to have to choose a liner first. If you’re a bit confused, consider one of the following options:

Plastic pots

Plastic pots are quite convenient. They can be placed inside other containers such as your wooden planter. This way you can remove the whole container when you need to water your plant and simply return it to the planter box afterwards. Your planter box will never be in contact with water if done correctly making it last a very long time.

Plastic sheeting

If you want a more permanent liner, then plastic sheeting is a good option. Simply staple or glue it onto the inside of your planter box. Just remember to create drainage holes in the plastic. Most plants will rot and die if left to stand in water for too long.

plastic liner

Prolong the life of a wooden planter with plastic lining. Image credit: London Stone

Resin

It is possible to waterproof planter boxes by lining them with a cloth dipped in resin. As the resin dries, it will create a sealed layer that will protect your planter from moisture.

Fibreglass

This method is a bit more complicated and a little dangerous. Fibreglass will create a great finish that will protect your planter from moisture. Unfortunately, fibreglass can be dangerous if inhaled or touched while working with it so make sure you have the proper safety equipment.

Pond liner

Pond liner is another great option for lining planters. It can be quite difficult to work with. You will need to line the planter and then create drainage holes to keep your plants healthy.

Varnish

Varnish is another effective way to protect wooden planters. Simply paint on the required amount of coats and you’re good to go.

Spray-on liner

It is possible to get spray on plastic or silicone liners for planters. If you choose this option, you will need to prepare your planter before spraying on the required amount of liner. This type of liner does really well when used to protect wooden boxes, making them last so much longer.

Why you should line your planter boxes

There are quite a few benefits associated with lining planter boxes. Here’s what you can look forward to:

Improved durability

Plastic liners will offer your planters an improved lifespan. Without the constant moisture, it will take longer for rot to set in and destroy your planters.

Healthy plants

The correct amount of moisture will keep your plants healthy. If you have a planter that allows a lot of evaporation, then a plastic liner will be a great help when it comes to keeping your plants moist and in turn healthy.

thirsty plants in a lined planter

Thirsty plants will thrive in a lined planter. Image credit: @savoredjoy

Less rot

Planters will take longer to rot if protected by a plastic liner. Keep in mind that there will come a time when rot sets in, however. Some plastic liners don’t protect the wood completely after all.

More planter options

The use of plastic liners opens up the possibility of planters you didn’t even consider. These include coco coir planters and those without drainage holes.

FAQs

Does a wooden planter box need a plastic liner?

Yes, wood planters will last much longer when lined with plastic. Plastic liners prevent moisture from being in constant contact with the wood. This in turn prevents the wood from rotting prematurely.

How do you waterproof a planter box?

How depends on the liner. If it’s a pot, simply place it inside the planter of your choice, if it’s plastic sheeting either glue or staple it in place. If you decide to rather go for the liquid version, you can either paint or spray paint it on.

What should I line the bottom of a planter with?

To prevent soil from falling out, you can place coffee filters or fine wire mesh over the drainage holes. You can also use a newspaper or cheesecloth for this purpose.

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DIY Self-Watering Planter Box

Do you tend to forget to water your plants or would you just like to go away for a few days? Don’t worry, self-watering planter boxes are there to help you out. Buying a self-watering planter can be expensive, but don’t fret, you can make your own DIY watering system at home.

Self-watering planters are designed to make life easier for all plant lovers, here’s how they work.

What is a self-watering planter?

Self-watering planters contain an inbuilt system that allows your plants access to water over a period of time without drowning them. These types of planters are very handy, whether you have a large operation or are just off for a long weekend away.

Self-watering planters work with a pipe system that is filled up with water. It is quite simple to make your own DIY watering system for planters that don’t have one.

self watering system

Keep your plants looking lush all summer long with a self-watering system. Image credit: @adelaidehillsvegiegardens

DIY self-watering planter box

If you don’t have a planter box, you can buy one or make one yourself. There are lots of articles on this website that explain how to build different kinds of planter boxes. Simply find the plans you like and start building.

Once you have a planter box, you can address the self-watering system. Here’s what you’ll need for this project:

Tools:

Supplies:

Method:

Once you have all the supplies and tools ready, take the following steps to set up your self-watering system:

Step 1: Line the planter

To line your planter, get out your carpenter stapler and plastic lining. The liner will protect your planter against excess moisture which in turn prolongs the durability of the planter. This is possible due to the liner slowing down the rotting process since contact with moisture is limited.

Use a measuring tape to measure the inside of the planter and then the plastic liner. This will help you to figure out how big the liner needs to be. Make neat cuts in the liner once you’re happy with the measurements.

Place some glue on the inside of the planter to help secure the liner in place. Once done, place the liner in the box and smooth out all the creases. Staple it in place once you’re happy with it.

You will end up with four flaps in the corners, simply fold them sideways and secure them nicely against the side of the box with some staples. For the last step, fold over the top edges to neaten the liner and staple it in place.

Step 2: Add the drainpipe

It is very important to make sure the drainpipe will sit quite tight inside the planter. To get this right, stretch out and cut the drainpipe to a length equal to the length of the inside of the planter. Make sure to cut enough pieces to cover almost the whole bottom of the planter. You can leave a few tiny spaces between the pipes.

Once you’ve cut the pipes, use a piece of landscape fabric and some duct tape to cover both ends of the drainpipe. Repeat until all the open ends of the drainpipes are covered. Lay the pipes side by side in the planter before moving on to the next step.

Step 3: Add the inlet pipe

The PVC pipes you gathered will serve as the inlet pipe. Take one of the PVC pipes and cut one end so that it forms a sharp point. With the utility knife, cut a small slit in the drainpipe closest to one of the corners.

This cut should be just large enough to allow the PVC pipe to fit in it. The fit will be quite tight and you might need to force the PVC pipe into the drainpipe. If the fit is too loose, secure the PVC pipe and drainpipe together with duct tape

fit self-watering systems into any planter

You can fit self-watering systems into any planter. Image credit: @learngrowedseries

Step 4: Add an overflow drain

In the corner opposite the one with the inlet pipe, drill a hole large enough to fit the flexible ¾ inch hose. You will need to make a small cut in the liner and into the drainpipe to fit the hose through.

You can create a seal around the drainpipe and hose with duct tape. This will prevent any water from leaking out.

Step 5: Add the base potting mix

It is best to create a mixture of vermiculite and peat moss in a ratio of 2:1 to fill the bottom of your planter. Make sure it goes between the drain pipes and covers completely. This mixture will help with drainage while still retaining some water.

Over the base mixture, you can add regular potting soil of your choice. In this soil, you can grow any plants you want.

vermiculite

Vermiculite will absorb water and help to keep the watering system working. Image credit: @dergenialegemuesegarten

How does it work?

Once you’ve finished, you will need to fill up the self-watering system. To do this, simply take a hose pipe and allow water to run into the inlet pipe. It will take around 6 or 7 minutes to fill up the whole system. You know it’s ready once the water starts to run out of the overflow pipe.

Now you might be wondering how exactly this system works since the pipes aren’t connected? It’s really quite simple. You will be filling up the first pipe directly since it’s connected to the inlet. From there the water will drain out of the covered end spilling over into the space filled by the vermiculite mixture.

Once the vermiculite has absorbed as much water as it can hold, the extra water will start to seep into the rest of the pipes filling them up in the process. Once your system reaches capacity and simply can’t hold any more water, the water will start to flow out of the overflow drain. This is how you know the system is saturated.

The time between refilling the system will depend on the type of plants as well as the location of your planter. Some plants are more thirsty and will drain the system faster. Planters placed in the sun will also drain more quickly due to evaporation.

As the water disappears from the vermiculite mixture, water from the pipes will slowly drain out and be reabsorbed by the vermiculite. This is how the system keeps going and keeps your plants moist even without daily watering.

FAQs

Do self-watering raised beds work?

Definitely. Self-watering raised beds deliver water directly to the roots of your plants. This allows them moisture even on the hottest of days when you’re off on a long weekend trip. Self-watering raised beds are very handy if you don’t have the time to water your garden every day or even several times a day depending on the season.

How does a self-watering planter box work?

Self-watering planter boxes deliver water directly to the roots of your plants without drowning them. The water gets stored in the vermiculite and drainpipes at the bottom of your planter. As the water gets absorbed or evaporates, new water will drain out of the pipes to replace the lost moisture. This will sustain your plants for a few days without any watering from you.

Do you need to put rocks at the bottom of a self-watering planter?

No, self-watering planters don’t need the rocks. The drainpipes function as a storage unit keeping excess moisture away from your plants. This will prevent them from drowning and developing root rot while still allowing sufficient moisture for growth.

The Best Planter Box for Succulents

Succulent plants are famous for their ability to store water in their leaves, an adaptation to growing in semi-arid or very hot conditions. Growing succulents successfully requires careful watering and a good planter box, with an excellent soil mix.

Read on to decide which planter box is best for your succulents so that you can enjoy these attractive plants for many years to come.

succulent rainbow

Create a rainbow with colourful succulents. Image credit: @kathssuccs

All planter boxes for succulents need:

Good drainage. It is important to include some sand and pebbles in the planter box.  Some gardeners like to use a charcoal layer before topping up with soil or compost. Succulents are native to deserts so try to recreate similar conditions.

A tray or saucer to collect water that drains away. You’ll need to empty excess water promptly so that your succulent’s roots do not sit in moist conditions. This may cause root rot.

Natural materials such as wood and earthenware mean air can penetrate better than plastic and they also allow excess water to drain away. Succulents will grow in plastic pots but in my experience, they prefer porous material.

Room for expansion – many succulents produce suckers and smaller offshoots; some (like jade plants) become top-heavy quite quickly and may topple over, so give them plenty of room in the planter box. Think wide but not too deep in terms of the planter box size. You can also add decorative stones and rocks to stabilise them – see the landscape planter box below.

Good direct light. Succulents won’t be content in low light so ensure they’re in a sunny room for many hours of the day. That said, full sunshine is often too much for some succulents in summer so try to give some shade during the hottest part of the day. All these plants will enjoy being outdoors in summer, where they get good ventilation and lots of sunshine.

succulents in sunshine

Succuluents will love basking in the hot sunshine. Image credit: @concrete_gardens

So now you know what type of planters the succulents need, let’s think about incorporating them into your home or office.

Individual succulents

Individual succulents can be planted in earthenware pots on a south-facing sunny windowsill. Agave, aloe vera and echeveria look fabulous in single pots. Aloe vera can be used as a plant plaster too by just cutting a leaf, and using the gel on the wound. This will often stop the tears of the very young too by distraction!

Most of these plants can be propagated easily; by new offsets with roots which you can remove, or by leaf cuttings. These are great starter plants for children or inexperienced gardeners. Just discourage too much watering. Read how to water your indoor succulents properly below.

single echeveria

A single echeveria will brighten your home. Image credit: @bobu3744

Group succulents together

Group succulents like snake plants, euphoria and zebra haworthia together to improve the air quality in your home, they will cleanse the air by removing harmful toxins.

DIY succulent planters

DIY succulent planters can be made from most waterproof containers. Just remember that you will need to provide drainage so you may need to cut holes, add pebbles or get creative.

Some growers experiment with unusual types of planters such as wine bottles, with a cut edge and filled with soil. These green containers show off the succulent’s vibrant leaf colours really well. Make sure they’re placed away from roaming pets and curious hands.

wine bottles succulent planters

Create unusual succulent planters from wine bottles. Image credit: @winebottlesucculents

Wall hanging planter boxes

Wall hanging planter boxes look fantastic with a collection of different succulent plants inside. You can mount the whole display on your wall, and place a different plant in each pot.

Painting the pots the same colour will unify the display. Hanging succulents like senecio (string of beads) will contrast really well with a sedum morganium, with its waxy, textured leaves.

string of beads in wall-mounted planters

The string of beads plant looks striking in wall-mounted or hanging planters. Image credit: @plantstoreireland>

Colourful flowering succulent plant box

Use succulents that flower at different times of the year to create a vibrant wall planter box. Try sempervivum (houseleeks), the Easter lily cactus and the prickly pear cactus for brightly coloured blooms.

You can purchase succulents that have been grafted onto cacti or bonsai and these will flower easily.

Landscape planter box

A landscape or rectangular planter box can be made to house several of your succulents together. You can place taller ones with a tree forming habit, like the jade plant at the back.

Echeveria succulents come in various shades; some have pink-tipped leaves and others offer fine white hairs or waxy textures. You can add a ghost plant (officially called the Graptopetalum),a native of Paraguay, which offers greenish-grey, almost white ghost-like leaves. Providing you with interest all year round, this landscape planter box will create an ever-changing picture.

If you have any large rocks, you can place these between the plants to make your box more interesting to look at. Remember that some succulents flower and if these are allowed to hang over the edge of this planter, you can have a seasonal flowering like the vivid pink Christmas cactus flower in December.

colourful succulent plants

Create a living picture with colourful succulent plants. Image credit @succupots.succulents

Living stones planter box

A landscape planter box can be filled with the amazing lithops succulents, which resemble small, round pebbles. There are many varieties and experienced gardeners grow these in a decorative pot with stones, and then amaze their guests on the next visit when flowers appear on the “stones”.

These are really unusual and rare plants so buy one if you see one or add them to your Christmas list! This planter box doesn’t need to be very big but as they expand, you may need to re-pot them.

lithops succulents

Wow your friends with the unusual lithops succulents. Image credit: @your_green_city

Layered succulent pot

A layered succulent pot will offer a vertical growing solution if space is tight. Some succulent plants will grow taller than others but you can start with a large pot and place some charcoal or sand in the base, followed by a layer of soil and plant the tallest plant centrally.

Once it is settled you can add stones to place smaller plants around it at different heights. Then you can cover the stones with topsoil or use smaller pebbles so that the drainage of the water is excellent. Lots of succulent growers use pebbles because they are an attractive way to use collected beach stones while also giving the succulents the drainage they need.

Layer succulents

Layer succulents for visual interest. Image credit: @botanicalsmh

FAQs

How do I water my indoor succulents? 

All succulents have a dormant period when they hardly need to be watered at all. This will be the plant’s own wintertime and may not occur at the same time as our winter. Check the label carefully when you buy your plants and water more when the plant is growing and less when it is dormant.

In spring and summer, feel the soil and water if it’s dry, once a week is usually enough. Before you water your succulents again test the soil by gently digging underneath and water thoroughly if dry. Drain any excess water into a saucer or tray, and empty this after approximately 30 minutes. The plant roots must never sit in wet soil for prolonged periods.

In winter, most succulents are dormant but if your house is kept very warm and centrally heated, you might find the soil is really dry. So touch the soil and check the plant. Watering once a month or so is usually enough.

Tina’s tips: 

Christmas cactus

Enjoy festive blooms with the Christmas cactus. Image credit: @explorganics

Difference between succulents and cacti

A final word about the difference between succulents and cacti; people are always confused about whether succulents are cacti or whether cacti are succulents.

succulents and cacti

Image credit: @thehausplant

All cactus plants are classed as succulents because they store water in their fleshy leaves for use in droughts. Most cacti have spikes as protection from thirsty desert animals, eager to source water. Their skin is hard, helping to stop the evaporation of water from the super-hot desert sun. Another identifying feature of a cactus is that they have areoles, which are the spot from where the cactus produces flowers. Most cacti flower when the rainy season occurs as this is the only time the plant has enough energy and moisture to do so and insects will appear in droves.

Not all succulents are classed as cacti because they do not have spiky additions to their leaves, even though they have leaf, root or stem adaptions to store water throughout a drought period. However, unlike the cactus, succulents would not survive in the hottest deserts.

Enjoy the many types of succulents available, treat them well and they will last a lifetime, producing new plants and giving you fresh air and a splash of colour in your home or office.

How to Make a Potato Planter Box

Baked, boiled, roasted or mashed, potatoes are one of the most delicious and versatile vegetables and they’re also really easy to grow!

You can sow seed potatoes directly into the ground or plant them into containers. Generally speaking, early and salad potatoes grow well in pots. Let’s take a look at the kinds of containers you can grow potatoes in and how to make your own potato planter box.

What type of containers can I grow potatoes in?

Potatoes really are one of the easiest vegetables to grow and will be happy in almost any container, as long as it’s at least 15 inches deep. A good rule is to plant one potato plant per 10 litres of container space, that’s about the size of an average bucket.

Think dustbins, barrels, large sacks and plastic boxes. As the potatoes grow, you’ll need to heap soil on top of them so the deeper the container, the more potatoes you can grow and harvest! Make sure any pots you choose have drainage holes in the bottom.

How can I make a potato box planter?

You don’t need advanced DIY skills to make a potato planter, just some wood (old pallets are perfect), basic tools and a little time! There are many different online tutorials that show you how to build a potato planter box, here are some ideas to get you started:

Wooden pallet potato box

This easy to follow guide from Instructables Living shows you how to make a planter from 2-4 wooden pallets. Because growing potatoes involves adding layers of soil as they grow, you can gradually add planks to the planter box frame as the potato plants grow taller. It’s a great way to maximise your potato crop and gives you chance to source more wooden planks should you run out.

pallet potato box

Image credit: Instructables Living

Plank Potato Box

This box is similar to the pallet planter, in that you continue to add planks as the plant grows. This handy guide to building a potato planter box that grows with your plant from My Outdoor Plans contains a series of illustrated potato planter box plans to help you out.

Hessian bag potato planter

You can create an effective homemade potato planter from inexpensive hessian fabric. Hessian is ideal for planters as it’s tough and drains brilliantly. You can buy hessian from craft shops, online stores or use old sacking. The key to making an effective planter for your potatoes is to make a bottom for the bag so it will stand up.

Tip: You can also use empty grow bags. Start by rolling them down and as the potato plant grows, just roll the bag up and add more compost.

bag potato planter

Make your own hessian potato sacks. Image credit: Pinterest

How do I plant seed potatoes?

Potatoes are one of the most productive crops that you can grow. For every pound of potatoes you plant, you can expect to harvest three to five pounds, that’s a lot of spuds!

There are a few schools of thought when it comes to planting your seed potatoes, but one of the best ways to get the most from them is to cut them into smaller sized pieces, with each piece containing 2 eyes, before planting.

Wait 2-3 days for the cut pieces to callus over before planting, this protects the seed potatoes from disease.

Tip: Plant seed potatoes before they sprout to prevent the tender shoots from being damaged.

plant seed potatoes

Image credit: Plews Garden Design

Sow your seed potatoes into 4-6 inches of good quality potting soil about 2 weeks after the last frost. Make sure you bring them inside should a rogue frost strike after this point. You only need to cover them with an inch or two of soil to begin with.

Position your potato planter in a sunny spot and water well. Water potato plants daily or more in warm, dry weather as the soil needs to be kept moist.

When your potato plant has grown about 6 inches, you need to ‘hill’ the plant. Heap soil around the plant, covering the bottom leaves. It’s the buried stems that produce potatoes. You’ll need to continue this process until you reach the top of the planter or bag. Potatoes grow fast so you’ll need to be vigilant and quick!

When your potato plant flowers, you can begin the fun job of harvesting your spuds! Once the plant yellows and dies back, it’s time to harvest any remaining potatoes.

How to Build a Strawberry Planter Box

Strawberry plants produce delicious seasonal fruits. They’re very easy to grow and don’t require much maintenance. For this reason, there are a wide variety of ways to grow strawberries.

