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


Anonymous Coward (not verified)

Thu, 11/29/2012 - 06:16

If you use the wider cloth sold as weed control for under mulches you can make wider beds. It also holds dirt in better than hardware cloth.

With these beds, you really HAVE TO have a good watering system and use potting soil mix that holds water, because they are shallow and exposed top and bottom.

In reply to by Anonymous Coward (not verified)


Thu, 11/29/2012 - 06:27

Making these larger would probably not be a good idea...the dirt is very heavy and the boxes will not last as long. You would somehow have to add more legs to hold all the dirt. So bigger isn't better. Hardware cloth is the best solution because it is galvanized and will last as long as the cedar will last. weed control cloth is not strong enough to support the dirt and will only last a couple years. Use hardware cloth...if you did want to make bigger it comes in all different widths and sizes. I have 6 of these and have make about 10 for other people. Mine are holding up wonderfully and I do not have any watering system. Good drainage is best with I am getting a wonderful abundance of vegetables directly related to the fact these have great drainage and the plants are not sitting in water after a good rain. I'm sorry but with all due respect I do not suggest any change in size or the hardware cloth. I have lost no dirt at all....on the last garden I didn't even use compost as a first layer, I just added garden soil and lost very little when installed. The soil compacts it's self. These are wonderful gardens for elderly people.


Mon, 04/27/2020 - 11:30

I don't agree that making these larger is not a good idea. I have made 8 of these beds (6 for our local elementary school garden and 2 as gifts) that are 8' x 4' and they are holding up very well, even out here at the coast. I make mine with 6 legs, 32" tall, so it takes more slats and more bolts, hardware cloth and screws, but having the larger size makes gardening a breeze for folks of all ages and abilities. These generally take me 2 hours to make, once all my cuts are made. Since the cuts are mostly cutting 8' lengths in half, that part goes pretty quickly as well. The legs take the longest, but this is a great, simple plan for a few hours work that will last several years. I did change one thing on the original, besides the size: I do not put the bolt guides in, that was a disaster my first time out. I just drill and bolt the legs on. With those large bolts, the guides really aren't necessary.

Carmxo (not verified)

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 09:36

Thx for the plans! I've been planning to create something similar once we've settled into our new place. I suspect the soil here is fairly heavily contaminated from pesticide use so raised beds with controlled soil is definitely the way to go. Also this avoids hungry bunnies and other critters too :-).

I had considered using tote-type bins in similar stands but I love your hardware cloth idea. Do you cover them in the winter to preserve the soil? Have you had any problems with high winds? These are things I've been wondering about as I plan.

Thx again and I'll post again when I've built some - definitely before spring!

In reply to by Carmxo (not verified)


Fri, 11/30/2012 - 20:07

I only cover mine when I do not have anything growing, I cover with black trash bags opened up and tucked down the sides, a bit like you would water bed sheets. I do this so weeds do not grow in my beds. Because of the weight of the soil I have not had any problems with wind knocking them over. These things are really sturdy with those 4x4 legs. I absolutely love mine and will be making more...I'm getting more vegetables than I ever have in any other garden box. Good luck. I will tell you that it cost me about the same to make 3 as it did to make one. I made sure to buy the hardware cloth large enough for three this made it cheaper. You can get 3 legs from one 4x4 post so if you buy 4 posts you have 12 legs.

In reply to by Debbie Mmm (not verified)


Mon, 02/25/2013 - 15:56

These supplies only make one. However you will end up with 3 extra legs. It is more economical to make 3 because you only need 4 - 4x4 cedar/fir post and these are the most expensive supply. increase all the other supplies by 3 and only purchase 4 posts.

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