Pack a lot of plants into a balcony garden or other small space with this DIY planter holder. The frame holds up to five long baskets you can fill with decorative plants, herbs or vegetables.
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When selecting material for this project, choose the straightest available boards. Pressure-treated lumber can hold a substantial amount of water that, when it evaporates, causes a board to bend or warp. If time allows, store boards flat with weight on top until the surface feels dry to the touch. If you plan to use your planter to grow vegetables or herbs, consider replacing the treated lumber with cedar of the same dimensions.
Cut the two 2 x 4s to 72 inches long. Place the two vertical posts (D) side by side on edge with the ends flush and clamp them together. Refer to the Vertical Garden Planter Project Diagram and mark the locations of the baluster connectors. Then use a square to mark both 2 x 4 edges. Mark the center (3/4 inch from the edges) of each line. Remove the clamps.
If both vertical posts have a slight bow, mark the edges so that boards will curve in the same direction on the assembled upright. In future steps, assemble and mount the upright on the feet so that the bow leans toward the back of the planter. The weight of the planters will partially help straighten the boards.
At each mark on the edges of the vertical posts (D), drill a 1/8-in pilot hole. Then screw a baluster connector to a post at each location (Vertical Garden Planter Project Diagram).
The baluster connectors are adjustable to accept balusters at an angle or perpendicular to the wood. Follow the package directions to adjust each connector for a perpendicular installation.
Lay the vertical posts on a flat surface about 27 inches apart with the connectors facing each other and the ends flush. (Use loose balusters just touching the ends of the connectors as spacers.) Adjust clamps loosely against the outside edges of the posts to keep them from accidentally spreading apart. Slide the aluminum balusters loosely onto the connectors and tighten the clamps to hold them in place.
Sliding balusters onto the connectors can be tricky. Push one end of a baluster completely on a connector on one side. Align the other end with the opposite connector and slide it halfway onto that one, allowing the baluster to hang suspended between the vertical posts.
Lay an oversize 1 x 4 board across the vertical posts at the top end. Align one end of the 1 x 4 flush with the outside edge of a post. Mark where the opposite outside edge meets the 1 x 4 and cut the 1 x 4 to length for the cross support (E).
Drill 1/8-inch pilot holes in the cross support and fasten it to the vertical posts with 2-inch deck screws (Vertical Garden Planter Project Diagram). Repeat the previous step and this one for the other cross support, which is mounted 3-1/2 inches from the bottom ends of the vertical posts. Remove the clamps.
Because treated lumber is so wet, you may need to attach the pieces without the help of exterior wood glue. If the wood is dry enough that a drop of water sinks into the bare surface instead of beading up, reinforce the joint with glue.
Measure the width of the 2 x 4 vertical posts. Cut the base fronts and backs (A) to the width of the posts plus 1-1/2 inches. Then cut the sides (B) to length and drill 1/8-inch pilot holes for the inside supports (C) and vertical posts (D) where shown (Vertical Garden Planter Project Diagram).
With three 1 x 4s, you will have enough material to cut around knots in the wood. Avoid cutting any parts with knots or defects at the ends.
Drill 1/8-inch pilot holes in the fronts and backs (A) and clamp them to the sides (B) while you align the pieces. Drive 2-inch screws to assemble one base. Repeat for the other base.
Measure between inside faces of the sides and cut the inside supports (C) to length. Place an inside support between the sides and 6-1/8 inches from the base back (A). Screw the inside support to the sides. Use a scrap piece of 2 x 4 as a spacer to position the second inside support and screw it in place. Repeat for the other base.
If you decide to stain the planter, apply two coats of solid-color stain to the vertical posts and assembled bases. Let dry overnight.
Arrange the bases on a flat surface with the pilot holes for the vertical posts facing each other. Stand the vertical posts in the bases and screw the bases to the posts with 3-inch deck screws.
Add lightweight potting soil and plants to a planter basket and hang it from one of the balusters using hooks on the back of the basket. Repeat for the remaining baskets.