How to Build an Upcycled Planter Box

I am so absolutely thrilled with how this DIY planter box turned out.  I finally used all the fence posts that I scavenged from my neighbor’s trash a couple of year’s ago….sniff.  I love the mix of old weathered wood with fresh rich stained tones.  This planter is huge coming in at 7-1/2 feet long.  It makes a huge impact as you walk up to my door and I love seeing some color on my porch area.

planter box along a sidewalk up to the front porch

I pretty much used the same process as I used to make my square planter box.  Here is the sad state before the planter box was made.  Now this area was fine, since it was simple and just had rocks in it.  It was obviously zero upkeep and at least looked clean for the time being.  But I wanted more and was ready to take the plunge to add to that area.

front porch
before planter box


5 – 8 foot 1” x 4”

6 foot 2” x 2”

3 – 8 foot 1” x 2” furring strips

fence pickets or cedar pickets purchased from Lowes

Kreg Jig with 1 1/4” screws

Cordless drill

Rust-Oleum’s Spar Varathane or any outdoor wood sealant

paint brush

Minwax English Chestnut

Pre-Wood conditioner

Air stapler

Air nail gun (I used 1” and 1 3/16”)

Chop saw

tape measure


1/4” spacers

landscape cloth

scrap lumber for cleats

scrap lumber for the bottom or a bunkie board cut to size

1.  I cut four 1” x 4” pieces to 7 1/2’ for the length of the sides.  Then I cut four to 15” for the other two sides.  I used a pre-wood conditioner and Minwax’s English Chestnut on the new wood.  Let dry.

staining planter box

2. Then I cut about 54 fence pickets down to 12”.

fence picket planter box

3.  Using 1/4” scrap wood as spacers I used my air nailer with 1” brad nails and nailed the fence pickets to the top and bottom boards lining up the top and bottom.  I ended up using my jigsaw to cut a little off the length at the end since it is hard to know exactly how long to cut the pieces since the fence pickets varied a little bit in size.

making a planter box

4.  I also found a wider picket for the sides.  I used one wider picket and two smaller ones.  If I used three regular sized pickets it was too small and four was too wide for the area so the wider one I had laying around was perfect.

5.  Next, I used my Kreg Jig on all four sides and attached it to 2” x 2” cut to 12”.

planter box tutorial
side of planter box

weather wood planter box

6.  Then I cut some 1×2 furring strips for the top.  I stained those and let them dry.

7.  Since I wanted to save money on dirt and certainly didn’t need 12” of it, I used a bunch of scraps I had laying around to make a cleat around the box and then added boards to the top of that.  That way I had about 6” of dirt to fill.

wood planter box
long planter box

8.  I air stapled black landscaping cloth on the inside.

building a planter box
wide planter box

9.  Then I air nailed the furring strips in place.

wood and fence picket planter box

10.  Lastly, I gave the entire piece 3 coats of Spar Varathane to protect it from the elements and help the fence pickets no longer weather.

11.  I added dirt mixed with some Osmocote.

flowers in planter box

I know I have said it before but I just love weathered wood and stained wood together.  The combination is so pretty.

planter box diy

So I guess I need to restock my weathered fence pickets.  Who is tearing down a fence I can have?  I am starting to get the shakes knowing I am all out of weathered wood for projects.

planter box

The purples and yellow flowers will pick up on my paint stick address sign I made.

how to planter box
before and after planter box

Flowers planted: Salvia East Friesland Sage (perennial), White Geraniums, Salvia (annual), Dwarf Coreopsis, and Stella de Oro Daylilies

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Check out all the projects I made from all the weathered fence pickets…

fence projects

Eat, Surf Pray Art (with free printable), Pallet Silhouette Art, Barn Wood Frames, Wood Flower Trough Centerpiece, How Sweet It is to Be Loved By You art piece

Weathered Wood Monogram


Disclaimer: This project was sponsored by Lowes as part of their monthly Lowes Creative Ideas Team.

This is a repost from May 2014.

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  1. This looks fantastic! It definitely does add some color and interest to your front walkway. I too love the look of the old, weathered wood and the newer stained wood. Great combo!

  2. I love the look of the different wood! Looks so amazing! My hubs is not going to be happy because now I want another box 🙂

  3. Looks great! But what about the concern for the structure weakening from water damage? The untreated picket fence sides (and the flat boards providing the elevated base) strikes me as susceptible to water damage from water held by the soil and landscaping fabric.

  4. Great point. That would definitely be a concern so I gave everything 3 coats of Spar-Varathane to protect from water damage.

  5. Love it, Beckie! Next time I’m at the farm I have to pick up more of this wood to build something like this. Enjoy your weekend 🙂

  6. I love this planter box beckie! do you KNOW how much scrap fence I have laying around? tons! Love the mix of the old and the new. 🙂

  7. Thank you so much for sharing, Kristi. Hope you had a great weekend too!

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