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A Container Garden for All Seasons

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Boost your home's curb appeal with a container garden. Follow the step-by-step woodworking instructions, then see the suggested plantings for each season.

A Container Garden for Winter Season

Project Overview

Skill Level

Beginner

Estimated Time

1 weekend

Estimated Cost

$$$$$$

Tools & Materials

Tools

  • Compound miter saw
  • Circular saw
  • Plywood-cutting circular saw blade
  • Metal-cutting circular saw blade
  • Jigsaw
  • 3- to 4-inch-long plywood-cutting jigsaw blade
  • Pocket-hole jig (Kreg jig)
  • Drill/driver
  • #8 countersink and pilot bit
  • Random orbit sander
  • Clamps
  • Tape measure
  • Combination square
  • Pencil
  • Paint brush
  • Aviation tin snips (straight cut)
  • Metal file

Materials

  • 5 (1x4x8-foot) pressure-treated pine boards (#201711)
  • 2 (2x2x8-foot) pressure-treated pine boards (#204231)
  • 1 (2x4x8-foot) pressure-treated pine (#46905)
  • 1 (1/2x4x8-foot) pressure-treated plywood (#202760 -- may be sold locally as 15/32-inch plywood)
  • Kreg 100-pack 1-1/4-inch wood pocket-hole screws (#205317)
  • 1-1/4-inch and 2-inch exterior wood screws (#123462, #123524)
  • #17x1-inch galvanized wire nails (#90493)
  • 8 ft. galvanized steel corrugated roof panel (#12473)
  • Liquid Nails silicone adhesive (#239057)
  • 1 quart MAXIMUM Olympic Solid Opaque exterior stain (#22598)

Does not include taxes, which vary by market, or the cost of tools. Pricing for commodity items such as plywood may vary due to market conditions. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

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Project Resources

Instructions

This project uses pocket-hole joinery for assembly. For about a $40 investment (Kreg jig, #255535), you can assemble this and other woodworking projects. In addition to speed and accuracy, pocket-hole joinery offers three advantages: the screw pockets are generally hidden on the inside of the case, screws are matched to the material, and the mechanical strength of the joints mean you can assemble without glue.

Cut the Parts and Assemble the Frames

Step 1

step 1 instructions

Begin by cutting end stiles (A), end rails (B), front/back stiles (C), and front/back rails (D) to width and length. (We ripped our parts to width with a table saw and crosscut the parts to length with a compound miter saw.)

Good to Know

If you don't have a large vehicle to transport a 4x8-foot sheet of plywood or don't have access to a power saw that will make a straight cut, a Lowe's associate will cut pieces to size with a panel saw. The saw station is generally located near sheet goods (plywood) in the lumber department.

Step 2

stop block illustration

Using the same power saws, cut the legs (G). To cut parts to equal lengths, use a stop block as shown in the drawing.

Step 3

Drill pocket holes illustration

With a circular saw or table saw and plywood-cutting blade, cut the front/back panel (E), end panel (F), and bottom (J) from 1/2-inch exterior plywood. With a jigsaw, notch the bottom. Drill 1/2-inch-diameter drain holes in the bottom panel as shown in the drawing.

Use a Kreg jig to drill pocket holes in the end stiles (A) and front/back stiles (C). Assemble the four frames with 1-1/4-inch pocket-hole screws.

Join the Frames

Step 1

project illustrations

Using one-handed bar clamps or a helper to secure the pieces, assemble the four frames with 1-1/4-inch pocket-hole screws.

Step 2

With one-handed bar clamps, clamp the front/back panels (E) to the frames. Use a combination square to check for square. Then use a #8 countersink and pilot bit to drill through the plywood and into the front/back frames. Attach with #17x1-inch galvanized nails as shown in Step 3 on the illustration above. Repeat the process to attach the end panels (F) to the end frames.

Step 3

Next, taper one end of each leg (G) as shown in Drawing 3 on the illustration above. (We penciled the taper line, then cut the taper with a jigsaw.)

Step 4

With the help of clamps, use a #8 countersink and pilot bit to drill holes through the legs and into the frames as shown in Step 4 on the illustration above. Install the legs with 2-inch exterior screws.

Step 5

Measure the openings for the front/back inside cleats (H) and end cleats (I). Set two of each part aside. Install the front/back inside cleats (H) and end cleats (I) as shown in Step 5 on the illustration above. To ensure a level installation, use clamps and a combination square. Drill countersinks and pilot holes as previously described.

Step 6

Install the bottom with 1-1/4-inch exterior screws as shown in Step 6 on the illustration above.

Attach Top Cleats and Trim Pieces

Step 1

project illustration

As shown in Step 7 on the illustration to the right, attach front/back inside cleats (G) and end cleats (H) to the top of the container. Use clamps and a #8 countersink and pilot bit as previously described.

Step 2

Cut the front/back top trim (K) and end top trim (L) to width. Before mitering the ends, use a tape measure to check the dimensions of the container top. Cut the 45-degree miters with a compound miter saw or table saw.

Step 3

Assemble the frame with the Kreg jig. Then, install the trim pieces using the steps previously described. (Notice that the screws enter from the inside; this method of hiding screws means the container will better stand up to the elements and provide a clean, sophisticated look. And no screw or nail holes to fill!)

Paint the Container and Add Metal Trim

Step 1

Using a random orbit sander, sand the exterior of the container with 80-grit sandpaper. Then, apply two coats of exterior opaque stain.


Step 2

Before cutting the galvanized corrugated panels, measure each panel to ensure a snug fit. Because the corrugation runs the length of the sheet, you will need to splice two pieces for each of the long sides. You should have two 18x12 pieces that overlap by three inches, approximately.


Good to Know

To crosscut the corrugated material, you'll have best results by mounting a metal-cutting 7-inch saw blade in your circular saw. Clamp a straightedge such as a 1x8 to the metal.

Step 3

Now, test the fit of the metal panels into each recess, wearing protective gloves to avoid cutting yourself on sharp edges. When you're satisfied with the fit, remove each panel, apply Liquid Nails silicone adhesive to the back of the panels, fit in place, and seal seams of the spliced pieces on the long sides.

Fill the Container and Add Seasonal Plants

Step 1

Spring container garden

We filled the container with two 50-pound bags of topsoil (2 cubic feet each) and then added seasonal plants.

SPRING

Start the year with a dwarf evergreen surrounded by spring companions that include a mix of bulbs and beautiful cool-season standouts.(photo above)

A. Dwarf Alberta spruce
B. Tulip
C. English ivy
D. Pansy
E. Hyacinth

Step 2

Summer container garden

SUMMER

Celebrate summer with a festive mix of red, white, and blue -- the perfect complement to our national colors.

A. Dwarf Alberta spruce
B. Petunia
C. Blue lobelia
D. Verbena
E. English ivy

Step 3

Fall container garden

FALL

Welcome fall with a harvest-hued medley of mums, asters, and leafy vegetables.

A. Dwarf Alberta spruce
B. Chrysanthemum
C. Ornamental kale
D. Ornamental cabbage
E. English ivy

Step 4

Winter container garden

WINTER

Go with a no-fuss design for winter using evergreen boughs and festive ornaments.

A. Dwarf Alberta spruce