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



Fri, 05/31/2013 - 04:34

There is a new product out there called TimberSil, I haven't seen it but it might be available there. You want to stay away from treated lumber unless you can find something treated in an eco friendly manor. You can use pine but for garden sides I would use 2 inch thick material. It will not last as long as one made using cedar or fir but it might give you a few years. Or you could use what you can find then line the whole garden with something so that the wood chemicals are not seeping into your soil.


Wed, 03/27/2013 - 14:59

We live in the desert SW where we get hardly any rain. How would you recommend we water our counter height garden beds? We currently have a system running along the ground, not buried. Should we just raise these hoses to the height of the beds?

In reply to by widget43


Wed, 03/27/2013 - 15:55

You could run a drip hose up one of the legs but I just go out and water everyday or every other day depending on the heat. I generally do it in the morning before work. It's a great way to use left over bath water if you're trying to conserve water. If you have a window near the tub use a siphon hose and just siphon the water into your gardens.

Sticks in the Mud

Wed, 04/03/2013 - 17:18

Hi! Great plans. We are going to make these this weekend. I was just curious as to why you used the threaded inserts vs. just screws. I have never used them so just wondering about the benefits.



Wed, 04/03/2013 - 17:29

First is because it is cheaper than purchasing long bolts and nuts, and then it was easier to drill holes the length of my 2 inch bolts versus drilling all the way through (takes a long drill bit) and also since most of the bolt is hidden I felt they would last longer. I did first start with the long bolts until I found these thread inserts. Your bolts and threads need to be 1/4-20's. Screws would be a poor option, since you are spending so much on cedar so that they will last for about 8 years screws tend to work their way out of wood and get stripped out eventually and with bolts you can just give a check up at the beginning of each year and tighten if necessary where screws will loose this ability after a few years. My gardens are a couple years old now and I've not had to tighten them yet. Grainger is the cheapest place to get these threads otherwise you pay for a pack of 8 and that's just not cheap. So if you can't order from Grainger I'd go with longer bolts 4" and use lock washers behind the nut and flat washer in front of the nut. Good luck! I hope you post a picture!


Fri, 04/05/2013 - 08:58

Are you using 1x6 boards? Or 1x8 boards. Both the shopping & cut lists say 1x6, but the directions list 1x8. Also, have you thought about adding wheels? We have limited yard space, it would be very helpful to be able to move these into storage during the off season.

In reply to by Mama2Three


Fri, 05/31/2013 - 04:38

Sorry to be confusing. The beds can be with 1x8's or 1x12's and even 1x6's. I have both 1x12 deep and 1x8 deep. Wheels would be a good addition if your yard isn't too bumpy :)
You can get those furniture movers that have wheels on them cheaper than you can purchase the wheels. Harbor Freight has these on sale for 7.99 this week and they hold up to 250 lbs. if you have a harbor freight around. Good luck with your garden!

J Stasney

Mon, 04/15/2013 - 11:37

Some tricks for pinching pennies on this lumber.
Treated lumber is easier had.
Decking lumber is cheaper and stronger than 1x's
Instead of 2 - 1x6x8 cedar boards,
I'd double the height to 12'' with 2 - $7.37 WeatherShield 5/4 x 6 x 12 Pressure-Treated Standard Decking Boards and
2- $4.37 WeatherShield 5/4 x 6 x 8 Pressure-Treated Standard Decking Board cut to 4' lengths.
The slats??
8' Treated Fencing pickets ripped in half and split in two. Yielding 4 slats per picket of $2.00 ea.--$0.50 a slat.

Caulking Wood glue is your friend, especially in the holes/seams to seal them.

It's a very workable idea....early spring/summer easily covered for late frosts and soiled warmed with black plastic garbage bags in full sun. Easily moved (when wheeled) to broken shaded areas in mid to late summer so crops don't burn up. No moles or gophers to deal with and easily mulched to be weedless. No back strain bending over crops dealing with them. A wading pool would make a good water storage for a small drip irrigation pump on a timer using 1/4" plastic tubing with holes poked in it eva 12 inches layed say 1 foot off the sides length ways down the box. That'd be 2 - 8 ft. pieces of tubing plugged at one end and a 2' piece tee'd in with an inlet piece from the pump. Tooless ''push connector fittings'' would make it really simple to hook up the tubing. That way you can add liquid fertilizer and water conditioners if needed for ph and chlorine. TEE's $1.60 ea. ELL's if needed $1.10 ea.……

UT14 | Push connect union tee air fitting for 1/4in. OD tubing, 5/pk.
UT14 - NITRA pneumatic push-to-connect union tee air fitting with thermoplastic ...See More
3 hours ago · Like · Remove Preview

Jeff Stasney…

EcoPlus Submersible Pump - 396 gph

24 hr multi-setting timer 1@ $5.00

Peat moss the bottom of the bed over the wire to support peat moss enriched soil, as well.


Tue, 04/16/2013 - 04:45

Absolutely do not use treated lumber. People are growing food so that it is better for them if you are going to use treated lumber you might as well get your food from the grocery it would be healthier. Treated lumber is treated with chemicals that will seep into the soil and poison your crop. I have made the side taller (12 inch deep) but I'm having a bit of trouble keeping the bottom on because the soil is so heavy. I think to make the garden deeper you need to place 1x2 cedar strips inside the garden and add stats on top of this and then the hardware cloth over this. The problem with making the gardens bigger or deeper is the weight of the soil.
Irrigation could be nice but since the gardens are so convenient at this height I have no trouble going out every other day to water.

Again I can not stress enough DO NOT USE TREATED LUMBER, it is not safe and will not last as long as cedar. Also do not spray any sealers on your gardens. You can spray with vegetable oil to help maintain the color of the cedar but other than that you want your gardens to be free of any chemicals. If not then don't even bother.

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