Create this Planter Box Ladder with a few simple materials, and give your patio an easy makeover!
Just follow this step-by-step tutorial.
- Liberty Hardware Ruavista Hook in Venetian Bronze, Satin Nickel or Champagne
- Behr Premium Plus Exterior Paint in Moroccan Ruby
- Angled Paint Brush
- 3 in. Deck Screws
- Brad Nails
- Wood Glue
- 3 – 2 in. x 6 in. x 8ft Pressure Treated Wood
- 4 – Cedar Fence Pickets
You can rent these tools from The Home Depot.
Step 1: Planter Box Cuts
The side ends of the planter boxes are made out of treated 2 x 6 wood and are going to be cut at 15 degrees off square. I made my first 15 degree cut, then measured the bottom part to be 5¼ in., then made my next 15 degree cut the opposite way (NOTE: these cuts are NOT parallel).
Once I had this first end piece cut, I used it as a template for the rest of my 2 x 6 cuts. To make four planter boxes, you will need eight of these end pieces.
The front and back panels of the planter boxes are cut from cedar fence pickets. These are cut square, and will be 23½ in. each. Again, once I had my first cut made, I used this piece to mark my subsequent cuts. You will need eight of these cedar pieces.
Your bottom pieces will be cut out of cedar as well; you will need to build the boxes first, then measure and cut the base to fit each box. I’ll explain this again later (see Step 3).
Step 2: Assemble Planter Boxes
Using wood glue, apply a thin beading of glue to the side of the 2 x 6 piece. I like this Titebond wood glue because it works for both interior and exterior projects. Place the cedar plank onto the side piece, making sure that it is flush to the top edge. Firmly press down until the glue is set. Using your brad nailer and 2 in. brad nails, nail the plank to the end piece so that it is secure. You can always opt to use screws, regular nails, or galvanized staples if preferred.
Repeat for the other side of the planter box, and for the remaining three boxes.
Step 3: Cut and Assemble Planter Box Base
The base of the planter box is going to be made from the cedar fence pickets. Measure the bottom opening of each planter box, and make your cuts specific to the size of each box. Each box might vary slightly, in case your side panel cuts were off, which is why I suggest cutting to box size.
Drop the bottom piece into the planter box, then secure with nails or staples to keep them in place.
Step 4: Cut Side Frame and Shelf
The side frames and shelf are made out of 2 x 6 treated wood. The side frame pieces are going to be 68 inches long, and each end is cut at 15 degrees. Unlike the side of the planter boxes, these 15 degree cuts will be parallel.
From the front side of the frame, measure and mark the 3 inch point. You are going to make a 90 degree cut at this point, so that the frame can rest against your wall. Use a straight edge to mark your cut. Use a circular saw or jig saw to cut against this line.
Repeat this step for the second side.
I actually used the first completed side as a template to speed up the process, and also to make sure that I didn’t make a mistake with my cut.
The shelf is going to be 23½ in. wide; measure and cut using straight cuts (90 degrees) with your miter saw.
Step 5: Sand
Using an orbital sander, sand each planter box, the shelf, and the frame pieces. I did not bother to sand the inside of the planter boxes since they were just going to be filled with soil and plants.
Step 6: Assemble
I started by laying out my boxes and shelf to see how everything was going to fit. As you are determining your box and shelf layout, make sure that everything is flush to the back side of the panels before you assemble.
I knew that I wanted my first box at the very top, so once I got it into position, I immediately pre-drilled with my 3/16 in. drill bit and then screwed in my 3 in. deck screws, from the inside of the box.
I was not sure how far down my shelf should go, so I then started assembling from the bottom. I placed my next planter box a few inches from the base of the ladder. Use a scrap piece of wood in between your boxes so that you can space each box equally apart.
I placed my shelf in between my top box and second box. Mark the location of your shelf by using a pen or pencil and tracing the shelf. Pre-drill one spot through the board. The final assembly of the shelf will happen once you have your other side panel attached to the planter boxes.
Place the other leg on top of the planter boxes you have just assembled. Measure the distance from the bottom of the assembled box, and adjust your top leg to ensure that your boxes will be level. Pre-drill and screw your desk screws into this top side.
Remember that spot that you pre-drilled for your shelf? It’s time to assemble your shelf now!
Screw your shelf to the frame from the outside of the planter box. Stand your planter box ladder upright, and then use a level to make sure that your shelf is level front to back and left to right. Pre-drill and screw in to fully secure.
Step 7: Paint
Now that you are done with assembly, you can start painting! Behr has a great interior/exterior paint that I love. I went with their Moroccan Ruby color with a satin sheen because I wanted a pop of color to brighten up my neutral siding. Apply 1-2 coats of paint, depending on how deep you want the color to look. I love these paint brushes. They give a nice, smooth application of paint.
Step 8: Add Hooks
Once your Planter Box Ladder is dry, stand it up against a wall. Determine where you would like your hooks to be positioned. Once you have an idea on placement, mark the screw holes with a pen or pencil. Pre-drill the holes using a 3/16 in. drill bit. Use a drill or a screw driver to attach your hooks.
I added two Ruavista hooks to each side of my plant ladder, but you can add as many or as few as you would like, depending on what you plan to hang.
Step 9: Style!
Now that your new Planter Box Ladder is finished, it’s time to add some soil and fresh herbs or flowers!
Your local Home Depot store has a great selection of plants to choose from. Make sure to take your yard’s sunlight (or lack thereof) into consideration when picking out your plants.
To round out my new patio, I found this great patio bistro set from Home Decorator’s Collection that fit my smaller sized patio perfectly! I added some fun outdoor pillows and a new door mat to add some more color and tie everything together.
I also decided to put in a few pavers to set my grill on, rather than taking up valuable patio space. It really helped to make the area feel a lot bigger!