Late Summer Planting Projects

Happy Fourth of July weekend!  I hope everyone had a great time connecting with friends and family, enjoying some free time (and freedom, of course) over the long weekend.  We’ve been busy getting our hands dirty, and learning one very important lesson from one of my favorite television shows, Arrested Development: There’s always money in the plant stand.

Okay, that’s not exactly true. But Dan and I have been on a planting rampage lately.  We missed the beginning of summer with all that’s been going on around here, so now we’re moving into late summer planting projects.

First, we came across this fun metal plant stand at a garage sale.

It cost just $2, so of course I convinced Dan to buy it. I already had visions of Rustoleum spray paint dancing in my head, brainstorming what I could do with this glorious new plant stand. In my wild and wonderful dreams, I’ve envisioned it as a bar in the backyard, winter wonderland porch display, and of course, its actual purpose: a plant stand.

While I let my imagination run wild, I decided it was time for another episode of Spray Painting with Creating Krista. We headed to Home Depot and snagged a can of Rustoleum’s painter and primer in navy blue for $4. I thought this color could work well with the designs in both the front and back yards (plus I just love navy).

In preparing the plant stand for paint, we laid out cardboard on the driveway. We started by removing the doors and putting wax paper underneath the shelves so that wet paint wouldn’t get them stuck together.

The spray painting process involved two coats for each side, including the doors (totalling six to eight total rounds of spray painting). It took us about a week to get it all done since we had to wait 30 minutes between coats in good weather. This, plus the fact that we don’t have a lot of disposable time, made things take longer.

After we finished painting, it was time for the most exciting part: decorating. I’ve struggled for a long time to find ways to keep the porch updated every season, especially in winter, so I think the plant stand will help me get more creative in less flower-friendly seasons.  For summer, we decided to make use of our many succulents, so they took up a lot of space on the shelves.  We actually had almost all of these plants lying around the house, so it was easy to get things started.  It also helped to bring our indoor plants outside to make some room in our currently-being-renovated-kitchen.  I just wanted some light, bright pots and fun, varied flowers to run rampant on the porch.

The second round of our planting party took place over a longer time span.  Dan and I had been eyeing planters like these DIY ones from Bower Power since the beginning of summer, but we put off the project for a few weeks.  Finally it was time to get things started and build these bad boys.  Dan will tell you a little bit about that part of the project.

Krista and I were perusing Home Depot and we saw two wooden planter boxes for $30 each.  We weren’t impressed with the price or how they looked so I convinced Krista that I could knock out my own planter boxes in a day or two for almost no cost.  We decided that we would paint them which would allow us to use cheap wood that doesn’t have any protection against the weather.  Otherwise, I’d have to build the boxes out of cedar which is naturally protected against the elements.

I figured the easiest way to build the boxes would be to make four legs out of a 2×4 and connect them with walls from plywood.  The 2×4 in the picture above was a scrap piece just lying around in the workshop.  The boxes were 12″ tall so the 2×4 was around 50″ long.


The first step was to cut the rounded edge off the sides which I quickly did on the table saw.  Then I cut the wood into two squarish lengths, with a thin scrap that I’d use later for trim.  After cutting the 2×4 into three pieces, I trimmed the top and bottom to get them as close to square as I could get.  This was a very rough job and normally I’d use some more tools to get the angles to perfect 90 degrees, but for this project it didn’t matter.

With the two lengths roughly square, I cut two grooves down the full length.  The sides were 1/4″ plywood so I cut the grooves to a hair wider than 1/4″ to accept the plywood, ultimately fitting the pieces together like a puzzle.  That plywood was actually leftover pieces from the floating shelves, so I conveniently didn’t need to buy any materials.


With the grooves cut, I crosscut the wood into eight 12″ pieces, four legs for each planter.


To make the sides, I cut the plywood sheets into rectangles, about 12″ wide and 11″ tall and glued them into the legs.  I also glued and nailed a small bracket to the inside bottom to hold the bottom piece which would just rest in place.


Putting the the boxes together was just a matter of putting all the plywood into the sides and then clamping everything tight until it dried.  Wood glue is very strong so no screws or nails were needed.  This creates a much cleaner look than nailing or screwing them together.


To hide the groove on the top, I took the last scrap piece from the 2×4 and cut miters (45 degree cuts, like on a picture frame), and glued them together.  I had to do a lot of sanding because I didn’t do a particularly good job getting everything flat.  If you’re scratching you’re head wondering how I made two trim pieces like the one above out of a single 50″ long piece of scrap, the answer is that I didn’t.  Luckily I have a seemingly endless supply of 2x4s hiding in the garage so I cut another thin strip for the other box.


To attach the top I just used glue and clamps.


The bottoms of the boxes were 3/4″ plywood, that also happened to be lying around somewhere on the ground.  I cut them into octagons so that I could fit them into the boxes.  If I had simply cut them into squares, I would have had to put the bottoms in the boxes before the trim was glued in place.

After Dan was finished building them, we went out and bought two disposable paint brushes (I chose 2.5 inch ones for this project) from Ace Hardware.  I chose disposable, cheap brushes for two reasons: first, this was a pretty simple paint job that didn’t need to be too precise.  Second, we don’t currently have a kitchen sink in which to rinse these brushes (I’m filing this under things they don’t tell you about your kitchen renovation, which is a post in the works).

We bought some flat white paint and primer in one from Home Depot for about $14.  As usual, I changed into my painting clothes and laid cardboard down all over the driveway.  I began by painting the insides of each planter first – even though no one will see the insides of the planters, we still felt like it was important to protect them from the elements.  I didn’t have to be too careful, but the amount of surface area of each planter, coupled with waiting in between coats, took a few hours total.

I love the square look of these planters, especially the trim.  I decided to take advantage of the remaining Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue color that we used when painting our bedroom a year and a half ago, and I just decorated the trim with a little pop of color.  After painting, we picked out two sun-loving flowers at Home Depot: Speedwell and Dark Knight.  Dan did some research and found that you can simply line your planters with a garbage bag to provide cover for the soil and to hold in moisture.  We drilled a hole in the bottom of each planter to allow water to drain and then stuffed a garbage bag inside, wrapping it around the outside as well, making it nice and taut.

I then took a staple gun and stapled the garbage bag underneath the trim on the top of the planter. I stapled the bag three times on each side, focusing on the corners.  Then I folded the bag back inside the planter, so it acted as a liner of sorts.

After we were done with this, we filled the bags with soil and placed each of the two plants in each planter, nice and snug.

Of course, there’s always time for the big reveal.

How darn cute is this DIY wooden planter?  Sometimes, the simpler the design, the better.  It’s been a great fourth of July weekend: me, Dan, and lots of plant stands.


2 thoughts on “Late Summer Planting Projects

  1. Glad you like it, Sue! I love plants too, but Dan is especially a garden fiend. Even though summer is well underway, it’s still totally worth planting and displaying nice flowers!

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