How to Make A Water Garden Planter Box

Equipped with both aquatic and soil-dwelling plants, this peaceful container water garden satisfies multiple senses. Plus, it’s simple to assemble and maintain.

With water on one side and soil on the other, this 33×18-inch water garden idea checks all the boxes for a statement patio piece. Build the box yourself with our how-to, then deck it out with your fave plant picks.

  • Working Time 3 Hours
  • Start to Finish 3.5 Hours
  • Difficulty         Projects Kind of Easy
  • Involves Cutting Wood, Gluing, Drilling, Painting

What you need


  • Clamps
  • Drill, screwdriver attachment, assorted bits
  • Paintbrushes or sponges
  • Saw


  • 8-foot 1×12 cedar boards (x2)
  • 3/4-inch pressure-treated plywood
  • 4-foot 1×2 (x1)
  • 4-foot 1×3 (x1)
  • Wood glue
  • 1-5/8-inch × 7 star-drive stainless-steel trim screws
  • #2 Phillips drive 1-1/4-inch exterior screws
  • Waterproofing seal
  • Rubberized sealant


  • 8-foot 1×2 cedar board (x2)
  • 8 foot 1×12 cedar board (x3)
  • 3/4-inch pressure-treated plywood (x1)
  • 4-foot 1×2 board (x4)
  • 4-foot 1×3 board (x4)

How to do it

Step 1 Cut Wood

From 1×12 cedar, cut two 33-inch lengths for the side panels and three 16-1/2-inch lengths for the ends and divider. Cut a 16-1/2×31-1/2-inch panel from plywood for the base. For the legs, cut four 12-inch lengths from 1×2 and four 12-inch lengths from 1×3.

Step 2 Build Legs

To build the legs, glue and clamp a 1×3 to a 1×2 to form four L-shape corners. Allow glue to dry, then reinforce the connection with trim screws.

Step 3 Assemble Frame

Glue and clamp the frame together, making sure it is square. Secure the corners with exterior screws (these will be hidden by the legs).

Step 4 Attach Base

Apply wood glue to the edge of plywood base. Attach to the frame with trim screws. Make sure screws are securely fastened.

Step 5 Attach Center Divider

Rip the center divider by 3/4-inches so it sits evenly atop the base. Attach center divider to the sides with trim screws and at the bottom with exterior screws.

Step 6 Attach Legs

Attach L-shape legs to frame in each corner with glue and exterior screws. Fasten from inside the box so screws don’t show.

Step 7 Seal Box and Drill Drainage Holes

Treat the outside of the planter box with a protective coating of waterproofing seal. Coat the inside of the box with rubberized sealant to make it watertight. We applied a double coat to the crevices to ensure a watertight box. Drill several 1/8-inch drainage holes in the bottom of the soil compartment only.

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