If you want to grow strawberries in planters, then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s look at a few ways you can plant strawberries and some ideas for building a strawberry planter box yourself.

strawberry planter

Strawberry planter box ideas and plans

There are so many ways to grow strawberries that you might get a bit overwhelmed. You can grow them directly in the soil in your garden or in a variety of planters. If you don’t have a garden or just want to try something different, here are some ideas for a variety of planters to get you started:

1. Hanging planters

If you’re limited on space, you can make a hanging planter to grow strawberries in. Hanging planters can be placed just about anywhere that has enough sun.

You can make your own hanging planter by using old stainless steel pots with drainage holes drilled into them or by building your own wooden hanging planter. You can even recycle used bottles, just about anything can be turned into a hanging planter as long as you can attach a chain or rope to it to create something to hang from.

Strawberries do well in hanging planters since it keeps the fruits off the ground. This allows them to ripen evenly before you eat them.

Your hanging planter can be as simple or detailed as you wish. There are even creative ways to hang tiered hanging planters flush against a wall. The planters can be quite large as long as the surface from which they need to hang is strong enough to support their weight.

Here’s a quick and easy hanging planter that can be used for strawberries.

2. Concrete planter

Concrete planters are another great option for growing strawberries. If you want a fun project, you can even make your own. Concrete planters can be placed on your patio, inside your home or even around your garden.

You can also decorate the planter to your liking. If you’ll always be growing strawberries in it, you can paint strawberries on the planter or even write on it in whatever colour you like. Making planters can also be a fun project for the whole family.

If you want to build your own concrete planter, try one of the following tutorials to get you started:

3. Raised planter

Raised planters are always good for growing strawberries. It keeps them off the ground which helps them to ripen evenly and protects them against mould and creepy crawlies. Raised planters are also easy to build if you want to do it yourself.

Not only do raised planters look great, but they keep the floor clean and allow you to stand upright while harvesting your strawberries. If you want to make your own raised planter, check out the following tutorial:

4. Tiered planters

Tiered planters are excellent for growing strawberries. You can time your planting in such a way that the strawberries will ripen at different times. You can also incorporate herbs and other plants in the remaining tiers if you don’t want to grow strawberries alone.

Tiered planters will keep your strawberries off the ground and look great as part of the decor. These planters aren’t always the simplest to build. There are so many different ways to do it. To give you a head start, check out the tutorials below:

5. Footed planters

Footed planters are a great option for keeping your decor simple while protecting your deck or flooring. They are also ideal for growing strawberries and will keep them off the ground, ensuring healthy plants and great looking fruits.

Footed planters are also easy to build if you want a simple planter. You can use recycled buckets or bottles to build a professional-looking planter. For ideas on how to do this, check out the video below:

6. Wall-mounted planter

Wall-mounted planters are great for decoration as well as functional. If you don’t have a lot of floor space, then you can grow your strawberries in one of these stunning planters. These planters can be designed to fit into your aesthetics.

You can use just about anything to create wall mounted planters. For some tips and tricks, watch the video below.

You can also place them just about anywhere on a wall. The way you do this is up to you. Some like to create tiered planters on their walls while others go for the more basic setup. Whatever you decide, just make sure that the wall gets enough sun to keep your strawberries healthy.

7. Window planter box

Window planter boxes are great for saving space while adding some life to the outside of your home.  This way you can just open the window to harvest a few strawberries for a snack. If you have a sunny windowsill, strawberries will grow happily indoors too.

Window boxes are quite simple to create if you like DIY projects. To help you get started, check out the tutorial below.

Keep in mind that the videos given here aren’t the only options available.

8. Ladder planter

Vertical ladder planters are excellent for taking up all that wasted space.  If you’re planning on saving some floor space but still want to grow quite a few crops, this is also an excellent idea. You can also use the space underneath the planter to store your watering can and other gardening equipment.

These planters are quite simple and can be built by just about anyone. Just take care when working with machinery and make sure to take the necessary precautions.

9. Fence planter

Fence planters are another way to spice up your garden.  If you have an ugly fence or just one that looks a bit boring, consider attaching a few planters to it. The fence will look lively in no time and you can be proud of your fine work.

Below are some ideas for making a fence planter. Make sure to put safety first when attempting this project.

10. Planter for kids

If you have kids, you’ll know how difficult it can be to keep them entertained. This is especially true over long weekends and school holidays.

If you want to do something productive and teach them some great life skills at the same time, consider making some DIY planters. Kids are like sponges and learn very quickly. By doing this project with them you can teach them how to recycle, do things themselves and how to grow and care for plants.

They will definitely thank you in the future when they have their own gardens to care for. Below is a fun project to try with your kids. Also, check out our full list of garden activities to try with kids.

Final thoughts

Creating your own planters can be extremely rewarding, it’s also more cost-effective in most cases. Just make sure you have all the tools to hand before you start. Get out your creativity and start planning your next planter project.

Strawberries are rewarding plants to grow and harvest but you don’t have to stick to them, be adventurous with your planting and grow a variety of tasty fruit and vegetables to enjoy.

Happy gardening!

How to Build a Wine Box Planter

Wine boxes destined to be thrown away can become stylish wine box planters. You can move them around, use several to line a wall, or turn them into a garden centrepiece. The best part is that you can make one on your own in an hour or two.

You can make a simple wine box planter for a lot less than the cost of a similar ready-made planter. Plus, it will probably look even better.

How to make a wine box planter DIY style the simple way

Find a wine box, drill some holes in it, add some glue and screws, sand and coat the box, and that’s it! Making a wine planter box really is that easy. Here’s a breakdown of each of the steps for building a wine box planter on legs. But first, make sure you gather all the materials and tools you need for this project.

Materials and tools you need

How to Build a Wine Box Planter 8

It’s easy to turn an old wine box into a stylish planter. Image credit: @latebloomerworkshop

Step 1 – Get your hands on a wine box

Maybe you have a wine box left over from your last rowdy house party. If not, ask the nearest wine and spirits store for one.

Often, they’ll give it to you for free or sell it for an insignificant sum. After all, they have to get rid of all those wine boxes piling up at the back of their store.

Step 2 – Prepare the wine box

Before you add the legs, make sure the box is in good shape. Look for any gaps between the wood and glue and clamp them. It may seem like extra work, but it’s going to reinforce the box so you can plant just about anything in it.

Tip: While you’re at it, you can use the wood staple remover to get rid of any visible staples from the top. Some of these may look at odds with the wood.

Step 3 – Cut the legs for the wine box planter

You can use wood cut-offs for this one provided they’re long enough. 1-inch square cut-offs will do. But you can use anything similar you can get your hands on.

Use the electric saw to cut them at around 18 inches in length or your desired size. You don’t want them to be too long, or your wine box planter will look like it sits on stilts. And you don’t want them to be too short either, or the box will seem low and squat.

Step 4 – Drill holes for the legs

Use the pencil to mark outlines for the legs on the bottom of the box. The outlines should be 1-inch square or as large as your wine box planter legs.

Next, use the 1-inch bit to drill the holes you’ve marked. Cut the rest of the hole into a square with the saw. Don’t worry about making the cut perfect since it will sit below the box. Just make it large enough for the legs to fit snugly through it.

Tip: As a shortcut, you can simply clamp the legs to the bottom with screws, so you don’t have to drill them. Your wine box won’t look as classy, but it will be functional.

Step 5 – Put the legs in

Glue the sides of the legs that meet the edges of the box. Then drive the legs in up to the top of the box, making sure they won’t stick out.

This won’t be enough to support the weight of the box, so make sure to drive some 1¼ inch screws through them. Three screws on the longer sides of the box and three on the shorter sides will do. Screw them in under the surface of the wood so they won’t jut out.

Step 6 – Add some runners for extra support (optional)

This step is optional, but it’s worth doing. It will reinforce the wine box so it can handle the weight of the soil.

Simply glue the runners vertically to the bottom of the box. They don’t have to be pretty since you’ll cover them with soil anyway.

Step 7 – Sand and finish

Sand the box carefully on all sides. You probably want to preserve the wine label for an authentic look. Some wine box labels look really cool.

After you’ve sanded the box, give it a coat of heavy-duty, clear-coat varnish. Don’t skip this part. The finish will make the box ready for all that rain and shine it will be getting outdoors.

Step 8 – Drill some drainage holes

Another important step you don’t want to skip. You can use the same bit you used for drilling the legs to save time.

Turn the box over and drill 6-8 holes at the bottom. Your plant will be grateful for them.

Tip: You can add newspapers or weed membrane to the bottom of the box so dirt won’t fall out.  Add some leftover wood scraps for better drainage and to save on potting soil.

Step 9 – Fill with soil and plant something in it

Choose the soil based on the plant(s) you plan on growing in the box.

A wine box planter is big enough for several plants. Flowers and herbs will be more than happy growing in it, provided you keep it in a sunny spot sheltered from the wind.

And that’s about it!

Wine crate planter box ideas

Got your hands on more than one wine crate? You don’t have to build the same planter over and over again. Here are some clever wine crate planter box ideas to inspire you:

Legless wine box planter

You can use a wine box as a planter as it is without adding legs to it. At most, all you have to do is reinforce it a bit and place it on two narrow pieces of wood for better drainage (so that it doesn’t sit directly on the ground). Legless wine box planters are great for decks, patios, and wall shelves.

Legless Wine Box Planter

Image credit: Pinterest

Wine box planter on iron frame

Placing a wine box on an iron frame enables you to create a raised planter quickly and easily. If you already have an iron frame, simply place your wine box on top of it. You can give the frame a fresh coat of paint or leave it as it is for an authentic feel.

Wine Box Planter on Iron Frame

Image credit: Pinterest

Tiered wine box planters

Instead of sitting on the ground, the legs of the wine box planter can sit on the wine crate beneath. This cascading design calls for large and sturdy wine boxes. The sides of the boxes have to be thick enough for you to be able to drill holes in for the legs.

Tiered Wine Box Planters

Image credit: Pinterest

Windowsill wine box planter

Narrower wine boxes can sit on the windowsill. To make one of these, you have to hunt for the right wine box. You can paint it white or another colour that works with the surroundings. Optionally, you can attach handles to it to make it easier to handle.

You won’t be drilling any drainage holes in this one. Line the bottom of the box with a plastic liner so water won’t trickle down your wall and place plastic flower pots inside.

Windowsill Wine Box Planter

Image credit: Pinterest

Wine box planter on wheels

Adding wheels to a wine box planter makes it easy to move around on a paved area. This works for large, heavier wine boxes, which can weigh quite a lot with the soil in them. The wheels also raise it above the ground to improve drainage. Visit your local DIY store for a set of four wheels or use any you have already.

Wine Box Planter on Wheels

Image credit: mylifeatplaytime

The wrap up

Next time you have a few drinks with your friends, don’t throw the wine box away. You can repurpose it into a stylish planter box for indoor or outdoor use. It’s a simple and fun DIY project that you can complete in just a few steps. Try it and see for yourself.

How Can I Use Planter Boxes as Room Dividers?

Dividing screens were historically used in Asia and Europe for modesty or privacy purposes in indoor spaces. Today, they’re often used to separate rooms into different spaces, for example dividing the kitchen from the living room or defining a work area.

It may be that you want to divide your workspace from your living area if you’re a home worker or a student or even divide the children’s play area from your tidy living room. Using a planter box as the divider offers the home decorator many design possibilities.

room divider planter

Get creative with a planted room divider. Image credit: Pinterest

Read on for ideas for room divider planter boxes such as a growing wall divider, ideas to upcycle an old chest of drawers and a K-drama inspired fish tank divider with foliage.

Dividing a room with an exterior entrance

A planter box for a space that contains an exterior door needs to be filled with dense foliage to help keep draughts at bay when the door is open. You can buy a suitable planter or DIY your own box from upcycled wood to suit the dimensions of the space.

Any plants in a hallway will get chilly at times so make sure you choose evergreen and hardy plants for these spaces. If your door opens into a living room, then making a divider screen will definitely help to keep the chill outside.

You could re-fashion a clothes rail (preferably with wheels for easy movement) into an attractive addition to your living space. Remember that any room divider has two sides and that you can change the view and the atmosphere depending on where you place it.

clothes rail room divider planter

A clothes rail can double up as a planted room divider. Image credit: IKEA

Consider both viewing points of your new planter box. From one side you will have a visible shelf and you may like to stain, varnish or paint this to suit your décor. From the other side, you will have a green, living wall that you can move around from time to time if the plants need more sunlight.

Keep reading for more creative living wall planter room divider ideas.

Hook in the ceiling ideas

These ideas will help to separate a space using hooks secured in the ceiling.

living room divider

Create a living room divider for your space. Image credit: Pinterest

A more solid room divider planter box

If you have high ceilings or a lot of space to fill and you want a solid room divider then you can also use ceiling hooks. 3 or 4 hooks may be advisable for heavy material, you may want to consult a DIY expert before you start. Bulky, natural material such as tree branches can be leaned against the wire supports. For extra support, add corner braces where they meet the floor and secure more wire around the trunks to attach them to the structure. The wood will fill your room with interest for many years.

birch tree branch room divider

Create a beautiful room divider using branches. Image credit: Pinterest

Once the trunks are in place, add planter boxes, at the base. Choose planters of varying heights, taller ones will help to stabilise the whole structure. You could place planter boxes on both sides of the divider so that it looks completely different from both angles.  Choose various plants to complement the tones of drying wood. Ferns would be a fabulous choice for the shadier side and bamboo would provide a striking contrast against the trunks.

This room divider will help to keep heat in so place it in an area where you want to enjoy cosy warmth!

Chinese, Japanese and Korean style screen dividers

These screens are classics in Asian films and are usually made from local wood. They often consist of a wooden frame with decorative painted panels inserted.

You could design your own wooden divider using these types of screens as a pattern and hinges to separate the three parts. I have seen DIY enthusiasts use three old doors to make these dividers and then make shelves across each “screen” area. These tiny shelves can hold small plant pots, trinkets or photos.

If you are worried about stability, fix one side of the first screen to a wall and also to the floor using L-shaped corner braces and screws. If you want to move the divider later, just remove the plants and the screws.

Include light plants such as small succulents or herbs that won’t grow too heavy over time. Plants can easily be replaced if they grow too large. They’ll also need regular watering. To avoid leakages, ensure that each plant sits on a saucer or tray.

japanese style room divider

Image credit: Pinterest

Good shelf lighting will show fabulous shadows of the plants, helping your divider to closely resemble the Asian screens. Use lights that will aid the plant’s growth.

This thick screen will completely block off the view of another room. If you’re happy with the location, you can add a more permanent planter box at the base to increase the stability of the whole divider. Fill it with light-loving plants on the side that has bright light and keep low light tolerant plants on shelves with artificial lighting. Voila! Two separate room environments with one divider.

A box planter to divide a bedroom from a living room

A fish tank bookshelf room divider.

Many students and flat dwellers live in spaces where the bedroom and living areas aren’t completely separate. I’m a big fan of Korean dramas and those inspire this next idea. You often see wonderful fish tank room dividers through which you can view the room behind. The fish make wonderful company and you can place reeds and fern-like plants in the aquarium, a floating accompaniment to your dreams! The swaying of the greenery and the colours of the fish create a wonderfully calming environment.

aquarium room divider

Incorporate an aquarium into a room divider. Image credit: Pinterest

To achieve this, use a free-standing bookshelf and remove shelves as necessary to make room for your chosen tank. It is a good idea to secure the whole bookshelf to the ground using a drill and nails so it’s secure.

Recycle old furniture as a room divider planter box

If you have a chest of drawers you no longer use, then this can be transformed into a small room divider planter.

old dresser planter box room divider

Plant up an old dresser and use it as a quirky room divider. Image credit: @balconygardenweb

Tina’s Tips:

Remember that one side of a room dividing planter box will tend to have lower natural light. Place evergreen plants on this side.  You may be able to use artificial lighting in this area.

Put light-loving plants like herbs, geraniums, begonias, cacti and lilies on the natural light side of the divider.

Hopefully, you’re now itching to change something in that big room of yours by bringing in a dividing planter box. Have fun!

Which Planter Box is best for a Tree?

It is so lovely to have a tree in close proximity and even if you don’t have a massive garden, it is possible to grow a tree in a planter box. The most important aspect of a tree planter is that it must be deep enough to allow the trunk to stretch and grow as it’s nourished by the soil.

Another factor is whether your tree will be grown indoors in a centrally heated environment or if it is located outside. You may be planning to have a planter box on roller wheels, which can be placed in a protected environment during a harsh winter.

Read on to discover how to keep a planter box tree happy and healthy for many years to come.

bay trees pots

Bay trees grow happily in pots. Image credit: @myfirstvictorianhome_247

What materials can I use for my tree planter box?

Terracotta clay planter boxes

Terracotta clay planter boxes are a great choice for trees. As clay is porous, it creates an ideal environment for tree roots. The only downside is its weight so if this is to be placed on a balcony, think about the combined weight of the planter, tree and soil before you buy one.

Wood

Wood is an excellent natural material for planter boxes but it will need to be regularly maintained and possibly lined as well. Pine, larch, cypress and oak all offer individual characteristics and you may want to take your time choosing one you like. You can also visit your local wood supplier and take advice from them about durability and sustainability.

Aluminium and galvanised steel

Metals like aluminium and galvanised steel are also suitable for a tree planter and their durability ensures elegance for many years to come. Some are scratch-resistant too which is practical in a busy family garden. Make sure you choose a rust-resistant metal planter box or you may have to replace your planter sooner than you think.

metal planter box olive tree

This metal planter holds a magnificent olive tree. Image credit: @olivetreespecialist

Composite planter boxes

Composite planter boxes are constructed from recycled materials and they offer more flexibility in terms of shape and colour than more traditional materials. They are also lightweight and within most people’s price range. Some of these also have LED lighting incorporated into them so your tree planter box can be a light source at night. However, as darkness approaches, trees photosynthesise the light their leaves have absorbed during the day, so nocturnal lighting may not suit the tree you choose. Try to make sure the lighting is aimed at the ground not upwards – this will help.

Glazed ceramic planter boxes

Glazed ceramic planter boxes for trees look really attractive but if weight is an issue, for example on a patio or balcony then check before you buy. This type of material is heavy which is steady for a growing tree but if you have to move this pot, you may need help and/or a roller system. These can be more expensive than composite plastic tree planter boxes so if cost is an issue, maybe consider a different option.

Brick is another possibility for a tree planter box and will offer solid support for a growing tree. However, it is very permanent so consider well where you build one.

Once you have chosen your material, let’s get started! There are some plans for building your own planter box (and greenhouse!) available here.

Read on for suggestions for the best trees to plant in a planter box below but first, let’s consider what conditions your chosen tree will need for good growth. It’s also important to think about where you will sit to view this tree.

If it’s outdoors will you sit on some decking or in a courtyard to look at it? Is it sheltered there? The tree will go through every season in this planter box and some trees offer year-round interest, whilst others are famous for their glorious spring blossoms.

Position your planter box where you can view it all year round, you don’t want to miss the gorgeous autumn foliage that many trees will offer. Before you plant your tree, place it in a bucket of warm water and allow the roots to spread.

Gently, ease any roots into a natural shape if they have become pot-bound and let them sit happily in the water while you read the rest of this article.

acer tree planter box

Position an acer tree in a premium position to enjoy its stunning foliage. Image credit: @romy.kate

What factors should I consider for my tree planter box? 

Height and spread of the tree

When you buy a small tree, calculate how tall it is going to grow and ensure that the location will allow it enough space to grow. The planter box should be calculated to be twice the depth and width of the root ball of the tree you choose.

