Well these certainly are crazy time. And crazy times calls for a different kind of post, one featuring woodworking rather than cooking. When I published my last blog post almost a month ago, I was fresh off of running my first ever "Host Your Own Cooking Competition". It was a great night spent with three wonderful couples sharing fun, food and drink. It's nearly impossible to imagine what the weeks since would have been like.
But with the weather getting nicer and the need to get out of the house getting stronger, I decided in the last month to work on improving my woodworking skills. As a kid and young adult, I didn't even know how to operate a power drill. But over the years of house owning, I've gotten pretty good and projects around the house. And in the past few years I've attempted some woodworking projects with mild success (and failure).
But just like with cooking, I learned a lot from my mistakes, and so this time around I was more prepared. And just like with cooking, I also realized that having a recipe (a list of specific supplies and tools along with a detailed drawing with measurements) was the key to a successful project. The challenge I set in front of me was to build two planter boxes for our soon-to-be newly planted backyard (in our newly owned house) and an outdoor buffet table for our patio (for when we can final host a party). I searched high and low for plans for exactly what I had in mind but just found bits and pieces across different projects on Pinterest. So I took what I like, discarded what I didn't, and drew up my very own plans for both.
I was spending time woodworking instead of cooking, but projects had a direct impact on my cooking! On the first weekend, I tackles the planter boxes. One the second, the buffet table. And on the third, the staining for both. Here are the glorious results.
Since I completed this project, I've had several requests for my plans, and even to build these for others. Such a greater compliment I could not have been paid! So, today, I'm proud to release the first set of plans for the planter box. In a coming post, I'll release the plans for the buffet table.
Construction Plans for 3’ x 6’ x 18” Planter Box
The following are plans to build one 3 ft wide x 6 ft long by 18 inch high planter box. The total cost of this project is less than $100.
Lumber – all pressure treated pine (you could use cedar instead, but it will cost more)
2” x 6” x 12’ (4 boards)
2” x 6” x 6’ (1 board)
2” x 4” x 12’ (1 board)
2 ½” galvanized deck screws (large box) (star flat head – like this one: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Deckmate-9-x-2-1-2-in-Star-Flat-Head-Wood-Deck-Screw-5-lbs-Pack-212DMT5/305418723
Sandpaper – 80 grit, 220 grit (optional)
Deck stain/sealant (1 gallon)
Circular saw (or table saw)
Saw horses (if using circular saw)
T-square (or other tool to draw 90-degree lines)
Step 1) Cut the lumber
a) Cut each 2” x 6” x 12’ board into 6’ boards. You can’t just cut the boards in half as the total length of the board is likely longer than 12 feet. You will need to cut off a little from the remaining board after the first cut.
b) Cut two of the 6’ board in half to make four 3’ boards.
c) Cut the 2” x 6” x 6’ board into two 3’ boards.
d) Cut the 2” x 3” x 12’ board into four 2’ boards and two 18” boards. You should have a spare piece of wood about 1’ long.
Step 2) Build the first long side of the planter box.
a) On the ground, align three of the 2” x 6” x 6’ boards from end to end.
b) Place a spare 2” x 4” on its short side on top of the 2” x 6” flush to the far left, and then lay one of the 2” x 4” x 2’ boards on its wide side next to it, flush to the top. Remove the spare 2” x 4” and mark the placement of the 2” x 4” x 2’ board in case it moves. Roughly 8” of the board should be hanging down below the 2” x 6”.
c) While holding down the 2” x 4” board, drill two pilot holes through the 2” x 4” board and into the 2” x 6” board underneath. The first hole should be roughly one-third down from the top of the top 2” x 6” and the second hole should be roughly one-third up from the bottom 2” x 6”.
d) While continuing to hold the 2” x 4” in place, drill a screw into each of the pilot holes. This should hold everything in place.
e) Drill one more pilot hole into the top and bottom 2” x 6” boards and two holes in the middle board, spacing them out roughly evenly. These do not need to be precise measurements.
f) Drill screws into all of the pilot holes.
g) Repeat steps 2b-2f on the right side of the boards.
h) Measure to the center of the 2” x 6” boards and place the 2” x 4” x 18” board flat on its wide side at the center, flush to the top of the 2” x 6”.
i) Repeat steps 2c-2f to secure the middle support to the planter box.
j) You should now have one complete 6’ side of the planter box.
