Building Garden Grow Boxes

Studio 5 HomeCoach Frantz Ostmann shows how easy it is to get one set up and going.

This weekend, at the suggestion of a viewer we decided to build a garden box. If you know how to operate a power drill, you can build this box, too. Here are some tips to make it easier: If you’re a first-time builder, go to a small hardware or lumber store with a friendly clerk who can help you work out the details. You can also use lumber or pieces of wood, plastic, or pvc fencing that you may have around the house or yard already. Just remember that any treated lumber should not be used. Lumber treated before 2004 is probably treated with Copper Chromium Arsenate or CCA and will leach Arsenic into the soil when it gets wet… Yep, Not Good!!! Remember if you go to the hardware store to have the hardware store folks cut all of your lumber to the correct lengths; this will save you loads of time and headaches. Finally, remember: This is going to get filled with soil, so it doesn’t have to look perfect.

Here’s What You Need

• 4 longer pieces of something(Wood PVC or other), cut to specified length (I used 8 ft lengths)

• 4 shorter pieces of something for the ends, cut to specified length (I used 3 ft lengths)

• 4 4-x-4-inch square pieces of redwood cut to match the height of 2 boards (in my case it was 12 inches). You can also opt to cut your 4-x-4s to a slightly longer length (such as 2 inches longer). This way, you can use the longer length of the 4-x-4s to anchor your box when you have to dig it into the ground.

• Galvanized 4 inch-long screws (galvanized screws will resist rust)

• Power drill (preferably with other battery pack charged)

• Flat, large surface for working, such as a patio, deck, or garage

• A willing helper, (a spouse works well) who can hold ends of lumber and fetch tools as needed

Ok, now to “Get After It”

• Take two of your 4-x-4s and place them beneath each end of your long pieces of lumber. Line them up so the ends are flush.

• Drill 2 screws into each end of the board, keeping the screw straight and screwing smoothly through both the longer piece of lumber and the 4-x-4 piece of lumber. As you can see from this photo, I had my 4-x-4s cut to a slightly longer length, which will help to anchor your garden box in the ground. However, if you do this, make sure to keep the longer ends of the 4-x-4s on the same side!

• Repeat the prior step with the other 2 long boards.

• Now, take your 2 long sides with the 4-x-4s screwed into them. Have your helper take one end, and you take the other. Now, turn each side on end, as if it was the wall of the garden box. If you have had your 4-x-4s cut so they are an inch or two longer than your other boards, have the longer end of the 4-x-4s sticking up in the air

• With your helper, space the long ends so that they’re about the same width as your short boards.

• Have your helper lightly hold up the bottom corner of the boards, with the end of the short board and the long board flush in her or his palm. Screw the short board into the 4-x-4. Make sure to alternate your placement of the screw, so screws won’t overlap with the ones in your long board.

• Repeat this process on the other corner. Then, stack your second short board on top of the first one use your power drill to screw it in. This is what it should look like.

• Secure the other short boards on the opposite end.

• You’re done!

You can expand this idea into lots of different cool boxes. You can make smaller ones on stands such as this one below for patios and decks. Now that you have the ability to envision how it’s built, just “See it and Build it”.

More boxes that you could build with just the same skills we just used.

How about a few window boxes that match the rest of your garden boxes.

Remember that if you have any problems just throw us a question on our forum. We will be happy to answer all of your questions. You can ask questions on the forums at

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