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Wooden planters made from scrap wood

Posted by on Monday 31 January 2011 in growing, making, wood stuff | 6 comments

Last week, I got the cravings – the “I NEED to make something out of wood” cravings – so I set Saturday aside for playing.

I actually set out into the garden to make one thing but found some planks (the long bits in the picture) that would be much more appropriate for something else on my to-do list – wooden planters. John’s dad had brought them for us last week – he regularly collects scraps of wood from a joiners’ yard for firewood and when he visited that day, they gave him these salvaged planks too – but he thought they were too good for firewood so they ended up in our general scrap lumber pile instead. The shorter bits in the picture are also scrap wood from the same source – all roughly about the same size so almost no sawing required!

With that scrap, and five 6ft long battens (leftover from when I built removable shelves in our airing cupboard), I made two planters – each about 4ft long by 1ft, by about 9ins deep.

The bases are different because each batten made exactly one long length and two shorter lengths – I was delighted to find it was pretty much exact, again minimal sawing! – and that was the most efficient way to make use of the wood.

I’ll use a liner of some sort in the planters and puncture that between the slats of the base for drainage. I added little feet to the bottom (in a way appropriate to the base) to raise the slats off the ground too. The whole thing will need treating with some veg-safe preservative too, to maximise it’s usefulness.

Neither planter would get me a job as an artisan woodworker or would be used as a practical example to teach even spacing or the concept of right angles – but they’ll grow salad (or similar) as well as planters that would cost me £50 each from a garden centre. Plus I had loads of fun making them :)

I think these will go in the front garden – we have some dead space out there which I’d like to make useful this year. Not sure exactly what we’ll plant in them yet – I really need to get on with planning where everything is going to go this year!


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  1. Chiot's Run

    Don’t you just love having a scrap lumber pile for such tasks. We are always using bits from ours for projects and minimalist friends who throw everything out are often asking us for bits as well since they’ve since tossed anything not being used at the moment.

    Great job on the planters. You just have to tell people they have “character”, that’s what we always say when we make things and they’re perfect, they just have character.

    • louisa

      Hehe, yes, they definitely have character ;) Once they’re full of soil and growing things, they’ll look better too.

      Our chicken run structure and the wooden area in the back of the first picture (our combined kindling/firewood pile, and outside workspace) are both almost entirely made from scrap wood — the woodpile area is mostly made from an old sauna someone was scrapping. Our tools are hung from expensive sauna towel pegs – probably cost more than the tools! Hurrah for scrap and freebies!

  2. Aurora

    These are just brilliant. I have seen expensive ‘rustic’ planters for sale that are nowhere near as robust. I love it when scraps of other peoples ‘junk’ turn out to be just right for a project – but then I am actually part womble :)

    Happy salad growing.

  3. Monkey

    I love it! I’m in the throes of getting my bathroom fixed up, and have been hovering over the builders to see if there’s any good bits of wood I can transform… alas, no…all too rotted.

    • louisa

      Boo, shame. We’re getting our bathroom renovated in a few weeks (I think the current suite & ORANGE SHAG PILE CARPET is older than we are) and I’m going to snag all I can from that! As a minimum, we’ve got some cupboards coming out – so they might become more planters – but I think I might also use the sink for a new dirt bath for the chickens (for the irony!).

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