You also need to allow for future growth so make sure the height of the box allows for this by adding an extra 30cm (1 foot) for approximately 4 feet of trunk growth.

Next look at how far the tree will grow in width and then decide if there is enough space for the tree to be comfortable. If it is in a conservatory, how tall is the roof? Will it be shaded by other plants? Is there direct sunlight? If it is outdoors, does it need protection from winter frost and snow?

I’ve been surprised by a grapefruit seed I planted which grew tall enough indoors to become my Christmas tree, so consider this one carefully!

The sturdiness of your planter box

You will be adding a living plant to your planter box so remember that it needs to be sturdy. No tree will thank you for falling over every time somebody bumps into it.

Choosing a heavy planter will help but if it is a composite or lightweight planter, make sure you add some large stones or bricks to the bottom to help balance the tree. Any broken crockery will also help to add weight and assist with drainage.

bonsai tree planter

Even bonsai trees will need sturdy planters to stop them from blowing over. Image credit: @shreebonsai

Soil

Some trees will need manure and lots of rich soil. Soil is heavy which helps to secure the tree in place but a huge planter box will require a lot of soil!

You can fill up your planter box by adding weighty items at the bottom and then consider adding pebbles and some sand to aid drainage. Any garden topsoil you have available will help too, then place your tree in the planter box carefully. Fill all around the root ball top with compost, either homemade or bought. Then water the tree thoroughly and allow the soil to settle.

Watering

Trees will have different watering needs but all of them need some water. All will like good drainage, which can be achieved by adding either a layer of charcoal or some pebbles. Self-watering systems are one option but visiting your tree every few days to check is a pleasurable activity so enjoy it.

Light

Check which type of light your tree prefers. If full sunshine is needed, you can position the planter box near a south-facing wall, enabling it to retain heat for longer.

If you buy a shade-loving tree, then find a spot where the afternoon sun is shaded by a building or another tree so that your tree benefits from cooler afternoon light. Check the label carefully and then choose a spot that suits the growing needs of your chosen tree.

light location planter box

Take the tree’s need for light into consideration when choosing its location. Image credit: @distinctivespaces

Frost hardy?

This is an important question that determines if your tree will be placed in an interior or exterior planter box. Cherry trees don’t mind a bit of frost and snow whereas a citrus tree, like lemon or lime, will die if it snows. So let’s take a look at the types of trees recommended for a planter box:

Types of trees that can be grown in a planter box

  1. Bay is a tree whose leaves are used in cooking, it’s happy in a pot but it can grow as tall as 23 feet (7.5 m).
  2. Flowering trees like cherry and magnolia are hardy and offer gorgeous foliage during one season. Their size will depend on the size of the planter they grow in.
  3. Hardy fruit trees such as cherry, pear and apple grow well in containers. Try to make sure they are grafted on dwarf rootstock which limits their eventual height.
  4. Citrus trees, like lime and lemon, are fine in planter boxes but must have some winter protection. Their scent is heavenly when in bloom and the fruit is excellent too.
lemon plater box

Enjoy harvesting homegrown lemons and limes. Image credit: @peppertreeliving

  1. Colourful trees like red maple and Japanese maple grow well inside or out but may need some protection from winter weather.
  2. Yucca is regarded as a hardy shrub but it can grow to over 10 feet when in flower and its striking foliage is fabulous in a container planter box.
  3. Decorative leaves such as Salix integra – the dappled willow, are beautiful in a planter box.
  4. Nut trees with flowers, foliage and fruit like the cobnut hazel tree are a delight in every season. Yellow catkins in spring are followed by lush green foliage which turns to scarlet red in autumn, followed by a harvest of nuts. Buy one on dwarf rootstock to keep it to a manageable height or you will be pruning vigorously every year.
  5. Palm trees can be bought as dwarf varieties and offer calming foliage in any environment. Some varieties need to be indoors.

    palm planter box

    Palms add a touch of luxury wherever they are placed. Image credit: @urbanplantskenya

  6. Trees such as lilac and buddleia, loved by pollinators for their amazing scent, are great for anybody who loves watching bees and butterflies.
  7. Eucalyptus offers a delightful scent all year round and it’s worth growing for the patterns on the trunk alone. It won’t grow huge in a planter box but it is a delight.
  8. Tender trees like olive and pomegranate grow well in planter boxes but will need a warm, cosy patch for the winter.

    pomegranate tree planter box

    Pomegranate trees will need protection during the cooler winter months. Image credit: @pomariusnursery

  9. Bonsai trees will give you endless pleasure and slow growth indoors and they do not need a very big planter either. You could double up a bonsai with another tree which would complement it, in a deep planter box and then enjoy both.
  10. Fir trees like Nordman fir, Norway spruce and the beautiful blue spruce can grow happily in pots.  They won’t like to be brought inside for Christmas and put back out into the cold so keep your potted tree outside and decorate with twinkly lights for some festive cheer.
fir tree planter box

A fir tree will thrive in a sunny spot. Image credit: @louise.cooper>

Plant your tree carefully, cover the roots with soil and press it down gently to ensure it is happy in its new home. Water it well and leave it alone for a few days. Once you spot some new leaves growing, you know your tree is happy. Finally, here are some tips to help your tree and planter box stay trouble-free.

Tina’s Tips:

What maintenance will my tree planter box need?

Depending on the material chosen:

What maintenance will the tree inside my planter box need?

You might like: How to build a planter box around a tree

How to Build a Tomato Planter Box

Tomatoes are so easy to grow that even a novice gardener can be successful! Growing tomatoes in a planter box will increase your chances of success, as this provides them with enough warmth and nutrition to last a whole growing season.

Whether you’re growing your tomatoes in pots on a window-sill, in a grow bag, a greenhouse, or alongside herbs on a sunny balcony, the basic principles will be the same. Tomato seeds are available for every taste, colour, and size you can imagine.

So what’s the best way to achieve a huge crop in a tomato planter box and how can you build one? Read on!

How to Build a Tomato Planter Box 9

Image credit: @the_hungrynomad_

What conditions give a good crop of tomatoes?

  1. Good seeds. Buy your tomato seeds from a recognised supplier and try to buy organic seeds if you can. Sow them in pots indoors in spring and transfer them into your planter box as soon as the weather improves and there is no danger of frost.
  2. Good soil. Tomatoes are super-hungry plants and love rich, deep soil where they can spread their roots and grow side branches. Add homemade compost, manure if you can get some, and extras like wood ash, comfrey leaves and well-rotted leaf mould, to provide a balanced soil to feed the tomato plants.
  3. Sunlight. This is an absolute must for tomatoes so make sure your planter box is in a location where it has direct sunlight for as much of the day as possible.
  4. Water. Tomatoes get very thirsty so water them as part of your daily routine or even better, set up a watering system so that even if you forget, your plants still get a drink.
  5. Support. If you’ve never heard of “tying in” plants, you have now! This means tying the stem of a branch onto a support like bamboo stakes or a trellis so that the tomato can climb as high as it likes. This way you can also provide support for a bunch of tomatoes, as sometimes the weight tends to make the whole branch drop.
How to Build a Tomato Planter Box 10

Tie fruiting tomato plants onto supports. Image credit: @suburbgardenlife

What size planter box will suit tomatoes?

You know by now that tomato plants need rich, deep soil so your planter box must be at least 1 foot deep and preferably deeper. Think of the size of a grow bag and this is for 3 plants. So if you have only 3 tomato plants, then a planter that will fit 3 plants would need to be at least 3 feet wide and 1 foot deep.

If you empty a grow bag into this planter box size, you may need to top up with compost and garden soil and other additions like sand, some manure or ash, and a handful of comfrey leaves.

See also: How To Fill A Wooden Planter Box

What material suits a planter box for tomatoes?

The nice thing about tomato plants is that they aren’t too fussy. I’ve grown tomatoes in plastic pots, ceramic planters, wooden planter boxes and grow bags, in any space I can find in a greenhouse beside cucumbers and herbs.

So if you are really new to this, choose any planter that suits your budget and try it out.  Try growing different varieties of tomatoes to find out which ones you like best. You will never go back to the dull taste of shop-bought tomatoes again!

How to Build a Tomato Planter Box 11

Get creative with different planters, you can even grow tomatoes upside down! Image credit: @satchellsamantha

Some gardeners swear by the taste of Gardener’s Delight and others like huge plum tomatoes, which originated in Italy or Spain. In my experience, the smaller tomatoes are generally sweeter but if you’re planning on using them for pizza sauce, then the large ones do very well.

Tomatoes can be grown which are resistant to tomato blight and this is very useful in the UK summer weather. See more on diseases and pests below.

Do I need to waterproof a tomato planter box?

Yes, it’s essential to have good drainage but you’ll also want to stop water leaking from your planter box after watering. It’s also important that the planter box material doesn’t rot if it’s made from wood.

See some ideas for how to make your planter box waterproof here.

DIY tomato planter box

Tomatoes aren’t particularly fussy plants and it’s easy to build a tomato planter box that they will thrive in.

Make a planter box from a cardboard box

Make a planter box from pallets

You can make a fantastic pallet box planter for your tomato plant.

How to Build a Tomato Planter Box 12

You can create a tomato planter from almost anything! Image credit: @lualdridge_

Make a planter box from used plastic containers

We all have old containers lying around that used to hold various paints, chicken pellets, pet food and so on. Make a hole in the base of an old pot using a drill and then line it in the same way as the cardboard box above.

Now your tomato planter box is constructed, waterproof, and full of soil, all you need to do is choose your seeds.

What kinds of tomatoes can I grow in the UK?

There are many excellent seed suppliers in the UK like Fothergills and Thompson and Morgan, and gardening centres offer a wide range of seeds from which to choose. Some tomatoes grow well outside but certain varieties of tomatoes prefer the warmth of a greenhouse so check the packet before you buy.

How to Build a Tomato Planter Box 13

Image credit: @stillness171

What should I plant with my tomatoes in a planter box?

Tomatoes are very hungry plants but they do grow well with herbs so put some basil, chives, coriander with your tomato and you have a ready-made Italian salad to pick.

Diseases and pests that affect tomatoes

Tomato blight

This is every tomato grower’s nightmare and it spreads like wildfire so remember to use sterilised soil if you can to avoid this. It can spread from potatoes so try not to grow these plants together.

It happens in wet conditions so if it is a really dry summer you probably won’t encounter it. The leaves turn brown and die and when you look at the roots, they are brown instead of creamy white.  The tomatoes will have green spots and look diseased.

How to fix it: Get your gloves on and bag up the whole plant without spreading the fungus to plants close by. Wash your hands thoroughly after touching any diseased plants.

prevent dsease blight

Don’t let this disease blight your precious crops. Image credit @craftygem17

Pests

Pests include mainly slugs and snails, which eat the young plants. Remove them to a new location!

Red spider mites

Red spider mites attack the leaves of tomatoes in a warm dry area like a greenhouse.

How to fix it: Make a solution of washing up liquid and water and spray the plants. Rinse with fresh water and then wait to see if the little red pests have moved on. They hate damp conditions so keep that spray handy for future use.

Caterpillars may munch the leaves and snails may try to eat developing fruit so keep your eyes open and move them to a different part of the garden or compost heap if you have one.

Tomato box planter plans

You’ll need basic carpentry skills for these designs:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7zD4rNIJGI

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/606649012307248129/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-d8WcogQ70

How to Build a Breeze Block Planter Box

Need to add a new planter box to your garden? Give breeze blocks a try.

A breeze block planter box is durable and easy to build. You can make it as large and as tall as you need it to be and place it directly on the ground.

In this post, we’ll guide you through the process of building a breeze block planter box step by step. We’ll also share some concrete block planter box ideas with you. But first, let’s get the definitions straight to avoid any confusion.

How to Build a Breeze Block Planter Box 14

Image credit: @the_pink_house8

Breeze blocks vs concrete blocks – What’s the difference?

Breeze blocks are made from concrete and a cinder aggregate such as bottom ash or fly ash that’s left behind after burning coal. Breeze is a synonym for ash. By contrast, concrete blocks contain stone and sand and are heavier though often they may look the same.

Good to know: Blocks are usually larger than bricks. Standard breeze and concrete blocks are 440mm x 215mm x 100mm.

To build DIY planter boxes, you can use both breeze (or cinder) blocks and concrete blocks. Hollow as well as filled blocks work just as well. Modern, store-bought breeze and concrete blocks are safe and durable.

Important: Breeze blocks come in two main types: stretch and pillar. Stretch breeze blocks have concave edges. Pillar breeze blocks have flat edges. For this project, use pillar breeze blocks. Or mix the two, making sure you have enough pillar breeze blocks for the corners of the planter.

How to build a breeze block planter box step by step

Begin by figuring out how large you want the planter box to be and get enough breeze blocks. You can then level the ground and start laying the blocks following the steps below. You won’t be needing mortar or any other adhesive.

Note: Our instructions are for an approximately 8 feet long by 4 feet wide rectangular planter box using two layers of blocks.

Materials and tools you need

Step 1 – Prepare the ground

You can build a breeze block planter box directly on soil, grass, gravel, or just about any other surface. But make sure that the surface is level.

If you’re building it on soil, mark the area and level the soil with a flat shovel. Use a level to make sure the marked area really is flat.

Step 2 – Lay the first breeze block layer

Once the surface is level, start laying the foundational layer of breeze blocks. Start from one of the edges and work your way around slowly and carefully.

If you’re using a mix of stretch blocks and pillar blocks, lay the pillar blocks at the four corners.

Use a framing square to make sure the corners are at a 90-degree angle. Then use the level to check that the side blocks are straight and level.

Step 3 – Add in the reinforcement bars (optional)

If you’re using filled-in breeze blocks or building the planter box on a hard surface, you can skip this step.

Hammering a few reinforcement bars into hollow breeze blocks will help keep the bottom layer in place. It will also make adding the second layer easier. The blocks below will be less likely to shift from their place.

Using a hammer, drive a reinforcement bar into each of the six bricks making up the corners and shorter edges. Alternate their placement within the breeze block squares so that they provide the best support.

The reinforcement bars should be poking out of the first layer of breeze blocks but they shouldn’t be visible after you lay the second layer. Drive them into the soil so that they don’t reach more than 2/3 of the height of the second layer of blocks.

Step 4 – Line the breeze block planter with landscape fabric

Before you add the second layer of blocks, add the landscape fabric. It can keep the soil in nicely and improve drainage.

Stretch out the fabric inside the planter. Pierce it with the ends of the reinforcement bars. Lay it over the bricks you’ve put down, but make sure the edges don’t spill past them. The top blocks will go over it and hold it in place.

Step 5 – Lay the second layer

Now it’s time to lay the second layer of breeze blocks. You don’t want to stack them in single file columns, or they may topple.

Lay them in an offset pattern as bricklayers do, to weave them together for better support.

Make sure that you lay them over the edge of the landscape fabric. The edges of the fabric shouldn’t be visible.

Step 6 – Pour in the soil

When your breeze block planter box is ready, you can fill it with soil.

Tip: Since a tall planter box can eat up a lot of soil, you can add some straw at the bottom too.

How do you make a concrete block planter box?

The process of building a concrete block planter box is similar to that of building a breeze block planter box.

If the blocks are filled, you won’t be using reinforcement bars. Also, depending on the concrete block size, you may have to buy more or fewer blocks.

Start by levelling the ground and then lay the first layer of blocks. Add the landscape fabric and place the second layer over it. Use the same offset bricklaying method.

For more guidance, refer to the guide above. You’ll be following the same main steps.

Breeze block planter box ideas

Keen to build some planter boxes out of breeze blocks? The rectangular block planter box in our guide is just one version. Here are a few other ideas to inspire you to make your own:

Square breeze block planter

With fewer breeze blocks you can build a square planter box. Place it by a wall or in another empty space. This example uses filled blocks, but you can also adapt it to concrete blocks or classic breeze blocks. It’s quick and easy to make.

Square Cinder Block Planter

Image credit: Pinterest

E-Shaped square breeze block planter

Need lots of planting space? Try this big E-shaped breeze block planter. It’s essentially a mix of three rectangular planters with two square ones. Note that this one too uses a double layer of breeze blocks. The bottom layer is buried underground, with the blocks laid horizontally for drainage.

Colourful breeze block planters

Got an odd number of breeze blocks? Don’t forget that each one can stand on its own as a small planter. Combine it with other blocks into a geometrical design to reinvent a corner of your garden. Paint the blocks for a more vibrant look. Tip: If you need to add a bottom to some breeze blocks, use waterproof glue and a piece of landscaping fabric. It’s enough to keep the soil in.

Colourful Cinder Block Planters

Image credit: Pinterest

Entryway breeze block planter box

For this design, you can use either classic hollowed breeze blocks or filled cement blocks. The latter can be more elegant if you build it along your front steps. Paint the blocks to make them blend in with the surroundings. If you want to make it tall but don’t want to use too much soil, fill the planter with upright hollow breeze blocks or rocks. Use soil only for the topmost breeze block layer.

Entryway Cinder Block Planter Box

Image credit: Pinterest

Stacked painted breeze block planter boxes

Do you enjoy painting? Transform boring, grey breeze blocks into works of art. Draw on them directly or use a stencil to get the task done faster. Let the breeze blocks dry and stack them any way you like.

Stacked Painted Cinder Block Planter Boxes

Image credit: Pinterest

The wrap up

A breeze block planter box is a smart and inexpensive way to create a raised bed in your garden. It doesn’t take too much work and the best part is that it can last longer than wooden raised beds while requiring less maintenance. Whether you already have some spare breeze blocks or cement blocks, or plan to buy some, we say go for it!

How to Build a Greenhouse Planter Box

Greenhouses, traditionally made of glass, provide a warm, safe place for plants that may be too delicate to survive outdoors during winter. Growing tender plants in a greenhouse planter box is the ultimate way to coddle them.

Many gardeners use a greenhouse, not only as protection for plants from winter frost and storms but also as a wonderful starting place for new seedlings.  Sown inside the greenhouse, the young plants remain warm and cosy before moving outside when the worst of the cold weather is over.

A greenhouse provides a stable temperature with direct sunlight, shelter and watering systems. Growing seedlings in a planter box inside the greenhouse offers gardeners an effective way to separate plants and boost yields, while also allowing safe access for children and pets.

greenhouse planter box

Fill your greenhouse with a range of planters and enjoy year-round produce. Image credit: @rebecca_anchorban_house

Why use a planter box in your greenhouse?

1. Keep things tidy

If you have younger visitors to your greenhouse, it is very easy for plants to get damaged. Space is at a premium, most plants are staked and summer climbers like cucumbers can rapidly outgrow their space.

Often there are trailing tubes of an automatic watering system curling around plant stems. So planting a few plants in a contained area like a planter box creates a tidier floor space, making it easier for everybody to walk around.

This is a plus if you have wandering cats and dogs as a physical border keeps the walkway well defined and also makes for easy cleaning and sweeping.

2. Create more space

In spring, when few plants are growing, your greenhouse will seem huge. Each year as I plant seeds and place them in the greenhouse, I forget just how little space there is by the end of the summer growing season!

A cucumber can outstrip its growing space in just 6 weeks if the weather is warm and sunny and I spend half my time in summer tying in the new growth on tomatoes and cucumbers. If the plants are growing in a planter box, they will only grow as tall as the soil conditions allow.

