DIY Raised Planter (With Removable Box)

Attractive and simple to build, this DIY raised planter features a removable box for easy planting and rearranging. Perfect for flowers and herbs.

DIY raised planter with a removable box in a backyard

Are you tired of backbreaking weeding and wrestling with heavy planters? This DIY raised garden bed boasts a removable box for effortless planting, cleaning, and rearranging your favorite flowers, herbs, and veggies. Plus, a built-in storage shelf keeps your watering can, tools, and extra pots within arm’s reach. Read on for my easy-to-follow guide, including two handy templates for creating those beautiful curved details.

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What Wood Should You Use?

To make my raised planter, I used ⅝” thick cedar pickets from my local home improvement store.

To reduce costs and minimize waste, I incorporated leftover 2” cedar strips from a previous project, gluing them together to make the panels for the planter box.

I also constructed the planter’s base from cedar pickets but ripped them to width using my table saw.

NOTE: Cedar dust can trigger allergies in some people, myself included. While I always wear a respirator for any woodworking project, I also try to work outdoors whenever possible to minimize exposure in enclosed spaces.

Front view of a handmade raised planter with a shelf and removable box

What Tools Do You Need?

I used five tools to make my raised planter:

Close up of a DIY raised planter's shelf

Optional: The cedar pickets’ surfaces are rough, but I wanted a clean look for my project, so I used my thickness planer to smooth them. If you don’t have one, you can use a random orbital sander, but it will be more time-consuming.

Related: Jointer vs Planer (Differences & Which to Buy First)

I should also mention my boards were about a ½ inch thick after running them through my planer. However, I understand that not everyone has a planer:

  • I based the planter on ⅝” material, so if you don’t have a planer, you can build the project as listed in the plan.
  • If you plane your material so that it’s thinner, I recommend decreasing the base’s length and width to ensure the planter box sits on it properly. I decreased mine by about ¼ inch in each direction.
Close up of a raised planter's removable box

How Much Soil Do You Need?

I built two planters and purchased a 1.5 cubic foot (cu ft) bag of potting mix. When I divided the soil evenly between the two planters, half, about 0.75 cu ft, was nearly the perfect amount to fill one.

I want to give you a heads-up about a little snag I hit.

I drilled drainage holes, placed the planters on my deck, filled them with soil, and planted some basil, figuring the excess water would drip out. Well, if you guessed it poured out like a garden hose and made a mess, you’re right!

So I switched gears. I removed the soil, grabbed some mismatched clay pots (and saucers) from my shed, and planted the basil in those instead. The good news is that the mismatched pots were hidden from view once I placed them inside the planters.

Here’s my takeaway: if you plan to use your planter on a finished surface, such as a deck, porch, or patio, using pots and saucers inside the planter might be a better option to avoid a mess.

TIP: Mary, a faithful reader, messaged me to say she lines her planters with a few layers of coffee filters, which keeps the soil inside but allows the water to drain. Clever!


How to Make a DIY Raised Planter with a Removable Box

Printed Plan

Get the PDF plan here (includes detailed instructions, measurements, and bonus tips)

Materials

Tools

  • Tape Measure
  • Kreg Multi-Mark
  • Miter Saw
  • Table Saw
  • Scroll Saw or Jigsaw
  • Portable Spindle Sander (optional)
  • Drill
  • Countersink Drill Bit

Before You Get Started

I made two planters for my home, so you may see some extra parts in a few photos.


Step 1. Make the Planter Box

To reduce costs and minimize waste, I repurposed leftover cedar strips from a previous project, gluing them together to make the planter box’s panels. However, you can make the box by gluing up two cedar pickets or using solid boards instead.

My strips had a rough factory edge and a sawn edge from ripping them to the width for my previous project. I used my table saw to remove the rough edge to ensure a strong glue joint.

Related: 21 Table Saw Safety Rules (& Mistakes to Avoid)

I needed four strips to make the panel, but they were thin and narrow, making them feel flimsy, so I decided to create the panel in stages. First, I glued two strips together to make them sturdier.

Clamping two cedar strips

I joined the pairs to form the final panel when the glue was dry.

Clamping four cedar strips

Optional: The cedar pickets’ surfaces are rough, but I wanted a clean look for my project, so I used my thickness planer to smooth the panels. If you don’t have one, you can leave them rough or use a random orbital sander instead, but it will be more time-consuming.

Using a thickness planer to smooth cedar pickets

I should also mention that my boards were about a ½ inch thick after running them through my planer. However, I understand that not everyone has a planer, so I based the project on ⅝” store-bought cedar pickets. If you don’t have one, you can build the project as listed in the plan.

If you plane your material so that it’s thinner, I recommend decreasing the base’s length and width to ensure the planter box sits on it properly. I made mine a ¼” smaller in each direction.

Once the panels were smoothed, I used my table saw to rip them to width.

Ripping a cedar panel to width on a table saw

I switched to my miter saw to cut one piece to length for the bottom and two pieces to length for the sides.

Cutting a cedar panel to length using a miter saw

Following the diagram in the printed plan, I marked the locations for countersink holes.

Making the location for holes with a pencil

Using an awl, I made a starting point for the drill bit.

Related: What is an Awl? (& How to Use It)

Using an awl to make a starting point for a drill bit

I applied glue to the edge and clamped the side to the bottom.

Using a countersink bit, I drilled a hole at each mark.

Related: How to Use a Countersink Bit

Drilling a countersink hole

I attached it using exterior wood screws.

