Build This Fence Planter

Increase gardening space and hide an eyesore at the same time.


+ enlarge image This handy planter is not only eye-catching but also very practical.

Stockade fences serve many purposes. Chief among them are lending privacy to your landscape and keeping children and pets safe. The drawback, however, is that they are often boring to look at. One way around the visual blahs is to garden vertically with a custom fence planter, which you can easily build.

This cabinet can be hung on any wall or fence, including that bare stockade fence crying for cover. It houses a standard plastic planter box on top, a hanging basket in the midsection, and three 6-1/4-inch clay pots on the bottom shelf. As with any wood-working project that involves power tools, be sure to wear safety glasses and a dust mask.

What You Need:

Materials:

  • Two 1x12s, 8 feet long, No. 2 common pine boards
  • 1 box No. 7 x 1-5/8 exterior wood screws
  • One 1x8, 6 feet long, No. 2 common pine board
  • 9 No. 6 x 1-1/4 exterior wood screws
  • 1 standard shaker peg
  • Exterior wood glue
  • Wood filler
  • Paint or stain
  • 1 standard-size planter box (23-3/4 x 7 inches)
  • Three 6-1/4-inch clay pots

Tools:

  • Handsaw
  • Tablesaw
  • 36-ounce coffee can
  • Pencil
  • Jigsaw
  • Sandpaper, 100 grit
  • Drill with bits of 1/8, 5/16, 1/2, and 1 inch
  • Compass
  • 2 wood clamps
  • String
  • Hammer
  • Safety glasses
  • Dust mask
+ enlarge image Fence Planter Diagram

1. Use a handsaw to cut one 1x12 to a length of 24 inches.

2. Using a table saw, rip the 24-inch board to 5-1/2 inches. These two halves will form the front and back of the planter box frame.

3. Cut two 32-inch pieces from the 1x12. These will create the sides of the unit.

4. Cut a 24-inch piece from the second 1x12 to make the bottom shelf.

5. Lay the two side pieces (B1 and B2) flat on your work surface. Take the 36-ounce coffee can and mark a semicircle with a pencil on the top left corner of each piece. Cut out the rounded edges with the jigsaw.

6. Sand all pieces.

7. Use one side (B1) and one planter piece (A1) to being assembly of the planter box frame. Lay B1 flat. Using a 1/8-inch drill bit, drill three evenly spaced holes 3/8 inches in from the back edge. Lay A1 flat, making sure the top is flush with B1. Using the 1/8-inch drill bit, drill holes in A1 that match up with the drilled holes on B1; secure the parts with three No. 7 x 1-5/8 exterior wood screws. Attach B2 to A1 in the same manner.

8. With the planter standing up, measure forward 7-1/4 inches from the back edge of B1 and B2, and mark a line. Making sure the top of A2 is flush with the tops of B1 and B2, install A2 along the line in the same manner as in Step 7.

9. To create the holes for the clay pots in the bottom shelf (C), measure 5-1/2 inches from front of the board. Mark both ends of the board and draw a center line lengthwise. From one end of the board, mark at these measurements along the centerline: 4-1/2, 12, and 19-1/2 inches.

10. Set your compass to 3 inches and place the instrument where the centerline and each measurement intersect. Draw three evenly spaced circles. Using the drill with a 5/16-inch drill bit, make a hole just inside the border of each circle. This is where you will insert the jigsaw.

11. Staying on the inside of the border, slowly cut the circles out with a jigsaw. Clamp the board to your work surface to keep it secure. Sand the inside of the circles until smooth.

12. Install the bottom shelf (C) at the base of the side pieces (B1 and B2). Using a 1/8-inch drill bit, drill three holes, evenly spaced, through each side piece and 1 inch deep into C. Attach with No. 7 x 1-5/8 exterior wood screws.

13. For the back, cut two 36-inch-long pieces from the 1x8 and one 36-inch-long piece from the remainder of the 1x12.

14. With the planter facedown, position the back boards so the 1x8s are on the outside and the 1x12 is in the middle. Drill and screw the boards into place, making sure the edges are flush at the sides and bottom. (The boards will extend beyond the planter at the top.) At the bottom of the back boards, secure with 7 x 1-5/8 screws, three per board, into the bottom board. At the top use No. 6 x 1-1/4-inch screws to secure to the back of the planter board.

15. To create the arch, find the center point on the back board (18 inches from bottom, 12-3/4-inches from side). Mark the point. Nail one end of the string to the mark, and adjust the string length until a pencil tied to the other end can reach the side edges and is near the middle of the top board when swung. Draw the arch and cut out with a jigsaw; sand edges until smooth.

16. To create a hole to mount the plant hanger to the fence, measure 12-3/4 inches from the side and 1-1/2 inches down from the top of the arch. Mark the spot and use a 1-inch drill bit to drill a hole. To taper the hole, cut an oval-using the jigsaw.

17. To add a shaker peg to hang a basket, stand the unit up. On the front of the planter box frame, measure in 12 inches from the side and down 1 inch; mark. Use a 1/2-inch drill bit to drill a hole. Using exterior wood glue, place the glue on the insides of the hole, and tap the shaker peg into place. Fill all screw holes on the planter with wood filler, sand, then paint or stain the planter. Mount to your fence using a No. 7 x 1-5/8 exterior wood screw. Fill the fence planter with your favorite plants in a planter box and clay pots.

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