Spring has finally arrived and it’s time to spruce up the patio!
Whether you’re looking to add style, mobility or shade, this DIY tutorial on how to make a mobile planter box with an umbrella stand is perfect for any outdoor space.
This project has been on my mind for more than a year.
I’ve been mulling over ideas for a wooden planter box for months… my patio needed shade, but I wanted to be able to easily move the umbrella around.
In my opinion, this cedar planter checks off all the boxes.
Constructed with simple tools and red cedar, this planter box on wheels has a built-in umbrella stand for added shade and convenience.
In addition to our planter box on wheels, we are also sharing more planter box ideas from our blogging friends.
So be sure to scroll down to see their creative planter boxes as well.
- What Wood is Best for a Planter Box?
- Do Wood Planter Boxes Need Drainage Holes?
- Do I Need to Line a Wood Planter Box?
- Tools & Supplies Needed to Build a Planter Box
- Cedar Planter Box Cut List
- How to Assemble the Cedar Planter Box
- Add Trim Boards
- Add Casters
- Line and Waterproof Planter Box
- Add Umbrella Stand to Planter Box
- More Planter Box ideas
- Shop Planter Boxes
What Wood is Best for a Planter Box?
Along with functionality, I wanted this planter box to last for many, many years.
So I believe selecting the right wood for the project is of most importance.
When it comes to wood selection, cedar or redwood are great choices for constructing a planter box.
They are readily available, naturally resistant to rot and decay, which makes it easy to maintain.
Pine lumber is more affordable than cedar or redwood, however, it is also the least rot resistant.
Untreated pine has an outdoor lifespan of only 2 to 4 years.
On the other hand untreated cedar can last for up to 20 years or more.
I don’t know about you, but when I build something I want it to last a good long time!
For our planter we chose Western Red Cedar.
If you’re on the east coast, Eastern Red Cedar is a good choice.
It’s readily available, less expensive than redwood, is strong and durable and extremely resistant to decay.
In addition, red cedar has a beautiful grain pattern that adds depth and character to any planter box.
With its natural durability, red cedar is the perfect choice for building a long-lasting mobile planter.
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Do Wood Planter Boxes Need Drainage Holes?
Yes, it is important to create drainage for your planter box.
You can drill drainage holes in the bottom of your wooden planter box or in our case we are using 2×4 cedar boards and will leave a small gap between each board for drainage.
This will allow excess water to escape so that your plants and soil don’t become overly saturated with moisture.
It will also help reduce the risk of rot.
Another tip for better drainage is to place some gravel in the bottom of your planter box.
Do I Need to Line a Wood Planter Box?
Make your raised bed more durable with a simple trick – line it!
Choose landscape fabric found at garden stores and avoid non-porous plastics, as they can retain too much water.
Don’t worry about soil escaping through wide gaps in the wood either; porous landscaping fabric will take care of that for you while allowing proper drainage so all those lovely plants inside are safe and sound!
Tools & Supplies Needed to Build a Planter Box
Before we began this project, we wanted this planter box to be easy to build without a lot of fancy tools.
So for this project we only used a compound saw, drill and brad nailer.
We also found wood clamps helpful to keep everything aligned when screwing the boards together.
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You’ll also need the following supplies:
for cedar planter box
- 3 – 2x4x8′ cedar boards
- 7 – 5/8″ thick 3 1/2″ wide flat top cedar pickets
- 6 – 5/8″ thick 5 1/2″ wide flat top cedar pickets
- box of 1 1/2″ exterior screws
- exterior wood glue
- 2″ brads
- 4 – casters
for umbrella stand
- 1 1/2″ ABS pipe
- 3″ toilet flange
- ABS bushing 3″ x 1 1/2″
- ABS black cement
Cedar Planter Box Cut List
Our finished planter box measures 24 1/2″ across and we made the following cuts:
12 – 23 1/2″ 5 1/2″ cedar fence picket (planter sides)
4 – 15″ 2×4 cedar (corner pieces)
6 – 23 1/2″ 2×4 cedar (planter bottom)
2 – 19″ 2×4 cedar (planter inside top)
2 – 16 1/4″ 2×4 cedar (planter inside top)
8 – 24 5/8″ 3 1/2″ cedar fence picket (decorative trim)
8 – 11 1/4″ 3 1/2″ cedar fence picket (decorative trim)
How to Assemble the Cedar Planter Box
Construct Two Sides
To begin making the cedar planter box, we first created the two sides.
