My love of all things European extends to the delightful flower boxes you see when walking down most of the cobblestone streets. In a previous post, Flower boxes to brighten up your home, I shared some beautiful images of homes with flower boxes. The images I found are stunning and it inspired me to do the same to our home. I searched everywhere to try to purchase flower boxes, but it seemed the only place I could find what I was looking for was on the internet overseas and postage costs made the exercise too costly. As a result, we decided to build our own. Here’s how we went about it.
Firstly we had to work out what design we wanted, then we purchased the materials. After much discussion, we decided it was best to purchase a plastic planter box to put inside the timber one. We thought this would serve a number of purposes – the timber planter box would last longer and it would make the maintenance easier if I was able to remove the plastic planter to change to soil and replant.
Here are the materials we used:
VJ timber, other timber (for the base), dado roll (for decoration), no more gaps or other exterior silicone sealant, 2 small L bracket, 2 large storage hooks (exterior), exterior paint with primer, drill, screws, nails, hooks and a plastic planter box (if you decide to do it that way).
Then we needed to do some calculations and planning.
And here’s how the building process happened.
Step One: Paint
We gave all of the timber and initial coat of exterior paint. The more coats of paint, the more protected it will be from the elements. We recognise that because we are making it from timber, it won’t last forever, but we’d like it to last a few years.
Step Two: Measure
Measure and then do some more measuring. If you are going to use a plastic planter box you need to purchase this first to ensure that it will fit inside your new planter box. Remember to measure the widest and longest side of the planter (probably not the base). Also remember to leave room for some support structure inside the box and enough for your fingers to lift the plastic planter in and out of the box.
Step Three: Do step two again.
Step Four: Cutting and fixing
There are lots of different ways to cut and fix your planter box. Cut the base board and the VJ board to make the bottom and the side of your planter box. We didn’t worry about cutting 45 degrees edge for the corners. We simply made the end panel fit within the two side panels.
Pre-drill holes for your nails. Remember that the planter box will be holding a lot of weight (especially with wet soil). So pre-drill holes for your nails, then use liquid nails to hold in place and nail everything together.
Step Five: Add ‘bits’ to make it look nice
Here is where you can use some imagination. We had some spare dado role from another project (see – We stepped it up) so why not use that along the top of the box. You could also add some timber around the base. Whatever additions you add just ensure they are not too heavy and are primed and painted for external life.
Step Six: Strengthen & Hooks
Once you have the simple shape of the box you will need to add some extra bracing to strengthen the box for outdoor life carry and lot of weight. We used some galvanised L brackets along with some extra timber to screw the hooks into.
Finally the hooks. Decide how high you want your planter box to sit on the rail and mark your your hooks should be placed. As you’ll be using fairly big screws, drill holes otherwise you’ll split the wood. Lastly screw your hooks into place.
Hang your box to ensure everything is how you want it.
Step Seven: Water proof
Go crazy with the “no more gaps” or other silicone external sealant. Run a bead around anywhere two bits of wood join together. We left the inside a bit messy but on the outside you need to clean it up. Get a spray bottle full of some water with a squirt of detergent in it. Spray the water onto the silicone bead and a little on your finger and then run your finger down the bead. You should be left with a nice clean finish.
Step eight: Paint
We went solid traditional white but you can add a two tone look if you want. Just make sure you do a few coats. The more protected your planter box is from the elements the longer it will last.
Step nine: Water holes
Drill some holes in the base to allow any rain water or over follow not to settle in the box and promote rot. Remember the box is going to lean forward off the rail so you probably only need them along the front of the box.
Step ten: Plant and hang
You’re done. Go to the nursery and get some flowers and admire your work!