Counter Height Garden Boxes by Janet Fox

Submitted by Janettx on Sun, 11/25/2012 - 08:19
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Counter Height Garden box are easy to build and great for those of us that just can't get down on the ground any longer. These would make a wonderful present for your mother or grandmother. You can build three for nearly the price of one so consider 3 family or friends that might want these. I have 6 for myself and absolutely love them. Absolutely do not us Treated Lumber. This will defeat the purpose of having a healthy garden and healthy vegetable. So don't skimp here.
If you use 4x4x12 making three will be more economical because you end up with enough 4x4 to cut three extra legs with this project.   If you use 4x4x8 you just end up with a bit of waste.
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Counter Height Garden Box by Janet Fox
I was inspired to make this project because I love to garden but have neuropathy in my extremities making it very difficult to get off the ground once there. I have made myself 6 of these and am so pleased that I thought I'd share the pattern. perfect cuts are unnecessary as long as you are within 1/4 inch you will be okay.

24" x 48" x 32"


Shopping List

2 - 4x4x12 fir or cedar post (fir is cheaper and lasts nearly as long) 2 - 1x8x8 cedar boards 2 - 1x3x8 cedar boards 1 - roll of 1/4" hardware cloth 50x24" (make sure to get hardware cloth with 1/4" holes, 1/2 inch is too large and all your dirt will fall through) 16 - 2 inch 14-20 hex bolts 16 - washers 16 - Threaded inserts ( 12 - 1 1/2 inch brass or galvanized screws

Cut List

Legs: cut the 4x4's into 4 - 32 inch legs Sides: cut one of the 1x8x8 into 2 - 48 inch lengths Ends: Cut one of the 1x8x8 into 2 - 24 inch lengths Bottom slats: cut the 2 - 1x3x8 into 6 24 inch lengths Bottom hardware cloth: cut the hardware cloth into a 24x50 inch rectangle.

Cutting Instructions

Counter Height Garden Boxes by Janet Fox

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Miter Saw
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

the picture above is just so you can see me marking the 4x4 legs. I actually mark them in the standing position. update: I cut all pieces out and assembled the bed using one or two pin nails on each side of the leg to hold together...I then used a hand drill to drill the three or two holes(which ever you decide on) onto each side piece only going through the the side piece and only marking the legs. The leg holes really need to be drilled as straight as possible and at the depth you need for your bolts. I used a drill press to make sure of the depth and that the holes are very straight to except the thread inserts. You can read the bit below for other info but I would definitely use the hand drill for marking the legs. Drill your three holes in the 1x8 pieces then place them against the 4x4 pieces in the location they need to be(I set up all the pieces and number the legs and the boards and draw arrow for the top on the boards for later reference then using one pin nail on each side to hold it all together I mark where the holes will go on the legs) and using a center punch hammer into each hole marking the 4x4 so you can drill the corresponding holes. I used all 1/4-20 screws and I used E-Z LOK threaded inserts instead of drilling all the way through the 4x4. I made sure that I drilled the hole deep enough in the 4x4 so that when I inserted the thread and bolted the sides on I would be able to screw them on tight.

Step 2

He is an image of the planter upside down with the 1x8 bolted into place

Step 3

Attaching the hardware cloth. I made sure that when the planter was together that it was no more then 24 inch wide this way the hardware cloth would fit the width without me having to sew together or cutting down the width. I only had to cut the length because I purchase hardware wire that was 24 inches wide by 25 feet long. I can make 6 planters with this one roll of hardware wire.

Step 4

close up of how staple the hardware cloth around the legs.

Step 5

Step 6

placing the slats equal distances apart and screwing into the bottom using two screws in each end of each slat.

Step 7

The planter turned right side up

Step 8

another close up

Step 9

used coconut cloth in the bottom however you could use newspaper, compost or anything that isn't harmful to the soil and your plants to keep the dirt in.

Step 10

And this is how my garden grows.

Project Type



Sun, 05/01/2016 - 14:17

I had to use longer hex screws.  The wood I used is actually 2" thick.  I use rough sawn lumber which is not treated (hemlock) for my gardens and line the boxes (it's wider and longer than finished lumber), after using the coconut coir, with landscape fabric which helps the wood last longer.  I bought 4 inch screws and put the inserts in the 4x4s (I drilled through the 2x12 lined up with the 4x4, then pushed the 2x12 aside and drilled into the 4x4 another two inches pulling out the wood shavings with each drilling to help the inserts go in better).  I offset the opposing screws and inserts so they wouldn't chance hitting each other.  It doesn't look so pretty, but I'm more for functionality than beauty!

Rachelle W

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 13:46

These look amazingly simple to make.  I built a small garden enclosure (10' x 10') at the end of my yard this summer, and have plans to triple the area next year.  I'd love to build some counter-height boxes, but that end of the yard is a low-point, and over an underground stream, so it can end up under several inches of water after a heavy or sustained rainfall.  The current construction is cinder blocks (border, with flowering ornamentals to attract pollinators), a raised bed made from a pre-fabricated resin kit, and about 3" of pea gravel, surrounded by chicken wire to keep the bunnies out.

I'm thinking that, if I build the boxes on legs, I can do away with the chicken wire.  But....that wet ground has me concerned about the integrity of the wooden legs.  I can get free used tires from the city - has anyone ever tried omitting the legs and using tires as "pedestals"?  I'm thinking 2-3 under the length of the middle would provide enough support for the dirt - but don't know if the tires themselves would be able to handle the load. Maybe if they're filled with river rock or broken concrete first?

Alternatively, I suppose we could install some makeshift PVC "risers", using a couple of diameters of pipe sunk into the ground. 

Also, if another layer of 8" boards is attached to the legs to deepen the soil, how would you suggest sealing the cracks between them to keep soil from sifting out? would a strip of landscape cloth stapled to the boards on either side do the trick?  I'd like to grow some root vegetables next year, but think they probably need at least 12-16" of soil to grow in.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.


Tue, 06/21/2016 - 10:10

There are cement piramids in the decking area of the stores.They hold 4 x 4s They are used for building a floating deck and would work for you. 8" boards are deep enough for 6" carrots and deep enough for potatoes.I have grown both with good results.


Mon, 09/20/2021 - 13:42

I'd love to see your finished gardens! I think all your ideas will work. As for gaps in the wood.... the soil compacts so well that I never lost hardly any, not even when I first put it in. You could put a layer of newsprint along the sides for the first fill but after you water and over time it will just compact and you'll never have to worry about loosing dirt.


Sat, 03/18/2017 - 05:36

Not sure why my name is not included but these are my original plans not Ana White plans.  

I hope you enjoy your new Counter Height Garden Boxes by Janet Fox


Wed, 03/07/2018 - 09:20

Do you have any issues with slats failing since you are screwing into the side of the 1X8?  I am worried about being able to support the weight of all the soil and water.  Would you suggest anything different if I were going to build a planter that was 3 ft wide?


Thank you

In reply to by roxyloop24


Mon, 09/20/2021 - 13:49

The wire actually keeps the dirt in but yes if you don't get them screwed in well then they can fall off. I had to get under one and redo the screws. Another idea would be to use 1x1 on the bottom of all four 1x6 and put the slats on top of those but I'd still do the hardware cloth over that for support.


Fri, 06/05/2020 - 12:55

Hi, I'm going to try to do this next week but I'm a little bit lost on the size of hex bolts, washers and staples used. Do you mind linking them?

Thank you very much for this plans!!

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