Build a diy garden planter because: weeding sucks

Aug 31 2015
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I took an afternoon to build my wonderful mom a tall planter so she could have a vegetable garden on her deck. Gardens are known for endless hoeing and countless hours day in and day out bent over in back breaking work in the constant battle against weeds. Because we started with organic soil that we brought in we were already way ahead of any weeds or grasses that might try to take over our plants. (As opposed to tilling up a spot in our yard that would be chock full of thousands of different kinds of weeds and grass seeds) So far I can count on one hand the amount of minutes we’ve needed to weed this garden all year. The plan is for us to build several more and never garden any lower then counter height again!

How to build a counter height garden planter for easy weeding and watering @GrandmasHousDIY

You will need 2x4s and a piece of steel, my steel ended up 68 inches long and then I just wrapped it up on the inside of the frame I built. As for the frame you will need some decent screws, I used 3” outdoor deck screws.

How to build a counter height garden planter for easy weeding and watering @GrandmasHousDIY

I pounded about fifty holes in the bottom of the steel to create drainage and covered the edge of the steel with a second 2×4, essentially sandwiching the sharp steel between the 2×4 and the frame. In the future I would like to add a 1×4 to the top of the whole thing and cover up the “sandwich” situation but I didn’t have the material to do it at the time and no one seemed to notice or care. Of course, the raw edge bugs me.

How to build a counter height garden planter for easy weeding and watering @GrandmasHousDIY

If you’re wondering if the steel is strong enough to support all the dirt that will be in it the answer is a resounding yes. It is actually steel left over from our garage roof and it is incredibly durable. (I created the 2×4 sandwich because I wanted it extra tough.) The depth of the entire planter is about 2 feet and the piece of steel I had leftover was about 3 and ½ feet. I wanted to make sure it would be deep enough so my mom could grow onions and even carrots if she wanted to.

How to build a counter height garden planter for easy weeding and watering @GrandmasHousDIY

You can see I also raised the 2×4 frame around the bottom of the whole planter about an inch up the legs, so the only thing resting on her deck are the six 2×4 “feet” I figured the less wood actually sitting on her deck the better. Sorry I have no photos of “during” I was the only one doing this so I was the only one available to take pictures so, as usual, you get no pictures of me in action.

How to build a counter height garden planter for easy weeding and watering @GrandmasHousDIY

This was an easy project and took me about an hour from start to finish and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is considering building one. My wood list was as follows:

  • four 2x4s at 72” (two at the top two at the bottom)
  • six 2x4s at 37” (the legs)
  • eight 2x4s at 24” (two at the top two at the bottom and two at either end to keep the dirt in)
  • two 2x4s at 68” (for the inside to sandwich the steel)

Before we filled the planter with dirt we covered it with black weed fabric so our dirt wouldn’t plug our drainage holes. And there you have it! An easy to weed planter to grow just about anything!

UPDATE! I made another one of these and perfected the design A LOT for my aunt for her birthday last year.

How to build a counter height garden planter for easy weeding and watering @GrandmasHousDIYBuild your own how to wood working diy do it yourself counter-height garden planter for easy planting and weeding all summer long


  1. July 18, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    I like how simple it is to make. Yet it provides a lot of design to the plant. It’s such a neat idea.

    Thank you for sharing this with us on the #HomeMattersParty. We hope to see you again when we open our doors at 12 AM EST on Friday.

  2. September 25, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    I love this idea. It would be perfect for my lettuce or geraniums in the summer. Thanks for sharing.

  3. February 7, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Love this, Tarah.

    I’m a sucker for DIY projects. You just inspired me to do something similar:-)



  4. Angie
    April 20, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    How does the dirt not fall out the sides?

    • April 20, 2018 at 2:21 pm

      Hi Angie, the steel holds all the dirt in! Thanks!

      • Angie
        April 21, 2018 at 11:28 am

        On the short edges? In between the boards? Maybe I missed something…

        • April 23, 2018 at 8:16 am

          Oh hi Angie, the landscape fabric covers the ends where the gaps are and the weight of the soil plus the fabric keeps everything in place, sorry about that!

  5. Charles
    September 23, 2022 at 4:19 pm

    Hi I really like this design. It makes it easier on the back! I have a question though; can I grow squash, zucchini, cabbage and broccoli?
    Thanks again. Great design!

    • September 26, 2022 at 9:56 am

      Hi Charles yep I’ve had no problems growing any kind of squash etc but I’ve never tried broccoli or cabbage. All of them are “above the ground” veggies as opposed to something like carrots so the depth of the planter dirt wouldn’t be a problem.

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