First, place two of the 15″ 2×4 cedar boards on your worktable and brush with exterior wood glue.
Then align each side of three 5 1/2″ wide cedar pickets with the 2×4 boards.
The 2×4 board will be 1 1/2″ shorter than the three cedar pickets.
This will allow the bottom of the planter box to be flush with the sides.
Secure the cedar boards to the the 2×4 with exterior screws.
We placed three screws into each picket on each side.
Repeat with the other set of three 5 1/2″ cedar pickets and the remaining 15″ 2×4 boards.
Place the two constructed sides vertical on the work surface.
Then spread wood glue on the 2×4 boards.
Place three 5 1/2″ cedar pickets on the 2×4 boards, aligning boards with the sides and flush with the top.
We found it easier to keep everything aligned if we placed a clamp on the first boards.
Then attach each 5 1/2″ cedar picket to the 2×4 boards on each side.
Repeat for the other side of the planter box.
Planter Box Bottom
Now you can see our cedar box really starting to take shape.
At this time we’ll form the bottom of the planter box with the 23 1/2″ 2×4 boards.
We placed wood glue on each cut end of the 2×4 boards and held them flush with the bottom of the box.
Then we secured them to the planter box with the wood screws.
We did leave 1/8″ gap between each 2×4 board to allow for drainage.
Finally we want to add some support and structure to the top edge of the box.
Take the remaining 2×4 boards (19″ & 16 1/4″) and place them flush with the top of the planter box and secure with wood glue and screws.
Add Trim Boards
Now that the structure of our planter box is built, it’s time to pretty it up a bit with 3 1/2″ cedar boards.
Align the 24 5/8″ trim board flush with each side and top, secure with wood glue and 2″ brads.
Now because we are adding casters to our planter box, we want to camouflage them with the trim along the lower edge.
To align the lower edge of the 3 1/2″ cedar pickets, place a scrap of 2×4 board on the bottom of the box.
Then align the trim board with the scrap 2×4. This will give you 1 1/2″ overhang at the bottom of the planter box, concealing the casters.
Secure the board in place with wood glue and 2″ brads.
Finally add the 11 1/4 ” trim boards on each side of the planter box.
Of course we want the top to look pretty too, so we’ll add mitered trim all around the box.
For this part we don’t have exact measurements, because each side can vary a bit.
So we cut a 45° angle on one end of the 3 1/2″ cedar board.
Then we aligned the 45° cut edge to the inner corner of our planter box and marked the length it needed to be cut.
Next we took it to the saw and made the second 45° cut, but just to be on the safe side we cut about 1/8″ longer.
It’s always safer to cut them a little longer and trim a little as necessary for a good fit.
We did this with all 4 sides of the planter box.
Then we adjusted each of the sides and trimmed as necessary until we had a pretty good fit.
Once we were happy with the mitered corners, we removed one board at a time applied glue and placed it back into position and then secured each board with 2″ brads.
Now I’m sorry to say our corners are not perfect, but I have a way to fix that.
Place wood glue into the seam,
and then press the cedar saw dust into the gaps and then brush off the excess with your fingers.
It does a great job filling in the seam and matches the color of the wood perfectly.
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To make your planter box easier to move, add swivel casters.
We mounted them in about 1 1/2″ from the edge of the planter box. Just make sure to rotate your wheels around to see if it has enough clearance.
