disclosure: this post is sponsored by Wagner.

Just in case you were wondering, this is NOT the after.

This is not the beautiful new planter box overlooking the ocean that is currently full of pink hydrangeas.

It’s the before.

We actually built this planter years ago at the beach house.

Before we had a blog.

Before we knew anything about DIY.

Before we knew how to build a planter.

We just decided one day that my mother needed a planter box and we built one with scrap wood from the basement. I’m actually kind of patting those long-ago selves on the back for the fact that it was still standing more than 15 years later.

But it was time.

Time for a change.

So a couple of weeks ago when we were at the beach house we built a new planter.

One that looks like this.

Can you even believe it?


To after

It’s like we’ve learned a few things in 15 years.

Things we want to share with you.

Here’s the DIY.

Here’s the step-by-step.

Here’s the story of how we built a planter with the ocean breezes in our hair.

step 1: rip out the old planter

We started the process ripping out the old planter.

Most of the plants in the planter were replanted in other beds.

The original planter had a false bottom and dirt had collected under there. We removed the old wood and the piles of dirt and leveled the ground to have a good foundation for the new planter.

step 2: build a frame

We constructed the frame for the box.

The frame measures:

8′ long X 24″ high X 20″ deep.

The box was constructed in two parts. We started with this frame for the box and added an addition to the side of the box that was constructed later.

My husband wanted to be sure and let anyone know who is building this that you need to use treated lumber (something we did not do the first time around).

step 3: complete frame and add plywood

Here’s the frame being constructed in place.

See how the brick porch wraps around? That’s why we had to add the addition to the side of the box.

After we finished the frame, we added plywood to the back, front and three of the sides (we left the side next to the addition we were about to construct open).

Last time we didn’t add plywood to the back of the box.

Big mistake.

BIG mistake.

The dirt kind of eroded the brick away. This time we learned and constructed the complete box.

step 4: add addition to side of box

The next step was to complete the rest of the planter to wrap around the base of the porch.

The size of the addition was as follows:

4′ long X 24″ high X 20″ deep.

We built a frame and added plywood to the back, front and three of the sides (we left the side next to the rest of the box open as shown).

step 5: add bottom of box

The next step was to build the bottom of the box.

The bottom of the box is constructed from 1″ x 6″ pieces of treated wood cut width-wise.

We left spaces between the boards for drainage.

The boards were screwed into place with galvanized screws.

step 5: finish out the planter box with molding

We added 2″ x 6″ treated wood pieces to the top of the box.

They were mitered and screwed into place with galvanized screws.

The last step to the building process was to add 1″ x 4″ molding pieces to the front of the planter box to give it that classic Cape Cod look.


The box was constructed and it was time to paint.

step 6: caulk and fill in with wood putty

Make sure your boards are primed and caulk all around the edges where the boards connect.

Use wood putty to fill in any small holes.

Sand smooth.

step 7: paint

Now you’re ready to paint.

I used the Wagner Flexio 5000 Paint Sprayer.

I cannot recommend it ENOUGH! It saves you so much time (especially on a project like this) and the results are so professional and it’s SO EASY to use.

All you do is remove the base, fill with paint (we used exterior white paint for this project) and reattach it.

No messy tubes or trying to connect with paint cans.

Just add paint and go.

Then all you have to do is plug it in.

Turn it on, pull the trigger and spray.

step 8: prepare the planter for planting

We started with a layer of rock in the bottom.

Then we added dirt and tons of plant food to help those flowers grow.

Then we planted several hydrangea bushes and finished it all with mulch.

And now?

The planter went from this.

Here’s me with ocean breezes and the biggest smile because my mother is SO HAPPY.

And me?

I’m happy, too.

We’ve learned so much over these past years and it’s such a joy to build something that lasts. And if we need another planter box in another decade we’ll be ready.

Because my favorite thing that I’ve learned from writing this blog?

If there’s a project?

We are READY.

disclosure: this post was sponsored by Wagner.

All opinions are my own.

Please see my disclosure page for more information.

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  1. Image for Cara Cara

    Love the new planter and the step by step directions make me think even I can do this! I may need this in my flower beds… thanks KariAnne

  2. Image for Katy Katy

    Fabulous!!! You break it down quite well and make it seem “doable” for the novice! Thanks KariAnne!!! You nailed it again! Hugs, Katy

  3. Image for Jan Jan

    KariAnne: Did you get to spend anytime just enjoying the beach and the ocean, it seems like you were DYIing all the time you were there. Love the blue and white paisley top, where did you find that please. Thanks so much, love the new planter wish I had some place to put one. Blessings, Jan

  4. Image for Victoria Mckinney Vareschi Victoria Mckinney Vareschi

    Lovely planter. Need to note that if you are using treated wood, you do not want to plant any thing that would be eaten, (herbs, fruit,s vegetables)

    1. Image for Shirley Meckley Shirley Meckley

      Where do you find the lovely big, gawdy shoes and matching earrings??? I want some. I loved the black earrings and shoes..

  5. Image for Jean Jean

    KariAnne, Love your planter and love Hydrangeas!!!! You worked a lot on Vacation. Did you see the ocean???? You're so smart and energetic!!! I showed the planter to my hubby and he said to save your post. He'll get around one day and try to make one. Thanks for sharing and have a great rest of the summer with the girls and hubby. jean

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