Mateo Londono is a longtime contributor to the Krrb blog, and creates many do-it- yourself garden pieces. Mateo writes about projects, such as building planters, for Home Depot online. If you are planning to build your own planter, and are researching which flowers to plant, you can find a large selection on the Home Depot website. For many other DIY projects to review, you can click here.
By Mateo Londono
It’s planting season! There’s no better time to build a beautifully patterned end-grain planter to house long-lasting perennials for the coming years. This planter offers both beauty and durability because the end-grain pattern shows off the spiraling growth rings of the tree, which are naturally scratch-resistant.
Following this DIY, you’ll be able to create your own end-grain planter that accentuates the composition of wood in a charming package.
What you will need
2″ x 12″ x 3″ pine wood board
Circular saw/band Saw/table Saw
Sanding sheets (150 and 220 Grit)
Titebond III wood glue
(3) Large clamps
2 ½” GRK trim screws
Quart of Varathane wood stain in Antique White
1’ x 2′ Union Jack metal sheet
(4) 1″ Gripper pads
Push points or regular wood screws
Wood filler (optional)
Steel wire brush (optional)
(3) Small perennials
The best thing about this project is that it doesn’t require more than one piece of lumber, because this DIY is all about the end-grain! To get started, you’ll want to make sure your wood is level and sanded smooth. Try to avoid wood with lots of knots and holes as these may weaken and distort the final piece.
Safety First: When using power tools, always wear protective gear and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Using a circular saw (or band saw), start sawing off slices from the end of the wood about 1½ inches thick from the end. I stopped when I had 16 long slices, but you can always cut more for a larger planter.
Next, you’ll want to start arranging the pieces of wood in an alternating pattern with the end-grain up. Not only will this provide strength to the planter and dissuade warping, but it will end up adding unique character to the finished planter.
Now it’s time to glue! Just as if you were making a cutting board, apply glue liberally to the face sides of the pieces and clamp them together. Since a planter requires four sides, I glued 12 of the slices together for the sides of the planter and then the remaining four slices together for the ends.
Use three or more clamps positioned along the edges and middle to ensure a secure glue job. Clean up any residual glue and let it dry overnight.
The next day, you can begin cleaning up the edges of the glued board with a circular saw or table saw. You want clean edges so that the finished planter will end up square and level. Use a combination square or other straight edge to make sure your cuts are precise.
Next, rip both boards in half providing you with two sides and two end pieces. Attach them together using the 2½-in GRK trim screws along the corners. Be sure to always pre-drill if you are screwing into end-grain. Apply a little wood filler to the screw holes and let this dry overnight.
For a smooth and all even-color finish, use the orbital sander to sand the end-grain to a 220 grit and any visible face sides to 120 grit. Apply the antique white stain onto the planter and wipe it off after letting it penetrate into the wood for a few minutes.
Repeat the process for a few more coats and let the planter dry overnight. The next day, completely sand the planter again using the 220 grit sanding sheets. This final sanding will reveal the end-grain pattern and make all the work worth it!
For the inside of the planter where the sander can’t reach, use a steel wire brush to bring out the wood grain and add some rustic texture. Now, to finish the planter you’ll need to add the bottom which will hold the perennials securely and allow for drainage.
I used a metal aluminum sheet in the Union Jack pattern because the pattern is a good balance of strength and beauty. Cut the sheet to size using tin snips and position over the bottom of the wood planter. Use the gripper pads to secure the metal sheet to the wood planter by screwing the pads along the four corners. The gripper pads act as small feet that keep the planter elevated and away from water.
To add more stability to the base, add push points or wood screws along the sides firmly securing the metal sheet.
The final step, of course, is to add your perennials to the newly crafted staggered end-grain planter. Perennials need lots of sunshine, so park this planter in your garden and enjoy it for years to come!