Driving a wood screw with a drill

To get an exact fit for the sides, I measured the assembly.

Measuring the planter box assembly for length

I used my miter saw to cut two side pieces to length.

Cutting the planter box side to length using a miter saw

Following the diagram in the printed plan, I marked the location for countersink holes.

Marking the planter box sides for countersink holes

I positioned the side and clamped it in place.

Using an awl, I made a starting point for the bit and drilled a countersink hole at each mark.

Drilling countersink holes in the planter box's sides

I attached it using exterior wood screws.

TIP: I had to relocate the clamps to reach some of my marks.


Step 2. Make the Legs

To make the legs and remaining parts for the base, I ripped cedar pickets to width using my table saw.

OPTIONAL: Again, I ran my boards through my planer for a smooth look. 

I started by removing one rough edge from the pickets. I placed the picket next to the blade and gently snugged the rip fence next to it.

This method allowed me to shave off a thin amount of material.

Shaving off a cedar picket's rough edge using a table saw

I adjusted the saw, placed the picket’s cut edge against the fence, and ripped it to width.

Ripping a cedar picket to width using a table saw

For the remaining section, I installed my Grr-Ripper’s leg, placed the picket’s cut edge against the fence, and ripped it to width.

Using a table saw to rip the remaining picket section to width

I cut four pieces to length for the legs using my miter saw.

Cutting a raised planter's leg to length

The top and bottom of the legs have curved details, which I made using the templates at the end of the printed plan.

For easier and more accurate tracing, I prepared the templates by attaching them to a manila folder using spray adhesive.

Cutting a raised planter's leg template

I prefer this method because the folder’s edge provides a handy lip for the pencil to follow.

Tracing a raised planter's leg template on a board

I used my scroll saw to make these cuts, but you could use a jigsaw instead.

Using a scroll saw to cut a curved design on a raised planter's leg

I think using a portable spindle sander is the quickest, most efficient way to smooth the leg’s curved edges. You can achieve similar results with sandpaper; however, it may take a bit longer.

Smoothing saw marks using a portable spindle sander

The leg’s endgrain is prone to chipping, so I slightly beveled its edges using a sanding block, reducing the risk of it tearing out when it’s moved.

Beveling a raised planter's leg to prevent chipping

Step 3. Assemble the Base

Using a miter saw, cut four pieces of wood (leftover from Step 2) to length for the rails.

Following the diagram in the printed plan, I marked the location for countersink holes and used an awl to make a starting point for the drill.

Marking the location for holes using a pencil

To help position the rails on the legs, I cut two pieces of scrap wood to length.

I started by clamping the shorter scrap wood pieces to the bottom of each leg.

Clamping scrap wood spacers to the bottom of a raised planter's legs

I placed the bottom rail above the scrap wood and clamped it in place.

Clamping the bottom rail to a DIY raised planter's legs

Using a countersink bit, I drilled a hole at each mark, and attached it using exterior wood screws.

Attaching the bottom rail to the legs using wood screws

Following the same steps, I clamped the longer scrap wood pieces above the bottom rail.

Clamping longer scrap wood spacers above the bottom rail

I placed the top rail above the scrap wood and clamped it in place.

Clamping the top rail to the legs

I drilled countersink holes and attached it with exterior wood screws.

Attaching the top rail with wood screws

Using a miter saw, cut four pieces of wood to length for the side rails.

To add visual interest, the side rails have a curved detail, which I made using the template at the end of the printed plan.

The sheets have a white border around them, but they need to be joined together at the edges. I used a ruler to ensure that the straight lines were positioned correctly.

Once the sheets were in the correct position, I used tape to join them.

Assembling the side rail template

Following the same process as the leg templates, I attached the rail template to a manila folder with spray adhesive and then cut it out.

I positioned it on the board and traced it with a pencil.

Tracing the side rail template on a board

I used my scroll saw to make these cuts, but you could use a jigsaw instead.

Cutting the side rail with a scroll saw

Again, I used my portable spindle sander to smooth the saw marks, but you can use sandpaper instead.

Smoothing the side rail's saw marks with a portable spindle sander

Following the diagram in the printed plan, I marked the location for countersink holes and used an awl to make a starting point for the bit.

Marking the side rail for countersink holes

To help position the rails, cut two pieces of scrap wood to length and clamp them between the leg assemblies.

Clamping scrap wood spacers between the leg assemblies

I positioned the side rail so that its top was flush with the long rails and it extended beyond each leg.

Positioning the side rail between the leg assemblies

I drilled countersink holes at each mark and attached it using exterior wood screws.

Attaching the side rail with wood screws

Step 4. Attach the Shelf

Using a miter saw, I cut three pieces of wood to length for the shelf slats.

Following the diagram in the printed plan, I marked the location for countersink holes and used an awl to make a starting point for the bit.

I centered the middle slat on the leg assembly and clamped it in position.

Centering the shelf slat

Using a countersink bit, I drilled a hole at each mark and attached it using exterior wood screws.

Attaching the shelf slat with wood screws

I repeated these steps to attach the remaining slats.

All that’s left is to drill some drainage holes in the box, place it on the base, plant and enjoy!


Video

Watch now, and I’ll show you step-by-step how to make a DIY raised planter with a removable box.



Final Thoughts

This stunning, functional raised planter takes the hassle out of gardening. No more backaches or messy weeding. Plus, the built-in storage shelf is a gardener’s dream, keeping all your essentials close at hand. 

Don’t wait. Get your PDF plan (including the detailed instructions and measurements) now!

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