Once again we used the deck screws to mount the wheels to the box.
Line and Waterproof Planter Box
Finally to make your planter box long lasting and withstand the elements, you’ll want to apply a finish.
I plan to plant herbs and flowers in my planter box and I don’t want to put chemicals on my box that may leach out into the soil.
Two good choices for protecting your box from moisture are linseed oil and pure tung oil.
My plan is to apply the pure tung oil, however I ordered it and there’s been a delay in the shipment.
So I don’t have any photos of this part of my project yet.
Pure tung oil has been used for hundreds of years to waterproof ships.
It’s a good waterproofer and all around wood preserver. It creates a tough, elastic-like outer coating that’s very water resistant.
It’s applied in multiple coats with a paint brush, allowing to dry throughly between coats.
Look for products labeled “pure” and avoid varnish blends to keep potentially toxic additives out of your garden box.
Linseed oil is applied the same way, only it does take longer to dry between coats.
Finally, you’ll want to line your planter box with a landscape fabric.
This is super easy to do, just measure the circumference of your box, cut the landscape fabric and secure in place with a staple gun.
Not only will the landscape fabric protect your box from rot, but it will keep your soil in the box as well.
Add Umbrella Stand to Planter Box
The last addition to my planter box is an umbrella.
So that means we need some sort of stand built into the box.
I considered lots of options and what seemed to work best was a toilet flange and 1 1/2″ ABS pipe.
I took the pipe from my umbrella with me to the hardware store and determined that I needed 1 1/2″ pipe.
The toilet flange will easily attach to the bottom of the planter with screws, but the circumference of the flange is 3″.
So to make the pipe fit, we needed a bushing that will take the 3″ down to 1 1/2″.
Thank goodness for a helpful employee at Lowes who helped my find what I needed.
I didn’t even know what a bushing was.
To secure the ABS pipe to the bushing and flange, you’ll use ABS cement.
It’s super messy, so i’d advise covering your work surface with an old towel and wearing gloves.
If you get it on your fingers you can remove it with acetone, but it takes some work.
Apply the ABS cement liberally to both pieces that will be adhered together.
Then place the bushing in the flange, and the pipe into the bushing.
Then take the umbrella stand and center it in the planter box.
Secure the flange to the bottom of the box with exterior screws.
And last but not least, I added some gravel to the bottom of the planter box.
Not only will the gravel add weight and give the umbrella more stability, but it will also help with drainage in the planter box.
Good drainage makes for happy plants!
I love my mobile planter with umbrella stand on my paver patio!
Clearly it adds form and function to our outdoor living space.
And what I love most, is that I can easily wheel it around my patio where ever I need a little shade.
It’s really going to make a big difference when we’re entertaining in our backyard.
With just a few basic tools and some red cedar, you can easily create your own unique planter box on wheels with an umbrella for added shade.
We hope you’ve found a little inspiration here today! Please pin it, save it for later and share it with a friend.
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More Planter Box ideas
Now it’s time to take a look at more planter box ideas from our blogging friends.
Take a look at this modern planter box from Emilee at MamaNeedaProject.com.
I love the modern lines and the details she added to her box.
Next up we have this reversible planter box from Megan at TwoFeeFirst.net.
Wow, look at the detail and design in her planter box. It’s so cool!
Shop Planter Boxes
Are you ready to build a planter box for your patio or deck?!
Do you have a favorite? Which one inspired you?
Drop us a comment, we love to hear from you.
For more inspiration for your yard check out these posts:
- DIY Outdoor Stone Steps for Your Yard
- Essential Steps to Landscaping your Front Yard
- Growing Tomatoes: Simple Tips for Success
- How to Fix Old Rusty Metal Furniture
- How to Get Rid of Slugs in Your Garden
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This Post Has 2 Comments
You always have the best projects! They are thoughtful and done so well. Thank you1
Thank you Katy for your kind words. That means the world to us. Have a wonderful day!