Step 3) Build the second long side of the planter box.
a) On the ground, opposite the top of the first planter box side (the side where the 2” x 4” boards are flush to the top of the 2” x 6”), align the other three 2” x 6” x 6’ boards end to end. They should align nearly perfectly with the completed first side’s 2” x 6”.
b) Align one of the 2” x 4” x 24” boards on the left side with the 2” x 4” x 24” board from the completed first side’s similar piece.
c) Repeat steps 2c-2f to secure the left side 2” x 4”.
d) Repeat steps 3a-3c for the right side and center boards.
e) You should now have two complete 6’ sides of the planter box.
Step 4) Attach the 3’ sides to the first 6’ side.
a) Stand one of the completed 6’ sides upright, upside down, with the 2” x 4” supports sticking out above the 2” x 6” boards.
b) Place the first 2” x 6” x 3’ board in place along the upright 2” x 4” x 24” board, flush to the end of the 2” x 6” x 6’ board, keeping the completed 6’ side completed straight upright. If it is angled at all, you will not have a 90-degree corner and it won’t fit together properly.
c) Holding the boards in place, drill two pilot holes into the 3’ board and into the 2” x 4” rails, being careful not to drill where the screws are securing the 2” x 4” into the 6’ boards. You should mark the spots to drill onto the 3’ boards first to make this step easier.
d) While continuing to hold the boards in place, drill a screw into each of the pilot holes.
e) Repeat steps 4b-4d for the second and third 3’ boards.
f) Repeat steps 4b-4d for the other 3’ side of the planter box.
g) You should now have three sides of the planter box assembled.
Step 5) Attach the second 6’ side to the planter box.
a) Stand the second completed 6’ side upright, upside down, with the 2” x 4” supports sticking out above the 2” x 6” boards.
b) Place it against the 3’ sides so that they all “lock” into place. It may take a bit of wiggling and even then, one side might not fit perfectly. Just make sure one is perfectly fit and the other side is as close as you can get it. That is ok at this point. The wood will flex enough to secure the second side later.
c) Follow steps 4b-4d to secure the 3’ sides to the second 6’ side on both ends. After you secure the first side, you may need to adjust the second side a bit to get it closer. Then just hold the boards in place which drilling the pilot holes and screwing in the screws.
d) You should now have a complete planter box.
Step 6) Provide additional structural security.
a) On one of the corners of the planter box, drill one pilot hole into the end of each of the three 2” x 6” x 6’ boards into the 2” x 6” x 3’ boards, in between the two screws in the 2” x 6” x 3’ boards that secure those boards to the 2” x 4” x 24” rails.
b) Drill a screw into the three pilot holes.
c) Repeat steps 6a-6b for the other three corners.
d) Your planter box is now built. Congrats!
Step 7) Stain and seal your planter box.
a) When the wood has dried (likely a few weeks after the box is built), sand the planter box with a rough grit, something like 80 grit. If you would like a smoother finish, then sand it again with a fine grit, like 220 grit.
b) Use a good deck stain/sealer and a nap roller to apply at least one, maybe two coats. Follow the instructions on the stain can.
Step 8) Place the planter box and prepare it for use.
a) Once the stain has dried, put your planter box in place, leveling as necessary. The parts of the 2” x 4” boards that are sticking out should be used as spiked into the ground to keep it in place.
b) Fill your planter box with good planting soil, leaving 6-8 inches of border at the top.
Good luck and happy building!