Unless you top up the soil fertility by feeding, a planter box may actually slow down the growth of over-vigorous plants. It is very important to revitalise the soil in planters at least every growing season to make sure it doesn’t become depleted. Use leaf mould, well-rotted manure, homemade compost and plant feed.

tidy greenhouse

Keep your greenhouse tidy and you might find space for a sofa! Image credit @climapod

3. Help prevent disease

It is easier to control plant diseases if plants are in a planter box, particularly one with separate compartments, where plants can grow independently. If plants are in the ground in greenhouse soil, there is a real risk that diseases can cross from one plant to the next.

Tomato blight in one plant will spread like wildfire if your plants are in the same soil. In a planter box, you can whip out the infected plant, cover it with plastic and remove it without letting the spores spread. Dig out the section of soil it was in and discard it. If necessary, replace all the soil in that part of the planter box and don’t plant tomatoes in the same spot for at least 2-3 years. It’s never good to remove a loved plant but you will have saved the other plants by having them in a separate box.

Blight is very difficult to eradicate from the soil so digging out the soil from the planter box is easier than digging out the whole greenhouse. Cucumber leaf rot is another typical greenhouse complaint and you can remove infected leaves, check the stems and top dress the soil around them. Plants in a different planter box will not be affected. Just make sure to keep plants separate when tying in any stems.

prevent dsease blight

Don’t let this disease blight your precious crops. Image credit @craftygem17

4. Improve crop yields

Growing produce in a greenhouse will mean more reliable plants and earlier crops.

If your reason for planting in a planter box is that the crop is delicate, let’s say the fussy aubergine plant, then it’s an excellent choice. You really need to water an aubergine daily in hot weather, it needs constant mulching, feeding and love and care. These plants will not tolerate cold draughts or frosty weather so being snug and warm in a greenhouse planter box suits them really well.

With different boxes, you can tend to each plant as necessary, adding mulch, setting up the watering system and easily adjusting as needed.

5. Grow food all year round 

Don’t let the greenhouse sit empty in winter! The compost you used to grow cucumbers or tomatoes in summer is an excellent base for sowing winter crops. Plant basil, coriander, rocket and parsley with mizuna and winter salads for a winning combination.

autumnal greenhouse

An autumnal greenhouse display. Image credit: @rekha.garden.kitchen>

What materials can I use for my greenhouse planter box?

1. Wood

Raised beds greenhouse gardening

Raised beds are a great option for greenhouse gardening. Image credit: @apple_acres_dk

2. Bricks

Brick is a great material for planters as the clay warms up in the sunlight and retains heat well, perfect for delicate plants. The top surface of the planter can be really useful for holding seed packets, tools, fertilisers and even a cup of tea. Build your planters to fit the length of the greenhouse on both sides, allowing space for a potting table and room for seedlings to grow.

3. Straw bales

This is a really good idea if you live close to a farm or have grassland you mow. Gather the grass to dry, wrap it with string or wire and make a wall of straw to protect the plants. It will gradually decompose so you will need to keep adding new bales but it is a great way to use grass cuttings and completely natural too. Straw provides excellent insulation and you can move them if you decide to relocate a plant.

4. Corrugated iron

If you have any spare corrugated iron sheeting, you can use this to edge a raised bed. Fix some bricks at the base inside and secure the outside with recycled hangers bent into shape or wooden stakes, to keep it steady. Fill it with soil, and your plants have a deep area in which to spread their roots and enjoy the warmth.

Greenhouse planter box plans

Here are some useful greenhouse planter box plans for inspiration.

greenhouse DIY planter box

Transform your greenhouse with a DIY planter box. Image credit: @carlasousamorim>

Are there any problems with planter boxes in greenhouses?

The only obvious one is that if slugs and snails manage to get inside, they will enjoy the regular watering and the delicious greens on offer. So remove them physically and re-locate them to your composting area or take them for a long, one-way walk to your local park.

Little gardeners will love collecting the snails and watching them in a bucket. Beware though, snails have a homing instinct! Studies have shown that snails can travel up to a mile back to their home when released far away.

I have conducted my own experiments with a daughter who banned slug pellets from the garden. We found that our marked snails could find their way home again from anything up to a mile so move them further away for any chance of success!

Can I make my own DIY greenhouse planter box?

Of course! Think about the construction of a greenhouse, then improvise with whatever materials you have. There are some other ways to protect plants in winter too:

1. Wrap trees

Trees can be wrapped in transparent material when heavy snow or frost is predicted.

2. Make a cold frame from recycled windows

A cold frame is a tall box with a sloping lid, much like the bins used to store salt for road spreading in winter. You can make one from old windows, and you will need to have some hinges to attach to the structure underneath.

The base can be made from anything available – straw, wood, metal, any material to keep the wind and cold at bay. Place your delicate plants in the centre, line it with bubble wrap or upcycled plastic and then replace the window lid.

protect tender plants

Rustle up a cold frame and protect tender plants over winter. Image credit: wiltshire_cottagelife

3. Transform a raised bed

If you have a raised bed outdoors, transform it into a mini greenhouse by making some hoops to go from one side to the other. You could use willow or flexible plastic tubes for this. These can be covered over with transparent plastic bags, bubble wrap or any transparent, waterproof material.  I have even seen an allotment owner make a roof from old CDs! It is important that light can penetrate so whatever you use, check your plants regularly and make sure it’s well secured.

Tina’s TIPS

  1. In spring remember to close the greenhouse door at night. Although daytime temperatures are climbing upwards, at night they drop quickly.
  2. Carefully check any homemade compost before adding it to the greenhouse planter box. Strain it through a sieve and remove any little visible pests before they get the chance to spoil new crops.
  3. Leave decoy food for pests such as comfrey leaves or nasturtiums. Usually, the slugs and snails will devour these before they start on the plants you want to protect and even if any leaves remain, the comfrey will slowly decompose adding valuable nutrients.
  4. Bramble deterrents. If you have any blackberries in your garden, prune some thorny stems and place them directly as a barrier against pests. The spikes are so unpleasant that most slugs completely avoid them and snails will move on to other plants.
  5. Silver trail searches. Get out that torch for the first few nights after new plants sprout and look for any tell-tale silvery trails from snails and slugs. Just remove them and relocate them to wilder parts of the garden or even your recycling bin, if it exists.
cosy plant home

Your plants will be grateful for a cosy home. Image credit: @no.7_is_home

The advantages of a greenhouse are protection, warmth and an increased growing season for many plants. Building a planter box will give you the added advantage of protection for your plants where you can keep them safer from disease and enjoy the vegetables and fruit for longer. Whether it’s under glass or recycled materials, your plants will love you for it.

How to Build a Planter Box Around a Tree

Building a planter box around a tree is a great way to maximise the use of your garden space. It can also create a nice visual effect, particularly if the tree itself isn’t much to look at. After all, there’s little you can put close to it, so that part of your garden might look a little barren.

Building a planter box around a tree is easy and quite cheap. You can use scrap wood from other DIY projects, as well as stones or rocks. Here’s how to do it in six simple steps:

tree planter box

Credit: Shutterstock

Step 1 – Choose the right size and shape

Have a good look around your garden. You don’t want the planter box to be too big or too small. Balance is key.

If you want to protect the roots of the tree, leave at least 6 feet between the tree trunk and whatever plants you’re going to grow. Pay attention to ground-covering plants as they might invade the area sooner or later.

Since a tree trunk is round, you might be tempted to go for a circular planter, but this similarity in shape can be jarring to the eye. Plus, building a round planter box is more complicated.

As a rule, a planter box built around a tree should be square. It’s best to avoid a rectangular box too as it might make the area seem unbalanced.

tree bottom planter box

Turn a bland area under a tree into an attractive focal point. Image credit: Pinterest

Step 2 – Clean and level the area

Clean the area of roots and weeds and make sure to fill any holes. If the area surrounding the tree is not perfectly flat, try to correct that by adding an extra layer of soil on the sloping side.

If the ground is too hard, gently break up the soil using a shovel and a rake. For particularly hard ground, use a tiller. Borrow one from a neighbour if you don’t have one.

Important: Work carefully so you don’t damage the roots of the tree.

Step 3 – Gather the materials

The beauty of this type of project is that it doesn’t require many materials. You may need to pop to a DIY store and buy a few pieces of wood and you can also use leftover pieces from previous projects.

All you need are four pieces of wood that you can cut to the same length.

Tip: If you’re going with wood, choose cedar wood which is very resistant and ideal for outdoor projects. Cedar wood is naturally resistant to bacteria and fungi and it contains natural oils that protect it from rotting.

tree planter box bench

You could even build a seat around the edge of your planter box. Image credit: Pinterest

Step 4 – Build the planter box

Place the four wood pieces in a square and see how the size looks. If you’re satisfied with the size, get your electric screwdriver and eight screws. Make sure the screws are long enough so the pieces of wood are attached firmly.

You should pre-drill the holes to avoid wood splitting. Also, grab a carpenter’s square and check that wood pieces are placed at a 90-degree angle.

Tip: Use 2 screws per corner to make sure the wood stays in place.

Step 5 – Fill the planter box with soil

At this point, you need to consider the requirements of the plants you’re planning to grow. Use adequate soil to fill the planter box and let it sink in for a couple of days.

You might also want to cover the topsoil with a protective layer, such as wood chips or rubber mulch. Avoid adding too much soil in the area as the extra weight might damage the tree roots.

Step 6 – Choose the plants

You could choose fast-growing, ground cover plants for the planter box if the area around the tree is particularly barren. You could also plant something colourful for greater effect.

Check the sun exposure requirements of any plants you want to grow in the planter box. Keep in mind that the plant will have little to no direct sunlight and not much rain if the tree has a big canopy.

Tip: Choosing a perennial for the planter box is a good idea as you won’t have to plant again the following year. This saves you a lot of work and prevents accidental damage to the roots of the tree.

Planter box around tree ideas

Any landscaping project involves creativity so feel free to use the guide above and twist it however you want. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Planter box fence

If you have the skills, you can build a more elaborate fence for your planter box, using wood beams and decorative elements. Take care not to make the planter box walls too high because the plants inside will go unnoticed and that would be a pity.

Small planter boxes

If you have several trees close by, you could build small planter boxes and grow colourful plants in them. Using the same type of plant in all boxes will create a unifying element.

Brick or rock planter box

Also, you can experiment and use other types of materials for the planter box walls. You can use bricks or small rocks to trace the borders of a flower bed under a tree. Rocks are a great choice if you want to make a planter box with rounded corners or an elliptical shape.

stone tree planter box

Don’t be afraid to experiment with bricks and stone. Image credit: Pinterest

Terraced planter box

Another idea you could consider is building a terraced planter box. For this to work, you’ll need a large area. A terraced planter box works best on a sloping surface.

The planter boxes should be of the same shape and perfectly symmetrical. As for the plants you cultivate in each box, make sure their colours create a nice contrast.

Tip: The plants growing in the larger outer box should not be too big or they may overshadow the plants in the box closer to the tree.

In the end, take this project one step at a time and don’t rush it. You’ll enjoy it more and inspiration will come more easily, too.

23 Fence Planter Box Ideas to Inspire You

That tricky space near your fence doesn’t have to go to waste. You can create fence planter boxes and turn it into an eye-catching feature of your garden.

Our selection of fence planter box ideas will help you transform your fence into something you’ll love seeing every day. But first, here’s why fence planter boxes can be such a great idea:

Benefits of fence planter boxes

Convinced? Now let’s get practical with some actual fence planter box ideas…

Fence planter box ideas to inspire you

Looking to cover a small part of your fence or line a whole fence with planter boxes? Either way, we’ve got you covered. Start from our selection of fence planter box ideas and use your creativity to make them your own.

1. Long raised bed fence planters

At their simplest, fence planter boxes are raised beds that sit right under the fence. They enable you to use otherwise dead space to grow flowers or vegetables and you can fill them with just the right type of soil for the plants you want to grow in them. You can build them out of wood and make them as long and as tall as you need them to be.

Long Raised Beds Fence Planters

Image credit: hammersandhighheels

2. Vertical fence picket planter boxes

Fence pickets are readily available and inexpensive. You can use them to integrate planter boxes into your fence in a way that complements it. Arrange them like the image below or adapt their placement to your taste.

Vertical Fence Picket Planter Boxes

Image credit: Pinterest

3. Hanging flower shadow boxes

Flower shadow boxes provide chic support for flowerpots and don’t cost much. You can easily make one from four pieces of wood. Paint them any colour you want and hang them with weatherproof rope along the top of the fence.

Hanging Flower Shadow Boxes

Image credit: thewholecook

4. Iron rail planter boxes

Iron planters are typically made for railings and balconies but nothing stops you from adding them to your fence. You can buy them ready-made and attach them to the fence with the provided screws and clamps. Iron looks great and can last a lifetime but you can also choose plastic rail planters to cut costs.

Iron Rail Planter Boxes

Image credit: Amazon

5. Rain gutter fence planters

Don’t throw old rain gutters away. You can repurpose them into shallow fence planter boxes. Attach them to the fence with metal clamps that you can find in any DIY store. You can install them in long, horizontal lines or cut them and play around with their arrangement. Your call!

Also, check out our guide to building gutter planter boxes with ideas.

Tip: Aluminium rain gutters will last a long time, they’re lightweight too.

Rain Gutters Fence Planters

Image credit: instructables

6. Hanging rain boot planters

Got some old wellies to spare? Maybe your kids have outgrown them, or they leak. Either way, you can repurpose them into DIY fence planter boxes. Drill drainage holes in the soles, fix them to the wall, fill them with soil, and you’re done.

Hanging Rain Boots Planters

Image credit: rosinahuber

7. Colourful hanging flowerpots for fences

If you don’t feel like drilling holes into your fence, don’t worry. You can use colourful hanging flowerpots as fence planter boxes. These offer more limited planting space, it’s true. But they provide you with a fast and effortless way to brighten up your fence. They’re great for flowers and herbs.

Colourful Hanging Flowerpots for Fences

Image credit: etsy

8. Fence shelf planter boxes

Shelves are another simple way to enhance your fence with planter boxes. Fix the shelves to the fence and add small and medium-sized planter boxes. Shelves built from planks of wood can provide enough support for several planter boxes.

9. Pallet fence planters

Got some spare pallets in your garage from other garden pallet projects? Turn them into a multi-tiered fence planter. You can use them as they are or paint them to make them look better and last longer. Pallet planters look great against a brick fence but you can attach them to any type of fence. Depending on the height of your fence, you may have to cut the pallets to size.

Pallet Fence Planters

Image credit: Pinterest

10. Metal drawer DIY hanging fence boxes

Metal drawers, card index boxes, or any similar boxes make great fence planters. Get your hands on a few, clean them up, and give them a fresh coat of paint. Once the paint has dried, attach them to the wall using clamps. They’ll last a long time.

Metal Drawers DIY Hanging Fence Boxes

Image credit: thediyvillage

11. Metal box fence planters

Talking of rusty boxes, you can also use old metal boxes as hanging planters on your fence. Give them a coat of paint or hang them as they are for a weathered look. If you can get hold of an old mail or toolbox, it’s a fun upcycling project.

Mailbox Fence Planters

Image credit: Pinterest

12. Cedar ladder fence planter boxes

If you only need to cover a part of the fence, this tiered cedar ladder planter is an inspired idea. It’s great for growing flowers and herbs and has a pleasant rustic feel to it. But make sure to build it from cedar or another resistant wood so it will last for years to come.

Cedar Ladder Fence Planter Boxes

Image credit: ana-white

13. Recycled can fence planters

Any cans will do for this project provided they’re large enough to accommodate plants and can take a coat of paint. Rather than buying planters to hang on your fence, you can make your own. It’s simple. You only need some empty cans, paint, and a bit of free time. You can make the cans as colourful as you want or play it more neutral with a uniform colour.

Recycled Fence Planters

Image credit: thedeanslistblog

14. Hanging tyre fence planter

Tyres may not be the first thing that springs to mind when it comes to fence planters. But they’re durable and can add some playfulness to your garden. Plus, they’re super easy to install. Apart from the tyre, you’ll need a screw hook and an electric screwdriver and that’s about it.

Tip: A hanging tyre fence planter is good for small flowers and herbs. Don’t put large or tall plants in them.

Hanging Tire Fence Planter

Image credit: hometalk

15. Hanging pocket planters

Hanging pockets are basically small growing bags for plants. You can attach them to any fence and use them for décor as well as for privacy. Make sure to pick one made from a durable material that provides good drainage.

Hanging Pocket Planters

Image credit: Amazon

16. Old window fence planter box

Before throwing away an old wooden window, consider repurposing it. One clever way to do this is to turn it into a support for a fence planter box. You can hang the window to the fence and attach planter boxes from its bottom edge. Before attaching it to the wall, give it a fresh coat of paint that complements or contrasts with the fence colour. It’s not just about looks—it will make it last longer outside.

Old-Window-Fence-Planter-Box

Image credit: Pinterest

17. Recycled crate planter boxes

Want to add wooden planter boxes to your fence with almost no work? Try old crates. Use them as they are for an authentic feel or repaint them to give them a new look. You can attach each crate with L-shaped metal clasps that support them from underneath. Make sure to factor in their weight and how resistant the fence is. You don’t want to find them on the ground after the first storm.

Recycled Crate Planter Boxes

Image credit: Pinterest

18. Hanging bucket fence planters

Metal buckets look great as fence planters. You can hang them with weatherproof rope or metal chains. Depending on the type of wall you have, you may not have to drill any holes. Simply hang the ropes or chains from the tops of the pickets.

Hanging Bucket Fence Planters

Image credit: lilyandfrog

19. Letter-shaped fence planters

Shaping your planter boxes into letters can make your planters stand out. Letter-shaped fence planter boxes are best for light plants like succulents and air plants. Think of them as décor elements rather than vertical growing beds. You can build them from wood or metal sheets.

Letter-Shaped Fence Planters

Image credit: Pinterest

20. PVC pipe tiered planters

PVC pipes look great as planters against a corrugated iron fence. You can cut them to the desired size, paint them, and hang them in tiers with wire. They are perfect for succulents and other small plants and they can last a really long time.

PVC Pipe Tiered Planters

Image credit: Pinterest

21. Plastic bottle fence planters

Unrecycled plastic boxes can take hundreds of years to decay. But worry not—you can turn at least some of them into fence planters. Cut them, drill holes in the caps, fill them with soil, and hang them with rot-resistant rope. As a finishing touch, you can paint the rope in different colours.

Plastic Bottle Fence Planters

Image credit: forgottothink

22. Old metal hanging pipe planters

Great for brick fences, old pipes can make a long, straight wall more interesting. They may require more work than other planters in that you have to drill holes for the plants in them. But the result is worth the effort. The plants will look as if they’ve grown out of the wall.

Hanging Old Metal Pipe Planters

Image credit: Pinterest

23. Rustic fence planter box

There’s something about the look and feel of wood that can make a planter box a timeless addition to your garden. Choose cedar or another long-lasting wood and put together a rectangular box. Fill it with wood and hang it from the fence. It’ll be heavy so use strong wire or sturdy metal clasps to hang it.

Rustic Fence Planter Box

Image credit: Pinterest

You Might Also Like: Bellissimo! Rustic and Romantic Italian Style Garden Ideas

Tips when adding a planter box to your fence

No matter what planter box you choose to add to your fence, you want to install it properly. The soil can weigh it down, especially when it’s wet. If it’s also exposed to strong wind, you want to be extra careful. Here are some tips to help you get the job done right the first time:

The wrap up

Adding planter boxes to a fence can be fun. You can get creative with old boots, plastic bottles, tyres, and many other DIY ideas. All of these can help you create more vertical gardening space for less.

And it’s not like you have to finish all the work in one day. Mix and match planter boxes and play with colours for a unique result. Have fun!

