Monday, August 3, 2015

DIY Modern Take on a Traditional Planter

Hello, and welcome to my humble abode!

Okay, I am never going to have a magazine-worthy entryway. I accept that! But as I was editing Back to School pictures of the girls (I always take a picture of them in front of the door), I was noticing how terribly terrible the screen door was looking.

The metal was starting to rust, the color was dirty-looking, and... really, it was dirty! So I took the screen off and spray painted it a nice crisp white.

What. A. Difference!

After that was freshly painted, everything else started looking dingy and old and gross (we all know how that goes, right?!), so I decided that I'd build a quick planter to brighten up the doorway, and I plan on making/buying a new, bright doormat (anyone have any leads on a big, amazing doormat that's not $100?).

I love that this looks like a traditional, tapered planter from the front, but it has this modern-esque vibe in that it's not a 4-way taper. The front and back are angled, but the sides are all the same 6". It's visually weighty without taking up too much space in my nonexistent entryway.  And the best part? I built it from scraps from the BBQ Island - so it was FREE!

Even the paint - if the color looks familiar, it's because it's the same paint I used on these

If you want to build one, you'll need 3 6" cedar fence pickets (the dog-eared ones) and a 1x2. This should be under $10 bucks.

Cut List:

2 - 1x6 Cedar @ 15 1/2 long side with a 10-degree miter on both ends, not parallel
2 - 1x6 Cedar @ 13 1/2 long side with a 10-degree miter on both ends, not parallel
2 - 1x6 Cedar @ 11 1/2 long side with a 10-degree miter on both ends, not parallel
2 - 1x6 Cedar @ 9 1/2 long side with a 10-degree miter on both ends, not parallel
8 - 1x6 Cedar @ 6" (or depth of your choice, but that may change shopping list)
4 - 1x2 @ 20"

If that seems complicated, here's really all you're doing.

Super simple. After you've made all of your cuts, measure the thickness of your cedar fence pickets (I eyeballed it, and it didn't work out perfectly, so I recommend measuring) and, laying your wood out, screw the 1x2s into the front and back as shown below. My fence pickets were 5/8 (but I measured a 1/2" in, which is why there's a gap on mine).

The 1x2s are what are holding everything in place, so use an exterior-grade glue and screws (I used 1") so this doesn't fall apart on you in no time.

I don't have a picture of this step (because I'm not great with SketchUp - this was hard to draw up for me!), but you'll just screw the 6" pieces from the outside into the 1x2s. I started at the bottom and worked to the top so that, if the boards were a different width, the planter would still sit level on the ground.

To stop the soil from falling though the bottom, I set a scrap piece of cedar inside (it was about 6 1/2" long) and it sits snugly in place.

After adding some landscaping fabric and filling it with soil/clearance succulents, it brings a brightness to my front door that hasn't been there in over 5 years.

(If you're wondering why the inside is white, I know that cedar is rot-resistant, but the pine 1x2s aren't, so I sealed them with a couple layers of FlexSeal hoping that might slow the deterioration process by creating a barrier from where most of the moisture would come from - inside.)

I think I love it. And am hoping that I don't manage to kill the plants!! How are you with plants/planters?


  1. Hi Gina,
    Love this planter! It's exactly what I needed so I'm making two of them to put at the entrance of the gates in my driveway.

    Question: Do you have a tip or trick to share for cutting the pickets at that 10 degree angle so that all of the levels square up (or taper) as evenly as yours did?
    I've built one planter so far & it looks "decent" but I'm going to have to use some 1x2s to hide my very imperfect corners. lol I used my miter saw.
    Hopefully I'll have much better luck with the second one!


    1. Hey! Thanks, I love it, too! ;-)

      Question, is your saw squared up? That could affect the measurements in cutting these angles.

      After I did the first side, I didn't measure anymore. The next 3 sides were made by lining up the board and marking where the cut should be made. Maybe you could cut the bottom boards to size and try it that way? Or, depending on how "off" the edges are, would sanding work? Hope this helps!

  2. A lot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that I'm interested in, but I'm most definitely interested in this one.