HOW TO BUILD MULTI-USE RAISED BED PLANTERS WITH PRIVACY PANELS
About: I’m always looking for new ways to make things or new things to make. Pretty much I just like being creative – working with power tools, gardening, crafting – I just hate being idle. I’ll probably change this …
I got the idea for my raised bed planters while reading a popular gardening catalog suggesting the use of 30” high raised beds to create “outdoor rooms.” To me rooms have walls, and since I’m short, I really didn’t see the need for planters 30” high. However, I have wanted to fence in my entire yard for quite some time; but found the restrictions for fences in my city limited to the backyard – effectively eliminating the use and privacy of the side yards – not ideal in my opinion. So I decided to build raised beds with an attached privacy screen and set them up around the perimeter of my lot. I plan on making the units in my backyard 64” high (as I am only 60” high and shrinking!) On the side yards I’ll use units 48” high, and in the front yard 32” high. Even though I plan on using cedar, which ends up being more expensive than any fence I would consider, I can build these units over a period of a few years – something you can’t do when fencing in a yard. Additionally, these units are more versatile than a mere fence. The base is roughly 16” high which makes for a great planting depth as well as a terrific height for seating, storage, or even composting. And with horizontal boards up the back, vertical gardening or shelving could be added to any unit desired.
So on with the instructions!!
For a 48”H planter, you will need:
Table Saw, Miter Saw (10” min.), Cordless Drill, Impact Driver, Jigsaw (maybe)
Tape Measure, Square, Clamps, Hack Saw, Claw hammer or Pry bar
#8 1.625” deck screws, 64” perforated angle iron, #10 steel washers, 22 boards 1x4x8’, Water-seal (optional)
Iused 1x4x8’ cedar boards for the entire planter. For a 48” high unit you will need a total of 22 boards. If you choose something other than cedar, just be sure whatever you use is rated for outdoor construction. My first step was to “water-seal” all the boards to help them last even longer, especially since temperatures here (northern Ohio) range from almost 100°F to -20°F; this step is entirely up to you. Rather than suggest any brand names, the choice is yours; I plan on trying a few.
Next I sorted the wood for use on the different areas of the planter. For example, the bases need narrow filler slats to make them “solid” vs. the “open-slatted” back which doesn’t need to be solid to hold in the soil. (You will need 2 boards per planter for the filler slats.) I carefully chose boards with no knots or very small knots to make cutting easier. Also, cutting through knots can lead to breakage, which I like to avoid. Since cedar has a rough side and a smooth side, I prefer to have the rough side facing into my yard, which means my neighbors will see the smooth side; so I chose boards with the best smooth sides for the back of the planter. (A 48” planter needs 12 full boards for the back.) Then I chose the best rough sides for the back vertical supports (1.5 boards) and the front of the planter base (4 full boards). The appearance for the sides (1 full board each) and interior supports (1.33 boards) is not important unless you plan to have the sides exposed.
HOW TO BUILD MULTI-USE RAISED BED PLANTERS WITH PRIVACY PANELS: I got the idea for my raised bed planters while reading a popular gardening catalog suggesting the use of 30” high raised beds to create “outdoor rooms.” To me rooms have walls, and since I’m short, I really didn’t see the need for planters 30” high…