How To Build A Tiered Planter Box

By   | Last Updated :   November 7, 2021 | Filed In :   DIY & How To

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:




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.


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.

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