How to Build a Raised Planter

Difficulty: Medium  |  Estimated time: 3 hours  |  Help needed: 3 volunteers

Adding garden beds to your playspace gives children the opportunity to learn more about where food comes from and how vegetables and flowers grow. Edible plants can add many great sensory elements to enhance your space!

Download Instructions

Materials and tools

4 2x12x10' boards
2 4x4x12' boards
2 2x6x12' boards
1lb 3" deck screws
24 cubic feet Fill material
24 cubic feet Potting soil
Tools needed:
Miter saw
Tape measure
Screwdriver bit
Carpenter's square
Safety glasses

Preparation instructions

  1. Sort all materials into piles by like items to ensure you have materials needed to complete project.

  2. Take the [4] 2x12x10' boards. Cut each into [1] 86" piece and [1] 29" piece, for a total of [4] 2x12x86" pieces and [4] 2x12x29" pieces.

  3. Take the [2] 4x4x12' boards. Cut each into [5] 27" pieces, for a total of [10] 4x4x27" pieces.

  4. Take the [2] 2x6x12' boards. Cut each into [1] 96" piece and [1] 36" piece, for a total of [2] 2x6x96" pieces and [2] 2x6x36" pieces.

  5. Angled Cuts:

    • Take the [2] 2x6x96" pieces cut in step 4. Set the miter saw to 45° and cut an angle off both ends, creating [2] 2x6x96" trapezoids.
    • Take the [2] 2x6x36" pieces cut in step 4. Keeping the miter saw at 45°, cut an angle off both ends, creating [2] 2x6x36" trapezoids.

Build instructions

  1. Before building, inventory and sort all of your materials.

    4 2x12x86" pieces
    4 2x12x29" pieces
    2 2x6x96" trapezoids
    2 2x6x36" trapezoids
    10 4x4x27" pieces
  2. Take [2] 2x12x86" pieces and the [2] 2x12x29" pieces and assemble a rectangular box with the 29" pieces on the outside, as shown. Attach each corner with three screws.

  3. Attach the [10] 4x4x27" posts to the 29"x86" box, as shown. These posts will go on the outside of the box. Eight of the posts will sit 3" off from the corners of your box. The remaining two posts should be placed in the middle (3' and 7") of the long sides, with an equal distance to the corner posts from each. Attach each of these posts with [3] screws.

  4. Take the remaining [2] 2x12x86" and [2] 2x12x29" pieces of wood for the second level of the box. Build this level inside of the 4x4 posts. Start by putting all four pieces of wood into place, keeping the 29" pieces on the outside. Once they are in place, attach the four corners of the box with 3" screws. Now that the box is fastened together, you can attach it to the ten 4x4 posts.

  5. Flip the planter box over and place the [2] 2x6x96" and 2x6x36" trapezoids on top to form a lid. Be sure that the inside edge of the 2x6s are flush with the inside edges of the 2x12s. Once in place screw the 4 trapezoids together at each end, then screw the lid into the 4x4s and 2x12s as shown.

  6. Place the planter in its location and mark where the legs will be placed. Move the planter to the side and dig the ten holes (1 for each leg) 3" deep. Be sure that the planter is level when placed in the holes.

  7. Fill the planter half way with fill material and the second half with top soil. Lastly, fill the planter with plants.