Use these free building plans to created a tall, raised bed perfect for plant containers. The height makes it easy to reach flower pots and the design accommodates plastic bins for winter sowing. Add wheels to make it moveable on a deck or patio.
Make a Tall Raised Bed for Plant Containers
This planter is built like a tall raised garden bed but instead of filling it with soil, it is used to house plant containers. The plant shelf allows for plenty of drainage so the unit can sit in the garden.
This next image shows a cross-section with flower pots placed inside.
The height makes the plants easy-to-access without back strain.
By adding wheels, the entire unit can be moved around as needed on a patio or deck.
Add top rails for a finished look.
This builds a box approximately 5-feet (60-inches) long by 28-inches wide. The box is approximately 19-inches deep. The unit is 3-feet tall.
- (4) 4x4x36-inches for corner posts
- (4) 2x4x52.25-inches (approximate*) for front and back supports
- (2) 2x4x18-inches (approximate*) for extra front and back support (optional)
- (4) 2x4x20.25-inches (approximate*) for side supports
- (1) 2x4x24-inches (approximate*) for base support
- (8) 1x6x60-inches fence boards for front and back
- (3) 1x6x60-inches fence boards for base plant shelf
- (8) 1x6x26.75-inches (approximate*) fence boards for sides
- (2) 1x5x60-inches (approximate) for long top rails
- (2) 1x5x20.25-inches (approximate) for short top rails
- (36) 2.5-inch #8 deck screws
- (86) 1.5-inch #8 deck screws
- (4) Wheels /casters (optional) – choose something you can attach to the 4×4 posts
*Do not cut these pieces until needed during assembly when you can check exact sizes needed.
- Electric saw
- Cordless drill, drivers, bits
For #8 screws use 7/64″ bit for pilot holes and a 3/8″ countersink bit to sink the screws.
- Kreg Jig K4 Pocket Hole System | To join 2x4s
- Wood glue
- Measuring tape
- Wood stain
- Safety glasses, gloves, and ear protectors
This is the basic frame. There are four corner posts (4x4s) and several 2x4s used to create the front, back, and sides, and to support the plant shelf also made from fence boards.
Check Your Fence Board Lengths
First check that you have eight fence boards that are all the same length (60-inches). The whole design is based on the size of these boards. If some of your boards are a bit short, trim all 8 boards to the same length and use the new number as your guiding measure.
Calculate 2×4 Support Lengths
For a finished look, the fence boards on the front and back sections will extend beyond the corner posts by just over one board width at each end. This allows the side fence boards to tuck in nicely behind them forming good-looking corners.
If, for example, your fence boards are 5/8-inch thick like the ones I used, the front and back fence boards will extend beyond the posts a hair more than 5/8-inch at each end.
In the diagram below, the long 2x4s are shown as 52 1/4 (52.25)-inches long. In reality, there are always variations and imperfections in lumber so we need to measure exactly what your project needs.
To determine the right 2×4 length, take a fence board and place a corner post one board width (e.g. 5/8-inch plus a hair or two) inside each end and mark the inside edge of each post. The distance between the two posts is the desired length of your long 2x4s.
Before assembly, there is one more measurement needed.
Calculate Lower 2×4 Placement
What are the actual widths of your fence boards? Mine are 5.25-inches wide so four of them equals 21-inches. This means the four fence boards on each side will run 21-inches down from the top of the raised bed.
The lower edge of the lower 2x4s of the frame should be just shy of 21-inches from the top of the raised bed to be sure it won’t be visible when the fence boards are attached.
Make Front and Back Frame Sections
The 2x4s can be attached to the corner posts using a Kreg Jig K4 Pocket Hole System. This allows you to place screws in the ends of the 2x4s right into the posts.
The 2x4s are much narrower than the corner posts, so you want to align them with the outer edges of the posts so the fence boards will be flush with them.
Remember to place the lower 2×4 just above the place where the bottom edge of your bottom fence board will go. The diagram shows 21-inches but make it slightly less.
Attach Front and Back Sections
The shorter 2x4s are used to join the front and back sections. I cut mine 20.25-inches long.
Again, use Kreg pocket holes to join the 2x4s to the corner posts with 2.5-inch deck screws.
Be sure the lower side 2x4s are lined up with the front and back lower 2x4s.
The final frame piece is a 2×4 used to join the lower front and back 2x4s in the middle of the raised bed. This will provide extra support for the fence board shelf that holds the plants. Take a measurement to know the exact length needed. It will be approximately 24-inches long. You can either use pocket holes or drill through the outsides of the long 2x4s.
Attach Fence Boards
Front and Back
Mark screw locations with pencil on all eight fence boards. I used two 1.25-inch screws at each board end. They should be two inches from each of the board ends and one-inch away from top or bottom edge. Drill a pilot hole for each screw.
When attaching fence boards, start with the top board so it is perfectly aligned with the top edges of the corner posts and upper 2x4s and remember to position each one with one-board width overhanging at each end.
Side Fence Boards
Measure length needed for side fence boards. You want them to fit nicely between the front and back fence boards. Mine were just under 27-inches long.
With the sides in place, now is a good time to attach the wheels if you are using them.
Plant Shelf Fence Boards
The remaining three fence boards will form the plant shelf inside the raised bed. Your fence boards are 60-inches long but will need to be trimmed slightly to fit. Measure the actual size needed, cut the boards to size, and place inside. The gaps between them allow for drainage. You can attach these boards with screws but I’ve found no need for this.
Attach Top Rails
To give the raised bed a finished look, add rails around the top to hide the tops of the posts and 2×4 supports.
These can be mitered or square.
Decide if you want them to extend beyond the edges or align with them.
I made mine extend beyond the front and back edges but line-up with the sides.
This next image shows the measurements I used. The front and back rails are 60-inches long. The side rails are approximately 20.25-inches.
Paint or Stain
If you want to paint, stain, or protect the wood, it’s time.
Then add your plants and enjoy.
Along with summer containers, I will be using mine for growing vegetables in the winter.
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~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