DIY Infoguide: Building Planter Boxes

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Looking to try something new in your yard? Maybe your yard is small but you still want to invest in some landscaping. If you have time on your hands, why not try building flower boxes and then growing flowers in them? Choose to make flower boxes that attach to the wall of your house or on a fence. Or make free standing flower boxes. These can be quite large and serve as a feature in your yard, on your deck or patio.

Building Planter Boxes

You should build your flower boxes out of a type of wood that is resistant to rot. This will extend the life of your flower boxes. Redwood is the most rot-resistant and also the most expensive. Cedar resists rotting almost as well as redwood and it is less expensive.

Teak is widely used to make outdoor furniture because it resists rotting and can also be used to make long-lasting flower boxes. Cyprus resists even the harshest weather conditions and exudes an oil that repels fungi and insects.

Pressure-treated wood is usually made with pine, but the chemicals used when pressurizing can leach into the soil or onto the surface on which it is standing. Natural pine is okay to use, but must be sealed to protect against rot, fungi and insects.

Use dimensional lumber to build your flower box. Depending on the size you want or the plans you are following, use 2×4, 2×2, 2×6 or 2×8 lumber for the materials.

There are hundreds of ideas and plans for wood flower boxes, everything from simple to complex. Here are a few to get your ideas started.

Lining Flower Boxes

A simply but not always obvious choice for lining a flower box is to use plastic pots. They are individually filled and you can rearrange them to change the appearance of your flower box or arrange the plants by height. You can also remove one or several and replace them with new plants in new plastic pots.

Galvanized metal can be shaped to conform to the interior of the flower box. If you are doing the shaping, remember to seal the seams with silicone calking to keep the sides watertight. Another metal you could use is copper. Both copper and galvanized metal can be custom-made for you at a blacksmith or machine shop. Have them put at least one drainage hole in the bottom of the liner.

Plastic sheeting or even a plastic garbage bag can be used to line a flower box. Fit the plastic into the box and fill with the growing medium. Make sure to poke at least one hole in the bottom of the plastic for drainage.

Choosing Plants for Flower Boxes

The best types of flowers to grow in boxes depends on whether the boxes will be placed in sun, shade or a combination.

Flowers that like full sun and grow well in flower boxes include geraniums, petunias, marigolds and moss roses. All of these flowers are easy to grow and thrive in full sunshine. The most important thing when growing flowers in boxes that are placed in full sun is that they need to be watered every day. Once a week, mix a water soluble fertilizer at half the strength the directions give and water the flowers with that.

Remember to plant flowers in containers very close together, much closer than the spacing recommended by the grower. If you space them at the distance they should grow in the ground, the planter will look sparse and it will not have much impact.

Planting Flower Boxes

A popular rule of thumb for a flower box is to fill it with a combination of tall plants, short stocky plants and several that hang over the edge of the container. This will give the planter interest, balance and fullness. For this design, you should use a different variety of plant for the tall, short and hanging elements of the arrangement. If the container is large, use two or more types of tall, short and hanging plants. Plant the same kind of plants in somewhat clustered groups of three for eye-pleasing appeal.

Another design idea is to plant three different varieties of flowers that are all the same color. Use the tall, short and hanging formula outlined above, just make them all the same or a similar color. Flower boxes planted in all red, orange or yellow flowers make a big statement, especially from a distance.

Pink or purple flowers are easy on the eyes and easy to look at when they are close to the seating area. White flowers, on the other hand, make a planter that is magical in the moonlight. Whatever monochromatic color scheme you choose, tuck a few green plants among the flowers for a polished look.

With a few hand tools, some dimensional lumber and a little determination, you can build flower boxes, even if you have only marginal carpentry skills. Just follow the directions. If you are a skilled woodworker, you can build even more elaborate planters for your yard.

Fill them with easy-to-grow flower varieties using simple design ideas and you’ve just improved the design and look or your yard. Just don’t forget to water them.

About The Author: Dominic is a contributing writer on behalf of Creative Edge Landscaping. Dominic covers a wide array of topics ranging from storage tips, to organization ideas, to office remodels and everything in between. 
Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

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