Counter Height Garden Boxes by Janet Fox

Submitted by Janettx on Sun, 11/25/2012 - 08:19
| Print this plan

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.
You can follow my adventures at
Hope you enjoy my plans!

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, 06/20/2014 - 05:49

Wow, your gardens look great! Lag screws would be your best choice if using screws. Just keep and eye on them and tighten when necessary and all will be just fine. Your gardens look great and I have a feeling you will want more. One entire side of my yard is full with these gardens. They are getting very old now and I'm thinking of adding a deck platform for them to extend their life. I've also built a cold frame and potting bench with wheels since this post.
and here are some clever plant markers

again thank you for posting your beautiful gardens!


Sun, 02/08/2015 - 19:03


Thank you so much for this wonderful raised garden. I'm going to build a couple this spring. Here in downtown Toronto where I live racoons are a major nuisance. Do you have any recommendations for 'racoon proofing" a raised garden like this one? It would be great to have a solution that could both keep pests out and easily be opened up or removed when gardening.


Sat, 04/25/2015 - 06:58

At my hardware stores they have landscape fabric, which I am not super excited to use. I am unsure what kind of chemicals it will leach into the soil. Has anyone used burlap? That is available at my hardware store. Although, I am not sure what kind of chemicals they may use on it. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.


Tue, 05/12/2015 - 23:21

So I have a few issues that I'm trying to work through on this project.

1. Cedar is sold no where in Arizona but I was told redwood was better. Is that true? Either way I bought it. It was terribly expensive in 1x so I bought everything 2x. 2x4 for the bottom slats, 2x8 for the side walls, and 4x4 for the legs. Would you recommend for me to use my table saw and cut the 2x4 in half to make 1x4s??? Since they are truly 1.5 inches when I cut them in half they will each be .75 inches minus the waste from the saw? Too skinny for support??? Then I have the same question for the 2x8 sides. Should I leave those alone at the current width or cut those in half as well to create 1x8s again assuming I'll lose some width from waste from the saw??? Obviously leaving the 4x4s alone.

2. The next question is about the hex bolts 1/4-20 - (I bought the threaded inserts from granger)- I bought these in galvanized finish (on the box it says harmful by state if California standards to cause cancer blah blah blah. Is it safe to use these or do you think i should steer clear and pony up for stainless?--- either way do you know any online stores that have these cheap? (I paid .37 each for galvanized at lowes) (note: I did buy 3 inch length because of the thicker boards as described in question 1) (also note: that I could buy cheaper stainless bolts if the boards were less thick in question 1).

3. I bought coated deck screws 3 inch in length due to the thicker boards in question 1. Would these be good?

4. Last question: I can't find coconut cloth here either. The guy at lowes recommended this green landscape fabric (recycled from plastic bottles) (says non-toxic and great for gardening) (and controls weeds without chemicals. Would this be a good alternative or not? If not do you have an online place that has the coconut cloth cheap?

Thank you and hope to hear back soon! Would love to start this project this weekend!


Mon, 05/18/2015 - 10:52

I am about to start building two of these and want to get them filled and planted as soon as possible as it is prime time for planting right now. About how much soil would I need to fill each one (or both if you want to multiply it times 2 :P )

CJ Spenser

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 10:09

Thank you so much for sharing these plans. I have been looking for a design for a long time and this is one of the best and easiest that I have found. Can't wait to get started.


Wed, 07/15/2015 - 08:53

I used untreated wood (2x2's) for my garden frame and it is still doing well 2 years later. It will last even longer if it's elevated like the design above. You have to go with untreated in my mind, we already get enough chemicals through everything else we can't control. I am looking to set up an automatic watering system and found some pretty cool tools to use at I will let you know how it turns out, if anyone cares :)


Sun, 02/28/2016 - 20:12


Wanted to thank for for these plans, my wife has EDS and we hope to get great use out of these, as a wood worker i wanted to add a few tips to make it easier. 

1. we made 2- 2'x4' box and one 4'x4'. we used 2x10x8 (small boxes) and 2x12x8 (large box) boards, and cedar 4x4 for legs, its only $1 more or so for these larger boards (didn't use cedar)

2. do not bother drilling holes and buying the treads and bolts. I just got 5/16 Lags with washers (some call them lag bolts but they are really screws, in the hardware section, i got the 4 inch long ones.


I bought the cheap 2x3 for the slats on the bottom with 3 inch wood screws to hold them, for the 4x4 box, I wasn't worried but thought the slats could bow over time, so i ran one inside the bottom of the box down the middle so the 4 foot long slats had support in the middle, i mounted this one so the 2 inch side touches the slats this leaves the thick 3 inch vertical to resist bowing. 

so i use 2 lags per side on the boxes with washers. i thought about 3 but it was over kills, lags hold alot of weight, that is what they are for, and with 3 inches into the wood they are not going anywere anytime soon. 

the 4x4 box is 11 inches deep now, it took 10- 40lb bags of tops soil, 5 50lb bags  of manuer, 2 bags of compost and 2 bags of peat humus. !! there is no bow on the bottom of the box, ill check it weekly if it moves ill put a 4x4 in the middle as a 5th leg but with my knowleg of wood, i dont see needing it unless to much water is used and makes the wood soft. 

hope this helps, Cedar prices are sky high in Missouri right now. so we didn't use it. exect the 4x4 becuase they only come untreaded as cedar lol. 

Free Plans Made Possible By Our Sponsors