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

By Luke Miller

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 hrs
  • Start to finish 3 hrs
  • Difficulty Kind of easy
  • Involves Cutting Wood, Gluing, Drilling, Painting

What you need


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.


How to Use a Table Saw

Make quick work of ripping and cross-cutting boards with a table saw. We'll show you how to complete both tasks with safety and efficiency.

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).


How to Use Wood Clamps

Different woodworking projects require different types of clamps. We'll introduce you to four common clamp types and show you how to safely use them.

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.

Editor's Tip

Editor's Tip

Keep water plants in place with a black plastic nursery tray. Cut it to size and fit potted plants into some slots, then weigh down the empty portion of the tray with rocks.


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