When Handan asked me to build two planters to put between the garage doors, I jumped on the idea. Finally, I could build something again! Look, don’t get me wrong – mailbox makeovers, lamp post makeovers, pantry makeovers – yeah, they’re all well and good, but Jeezum Crow, I wanted to make, not makeover! So, yeah, I was excited. While she carried on yapping about the ferns she wanted to put in them and god-knows-what-else, I was hightailing it into my office to fire up my computer and get designing!
When it comes to simple carpentry projects, you can’t beat Sketchup for the design phase. It has a bit of a learning curve, but once you master the basics, you can design almost anything that pops into your head.
So with a head full of ideas, I got to work.
I worked like a man possessed. It had been so long! I embraced the creative process and watched my brainchild flourish on the monitor. This was exactly where I wanted to be. This was exactly what I wanted to be doing!
Garden posts? Get lost!
Makeovers? Move over!
Recipes – BAH! No one reads ’em anyway!
Travel? Take a hike!
Soon, I’d have glue on my hands! (and on my clothes)
Soon, I’d have stain on my hands! (and on my clothes)
Soon, the sawdust would fly! (and get in my nose)
What a time to be alive!
It seemed like only minutes had passed when I finished my design. It was brilliant. I had designed the greatest planter in the history of great planters. It was a glorious creature of cedar and green glass and jute, and at its heart lay a single solar light whose rays would filter through the translucent glass and glow softly throughout the night.
Plants would thrive within its bosom. Animals would worship at its feet. Celebrities would bring me offerings of the finest meats and cheeses and invite me to their private country clubs. More likely than not, I’d get several calls from HGTV asking if I would please star in a show, or no, better yet, would I please accept the CEO position at the network?
I couldn’t wait to show it to Handan. I dashed off a copy and stumbled outside like a drunken sailor chasing a beer.
“MY BABES!” I bellowed into the back yard. Where the hell was that woman?
A head popped up from the daylilies and swiveled around like a meerkat sensing danger.
Ah, there she was!
“My babes!” I said, breathless. “Look!” I thrust the paper towards her head and shook it around.
I danced back and forth on my toes like a child who has to pee. “What do you think?” I was about to burst with excitement! I could smell the endorsements! I might even get invited to dinner at The White House!
“My babes,” Handan said, and my hopes melted into the hazy August afternoon. Then she gave me The Look, and I felt myself sinking into the ground. I stared up at her from 20 feet down.
“My babes, I asked for a planter, not an alien spaceship.” The Look persisted. “People need to be able to build this. It’s going to be a tutorial, remember?”
“Oh,” I said from the depths of the Earth. “Okay, my babes.”
I climbed up out of my hole and trudged back to my computer, back hunched, head hung low, arms dangling in front of me.
I sat in my chair and looked at my creation. I held the pointer above the delete button, but I did not press it. Instead, I saved it and filed it away for another time. The world is just not ready for that planter.
Someday I will build it. But until that day, I had to knuckle down and design a planter that anyone could build (well, anyone with a Kreg Jig, anyway).
Okay. I could do that. And I could still make it beautiful.
I set to work…
Note: I designed this planter to be built from cedar 2 x 4s and 1 x 4s. In fact, I used cedar 2 x 4s and pine 1 x 4s. You can build them from whatever you wish, just be sure to protect any wood that is not cedar or redwood. I applied a few coats of satin polyurethane to my pine boards. I am not going to document process of cutting, staining and drilling Kreg screws in this post so we can get right to the good stuff: building! I will include a materials list, a cut sheet and a pocket screw diagram, so you’ll have all the information you’ll need to tackle this project.
Okay, let’s start with my Sketchup drawings. Though I had to pare back on the glass, rope, ethereal lighting and all other alien spaceship elements, I still managed to bang out a decent design. I incorporated some blue-stained wood to give a little contrast.
I designed these not only to fit between our garage doors (15 inches) but also to accept a standard plastic planter pot from Home Depot. The pot sits on the ledge 1 1/2 below the rim.
This is the front…
And the sides…
For each planter, you will need:
- (3) cedar 2 x 4s
- (3) cedar 1 x 4s. You will also need
- (52) 2 1/2 inch Blue-Kote Kreg screws,
- (160) 1 1/4 inch Blue-Kote Kreg screws and
- Wood glue
- Brad nailer and brad nails, or a hammer and some thin finishing nails.
If you plan to make two planters, double the amounts given above.
Note: the actual dimensions of a 2 x 4 are 1 1/2 x 3 1/2, and the actual dimensions of a 1 x 4 are 3/4 x 3 1/2. I will refer to them as “2 x 4” and “1 x 4” on the cut list, but keep the actual measurements in mind in case you need to alter the dimensions.
(4) 2 x 4 x 34 1/2
(6) 2 x 4 x 11
(6) 2 x 4 x 7
(12) 1 x 4 x 11
(12) 1 x 4 x 7
(2) 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 15
(2) 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 12
Drill your pocket screw holes according to the following diagram. It is the same pattern for the 11 inch boards (shown below) and the 7 inch boards. Don’t worry about some arrows being black and some clear. Sketchup likes to shade everything, and depending on how you turn the model, the arrows change color.
Click on ‘Page 2 of 3’ below to continue.