How to Build a Planter - Intro How to Build a Planter - Intro

Project Introduction Overview

Everyone enjoys the look and utility of good outdoor furniture. Due to the high cost of buying, many do it yourselfers are making their own custom pieces. In these pages we are going to show you the correct way to build a planter in your own workshop. We will take you through step by step, from initial planning to the finished product.


Go through the tools and materials checklist carefully. Know the safety standards for the project. Plan to gather the items that you will be using, and place them where you will be building. The outdoor table is very large, you must plan on the location so you can take it outside upon completion. If you don't have enough space inside then assemble it on a driveway or other flat area.

Look down the list and find materials of the same kind and thickness. Plan to buy these materials in a size that will produce the number of pieces you will need with the least amount of waste. Add up the total number of board feet, being careful to make sure you group short pieces in a board with long pieces to minimize waste.

Due to corrosion, special care should be taken when selecting materials. Look for hot dipped galvanized fasteners when assembling outdoor furniture. Also for any gluing, look on the label to see if the glue is waterproof. This will keep the furniture sturdy for years.

The design for outdoor furniture is very different from in door designs. There is less intricate detail but a higher degree of sturdiness. The cuts are made once, so measure twice and cut carefully leaving no extra length on the ends.

Safety Tips

  1. Safety glasses or goggles should be worn whenever power tools are in use and when chiseling, sanding, scraping or hammering overhead. This is very important if you wear contact lenses.
  2. Wear ear protectors when using power tools. Some operate at noise levels that damage hearing.
  3. Be careful of loose hair and clothing so that it does not get caught in tools.
  4. The proper respirator or face mask should be worn when sanding or sawing or using substances with toxic fumes.
  5. Keep blades sharp. A dull blade requires excessive force and can slip which causes accidents.
  6. Always use the right tool for the job.
  7. Repair or discard tools with cracks in the wooden handles or chips in the metal parts.
  8. Don't drill, shape or saw anything that isn't firmly secured.
  9. Oily rags are spontaneously combustible. Take care when you store and discard them.
  10. Don't abuse your tools.
  11. Keep a First Aid Kit on hand.
  12. Do not work with tools when you are tired. That's when most accidents occur.
  13. Read the owner's manual for all tools and know the proper use of each.
  14. Keep tools out of reach of small children.
  15. Unplug all power tools when changing settings or parts.

Know Where Your Hands Are At All Times!

Most Common Mistakes

The single most common mistake in any do it yourself project is the failure to read and follow the manufacturer's instructions for any tool or material being used. Other common mistakes include taking the safety measures that are laid out for a project for granted, and poor project planning. Here is a list of hints to successfully complete a project and to do it safely.

  1. Follow the "Golden Rule" of measuring: "Measure twice, cut once."
  2. Provide yourself plenty of time for each step.
  3. Know your plan
  4. When finishing the wood, keep dust and dirt away from the cabinet.
  5. Follow the instructions on your choice of finish carefully.
  6. Drill holes in table legs after you are sure everything is aligned.
  7. Always use rustproof fasteners, such as hot dipped galvanized metal.
  8. Use a siding nail on top of the table. Their heads are smaller than common nails and will not be as visible. Brass ring shanked boat nails are excellent if available.
  9. Be sure to use waterproof glue on the planter box.
  10. Be sure to drill pilot holes before driving nails near the end of boards.
  11. Be sure your cuts are the specified dimension and cut at the proper angle.
  12. Use a jig or a stop block on a table saw to be sure to get several boards cut identically.

Got a New Project You're Proud of?

Post it on Your Projects!