How to Make a Farmhouse-Style Planter Box

Deck out your front porch this fall with a farmhouse-inspired planter box that will be sure to make your neighbors jealous!

Bring on the colors of fall with this rustic DIY weekend project. This planter box will add an aesthetic touch and a farmhouse feel to any outdoor entryway, welcoming all of your guests with fall flair. This planter is a great fit for your ornamental grasses, mums, and sedums. Our step-by-step instructions make it possible to create this rustic planter all by yourself.

Getting Ready

You can use pressure-treated or cedar wood for this project. If you choose pressure-treated, make sure to allow the wood to dry for a couple of weeks prior to staining.

To reduce the risk of splitting the wood, drill pilot holes for all instances using the 1-5/8" deck screws. Make sure not to drill through to the opposite side.

This build is pretty straight forward. Be sure to offset the placement of pocket holes on the side panel assemblies. Since you use them on all four panel assemblies, the screws will hit each other when going into the 2 x 2 legs if you do not.

The inner shelf can be placed at any position inside the planter to accommodate your desired plantings.

Overall dimension: 24" x 17" x 17"

What You Need

Hardware and Supplies

  • 1-5/8" outdoor deck screws
  • 1-1/4" outdoor pocket screws
  • 120-grit sandpaper

Wood Products

  • (1) 2" x 2" x 6' cedar board
  • (2) 1" x 2" x 6' cedar board
  • (2) 1" x 3" x 6' cedar board
  • (1) 1" x 4" x 6' cedar board
  • (4) 1" x 4" x 8' cedar board
  • (1) qt. exterior polyurethane sealer


  • Miter saw
  • Drill/driver
  • 1/8" drill bit for pilot holes
  • Pocket jig
  • Tape measure
  • Clamps
  • Outdoor rated wood glue

Cut List

Qty          Name                                         Material

(16)         Inner Vertical Rib           3/4" x 3-1/2" x 22-1/2" cedar board

(8)           Horizontal Rail                3/4" x 2-1/2" x 14" cedar board

(4)           Leg                                      1-1/2" x 1-1/2" x 24" cedar board

(2)           Shelf Cleat                        1-1/2" x 1-1/2" x 14" cedar board

(4)           Shelf Planks                     3/4" x 3-1/2" x 14" cedar board

(1)           Long X                                1-1/2" x 1-1/2" x approximately 22-1/2" cedar board (cut to fit)

(2)           Short X                               1-1/2" x 1-1/2" x approximately  10-3/4" cedar board (cut to fit)

Editor's Tip: Due to the normal slight variances of wood, it is best to cut the parts as you go and make any minor adjustments as you build the planter.

Step 1: Cut Inner Vertical Ribs

Drill pocket holes for 1-1/4" pocket screws into eight of the ribs. Four of the ribs will have them at one specific set of locations and the other four in another set of locations to a nail collision in the final build.

Step 2: Attach Inner Vertical Ribs & Rails

Each group will have two ribs with identical pocket hole locations and two ribs with no pocket holes. Measure the width of each group and cut two horizontal rails to length for each group.

Set up each group with a pocket hole rib on the outside. You will use the pocket holes in Step 3.

Attach a rail to the top and the bottom of each rib grouping with wood glue and 1-5/8" outdoor deck screws, using two screws at each contact point. For a cleaner look drive the screws from the rib side (what will be the inside of the planter). When driving the screws be careful not to drive the screws too far and have them poke out the other side.

Step 3: Cut & Attach Legs

Start by cutting the four legs to length. Attach two legs to the outside of two panel assemblies with identical pocket hole placements. Use wood glue and 1-1/4" pocket screws. It doesn't matter which two panels you use, as long as they have the same pocket hole locations.

Step 4: Attach Panels

Attach remaining panels to the panel assemblies. To join panels, use wood glue and 1-1/4" pocket screws.

Step 5: Attach Long & Short X's

For the long X' hold the 1" x 2" board diagonal across the front of the planter, mark the angles at either end and cut so that the board fits snug from corner to corner. Attach them using wood glue and 1-5/8" outdoor deck screws, screwing from the inside.

For the first short X set another length of 1" x 2" board in place from an adjacent corner to where it meets the first 'X' piece. Mark the angles at either end and cut so that the board fits snug. Repeat for the second short X. Attach both using wood glue and 1-5/8" outdoor deck screws, screwing from the inside.

Step 6: Cut & Attach Shelf Cleats

Measure the inside of the box and cut the shelf cleats to length. Determine how deep you want your inner shelf and attach the shelf cleats to the inside of the planter using wood glue and 1-5/8" outdoor deck screws. Our shelf was installed about 12 inches below the top of the box.

Cut your shelf planks to length. Attach them to the shelf cleats using wood glue and 1-5/8" outdoor deck screws.

Step 7: Sand and Seal Planter Box

Sand the planter box and seal it with an exterior polyurethane. For a weathered look, use semi-transparent exterior stain and sealer.


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