7 Easy Pallet Planter Box Ideas

When you next receive a delivery that’s packaged on wooden pallets, why not turn the pallets into something useful? Pallets are usually constructed from good, solid wood and from an environmental point of view, it’s such a waste to not use them again. So read on for some ideas on how to upcycle your pallets into stylish planters.

Most pallets come in a standard size of 48×40 inches with each deck board being 3.5 inches wide. They usually have 7 horizontal wooden planks on the front and 3 box-like horizontal supports on the back. Some of the designs below refer to cutting planks 2, 4, and 6; these refer to the front of the pallet. Some designs use the back supports to make shelves for plant pots.

Pallets make ideal planter boxes because most of them have been pressure treated. As pallets can be splintery, it’s usually a good idea to sand down your pallets before sawing. So get your protective gloves and goggles on, grab some sandpaper, sand the surface of the wood down well, and then choose a stylish design for your pallets.

1. Wall-supported pallet grow box

wall-supported pallet grow box

Image credit: @balconygardenweb

You will need some wire to make plant holders, some paints and brushes and perhaps some willing helpers!

2. Wall-mounted shelf pallet planter box

shelf pallet planter box reassembled on your wall

Remodel a pallet into wall-mounted plant shelves. Image credit: @athomewithshannon_x

This design will look perfect on a sunny wall or if you wish to brighten a shady spot, you can add plenty of shade-loving plants. To make this design, you will need some dexterity with a saw, nails and screws to make the planter boxes, L plates to attach the boxes to the wall, a liner to make your planter box waterproof, and something to stain, decorate or varnish the wood plus a paintbrush.

  1. Separate the front from the back of the pallet by removing the nails which hold it in place. Using a pry bar and pliers may be necessary. Pallets are built sturdily! See the YouTube videos below, which explain how to do this in detail and make sure you wear protective gloves and eyewear. You will finish with 2 parts – one has 7 planks of horizontal wood which you will cut and use as backing boards and other pieces of wood with nails removed, which will make your planter boxes.
  2. Cut backing boards. Mark the pallet into pieces 3-5 planks tall to make a backing board in wood, onto which you will add the planter boxes. These can be any shape you like within the dimension of the pallet measurements. Cut the shapes to suit the area you will place the planter boxes.
  3. Make the boxes. Use leftover pieces of wood to create boxes, by cutting 4 pieces to make each box. You need a base, then 3 sides of equal height to make a box. The missing fourth side will be the backing wood. Make sure these boxes will fit onto the backing boards before you cut them! It is a good idea to select horizontal or vertical boards as the pattern and then assemble these bits in box format to see what they will look like. Once decided, screw the corners together and attach them to the base; now you have a 3 sided box to attach to the background board shapes already cut. These boxes will become your plant holders. Then nail the boxes to the backing shapes.
  4. Make several boxes to suit your space. Don’t make them too deep as the soil becomes heavier with watering.
  5. Let’s decorate! Now you can stain, paint or varnish the wood to suit your space. Filled with green leaves, these plant boxes will have plenty of colour, so neutral tones will work well for the planter boxes. You can just varnish them if you prefer a natural look. You can also enlist the help of children to print shapes using stampers.
  6. Line the boxes so that they are waterproof and do not drip water. Cut either plastic bags or recycled bubble wrap to fit each individual planter box and staple it in.
  7. Attach them to the wall. Almost there! You can assemble them in rows or just have one – it depends on your taste and the space available.
  8. Soil. Fill the boxes with soil and you are ready to plant.

3. Stacked pallet planter box

stacked pallet planter box

This planter looks like a star when viewed from above. Image credit: @dont_buy_it_make_it

This use of pallets requires skilled carpentry. You will make 5 boxes, sequentially smaller in size, which then fit one on top of each other to make a planter. The corners of the boxes almost look like a star shape when seen from a bedroom or above, so this planter will look excellent from many viewpoints in a garden.

This type of upcycled planter looks great on a lawn or patio and you can use different soil in each planter box, enabling you to combine plants that would not normally grow so well together. Try placing heather, which needs more acid soil, next to flowering alyssum, pansies, petunias, or busy Lizzies, which prefer a more neutral soil PH.

To make this box:

Decide on the size of the biggest box first, then cut the planks to suit. Assemble 4 planks in a box shape so that you can see the size as you progress to box number 2 and so on.

Make the boxes by nailing the corners together. If you want to use planks for the base as well, save the offcuts for this purpose and fix them to the base of the box.

Drainage. If you use wood for the base, you need to allow for some drainage. Drill several holes in each box base. The largest planter box will rest on soil so this may not need a base.

Place the largest box on the lawn or in the location. Don’t fill this with soil just yet, if you are planning to decorate but you can add bricks, some pebbles, gravel, or sand in the centre, as this will be covered by another planter box. Adding these will also help drainage.

Assembly. Place box 2 at right-angles on top of the first box. Continue to add boxes sequentially and at right angles to the previous one, remembering to add some pebbles in the centre of the boxes except the highest one, which will be full of soil.

Stability. Secure each box to the one below with nails if it feels unstable. The weight of the soil normally keeps the shape in place. Now the planter box is assembled, you can decide if you are happy with the natural look of the pallet or if you prefer to add a stain, oil, or varnish.

What will you plant? If you’re planting herbs or other edible plants you’ll need to use a suitable stain, varnish, or paint for the planter. Try tung oil, raw linseed oil, hemp oil, or an eco-friendly wood stain. If the flowers are purely decorative, then you don’t need to worry too much.

You might like: What is the best wood for a planter box?

4. Four pallet upright cube planter

four pallet upright cube planter

You’ll need a lot of soil to fill this pallet planter! Image credit: Sandy Jensen

If you have several pallets and lots of space, you can stand 4 pallets vertically to make a cube planter. This makes a stunning centrepiece on any lawn and will be the envy of your dinner guests! It can also encourage discussion about sustainable wood and the value of recycling and upcycling.

This will be a large planter and it needs to be secure so that your strimmer or lawnmower doesn’t damage it once assembled.

Sand down each of the pallets and stand them vertically. Then attach the corners of each pallet together with nails.

Fill the base of the pallet planter with leftover stones or bricks because a planter this size will hold a lot of compost! This planter is a good size for a tree which would benefit from the added drainage the pebbles will bring. Most pallets have been pressure treated, so wood rot shouldn’t be much of an issue.

Read more: How to fill a wooden planter box

Top up with some garden soil and compost and the planter is perfect for a big shrub or even tree. A yucca plant would look amazing in something this deep and it will grow to fit the available space. A small maple would add dazzling autumnal colour too.

If you want to add flowers to the outside of this cube planter, then make a shelf for flower pots along the outside. Add a plank of wood in the space under one of the horizontal planks, and nail it in securely. Once a shelf is in place, you can add small annuals or succulents mixed with marigolds, petunias, etc. The great thing about this type of planter is that you can vary the soil in each pot.

Childhood beach mementos. These shelves can also be filled with decorative stones that little ones collect from every beach they’ve visited or as a useful storage space for small garden toys.

5. Single pallet herb garden

single pallet herb garden

Create a pallet herb garden. Image credit: @hayloft_to_home_xx

Have you got a warm, south-facing wall? Transform a pallet into a herb garden. Pallets are practically ready-made plant holders, just add a plank to the base of the horizontal supports and fill with herbs to create a rustic, countryside feel in your back garden. You could paint the name of each herb on the pallet if you’re feeling artistic! Hang the pallet up or lean it against a wall and enjoy the aroma and taste of fresh herbs all summer.

6. Horizontal pallet planter with tea holder

If you’re a gardener, my guess is that you make frequent cups of tea to refresh you while you are out and about in your garden. This pallet idea gives you both a new planter and a solid mug holder!

7. Segmented pallet planter box 

segmented pallet planter box

Grow plants with differing soil needs together. Image credit: @1001pallets

If you have plants that each require different soils, then using a pallet to separate them works really well. You can decorate the pallet so visitors notice the plants, not the recycled wood.

  1. Place the pallet on the ground and saw off planks 2, 4 and 6, allowing the remaining planks to be the border of your planter boxes.
  2. Fill in the gaps! Use the sawn wood to fill the spaces in the individual spaces so that each box is separated from its neighbour.
  3. These can now be painted, stained and varnished to suit your space. This will allow room for 6 different plants and you can put ericaceous soil in one to suit a blueberry and sandy soil in another for a succulent. Normal compost in another for herbs like basil and your new planter is full.

Plans for pallet planter boxes 

Here are some ideas to help you use your pallets as planter boxes.

https://www.wikihow.com/Build-a-Planter-Box-from-Pallets

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iV4lxbpEaAY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iV4lxbpEaAY

Tina’s tips for your pallet box planters

  1. If you’re adding pots to your pallet planter shelves, don’t use really heavy plant pots such as earthenware pots. The extra weight may cause the wood to break.
  2. For super eco-friendly pots, make your own out of old plastic peanut butter containers or yoghurt pots. Simply drill a few holes in the base to aid the drainage. Use leftover waterproof paint from other DIY projects to decorate. Individual pots can be given to keen, young artists who may like to experiment with using handprints or shell shapes to paint around.

How to Build a Window Planter Box and What to Plant in it

Who hasn’t admired the view of a flower box-adorned Mediterranean street whilst on holiday? Many urban areas are adding foliage to their buildings, balconies and roof gardens, helping them remain cooler in hot weather and providing a welcome burst of colour to passers-by.

Window box planters offer home and business owners an opportunity to display their green fingers to a world outside their windows and are a wonderful way to bring joy and colour to everybody’s daily life.

Window planters provide a beautiful focal point both inside and outside the house.  This article will guide you through the plants that can survive outdoors and those you need to cosset indoors!  I’ve included plans to make your own wooden window planter, ideas for how to fill it and what to plant in each season, as well as a brief history of community window planter boxes. Let’s start with that.

how to build a window box planter

Brighten someone’s day with a beautiful flower box. Credit: Shutterstock

Community window boxes

The therapeutic benefits of growing plants are well documented. The innovative ‘Veg Your Ledge‘ community initiative in Forth, Scotland, has given local residents the opportunity to grow their own produce on their window sills. They receive a free upcycled window sill planter compost, vegetable seeds and bags of information and encouragement.

Plans to help you build a window sill planter box

Follow our guide to making a simple wooden window flower box that can be used indoors or out and watch this handy video guide.

Grow your own

If you’re keen to grow your own produce or flowers from your window sill, you’ll need to consider a few things first:

  1. Shade or sun? Consider if the planter box will be in the shade or full sunlight. Wonderful exotic plants like orchids will thrive on a warm windowsill but will shrivel up if the nighttime temperature drops significantly.
  2. Soil. You will also need to check that the type of soil you fill your planter box with will provide the right mix for all the plants you want to add. One way to do this is to provide different layers within the box. You can place a small plant into a brick or pot then fill the area with soil to cover the pot, this allows other plants to take advantage of the deeper or different soil.
  3. Season. Is this planter box for summer only? You are spoiled for choice with all the beautiful annual summer blooms available. However, when the cooler autumn air arrives, you will need to remove annuals that have reached the end of their lives then add perennial or evergreen plants, which will provide foliage and colour all year round. Read on for more details.

Seasonal window sill planter boxes

Here are some suggestions for what to plant each season so your window sill box is always filled with life.

Spring

Indoors

The trick with an indoor window planter box is to make sure most plants have separate pots which you can place into the planter, then remove after they flower.

Amaryllis will provide one spectacular bloom each year but needs warmth all year round. Allow it to dry out completely after flowering, then remove the whole pot for its dormant phase once the flower has died back.

flowers of amaryllis

Amaryllis blooms once a year but needs warmth all the time. Credit: Shutterstock

Hyacinths are a fantastic choice for planter boxes because the scent of their gorgeous flower head remains for weeks in the room where they are placed. These need to germinate in darkness so cover the pot and transplant them into your window sill when the first bud appears. Once they have flowered, you can leave them in the planter box and they should continue to flower year after year.

Blooming spring hyacinth flowers on windowsill at home

Don’t put hyacinths on your window sill until the first bud appears. Credit: Shutterstock

Cyclamen offer delicate flowers from December to spring.

Wilted colorful variegated white and pink cyclamen flowers on windowsill

Cyclamen will keep your window pretty the whole winter. Credit: Shutterstock

Busy Lizzie is an old favourite of mine, a flower loved in cottage gardens for centuries. Easy to propagate, they enjoy being in a warm sunny place and a window box is perfect. Just make sure you prune your busy Lizzie if it starts to get leggy or overshadow other plants.

a row of hanging baskets filled with busy lizzies

Easy to grow and care for, busy Lizzies are a gardener’s favourite.

Outdoors

Summer

summer sunset

Credit: Shutterstock

Indoors:

Any plants which can be moved outdoors for summer will reward you with abundant growth and I recommend this. The plants below all need summer sunshine and will grow well indoors.

potted spider plant with babies

@crazy.plantlady_tessa

Dwarf tomato plant in a pot with ripe and unripe tomatoes

Good enough to eat! Grow tomatoes in an indoor or outdoor planter box. Credit: Shutterstock

There are plenty of shade loving indoor plants too so don’t despair if your window sill is not so bright.

Different beautiful ferns in pots on white window sill

Ferns are great for windows lacking sunlight. Credit: Shutterstock

Potted Sansevieria plant near window at home

Sansevieria is a low maintenance plant for a window sill planter box. Credit: Shutterstock

summer savory herb plant

Credit: Shutterstock

Outdoors: 

Cover up your spring bulbs with fresh compost and get ready for abundant foliage and flowers! It’s a good time to add a dahlia or a sedum to your window box, which will flower later in the year.

Pelargonium and geraniums in flower pots on the windowsill of a rural house outside

Credit: Shutterstock

Nasturtiums climbing vines

Credit: Siena Scarff

Autumn

beautiful autumn landscape with yellow trees and sun

Credit: Shutterstock

As the evenings draw in and the temperature cools, it’s time to start moving delicate plants indoors.

Indoors:

Ornate Planter with Home Grown Organic Herbs (Tarragon, Chamomile and Oregano)

Credit: Shutterstock

Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus) and Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) Herbs Growing in a Metal Planter

Credit: Shutterstock

close up of woman potting geranium flowers

Credit: Shutterstock

Outdoors:

Winter

Window sills are not the most hospitable of environments in winter. Indoor plants have to contend with heating and outdoor plants may become frozen. You can protect some plants by covering them up if extreme weather is forecast.

protecting plants from winter

Cover up plants to protect them from harsh weather. Credit: Shutterstock

Bubble wrap, old blankets and even cling film may save delicate window-box perennials.

Indoors:

Beautiful poinsettia in flowerpot. Red christmas flower on the windowsill

Add a festive touch to your home with a red ponsettia. Credit: Shutterstock

Outdoors:

Tina’s tips:

Before you buy a new window sill planter box, see if you can find one here:

https://knowhow.ncvo.org.uk/how-to/how-to-set-up-a-community-garden

http://www.forthenvironmentlink.org/latest-news/community-groups-dig-window-box-growing

What Is the Best Wood for a Planter Box?

When choosing the wood for your planter box, you’ll need to consider a few things. Think about what you intend to plant in it as well as your local weather conditions. You’ll also need to factor in rot resistance, weight and price.  Everybody’s dream wooden planter box looks magnificent and lasts well without too much maintenance, so what’s the best way to achieve this?

wood for planter box

Image credit @planterboxez

What is the best wood for a planter box?

Cedar

branch of cedar tree with trunk

Cedar is a perfect choice for garden furniture and planters. Credit: Shutterstock

Cedar is a very popular wood. It’s durable, lightweight, crack and rot-resistant. The weight is important if you are lifting planks so keep this in mind if you are making multiple planter boxes.

Cedar tends to fade with exposure to sunlight, turning an attractive grey colour. If you prefer to keep the original shade, see some of the suggestions for coating and dyeing below. Cedar contains natural oils which help to keep it resistant to bugs and fungi that target wood.  Cedar is grown in the US, so has to be shipped over to the UK.

Cypress

Cypress also produces natural oils, making your planter attractive while also being resistant to insects and fungi. Cypress is lightweight, which may be useful if you are planning to construct a raised planter box.

Scandinavian redwood

Scandinavian redwood is usually pressure treated and often used for decking. It’s durable, resistant to rot and long-lasting. This will make an attractive planter, however, it is usually more expensive than some of the other wood available and it may need a sealant to prevent the wood cracking over time.

Douglas fir

Douglas Fir is native to the US and is really long-lasting, making it a firm favourite with many buyers. Here in the UK, fir on sale generally comes from Scandinavia.

Pine

Pine is a readily available and affordable choice. It is frequently pressure treated which stops rot, but also causes shrinkage long-term so be aware of this when planning sizes and buy extra wood so that you can mend and add pieces later if required. It has an attractive grain and it is lightweight which is important if your planter is located on a balcony. Untreated pine is known to resist shrinking and you can treat it yourself with oil – see more below.

Walnut, white oak and black locust

Walnut, white oak and black locust are expensive woods that last a very long time.

Mahogany and teak

carving mahagony furniture

Credit: Shutterstock

Mahogany and teak are high quality, long-lasting woods that retain their magnificent colour. If you are prepared to spend a bit more, these are excellent options. As these woods aren’t native to the UK, they can be difficult to source.

What is the best wood in the UK to build a planter box?

Native trees such as oak and beech have been used for centuries to make furniture and in the construction industry. Scots pine is also native to Britain. Walnut and chestnut used to be very popular but are increasingly difficult to source and walnut is expensive.

Gardening centres offer pine and a range of more exotic woods depending on your budget. If you would like to source a locally-grown wood for your planter box, contact a local carpenter or tree surgeon. They can usually offer good advice about local wood suppliers.

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo on wood reassures buyers that the wood has been grown in environmentally friendly ways. When sourcing wood, try to look beyond the cheapest price and the best quality. Sustainability is an important issue to consider so try to ensure any new wood carries FSC certification. Remember that the best wood for sustainability is probably the wood that grows closest to you.

Also, look for the “Grown in Britain” logo. The benefits are obvious; fewer miles travelled and also a guarantee that no pests or diseases from wood grown in other countries will be present.

Other points to consider when choosing your wood:

What materials do I need to make a planter box?

  1. Decide on the size of your planter. Measure the area carefully and then choose your wood.
  2. You need a saw to cut your wood to size and then assemble your planks on a sheet of plastic or any material so you don’t damage the area where you are constructing.
  3. Do you need a waterproof liner? Some wood doesn’t, but if you’re growing edible plants, you may want to check whether the wood treatment used is suitable. If not, use a waterproof membrane or architectural fabric which is more environmentally friendly.
  4. You will also need to ensure good drainage so consider adding sand, pebbles, gravel and other materials.
  5. You’ll need a selection of tools to assemble your planter box – a saw, a drill, nails or screws, decent gloves and eye protection.

Can I make a planter box out of pine?

Pine offers you an attractive grain for your planter box. Pine is usually treated to ensure its durability and stability in construction so it’s a really good option for an outdoor planter box. Just make sure that is pine from a responsible source and if possible, aim to buy local, FSC wood. If you can find the “Grown in Britain” logo, the pine is probably Scottish.

What Is the Best Wood for a Planter Box? 16

Pine is a great choice for a DIY planter box. Image credit: @imaginationcreated

What can you grow in your planter box?

1. Decorative flowers

Decorative flowers can grow in any type of wooden planter box. Deeper ones are suitable for plants that need rich, deep soil such as roses and hungry plants which need fertilising regularly.

