I’m feeling pretty pleased with the progress Evan and I were able to make in the garden this weekend. In a total of about 8 hours over the course of two days, we managed to construct two 8-foot mega-planters. That includes the time spent buying the wood and transporting it home! Total cost? About $100 total . . . for both planters. Fifty bucks a pop!
I took a few progress shots along the way just in case someone else wants to make a mega-planter or two. The whole project was super-easy. Seriously. Anyone with a drill and a jigsaw can do this.
After cutting all of our wood to size (we used 1×6 planks that were already 8 feet long, so we really just had to cut the side pieces down to 18″, and cut up a few 2×2s to create the support posts), we got to painting. I like to use Cabot Solid-Color Acrylic Stain for outdoor projects. It has the look of a flat, solid paint, but won’t chip or peel like paint does. The stain is very forgiving and easy to apply, usually only requires one coat, and dries completely in less than an hour. It really does hide the grain (but not the texture!) completely, though, so you might want to use something translucent if you prefer a more “woody” look. Since we already have so much wood going on outside between the deck, the porch, and the fence, I really wanted something subdued. Black has a nice way of receding in gardens, too.
(By the way, one gallon of this stain goes REALLY far. We bought one can two years ago, and even after using it for a gazillion projects, the level has only dropped about two inches. I fully expect this can of stain to outlive us all.)
The assembly process was easy. Screw the posts to the end panels (we screwed through the back so the screws won’t be visible on the finished planter), screw the end panels to the front and back planks, screw on the center posts for extra support (this may not be necessary with smaller planters). We used exterior decking screws that won’t rust. For a finishing touch, we stapled mesh screening onto the bottom of the planter. With all the groundhog* action that’s been going on in our garden lately, I consider any small defense a good one.
*At last count, there are four groundhogs: Haggis, Patches, Scarface, and my arch-nemesis, Fatback.
The planters are in place! We spent a good amount of time leveling them and making sure they were sitting nicely together. We’re planning to throw in a couple of bolts to keep them in line with each other over time, too.
THE DIRT PILE IS GONE! It felt so good to shovel all of that excess dirt that’s been migrating all over the yard for the past couple of years into the planter, let me tell you. We’re going to fill the planters the rest of the way with nice, rich planting soil, of course, but it’s okay to put crummy dirt in the bottom. Ahhhh. Bye-bye, dirt pile! I won’t miss you.
I took a second-floor shot of the whole garden so you can see how much area the mega-planters take up. I’m not sure yet what we’re going to plant in there (possibly something tall and evergreen and bushy, mixed in with some brightly-colored flowering perennials), but it’s so exciting to have another piece of the garden plan DONE.