DIY Home + Garden

DIY Vertical Planter Garden

Today’s DIY project is one from our very own garden. We constructed it last weekend. It was only a matter of time before my vertical planter garden dream became a reality. I think Justin helped me make it partly because he was sick of me talking about it so much.

DIY Vertical Planter

“Honey, we should totally make a vertical planter for the fall when we want to grow greens and such – the rabbits won’t be able to get into it that way!”

“Yeah, that would be cool.”

“Justin, look! Look at this awesome DIY planter I saw someone post on Pinterest. Isn’t it awesome? We could definitely do this.”


Repeat this scenario about 5 or more times with different planter box ideas, and I finally ended up wearing him down. Or, maybe it just took him a little while to realize how much he LOVED the idea…and LOVED the idea of constructing it for us.

Fast forward to Saturday morning. We spent some time cleaning up our garden; removing some dead plants, weeding, etc. I kept inquiring what new vegetables he’d like us to plant in the open spaces. I was rattling off the options for fall gardens when Justin suggested we head over to Lowe’s/Home Depot to gather supplies for that planter garden I said I’d been wanting. Yes! Grab the keys! Let’s go RIGHT NOW!

DIY Vertical Planter

DIY Vertical Planter

The conceptual idea for this garden structure came from that photo on Pinterest (and I quickly got frustrated trying to follow the links to dead ends. I couldn’t easily locate a tutorial), but as we wandered the aisles of lumber, we decided to make some tweaks to suit our situation and to figure out the darn thing on our own. Instead of a 3 box planter, we wanted to go for the gusto with the 5 step. The inspiration photo had the stairs positioned so the planter set lower to the ground. We decided to opt for the tall choice – it takes up less space on the ground, and the top planter hits at a little lower than my eye level. We also elected to secure our planter boxes to the steps instead of leaving them loose. As each step of the process came together, my excitement continued to rise. I could barely contain myself when the final touches were added. I love this darn thing. Love love love. I can’t wait to show you what we’re growing this fall as things begin to flourish! And in case you want to make one for yourself, I’ve outlined the steps below!

Have you made any DIY planters for your garden?

DIY Vertical Planter Garden

You will need:

2 stair risers (we used risers with 5 steps, but you could also use a 4 or 3 stair riser as well)

5 planter boxes (we used 6″x24″ resin window boxes)

1 2″x4″x12′ board (pressure treated)


4 bolts (we used 3.5″ 5/16 hex bolts)

4 nuts (5/16)

8 washers (5/16)

20 screws and matching size washers

8 additional screws


1. Cut the 2×4 into three pieces – 2 legs and one board to stabilize the back/connect the risers. For our 5 step riser, the leg beams measured 50.5 inches each, and the back support measured 20.5 inches (the width of the bottom of the planter boxes). We had some wood left over. If you don’t want to bother measuring and cutting the boards at home, most home improvement stores have a cutting center you can use (we did!).

2. Drill two matching holes into both the leg and stair riser so they can be attached with bolts. Make sure the holes align – measure before drilling! Align the top of the leg with the top of the stair riser, and the back of the leg with the very back of the riser piece. Attach each leg to a stair riser with bolts; slide a washer to the end of the bolt, insert into the riser/leg, add another washer to the exposed end, and tighten a nut to finish. Repeat until all four bolts are attached. We placed the legs of our vertical planter on the inside of the structure, but you can also place them on the outside of the riser if preferred. However, if you choose this route, you will need to measure a longer piece for the back stabilizer to account for the added width of the structure.

DIY Vertical Planter

3. At this point, each stair riser now has a leg attached. Stand the stairs upright; the next step is to attach the back stabilizer piece of 2×4. Align the stabilizer piece directly on the back edge of the structure. Drill screws directly in the back of the stabilizer piece and into the leg/stair pieces to connect them. This may require the assistance of a second person to hold the stabilizer/stairs/etc. in place. We used 8 screws; 4 on each side of the structure. Make sure the screws you select are long enough to drill through the stabilizer and into the stair risers/leg pieces. ***Note: before drilling the stabilizer piece into place, it is a good idea to place a planter box on the top step of the riser to make sure it is the correct width to hold it.***

DIY Vertical Planter

DIY Vertical Planter

4. It is now time to attach the planter boxes. Place a washer on the end of 20 screws. Carefully hold a planter box in place on a stair riser and drill the screw/washer into the base of the step. We placed 4 screws in each planter box; we started from the bottom and worked our way up the structure.

DIY Vertical Planter

5. When the planter boxes are attached, drill additional holes in the bottom of the boxes to allow them to drain well.

6. Fill each of the planter boxes with potting soil, plant seeds/seedlings, and watch them grow!

DIY Vertical Planter


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