More on this: What can I plant in a flower box?

2. Succulents

Succulents grow well in planter boxes and they are great for anybody who doesn’t like to do much watering. Some may need to be moved indoors when the temperature drops in the autumn. Lavender will do well growing with these too as they do not need much watering.

3. Edible herbs and flowers

Edible herbs and flowers such as basil, parsley, coriander and chives grow beautifully in planter boxes, but they will need a liner to avoid eating the preservative from the wood. Place these in a sunny area and add some tomatoes as annual plants so you can make tasty salads.

You Might Also Like: 8 Effortless Herb Planter Box Ideas

4. Vegetables and edible fruit

Vegetables, edible fruits like cucumbers and squash, and beans and peas need deep, nutrient-rich soil so make sure your planter box is big enough for plants like these. Line the box well then add good compost, manure if you can, and water frequently. You can add the planter box to a crop rotation plan so you grow potatoes one year, then beans or peas followed by cabbages and so on. Look for seeds that recommend planter box growing too.

FAQs

How do I keep my planter box from rotting?

Sealants. Untreated wood needs regular maintenance so that it does not leak water, so use a sealant initially and then annually after that.

Lining. Untreated wood planters can be lined as an alternative to treatment in order to prevent leaks. This lining is also useful for keeping the wood preservative outside your soil.

Paint can be applied to wooden planter boxes but most people like to see the grain. Any exterior paint can be applied but check if it needs an undercoat first. You may also need to sand it down well before applying paint.

Pressure-treating pine stops rot, but this also causes shrinkage long-term.

Stain and varnish. Commercially purchased planters are often varnished or you can apply stain and varnish yourself. If your planter box holds decorative shrubs and non-edible plants, you can use a commercial sealant followed by a preservative for long-lasting protection. This will help your planter to remain functional for 5 years or more.

Take great care when applying these products close to a pond as they can be poisonous to aquatic life.

– Cedar and Teak both contain natural oils which repel water naturally. Some gardeners recommend using larch wood; this timber can be used untreated but it is a specialist wood and difficult to obtain so take advice from your wood supplier on this. Cedar, teak and larch are more expensive than pine, so if your budget is tight, this should be a consideration.

More on this: How to Waterproof A Wooden Planter Box

Are there natural ways to keep my planter box from rotting?

If you want to grow herbs, lettuce, edible fruit, vegetables or flowers or indeed, anything that will go into your mouth, be aware that any commercial varnish you use may end up in your stomach. Makes you think again about what to coat your planter with, doesn’t it?

Alternatives include:

  1. Natural oils repel water and are not harmful to humans. Examples of these include linseed and hemp oils. They aren’t completely waterproof but water-resistant. Be aware that these two may slightly darken the colour of your wood. Two coats of oil are more effective than one.
  2. Beeswax is commonly used for wooden household furniture and also on boats for its natural water-resistant qualities. Use liberally by applying with a cloth or sponge. A second coat will improve resistance and repeat annually. It is not heat resistant however and it can still be scratched.
  3. Teak oil can also be used as protection for your wood planter box. Here’s a detailed analysis of teak oil usage for outdoor furniture
  4. Liners. Using any of these oils or wax means that you may need to line the inside of your planter as well. This adds extra protection from leaks and helps to prevent the wood from rotting. You can purchase polythene or plastic as a liner in rolls from your DIY shop store.

For a more environmentally friendly method, use landscaping fabric instead of plastic. Worms prefer this and beneficial insects are happier with fabric too.

Can I use pressure-treated pine for a planter box?

It’s fine to use pressure-treated pine for decorative plants but it’s important to consider what you’ll grow in this box, especially if you want to grow food. Read on for pros and cons:

Advantages:

  1. Pressure-treated pine is very resistant to wood rot and pressure treatment is effective as an insect repellent too.
  2. The chemical treatment keeps it fairly weatherproof, unlike natural pine which will need a sealant.

Disadvantages:

  1. The chemical preservative which helps to keep the wood resistant to rot is not really recommended for direct contact with herbs and vegetables for consumption. You will need to line this planter box.
  2. Another problem with pressure treated wood is that it shrinks over time.
  3. Pine is a very soft wood that can be scratched and dented easily. It may not be suitable for a busy family or if it’s located near anything which may damage the wood.

Tina’s Tips:

How can I source cheap or recycled wood for garden box planters?

Sourcing old wood which you can saw, chop and fashion into a stunning, planter box is a great option.

You can also use pallets to make a planter box, as well as many other DIY projects.

How to Make a Gutter Planter Box (with Ideas)

It’s a dilemma that every passionate gardener will face at some point; wanting to grow more plants but not having enough space to grow them in. Either you stop planting new things, or start improvising.

We like to improvise and, unlikely as it may sound, rain gutters can be a great solution if you need more gardening space. They’re cheap and extremely versatile.

make a gutter planter box

Credit: Shutterstock

You can easily make a gutter planter box and put it wherever you like—on the side of a raised planter, on a fence, along a wall, or stack several up in a tiered frame. There’s almost no end to the possibilities.

So, where do you start?

How to make a rain gutter planter box – a step by step guide

rain gutter planter

Increase your planting space on a budget. Image credit: @treehousethreadsblog</a

The easiest way to make a gutter planter box calls for some spare gutters, a bit of cutting, some caps, and not much else. It won’t take you long or require any special skills. Here’s how to do it:

Materials and tools you’ll need

Step 1 – Get some spare gutters

The first step is to find yourself some gutters. Used ones work perfectly, so if your neighbour is renovating their property, don’t hesitate to ask them if you can have their old gutters. Or maybe it’s time to upgrade your own?

You can also look online, raid a scrapyard, or buy some at a local store, they’re cheap and easy to find.

Aluminium gutters are better for this DIY job than PVC ones, but you can work with any type of gutter.

Step 2 – Cut the gutters to measure

Before you do any cutting, work out where you’ll place the rain gutter boxes. Measure the length of the available space and cut the gutters to size using a saw.

Step 3 – Fit gutter caps

For this step, you can use gutter caps that you can find at a store. Or you can make some out of scrap wood boards.

If you go with regular caps, the job is easy but be warned, the caps tend to come off easily. The solution to this common problem is to glue the caps to the gutters. Just apply a thin line of glue on the inside of the cap and fasten it to the gutter. Allow a few minutes for the glue to dry.

If you’re quite handy, you can grab a wood board and cut out your own custom-sized caps. Place the end of a piece of gutter on the board, chalk the outline, and start sawing.

Used gutters can have irregular ends, so you may need to trim the wood here and there, but there’s not much to it. Once the wood caps fit in the rain gutter, simply screw them in place.

If you’re planning to make a long gutter planter box, you can insert a couple of wood dividers to separate the plants. A couple of screws will be enough to hold the dividers in place.

Tip: You can use spray paint to make your gutter planter boxes more colourful.

Step 4 – Attach the rain gutter planter box

Now that you have a gutter planter box you need to do something with it, right?

Tip: Don’t forget to drill some drainage holes at the bottom of your gutter planter box.

All that is left to do is to fill the rain gutter planter box with potting soil and plant the seeds or flowers of your choice.

Gutter planter box ideas

Gutter planter boxes can help you create more gardening space with hardly any expense. But you shouldn’t ignore their decorative value. Hanging them here and there can brighten up any space.

Here are some ideas for how to use gutter planter boxes to make your garden or outside space look more interesting. Plus, an idea for an indoor herb garden.

rain gutter planter with succulents

Shallow rooted plants like succulents will happily take root in a gutter. Image credit: @inspirebohemia

Hanging gutter garden

If you have a pergola or a gazebo in your garden or a roofed deck, you can close off one end with a hanging gutter garden.

For this, you’ll need 3 or 4 gutter planter boxes of the same length. If the gutter boxes are not too long, two hanging screws will be enough.

Secure the boxes to the screws with metallic coils. The upper box will drain into the middle one, which in turn will drain into the lower one, so there won’t be too much spillage.

hanging gutter garden

Make a wall of colour with a hanging gutter garden. Image credit: @theflowercrazygardener

Deck planters

You can decorate your deck by hanging gutter planter boxes on the rail. You don’t want to screw the boxes to the rail as it might damage it. Use metal brackets instead.

Decorate a wall with gutter planters

If one wall of the house doesn’t look all that great, you can hide the flaws by creating a walled garden. For this project, the rain gutter planters you use should vary in size.

Try placing a small gutter high on the wall and bigger ones lower down, at irregular intervals.

If you’re not interested in decorating the wall but in maximising your gardening space, you can attach long planter boxes along the wall from one end to the other.

And you can put up several rows of gutter planters, only don’t make it too crowded. Make sure your plants have plenty of space to grow and enough exposure to the sun.

rain gutter planter wall

Cover a wall with gutters for the perfect vertical garden. Image credit: @anitadarling717

Freestanding herb gutter garden

Rain gutter planters are perfect for growing herbs. You can easily build a wooden stand, using just a few beams and some nails. You can hang the gutter planter on hooks, one on top of the other.

Tip: Check the watering requirements for each herb and place the ones that need more water in the lower boxes.

herb gutter planter garden

Herbs will grow happily in a rain gutter. Image credit: @baustingahden

Indoor herb gutter planter garden

If you want to have fresh herbs all year round, you can use rain gutter planters to create an indoor wall garden.

Can you find an empty piece of wall in your kitchen or enclosed terrace? Attach a few gutter planters to it on top of each other. To avoid damaging the wall, you can put up a chalkboard or a wooden board and screw the planters to it.

You can use this small planter garden to grow parsley, thyme, dill, bunching onions, garlic, and the like. Check out our guide on planting indoor herbs for more inspiration about creating an edible garden.

Grow some space

As you can see, rain gutters are just great at generating more planting space in likely—and unlikely—places.

Once you learn how to make a rain gutter planter box, you may not be able to stop building more and more. And that’s okay!

Because after all, if you find an empty space, why not grow something in it?

How to Make a Galvanised Planter Box & Creative DIY Ideas

Galvanised planter boxes are a smart choice if you don’t have enough space in your garden, or no garden at all.

Building one is easy and inexpensive. There’s not much that can go wrong if you take it step by step. Here’s how to do it.

how to make a galvanized planter box

Credit: Shutterstock

How to make a galvanised metal planter box step by step

If you want to do a great job, start by making a simple plan. Draw your planter box on paper to determine exactly how much wood and galvanised steel you’ll need. No special drawing skills are required.

Note: The following instructions are for a simple rectangular galvanised metal planter box.

Materials and tools you need

Step 1 – Measure and cut the materials

If you’ve got any leftover lumber pieces from another DIY project, you could use them to make your planter box. If you haven’t, head out to your local DIY store.

Measure up the space where the box will go and determine the length and width of the planter box. You’ll need 4 long lumber pieces and 4 short ones to create the rectangles that form the base and the upper rim of the box.

In terms of height, consider the type of plants you want to grow in the box. If you’re thinking about plants that grow big roots, you’ll need to give them enough space and make a tall planter box.

You’ll need 8 lumber pieces for the corners of the planter box, plus another 2 pieces to go in the middle of the longer walls, for extra support. For a small box, you can do without the 2 extra pieces.

Tip: You can choose pressure-treated fence posts, or you can buy cedar wood posts. Pressure-treated posts are more affordable, but cedar wood is more resistant.

While you’re at it, measure up for the corrugated steel sheets that will form the walls. You’ll also need one sheet for the bottom of the planter box.

Step 2 – Build the wooden box

If you’ve bought long lumber pieces, make sure to measure twice before you start cutting. Start by working on the sides of the planter box. Cut the 4 long beams and the 4 shorter ones.

You need to screw those to the vertical beams that support the walls. Place all the wood pieces on a flat surface and assemble the sides of the box. When you have the four sides ready, screw them together using pocket hole screws.

You’ll also need to add a few bottom blocks. Otherwise, the weight of the soil might damage the bottom sheet and make it fall out.

Now you have something that looks like a box, but there’s still more work to be done.

Step 3 – Build the galvanised steel walls

You’ll need sheet metal snips to cut the galvanised steel sheets to measure. Start with the bottom sheet and drill a few holes into it to allow excess water to drain.

Next, fasten the corrugated steel sheets that make up the walls. Cut each sheet so it fits inside the box. Attach it to the frame with wood screws, both on top and on the bottom.

Your box is now ready to use!

Galvanised planter box ideas

The best thing about galvanised planter boxes is that you can make them any size or shape you want. You can style them too. Here are some ideas to get you inspired.

galvanized planter box

Get creative with different sizes and styles of planter box.  Image credit: @thepinkhatgardener

Aged galvanised planter boxes

If you want to add a rustic look to your planter boxes, you can age the galvanised steel sheets. You don’t have to buy special products, all you need is a mixture of salt, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide.

Get a large bowl and add the ingredients in equal parts: 3 spoonfuls of large grain salt, 3 of vinegar, and 3 of hydrogen peroxide.

Put on a pair of safety gloves and use a rag to cover the sides of the planter box with the mixture. Rub it in as best you can. The longer you leave the mixture on, the better the ageing effect.

You can also decorate a planter box with knotted rope, coloured ribbons, or by glueing decorative elements to it.

Galvanised raised bed planter

If you want to grow a variety of plants in your garden, raised beds are the perfect solution. Galvanised raised bed planters allow you to grow plants with different soil and watering needs close to each other. They’ll help you to make the most of the available space.

You can place several planter boxes along the walls of the house or against the fence. Another idea is to place them on either side of a garden path or driveway.  You could also arrange them in a geometric pattern to create a small maze in your garden. Make sure all the boxes are easily accessible.

galvanised raised bed planter

Make the most of your available space with steel raised planters. Image credit: @thegreenseeddesign

Galvanised planter box on the deck or terrace

Placing a couple of galvanised planter boxes on the deck is a great idea when you don’t have much of a garden. All that green makes for wonderful decor.

Just make sure the deck is water-resistant as the draining water might damage it. If you don’t want to take any chances, forget about making holes in the bottom sheet and adjust the quantity of water you use so the roots don’t rot. On a concrete terrace, a bit of drainage water won’t be a problem.

Windowsill planter boxes

Do you have large windowsills? You can also place a few galvanised planter boxes on them. The only thing is that you can’t make them too tall. Use planters for herbs or flowers that don’t grow big roots.

windowsill galvanized planter box

Adorn large windowsills with galvanised steel planters. Image credit: Waitrose

Takeaway

If you want more space for your gardening projects or want to add some greenery to a balcony, you can easily build a galvanised planter box using a few pieces of wood and corrugated steel sheets.

You can make it big enough to grow vegetables in the garden or small enough to fit on a windowsill, it’s your call!

You might also like: 10 creative planter box ideas that anyone can do

How to Build a Simple Stone Planter Box

Are you thinking about adding a planter box to your garden? A wooden planter box may be the first thing that comes to mind. That’s because wood is affordable, and chances are you already have some planks leftover from other DIY projects.

Stone is more resistant than wood, and you won’t have to worry about mould or rotting either. You don’t need any special skills to build a stone planter box. It’s a bit more complicated than making a wooden one, but you can manage without headaches.

Even staking the stones is easy once you get the hang of it. And you can use stone to create complex geometric patterns, something you can’t do with wooden planks.

build a stone planter box

Credit: Shutterstock

How to build a stone planter box step by step

Decide on the size, gather your materials, and then start building the box. Let’s take a closer look at each of these steps.

Materials and tools you’ll need

Step 1 – Decide the size of the planter box

Where is the planter box going to go? People often build stone planter boxes along the walls of the house or along the fence. Planter boxes are also great for decorating the driveway. You can even build a stone planter box in the middle of your garden, just make sure it won’t look out of place.

You have to choose between building a long planter box or several smaller ones. From a purely artistic point of view, one continuous long box might be a bit dull. Smaller ones allow for more variety in your garden.

Head outside and do some measuring. Deciding on the size of the planter box beforehand is essential as you’ll need to make sure you get enough stone. Calculate the perimeter of the rectangular box and multiply that by the number of layers you’re planning to use.

Once you have the total figure, head to a DIY store and they’ll help you figure out how much stone you need. It all depends on the size of the stone bricks you buy. Don’t forget to ask how much gravel you need for that type of planter box.

Tip: The height of your stone planter box depends on the type of plants you want to grow. For flowers, a 6” high planter box is enough. For vegetables, you can go as high as 12” so the roots have plenty of space to spread out.

Step 2 – Mark out the area

Grab some wooden stakes and start marking out the area of the stone planter boxes.

Start from one corner, preferably one that is close to a wall or fence, if that’s where you’re building your planter box. Place your first stake. Then use the measuring tape to mark the length of the box and place a second stake.

Next, you’ll have to measure the area for width. Make sure each size is equal. Place the remaining two stakes and check that the sides of the planter box are at a 90-degree angle.

Step 3 – Level the area

This step is especially important if your garden sits on sloping terrain. You want to level the ground as best you can, so your planter box won’t lean to one side.

Stake out the approximate location for your planter, get your shovel, and do some digging. If you want your stone planter box to be stable, you need to dig 6” into the soil.

Next, you need to spread at least 3 inches of gravel base rock. Use a rake to help.

Once it looks like the gravel base rock is spread evenly, you’ll have to compact it. For that, you’ll need a hand tamper. This part will be a bit hard on your back as you need to apply force to flatten the gravel base until it’s firm.

Step 4 – Start building the walls

If you don’t have much experience with bricklaying, this part may seem tricky. No need to be nervous, though. The hard part is laying the base layer. The rest is easy.

Start with one of the long sides of the rectangular box. Work your way around the perimeter of the box until you get back to your starting point. Keep the rubber mallet and spirit level to hand. Don’t hurry! Check that each stone is level before moving on to the next one.

Once the base layer is in place, have a good look at it to make sure you have a perfect rectangle. Then you can start stacking the next layer.

Use the adhesive to glue the stones together. Make sure to brush the stones in the base layer before applying a few blobs of glue on the upper side of each of them. Put glue on the whole length of one side and then start placing the second layer.

Don’t forget to alternate blocks to offset the seams. This will make your planter box more durable and look better, too.

Tip: When you’ve finished a layer, use the spirit level to check that the walls are perfectly vertical. Correct any irregularity with your rubber mallet.

You can build the top layer with the same type of stones as the lower ones. Another option is to buy larger bricks for the top layer, as these will give your planter box a more polished look.

If the top stones are large enough, you can even sit on the margins of the planter box to admire your plants or tend to them. This will be much easier on your back.

Important: If you decide to go with a wide top layer, make sure to use masonry glue or mortar when laying the stones.

Step 5 – Fill the stone planter box

Now that you’ve built your stone planter box, it’s time to fill it up.

You can use some gravel to create a thick drainage level. This will protect plant roots from mould, but also the planter box itself. If water accumulates at the bottom of the box, it might freeze in winter, leading to cracks in the stone walls.

Choose the gardening soil that’s most suitable for your plants and fill the planter box almost to the top.

Tip: To prevent dirt from seeping through the cracks, you can put a sheet of landscape fabric over the drainage gravel layer. To keep it in place, secure the margins underneath the top layer of stones.

How to Build a Simple Stone Planter Box 17

Fill your stone planter with beautiful, colourful blooms. Image credit: @myhomeinmississippi

How to make a stone planter box fast

The most difficult and back-breaking part of building a stone planter box is levelling the area. To bypass this step, you can use black Styrofoam pads, which you can find at any DIY store or online. Styrofoam pads are mainly used for building paver patios.

