Friday, May 15, 2009

Planter Boxes - Guest Post

Today Chad Chandler shares with us the planter boxes that he built as a finishing touch to his porch remodel. I think the boxes, and the whole porch in fact, turned out beautifully. Chad blogs about the various remodeling projects he has tackled and throws in some cooking posts for good measure. Thanks Chad for this great post. 

We’re finally close to finishing the front porch. After we built a side table and footrest to go with our rocking chair, all we had left to do was build some planter boxes to flank the steps and give us a little privacy. I took care of that this past weekend. This was the original plan:

It’s designed to look like the terracotta pot is suspended by the upper lip, but it’ll really be sitting on cross bars inside the box.

Here is the inner bracing for the two boxes:

Once the pot is filled with soil, it’ll be very heavy. Since the lower braces are going to have to support all of that weight, I added corner supports and a cross bar. When the box is finished, I’ll add perpendicular cross bars for extra support.

Next I added 3/8″ plywood sides to form the boxes and got ready to cut the pieces for the top.

This is a neat little tool. It’s the two points of a compass that can be attached to almost any yardstick for making large arcs and small circles:

I had to guess a little bit on the circumference. I don’t have calipers large enough to measure the pot’s width. I guess I could have measured it with my wife’s measuring tape and worked backwards to get the radius, but I was told there would be no math. Anyway, it worked out fine.

Here are the planter boxes after I’ve caulked the inner joints, filled in the screw holes, and added an accent piece to hide the joints on the top:

I routed a mild curve around the outside edge of the top pieces and added the other cross bars on the inside:

I painted it with several coats of flat, exterior, white paint, and carried the planters and the pots to the front porch. I just set the plants in the pots to see how it all looks. My wife and I will actually plant them sometime this week.

The decorative cut-outs in my original design were supposed to mimic the ornamentation on the porch swing (and the shutters). But after some thought, I decided it was too much. You know, less is more and all that. I wanted the terracotta pots to noticeably juxtapose the white paint, and I think I got the effect I was looking for. The problem is that the steps aren’t centered, and having these boxes on either side puts an exclamation point on that flaw. As someone who’s a stickler for symmetry, this drives me crazy.

Still, the planters are serving their purpose. They act as a natural barrier to give us a little more privacy while keeping the space open:

I know it all looks jammed together in the picture, but the porch is bigger in reality. It’s fun to look at now. Aside from the Adirondack rocker, I made everything on the porch. Even the railing.

Make it from Scratch will be featuring guest post every Friday while Kellie takes a hiatus. Would you like to be featured here? Please email makeitfromscratch at


  1. Beautiful porch! It looks so inviting, and I love the terracotta pots inside the white planter boxes. Good job!

  2. I'm cruising the blogosphere and found you by way of another blogger. What a great idea for planters....can I have your porch? (Love it!)

    I read with interest the post you had on Sunflower Teepees. I also have problems with deer and came across this on the net and will give it a try this year.

    Place wire on the ground around the area you want protected. Evidently deer and rabbits will not step on the wire. I was telling my brother about this and believes the reason they will not is it feels like a trap to them.

    To keep the wire on the ground cut the ends so the "spikes" can be pushed into the ground.

    Have a blessed day!


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