If you find that the pads are too thick, you can cut them in half lengthwise using a table saw. A retractable knife will also work, but it’s a time-consuming operation. Simply place the Styrofoam pads under the first layer of bricks. The material has enough give to make sure the layer will be level.

You can also skip the fabric layer. It’s not the laying it inside that takes time but securing it under the top layer of stones. If dirt does start seeping through the seams, you can easily clean that after all with a garden hose.

Planter box stones you can use

If you want to build a cheap stone planter box, look out for clearance sales. They may even deliver it to your front door free of charge. Just ask—you never know!

On the other hand, clearance stuff is sold cheaply for a reason. It’s not necessarily about the quality. Maybe it’s just stones that don’t look all that good.

If you’re willing to spend a bit on this project, buy weathered stones. They look way better than the cheaper flat ones.

Sometimes, these suppliers also throw alignment plugs and wall caps into the deal. The caps are not really necessary. But the alignment plugs will save you a lot of work as you won’t have to worry about the walls being perfectly vertical.

Another option is to go with river stones or whatever rocks you can gather yourself. This is an excellent option for building a rustic planter box. This method does require a lot of work and a skilled eye as you’ll have to figure out a way to fit uneven stones together. Also, instead of glueing the stones together, you’ll have to work with mortar, which can get messy.

How to Build a Simple Stone Planter Box 18

If you’re feeling really creative, try making a planter from slate. Image credit: @corylusbrown

The bottom line

A stone planter box is more durable than one made from wood and it doesn’t have to be expensive if you can find stone at a discounted price or collect your own.

In terms of skills required, the most complicated part is levelling the ground where the planter box will go. It’s best to use a gravel base rock to level the area, using Styrofoam pads is quicker and easier.

High stone planter boxes are better for growing vegetables. If you want to plant flowers, a 6 inches high planter box will be enough.

That’s about it. This DIY project calls for some work, but nothing you can’t manage, right?

How to Make a Pallet Planter Box

We’ve given you suggestions for making your own wooden, concrete, flower and vegetable planter boxes but what about repurposing a humble wooden pallet?

pallet planter box

Upcycle an old pallet into something beautiful. Image credit @paaaigesplants

Pallets are everywhere, in fact, there are more pallets in Europe than people! These ubiquitous storage structures are usually made from pine or oak, soft and hard woods, and sometimes a mixture of both.

Pallets are cheap and easy to get hold of, you’ve most likely taken delivery of paving slabs or building supplies that were attached to a pallet and there are almost always people trying to get rid of them on local social media pages and free ads.

Pallets are pretty robust structures as they’re designed to support heavy loads. Left untreated, they will last for around 5 years but if painted or varnished, you can extend their life for many more years. Let’s take a look at some easy DIY pallet planter box ideas:

How to build a planter box from a pallet

There are a few different pallet planter box ideas below and it’s handy to have the following tools to hand to build them.

What you will need

tools diy

Build up a trusty tool collection for all your DIY garden projects. Photo by Eugen Str on Unsplash

Wall-mounted pallet planter

Pallets are plant shelves waiting to happen and we love this simple wall-mounted, DIY pallet planter box. To make a similar planter, you’ll need one pallet. You can cut an existing pallet down to fit your wall space if you don’t want to mount an entire pallet, they can be pretty heavy, especially when you add soil into the mix. You can also lean a pallet against a wall or fence if you don’t want to drill any holes.

Wall-mounted pallet planter

Fill a colourful pallet wall planter with beautiful blooms. Image credit: @holyislandgin

If you turn your pallet over, you’ll see there are usually 3 supporting batons underneath, you can use these to create your planter troughs or, if you want more shelves, you can turn the pallet the other way round, removing any planks you don’t need.

Now is the time to paint or stain your pallet, try choosing a colour to match existing furniture, go bright or paint it a bold, dark colour to stand out against a fence.

If you’re using the supporting batons to make your planting troughs. All you need to do is cut a length of weed membrane that’s the same width as your pallet and just over 4 times the depth of the plank. Fold the weed membrane fabric in half and simply staple the top of one edge along the inside length of the pallet baton. Do exactly the same on the other side so you’re left with a hanging fabric base in which you will place your plants.

If you want more than 3 shelves, you’ll need to nail the planks you’ve removed from the front of the pallet to the back, taking care to line them up. No one wants a wonky shelf! You can nail the planks into the supporting batons. Create your fabric trough liners in the same way as above.

Here’s a handy tutorial that shows you how to make a pallet wood planter box.

Pallet box planter

Pallet box planter

Image credit: @pinebarrenpalletworks

This beautiful pallet planter wouldn’t look out of place in a modern, urban garden. With its clean lines and neat boxes, it just needs some striking palms and trailing plants to bring it to life.

You can make a similar pallet panel by turning a large pallet sideways, carefully removing all the planks and then nailing them closely together. You may need to get hold of some additional planks if you don’t have any spare pallets to hand. When done, sand it thoroughly to remove any staining, paint and splinters. Try varnishing the pallet or use an exterior wood dye to achieve the finish you’d like.

You can use spare pallet planks to make the small pallet planter boxes. Cut a length for the bottom of the box and cut 4 sides to fit. Glue the pieces in place and add nails when the glue has set for extra stability. Sand the boxes to remove any sharp edges or splinters, then screw the boxes onto the pallet panel.

Pallet herb planter box

Pallet herb planter box

Create a useful herb planter box from pallets. Image credit: @allie_wilson_home

Another clever vertical pallet planter idea, we love this dark pallet with painted herb names. The pallet’s supporting batons have been turned into shelves to hold potted herbs. Use a pallet plank or wood offcut to make a base for the pots to sit in. You can simply nail this to the bottom of the pallet’s supporting batons. Don’t forget to line the base of the pallet shelf with plastic to stop it from rotting.

Trough pallet planter

Trough pallet planter

This wooden pallet planter box looks gorgeous filled with cottage garden flowers. Image credit: @amagardener

For a more rustic take on a pallet wood planter box, you can create a trough planter.

You’ll need to break a pallet apart to make this planter so have your crowbar at the ready! The size of the planter box you can make will depend on the size and amount of pallets you have.

Here’s a handy guide to building a DIY pallet planter, along with useful pallet planter box plans to help you visualise exactly what you need to do.

Easy Pallet Planter

Easy Pallet Planter

Image credit: @kiwimummycowgirl

This sweet pallet planter is a great starting point if you’re new to DIY. It was created by chopping a pallet down, fixing the two sides to each other with pallet offcuts and nailing spare planks over the gaps between the pallet planks on each side. Plastic lining can then be stapled to the inside of the planter to form the bottom of your planter, or you can nail extra planks to the bottom if you prefer a sturdier base.

Don’t forget to paint your pallet planter or leave it a natural colour for a more rustic look.

When you’ve created your wood pallet planter box, take a look at some other garden pallet projects that you can get stuck into. You could kit out your whole garden in stylish, inexpensive and easy to make pallet furniture!

 

8 of the Best Urban Planter Boxes

Whether you’ve got an understated urban garden, a compact courtyard or a bijoux balcony, we’ve rounded up some of the very best urban planter boxes to suit your space and your budget.

1. Trellis Planter

This Moucharabiya planter from Screen with Envy ticks all the boxes when it comes to smaller spaces. With a handy and hardy integrated trellis, it’s a great way to add privacy and a beautiful focal point to your outside space. It’s made from galvanised steel so is super low-maintenance too and comes in a range of colours.

Trellis Planter

Add glamour and privacy to a smaller outdoor space with the Moucharabiya planter. £280 – Screen with Envy

2. Balcony planter

This clever Elho balcony planter can be easily hung over your balcony railings or a fence and includes a handy side opening to add water. A great way to make sure that your plants get the water they need, without spilling water all over your balcony floor! The planter is made from durable plastic so won’t rot, discolour or warp.

Balcony planter

The Elho balcony planter lets you water the plants just where they need it. £17.99 – Elho

3. Slimline Zinc planter

For a stylish, space-saving solution look no further than this slimline zinc planter from Primrose. It’s tall and slim and comes with a removable plant liner, meaning you don’t have to completely fill the trough with soil which makes it easy to move around. At just 29cm wide, it’s easy to squeeze into the smallest of spaces and will look incredible filled with structural palms or bamboo for privacy.

Slimline Zinc planter

Add slimline style with this zinc urban garden planter box. £142.00 – Primrose

4. Wooden partition planter

The Wallas acacia garden planter and partition from La Redoute is just perfect for balconies and urban gardens. The integrated screen allows you to grow climbing plants like jasmine and honeysuckle, or you can attach pots and planters to the batons. Acacia wood is naturally water-resistant and extremely durable, making it a great choice for an outdoor planter.

Wooden partition planter

The Wallas acacia garden planter is ideal for balconies. £299 – La Redoute

5. Galvanised steel wall planters

Add an industrial touch to your outdoor space with this set of 3 galvanised steel wall planters from Waitrose. They arrive with pre-drilled holes so are easy to mount and provide an attractive vessel for trailing plants, flowers or herbs. As they’re galvanised, they’ll look great for years to come.

Galvanised steel wall planters

Display your plants in gorgeous galvanised pots. £24.99 – Waitrose

6. Keter watering planter box

If you’re a little forgetful when it comes to watering your planter boxes, then the self-watering Keter urban bloomer may be for you! With a built-in water reservoir, avoid under or over-watering your plants, especially handy if you have a sheltered, sunny balcony or sun-trap garden. It makes growing your own fruit or vegetables incredibly easy and it’s compact enough to fit into small spaces.

Keter watering planter box

Forgetting to water plants will be a thing of the past with the Keter Urban Bloomer. £180 – Amazon

7. Bench planter box

Smart and stylish, we think you’ll love this contemporary garden planter bench from Made. With a sleek design, it can be placed anywhere you like and the planter is roomy enough to accommodate a small bay or olive tree.

Bench planter box

Keep it simple with a stylish garden planter bench. £299 – Made

8. Black metal planter with pots

Ideal for urban spaces, the Auckland black metal planter from Maisons du Monde will sit happily on a balcony or rooftop terrace. It comes with 4 pots which you can fill with herbs or pretty flowers and a trough that’s deep enough to grow some vegetables in. Additional shelves offer a space for spare pots, tools and more plants!

Black metal planter with pots

The Auckland black metal planter has plenty of space for displaying your plants. £242 – Maisons du Monde

If none of these ideas suits your style or budget, why not try building your own planter box from wood or concrete? You might be surprised at how easy it can be!

You might also like: Garden furniture ideas for a small patio

How to Build a Planter Box for Vegetables

There are few things more satisfying than growing and picking your own home-grown vegetables, tasty salads, herbs, tomatoes or cucumbers.

With increasing concerns about the environmental impact of the food we buy in supermarkets and the harmful pesticides used in conventional farming, there’s never been a better time to grow your own food.

Not only will you lower your carbon footprint, but the results are truly tasty! Here in the UK, you’ll need to take the often unpredictable weather into account when growing your own veg. Read on to learn how to build a planter box for vegetables and discover the kinds of food that you can grow throughout the year.

planter box for vegetables

Create your own kitchen garden with vegetable planter boxes. Image courtesy of  @ourclapboardhomebythesea

Types of vegetable box planters to consider

A wooden planter box supported by a south-facing wall will provide sunshine, warmth and shelter for many vegetables suitable for the British summer (or winter). The wall retains the heat, which many of your vegetables will enjoy. If it is close to the water supply, even better, because herbs and most vegetables get thirsty when it’s hot.

Raised planter boxes are great for anybody who has an issue with bending for too long and the extra height makes easy access for wheelchair gardeners. They are a permanent fixture in a garden so check the conditions list below before you finalise the location! The construction of these boxes takes some time and skill so ensure you have a DIY person or carpenter on hand to help if needed.

Patio or balcony planter boxes can be built to suit the size available. Measure your space and allow a reasonable depth for most vegetables – a minimum of 1 foot (30cm) but preferably 2 feet (60cm) for larger vegetables like squash, cucumbers and potatoes.

A window vegetable planter box is fantastic if you don’t have a lot of space. So if you’re new to this gardening thing, why not try a window box first?

raised planter box for vegetables

Consider using a combination of raised planters and pots for different vegetables. Image credit: @victorygardenla

Conservatory planter boxes

In summer, a planter box in a conservatory has everything – the sun, warmth, shelter, regular watering by you, and respite from pests (except pesky red spider mites).

Pots and grow bags are useful for those with very little space. Plants that grow well in pots include tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines, summer salads, herbs, and carrots. Even beans can grow in pots and grow bags but you will need bamboo canes or trellis for them to climb and to keep them tidy and off the ground.

The soil can be changed annually so that it doesn’t get exhausted and you can even create your own crop rotation plan. (See more on this below.)

How do I build a raised planter box?

To make your planter box, first source your materials. Wood planters can be made from re-used pallets or visit your wood supplier with the measurements of the area where your box will be located.

Vegetables are hungry plants so plan a deep box, say at least 1 foot (30 cm) deep. Make it deeper if possible. If you like growing the first year, you may decide to keep going and the deeper the planter box, the better for vegetables.

Think about adding a liner and drainage for the planter box because the water will need to drain away or the wood may rot. Plastic is waterproof but you will need to ensure good drainage too. You can also buy architectural matting and coir liners. Coir is made from coconut fibre; it is tough and durable and comes from a natural source, which plants usually prefer to plastic. Add some pebbles at the end of a deep planter to help drainage and keep the plant roots above this layer. Some gardeners use activated charcoal to help drainage too.

DIY Planter box plans to help you construct your vegetable planters are available to download online. Some of my favourites include:

  1. Construct101 on Pinterest DIY offers raised bed planter plans which are available to download for free. There’s really helpful information to guide you in constructing your new vegetable raised planter bed.
  2. From DIY Montreal, you can download plans to make a slatted raised planter box, with instructions. The planter box is approximately 5 feet x 2 feet wide and 3 feet.
raised wooden planter box vegetables

Enjoy the good life with a steady supply of home grown vegetables. Image credit: @norikoinri

Waterproofing your vegetable planter box

You will need to use something to protect the wood unless it has already been treated.  When you buy your wood, check with the supplier to see if it’s been treated and if not, ask for help with choosing the most suitable protective varnish, paint or oil. Most treatments need to be repeated annually.

If you are lining the planter box there is no need to worry about contamination of the soil with these products. If you are not lining the box, ensure that the coating is thoroughly dried before adding your soil.

staining cedar planter box

Give your planter boxes several coats of protective varnish before filling with soil. Credit: Shutterstock

When your planter box is ready to fill, read our what to grow in a vegetable planter box article for some great ideas and tips.  You’ll be harvesting baskets of delicious vegetables in no time!

How to Waterproof A Wooden Planter Box

Wooden planters look great placed outside on a patio or balcony or even inside your home. Unfortunately, wood is a natural material that will break down over time. To prevent the wood from rotting prematurely due to the moisture inside the box, you can take some steps to protect it.

If you’re wondering how to waterproof a wooden planter box and protect it from moisture, keep reading.

waterproofing the inside of a wooden planter box

Credit: Shutterstock

How to seal a wooden planter box

Waterproofing a planter box is quite simple. You will need some supplies for this job, however. You can start by gathering the following:

Once you’ve got all the supplies you need, you can start the waterproofing process. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Prepare the planter box

Before you can waterproof your planter box, you will need to prepare it. Start by sanding down the inside of the box to create a rough surface for the sealant of your choice to stick to.

Once the surface is prepared, make sure to brush away any dust. The dust will interfere with how well the sealant sticks. If you have a compressor, you can use compressed air to blow out all the dust. If not, simply use a paintbrush or something similar to brush off all the dust.

More on this: How to Build a Planter Box Out of Wood

Step 2: Seal the box

For this step, you will need the caulk. Squeeze some caulk onto all the joins where the different wooden panels come together. Once the substance is applied, smooth it over with your finger to form a seal and create a smooth finish.

Once you’re done, you might need to leave the caulk to dry for up to four days. If you’re unsure of the curing time, read the instructions on the packaging. Make sure the box is kept away from any sources of heat and moisture during this time.

Step 3: Apply the wood preservative

Once the caulk is dry, you can move on to the wood preservative. How you apply it, will depend on what kind of preservative you’ll be using. If you opt to go with an oil-based varnish or oil-based wood sealant then you will need a brush to apply it.

Use some masking tape to create straight lines if you don’t want to paint the whole box. Apply the varnish/sealant according to the instructions on the container. Leave it to dry for around 4 to 6 hours before applying a second coat. In some cases, you will need a third coat, but the instructions will tell you. Once dry, you can move on to the bottom of the planter.

Paint the bottom of your planter in the same way you did the inside. The bottom will also be in contact with water quite frequently due to standing on a wet surface. The drainage holes will let water out of the box that will most likely spread and pool under your planter. If it isn’t protected as well, you will have problems with rot quite quickly.

how to build a cedar planter box

Credit: Shutterstock

If you chose to go with Flex Seal spray instead, you will need to prepare your box if you don’t want it to go everywhere. Use masking tape to close off the top and create a straight line. Don’t press down the masking tape since you’ll be adding newspaper just under the edge to protect the rest of the box. When you’ve applied the masking tape and newspaper, you should only be able to see the inside of the box.

Once ready, give the Flex Seal a good shake before spraying a decent layer on the inside of your box. Make sure to cover it all, even the inside of the drainage holes. The instructions on the container should be able to tell you how thick to make the layer and if you’ll need to apply a second coat. Leave the spray to dry according to the instructions before moving on.

Make sure you also give the same treatment to the bottom of the box. Because of the drainage holes, the bottom will also frequently be in contact with moisture. Protect the rest of the box by using masking tape and newspaper, once done spray the bottom with Flex Seal and let it dry.

Step 4: Line the planter box

For the last step, you will need thick industrial plastic to use as a liner for your box. The plastic will further protect the wood against water damage, making it even more waterproof.

Use a measuring tape to measure the inside of your box including the bottom and sides in your measurement. Once done, use these measurements to cut the correct sized plastic liner for your box.

Line up the plastic liner with the top edge of one of the sides. Use a carpenter stapler and staple it in place around halfway up the side on the inside of the box. The top piece of plastic will be loose, but don’t worry about that just yet.

Flatten out the plastic until it covers the bottom completely and contours nicely with the inside of the box. Place another staple on the bottom of the box close to the side to keep the plastic in place. Now you can flatten out the rest of the side you already stapled once and place more staples on the same line to keep the plastic attached to that side. You can do the same at the bottom following the side you already stapled in place.

Turn your box around and line up the opposite side of the plastic. Follow the same procedure to secure it in place as the first side. Once done, you can move on to the remaining sides, lining up the plastic and stapling it in place.

You should now be left with the four flaps at the corners where the plastic doesn’t fit the box as well as the 4 loose edges above your staple line.

For the four loose corners, neatly press the plastic as far into the corner as you can and staple it in place on both sides of the flap. When finished, you can neatly fold over the flap and staple it to one of the sides to get it out of the way. Do the same with all four corners.

For the loose edges, make a small cut in the corners. Fold the sides down by tugging them in between the wood and the plastic twice. Staple the neat edge in place all around.

Congratulations! You now have a waterproof planter box.

How to Waterproof A Wooden Planter Box 19

A well treated planter box will look great for years to come. Image credit: @planterboxez

FAQs

Should wood planters be sealed?

Yes, wood planters will rot very quickly if left untreated especially if it is made from softwood. Sealing your planter will increase its life expectancy and keep it looking great for much longer.

What can I put in the bottom of a wooden planter?

Seal your planter with a plastic liner before filling the bottom with filter media such as gravel, stones, broken ceramic, broken glass or plastic bottles. This will ensure the wood is protected against water damage and improve drainage from your planter by keeping the drainage holes open.

Read more on this: How to fill a wooden planter box

How can I prevent my wooden planter from rotting?

Seal it! The best way to keep your wooden planter from rotting is to seal it with oil-based wood preservative or sealant spray. You can also line the inside of your box with a plastic liner to reduce the contact between the moist soil and the wooded box.

How To Fill A Wooden Planter Box

We all know how stunning planter boxes look on a patio or deck or even around your garden. Unfortunately, filling these boxes in a way that keeps your plants healthy can be quite a challenge, not to mention expensive.

In this article, we will discuss the best and most cost-effective way to fill a wooden planter box so you don’t need to go through trial and error. Let’s take a look.

How to fill a planter box

Filling a planter box starts with preparing the box. If you’re using plastic planter boxes, you can jump straight to the filling section, if not, keep reading.

Preparing wooden planter boxes

Wood is a popular material for building planter boxes. Not only does it look great, but it’s also quite cost-effective to buy. If you like, you can save even more money by building one yourself.

The drawback of wooden planters is that they need to be properly prepared if you want them to last. This means lining the planter box with plastic as well as applying wood preservatives to prevent the wood from rotting prematurely.

If you can, choose a wood such as cedar that is naturally rot-resistant if you want your planter to last a few years, see our guide to building a cedar planter box for more tips.

There are quite a few types of planter box liners to choose from. The best bet is to go with one that is fully waterproof. A plastic liner will prevent the wood from being in contact with the moist soil all the time and slow down the rotting process.

Plastic liners can be secured to the box by stapling them with a carpenter stapler or by using wood glue to keep them in place. Make sure to create holes over the drainage holes in the box to allow water to drain as it should. If done correctly, the liners shouldn’t be visible after your box is filled.

What to put at the bottom of large wooden planters

Filling large planter boxes can be quite expensive, especially if you want to fill the whole thing with potting soil. If you want to cut down on some costs and improve drainage, consider filling the bottom of your box with the following materials:

Broken glass bottles

Broken glass is excellent for keeping the drainage holes of your planter open. It will also fill up some of the dead space in your planter. This means that you will need less soil to fill up your planter and you’re recycling old broken glass bottles at the same time.

Just make sure to be very careful when working with the glass to avoid cutting yourself. Also, take care not to cut yourself while planting. The glass needs to be buried deep enough to not be a risk or covered with wire mesh to avoid the danger. Wire mesh will also prevent the soil from falling in between the glass pieces which makes the whole process more cost-effective.

Styrofoam peanuts

How To Fill A Wooden Planter Box 20

Credit: Shutterstock

If you can find good-sized styrofoam peanuts, then you have an easy, lightweight solution for getting rid of dead space. Before you place the peanuts in the bottom of your pot, make sure to test them in water. Some types of styrofoam dissolve or shrink in water, you will need to avoid those.

If the styrofoam peanuts are too small and easily fit through the drainage holes in your pot, you can add coffee filters or a wire mesh over the holes to stop them from escaping without preventing drainage. You will also need to put some mesh over the styrofoam before you add your soil to prevent them from getting mixed up.

Broken ceramic

The next time a ceramic plate or cup gets dropped or a poor ornament is in the wrong place at the wrong time, don’t immediately throw the broken pieces away. You can use them to cover the drainage holes in your planters to prevent soil from falling out and fill up some of the dead space in large planters.

Gravel

Gravel is excellent if you need to add some weight to your planters while still maintaining good drainage. The gravel will fill up the dead space and make your planter a bit more wind resistant due to its weight. Just make sure to cover the drainage holes with coffee filters or something similar to prevent the gravel from falling out of the bottom of your planter whenever it is moved.

Small rocks

Small rocks are another genius way to improve drainage while adding weight to your planters. Small stones can be used to cover the drainage holes to prevent anything from falling out of your planters. You can also layer them in such a way that they improve drainage while filling up any dead space in large planters.

Wood chips

Wood chips are good for annual planters. Wood chips improve drainage but will also start to rot due to the anaerobic environment along with being constantly moist. As the wood rots away, it will compact and eventually stop proper drainage from taking place.

If you’re making a planter with annuals, you can use as many wood chips as you like since your pot will need redoing anyway within a years time.

How To Fill A Wooden Planter Box 21

Image credit: @emmet_van_driesche

Old containers

If you have some old containers and planters, it is always an option to see if they fit into your wooden planter. Fitting a plastic container inside your wooden planter will ensure that your wooden planter lasts longer. Just make sure to properly fill up your plastic containers and that there are drainage holes in them.

Tiles

If you’re renovating, do yourself a favour and keep some broken tiles. Tiles are great for closing up drainage holes in planters without preventing the water from passing through. You can also use them to fill up dead space in your planters as necessary by placing them in layers.

Keep in mind that large planters can become quite heavy. If you need to move your planter around quite a bit, make sure to fill it with something light like styrofoam peanuts. You can also use any of the above-mentioned materials to fill smaller planters.

Adding the top layer

Once you’ve decided what to use to fill the bottom of your planter, you will need to decide how much space you want that layer to take up. Usually, it doesn’t have to be a lot, 1/3rd is enough. After you’ve arranged the bottom layer, it is time to add the soil.

The top layer will consist of the potting soil of your choice. The kind of soil you choose will depend on what kind of plants you plan on adding to your planter.

woman holding potting soil over a hanging basket

Credit: Shutterstock

If you’re planning on growing succulents, you will need soil with a high sand content for maximal drainage. If you’d rather plant some flowering annuals, then a general potting soil will work just fine. In most cases, general potting soil will be your best friend.

If you’re growing plants that prefer acidic soil, then a high humus content is preferable. You can mix compost into the top layer of soil to help feed your plants and keep them healthy.

Make sure there is a layer between the materials at the bottom of your planter and the topsoil layer. The middle layer can consist of newspaper, cheesecloth or wire mesh. The only function of this layer is to prevent too much topsoil from falling into the holes left by the material at the bottom of your wooden planter box.

Don’t use any dirt from your garden to fill up your wooden planter. Plants tend to grow much better in commercial potting soil. You can, however, make your own potting soil by mixing equal amounts of perlite or vermiculite, peat moss and compost.

Adding plants

When adding plants, make sure not to remove them from their original soil. It is better to transfer them with the soil they are growing in. Dig a hole big enough in your planter to accommodate the plant and soil. Place the plant into the hole and fill up any remaining space around it.

Make sure to thoroughly water the newly transferred plants to lessen some of the shock. Your plants will also need to be placed in semi-shade for a while until they recover.

More on this: 10 of the Best Herbs to Grow in a Planter Box

FAQs

Do I need to fill the bottom of my planter with filter materials?

Preferably yes. Filling the bottom of the pot with a material that allows easy drainage prevents plant diseases such as root rot from developing.

What do I line planters with?

Planters can be lined with a variety of materials of which plastic is the most popular. It will keep moisture in and prevent your planters from rotting just a little longer. It will also benefit your plants since they won’t dry out as quickly.

How long do wooden planters last?

Most wooden planters will last between 5 to 15 years depending on where they are located and how they were prepared beforehand. Planters made from cedar will last longer than most due to being naturally rot-resistant.

What to Grow in a Vegetable Planter Box

If you love the idea of growing your own vegetables but don’t have the luxury of a large garden or allotment, you can grow an impressive range of tasty vegetables in planter boxes and pots.  Before you rush off to buy seeds, you’ll need to consider a few things:

what to grow in a vegetable planter box

Inexpensive, healthy and beautiful, growing your own vegetables has many benefits. Image credit: @les.vos

1. What vegetables do you want to grow?

If you want to grow salads, then you don’t need very deep soil, a shallow planter or cloche is ideal.

If you want to grow cucumbers you need to allow for tall climbing growth and use a trellis to support developing fruit. So what you intend to grow will determine soil depth, the type of soil required, and the watering needs. If you are growing a selection of different plants, then you may need to plan sections with different soil and watering conditions.  You might even like to give crop rotation a try, read more on this below.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes grow well together with herbs like basil so this could be a great combination to try in summer. Growing tomatoes requires rich soil, climbing support and generous watering as well as the best summer sun for many hours of the day. Tomatoes are productive, deliciously tasty and useful in the kitchen all summer long. Too many tomatoes? Make tomato paste and freeze it for winter pizza sauces, or whip up a batch of tasty chutney. If you have too much basil, you can make pesto!

enjoy tomateos

Enjoy cooking with the fruits of your labour. Image credit: @garlicrosemaryandsalt

Beans and peas

Beans and peas are attractive plants with gorgeous colourful flowers loved by bees. These plants will want to climb, so think about where the planter box is located and if you need to add trellis or canes for your chosen plants to thrive. Peas and beans need similar conditions with rich soil and manure if possible, so you can mix and match these two crops in summer. Peas are hardy and can also be grown over the winter but most beans (except broad beans) need summer sunshine.

beans and peas

Beans for days! Beans are one of the most productive vegetables to grow. Image credit: @kitchenvignettes

Carrots

Carrots are often a favourite for children to try. They are a fussy crop, which can be difficult to germinate and the crop may need to be thinned. The soil must be stone-free because carrots will form around any obstruction and you may get some crazy shaped vegetables! Growing carrots is definitely worth it for the taste and the gorgeous smell of freshly picked roots. Eat them quickly before that delicious scent disappears.

carrots planter box

Carrots are a fun vegetable to grow and pick! Image credit @tusharsabale_gardener

Radishes

Radishes are a quicker alternative to carrots or you could try adding a row to accompany the carrots. Children will be delighted how quickly radishes grow.

radishes

Easy to grow, radishes add a pop of colour and spicy flavour to salads. Image credit: @dirt_94

Squash and pumpkins

Squash and pumpkins are fabulous homegrown fruits but be warned! These plants can grow over 6 feet long! If you have a tiny garden, you will be tripping over these plants all summer long, or you can grow squash above ground with a trellis! Their gorgeous showy flowers are usually orange and can be eaten, but if you don’t leave some there will be no fruit. Sow these in late spring and by October you can pick lots of chunky fruit to carve in time for Hallowe’en.

pumpkin in hand

Pumpkins have to be one of the most fun fruits to pick! Image credit: @lottie_thyme_

Potatoes

Potatoes grow really well in bags and containers. The important thing is to keep covering the tubers with soil as they grow. This is really important because any potatoes exposed to the light turn green and these are poisonous. So cover around the growing tips as you notice new tubers forming.  When the plant flowers die back, your potatoes are ready to pick.

potato harvest

Enjoy harvesting and eating your own potatoes. Image credit: @greenmonkees

2. Drainage

Good drainage is really important for healthy plants, so if you can leave a hole or two in the bottom of your planter box for water to drain away, that will help. You may want to line the whole box and then add some pebbles at the bottom, placing your soil on top of these.

drainage

You can even grow maize in a vegetable planter box. Image credit: @valhalla_cove

3. Soil

Soil needs to be full of goodness to provide energy for your plants. One grow bag is sufficient for 3 tomato plants, 2 cucumbers or one courgette or squash plant. Calculate how much soil you are going to need and buy lots!

If you have garden soil to add in, that’s a bonus and if you can find some manure, that will help most vegetables to grow really well. It does need to be well-rotted though so check with any farmer who delivers manure. Other ways to boost soil fertility include adding homemade compost if available and leaf mould from last autumn’s leaves.

If leaves are collected into bags and allowed to sit over the winter, they add humus to your planter box which your plants will enjoy. Finally, if you have comfrey leaves, pick several leaves and add them directly to the box where they will decompose during the growing season, releasing valuable nutrients for your vegetables.

More on this: Is Mulch The Same As Compost?

4. Light

Vegetables need plenty of light, ideally 4 but preferably 8 hours of full sun each day to get the best results. Make sure no shrubs, trees or garden sheds shade your planter box and place it in a site where it gets lots of natural light.

5. Watering

Watering can be done via an automatic watering system. This is really useful if you’re a busy person and forget one day!  Tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines, beans, peas and squash will need water every day and in hot weather, it is best to water them in the early morning and again in the evening when the sun is not too hot.

Potatoes and carrots will need watering every 2-3 days and salad crops will wilt if they lack water so it is best to give them some water most days, particularly in a heatwave.

watering planter box

Gert creative with your vegetable planting and don’t forget the water! Image credit: @shadesofgreenhv

What is crop rotation?

In a nutshell, crop rotation is where different crops are planted in succession in the same piece of soil over period of 3 or 4 years to prevent soil exhaustion.

You can plant tomatoes and cucumbers in the first year because these two plants are fairly compatible and have similar needs. Herbs grow well with these two as well.

In the second year, you need to add some nitrogen to the soil which happens magically by planting peas and beans. In year 3, plant cabbages and other brassicas. Finally, year 4 arrives and it is time to plant root vegetables.

Here’s a guide to the plants to grow in each year. These vegetables will all grow happily in the summer.

Year 1

Plant tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, aubergine, herbs and potatoes.

Soil conditions: These plants need humus-rich soil, the kind you get in homemade compost, grow bags, new bags of compost, and some garden soil with added manure if available. Apply liquid feed when the plants flower.

Year 2

Plant beans, peas, onions and garlic.

Soil conditions: Beans and pea plants fix nitrogen in the soil. Onions and garlic like the same conditions. Add manure and homemade compost or purchased compost. Feed plants regularly.

Year 3

Plant kale and brassicas like cabbage, cauliflower and sprouts.

Soil conditions: These plants like firm ground so pat them in well. They love to grow after a crop that has had manure, such as peas and beans.

Year 4

Sow root crops like carrots, parsnips, beetroot, radishes, turnips and swede.

Soil conditions: Remove any stones because the new seeds will develop around these and you may get some odd shapes in your root vegetables. Do not apply manure, the roots will fork towards it and you will end up with unusual shapes!

Tina’s TIPS:

Free soil and fertiliser: 

rich compost

Feed your vegetables with rich compost. Image credit: @gillianliveslightly

How To Build A Planter Box For A Deck

Are you looking to add some colour to your decking? If you want to liven up your deck, you can’t go wrong with a few well-placed planter boxes filled with brilliantly coloured flowers and foliage.

Planter boxes can be quite expensive but if you haven’t got the budget for one, why not build your own? You don’t even need to be an expert at woodwork. If you’re up for the challenge, keep reading.

how to build a planter box for a deck

Liven up your deck with colourfully filled planter boxes. Credit: Shutterstock

How to build a planter box for a deck

Building a DIY deck planter box starts with deciding on a design. There’s a wide range of options including free-standing planter boxes, built-in planters and rail planters. You can search the internet for the most cost-effective planter box plans and ideas if you’re working with a limited budget.

If you’re going for simple yet attractive, then we’ve got the right planter box plan for you. Keep reading to find out what you need to build it.

Tools and supplies

Before you get started, make sure you have the following tools and supplies to hand:

Tools:

Supplies:

Method: Building a deck planter box

Once you have all your supplies and tools ready, it is time to begin building. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Take measurements

Before you can do anything, you’ll need to decide how big you want your planter to be. Keep in mind that you’ll need to be able to move it around the deck once it’s assembled.

These instructions are for a planter 120cm long, 30cm high and 30cm wide. You’ll need to measure out two sides that are 120cm long, two that are 30cm long and an odd one out that we’ll explain later.

To take the measurements, grab your measuring tape, L-square and pencil. Start by measuring out a 120cm section. Make a mark with your pencil and use the L-square to draw a straight line to cut along later.

From that line, either measure out a 30cm section or another 120cm section depending on how long your planks are. Continue measuring until you have two 120cm sections and two 30cm sections.

For the last section, measure out 120cm and draw a line. Now you can add your two short sections together and line them up next to the line. Doing so should reduce your 120cm section. You can use the planks as a ruler and draw a new line. Erase your previous line.

You should now have a section that is around 115cm long. This section will make up the bottom of the box. The reason for the difference in length will be explained in step 3.

How To Build A Planter Box For A Deck 22

Carefully measure your wooden planks before cutting. Image credit: Shutterstock

Step 2: Cut the wood

This step requires a saw and a sturdy workbench or something similar to work on. Place the planks in such a way that the line you want to cut hangs over the edge of the table. Take your saw and start cutting along the pencil edge you drew.

Once done, layout your box to make it easier to assemble. Start by placing the odd length plank on the ground or table. Arrange the other sides around it so that the long pieces line up with the long sides of the bottom and the short piece with the short sides.

Step 3: Assemble the planter

The best place to start the assembly process is by attaching a 120cm side to the bottom. Before you start drilling holes and placing glue, make sure to leave an indent equal to the width of the planks on both sides where the short 30cm sides need to go. You can do this by using a short side and a pencil to make a mark on the 120cm side. Do this on both 120cm sides to get a good idea of where the bottom should be attached.

Once done, you can place some wood glue between the bottom and the side for extra security before adding screws. Insert the screws and use the drill with a screwdriver head drill bit to secure them in place. Do the same with the second long side. You might need up to 5 screws per side to make sure the long side is properly secured.

When done, place the box upside down. This will make it easier to line up the short sides. Make sure the surface you’re working on is level. Next, insert the short side into the gap that’s left. Line it up nicely with the other two sides that are already attached and screw them in place.

You will need three screws to attach the side to the bottom and three more per side to attach it to the two long sides. You can also place wood glue anywhere the wood joins. Do exactly the same for the other short side.

How To Build A Planter Box For A Deck 23

Fill your DIY planter box with your favourite blooms, herbs or vegetables. Image credit: @gatheredliving

Step 4: Add the finishing touches

As a finishing touch, you will need the spade drill bit to create drainage holes in the bottom. Drainage holes are very important for keeping your plants alive and healthy. Make sure to create at least 3 holes.

Once that is done, use the sander and sandpaper to smooth over any rough edges and prepare the wood for the finish. Make sure to remove all the wood dust after sanding.

Take your wood preservative and paintbrush and apply a generous coat to your new planter box. The preservative is very important since your planter will be in direct contact with moist soil and water all the time. Leave the first coat to dry before applying at least two more coats.

When dry, use some wood glue or a staple gun to attach a plastic lining to the inside of your planter box. The lining will protect the wood from being constantly moist. Remember to make holes in the plastic directly over the drainage holes you created.

If you like, you can attach wheels to the bottom of your planter to make it easier to move around the deck. You can do this by screwing a wheel onto each corner to stabilise the planter. You can also add a wheel in the middle to support the bottom if you like.

Congratulations! Your planter can now be moved where you like and filled with soil and the plants of your choice.

How To Build A Planter Box For A Deck 24

Paint or stain your finished planter box and fill with structural plants and bright flowers. Image credit: Premier Wooden Planters

FAQs

Do I need to line my wooden planter box?

Liners will prolong the life of your planter box. You do not necessarily need them, but they will definitely help a lot in the long run. Water and constant moisture cause wood to rot faster. Using liners will slow down this process.

What kind of wood is best for my planter box?

Cedar is best. It is a cheap wood that is naturally rot-resistant. When this wood gets wet, it won’t warp and spoil the look of your planter.

Can you put a planter box on a deck?

As long as the planter box is raised off the ground, any water that drains from your box will evaporate and run off quite quickly without causing damage to your deck. Boxes that are flat on the deck can cause water stains and rot due to the constant moisture build-up under the box.

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Thinking of adding a new planter to your collection? Why not try making a square wooden planter box? They are quite easy to build if you’re thinking of doing it yourself.

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