Vive la France! Build a Tall Wooden Planter

Make your own DIY Tall Wooden Planter with these simple to follow building plans. A pair of tall wooden planters will look great and add curb appeal around your front door or garage, and it costs much less to build it yourself!

Add more curb appeal by building a trellis planter, cedar monogram letter planter, or easy DIY custom window boxes.

How to Build a Tall Wooden Planter with metal screw accents

Bonjour mes amis! As a DIY blogger, I am constantly looking for inspiration for my next project. Last year I created this amazing planter based upon some that I saw at Versailles. I loved them when I saw them and I’ve loved having mine own pair here at home.  

The hubs actually commented today how well they’ve held up (we had one of the hottest summers last year and one of the wettest springs this year so it’s had to deal with the worst of the worst for a wood product). When I left for our vacation in June, I knew I wanted to find something awesome to build for Cass and her Remodelaholic crew. Our first stop was in Paris and while heading to one of my favorite cafes, I saw this:

Build this tall wooden planter for $50 or less, inspired by a luxe French hotel! These would be great for the entry.
Gorgeous tall wooden planter with metal screw head accents. 3 feet tall! Build it for $50, and of course I need 2...

Isn’t it awesome!!!!???!! This beauty is huge, this tall wood planters is towering at 3 feet tall! It really made a statement at the entrance of the uber-luxe hotel and I knew instantly this would be the perfect project for Cass! But, how do you make a tall wooden planter? Well I’m here with the plans for what I’m calling the Vive la France Planter!

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How to Build a Tall Wooden Planter Tutorial


Approximate cost: $50

* Note: As usual, I’ve built my planner with high end wood to ensure they will last, have good durability, and not rot out fast. The cost of just the pickets and furring strips is $20.  This might be a good project for scrap wood cuts if you happen to have a decent amount of cut offs.

You can use a thinner/less expensive piece of wood on top or make the top out of furring strips that have been glued together and save between $10 – $20 off of the project. 

Cut List

  • (20) 5/8″ x 3 1/2″ x 18″ cedar pickets
  • (20) 5/8″ x 3 1/2″ x 13.75″ cedar pickets
  • (4) 1″ x 2″ x 35″ furring strips
  • (6) 1″ x 2″ x 16.25″ furring strips
  • (11) 1″ x 2″ x 13.75″ furring strips
  • (1) 3/4″ x 18″ x 15.25″ red oak plywood panel

Building Instructions

Step 1: Drill pocket holes

Drill pocket holes at both ends of each 1″ x 2″ furring strips (both the 16.25″ and 13.75″ length pieces).

Step 2: Build side frame of planter

Attach (1) 1″ x 2″ x 16.25″ pieces to the bottom of (2) 1″ x 2″ x 35″ furring strips using 1 1/4″ pocket screws. Repeat on other side.

Base beginning

Step 3: Join the two sides together

Attach (1) 1″ x 2″ x 13.75″ pieces to the bottom of (4) 1″ x 2″ x 35″ furring strips using 1 1/4″ pocket screws. This will create the foundation of the planter.

**If you need to weight this planter down to avoid it being blown or knocked over, add a few more furring strips to the base to hold that future weight.

Follow the instructions below of the planter shelf on this bottom foundation. See the Q and A below for ideas of how to put the planter together with a weight at the bottom and what to use to weigh it down.

Rest of base

Step 4: Frame the Pot Shelf

Repeat the process above at either 8″ (for 1 gallon pots) or 12″ (for 3 or 5 gallon pots) from the top of the 35″ furring strips. This will create the frame for the plant support.


Step 5: Attach Furring Strip Shelf

Using a brad nailer, attach (5) 1″ x 2″ x 13.75″ furring strips, equally spaced, to the plant support.

plant support

Step 6: Add Top Frame Furring Strips

Using pocket screws, attach the remaining (2) 1″ x 2″ x 16.25″ furring strips and (2) 1″ x 2″ x 13.75″ furring strips to the top of the (4) 35″ furring strips.

top supports

Step 7: Attach Front and Back Planks

Using a brad nailer, attach the first 5/8″ x 3 1/2″ x 18″ cedar picket to the frame. Note: It should hang over approximately 5/8″ on each side of the furring strip. Repeat this process until all (10) 5/8″ x 3 1/2″ x 18″ boards are attached to the furring strips. Repeat this process on the opposite side.

Notes: If you need to weigh the planter down (depending on its final location), see my notes in the Q and A below. You may want to leave off 1/2 of the planks on the back OR side in order to add the weight once the planter is in place. And finish the planking in place.

**It may be easier to start with the side planks to make lining up the front and back longer boards easier, since they will line up with the side planks and you won’t need to measure each one.

first board

Step 8: Attach Side Planks

Using a brad nailer, attach the first 5/8″ x 3 1/2″ x 13.75″ cedar picket to the frame. Note: It should sit between the planks on either side. Repeat this process until all (10) 5/8″ x 3 1/2″ x 13.75″ boards are attached to the furring strips. Repeat this process on the opposite side.

**It may be easier to start with these side planks to make lining up the front and back longer boards easier, since they will line up with the side planks and you wont need to measure each one.

short side

Step 9: Countersink Drill Holes and Attach Boards with Screws

Using the 3/8″ drill bit, drill holes 1″ from the top and 1″ from the side of each plank. Drill another hole 1″ from the bottom and 1″ from the side of the plank. Repeat this on the other side of the plank. Continue doing this on all planks (there will be a total of 160 holes). After drilling the holes, attach the outdoor screws.

drill holes

Step 10: Trace planter on top boards

Center your desired pot (1, 3 or 5 gallon) upside down on the 3/4″ x 18″ x 15.25″ red oak plywood decking panel and trace it.

**Remember that this top board can be pieced together with cedar planks to cut some cost.


Step 11: Cut Out Hole

Using your jig saw, cut out the traced circle.Hole

Step 12: Attach Top

Using a brad nailer, attach the top to the planter.

topper on

Step 13: Stain Wood

If desired, stain the topper black. Cover the entire planter with Thompson’s Water Seal or any other stain/poly made for outdoor application. Place potted plant in planter and enjoy your new outdoor planters!


This project is a bit time consuming (160 screws!!!), so no need to glue!  It is however, very easy to carry out, and will be strong and hold up to all the elements.  Just think, after all of those screws are in, this planter will make quite a statement to your porch or patio.  Think of the curb appeal it would add to your home to have these flanking your front door or even your garage doors.

Tall Wooden Planter Questions and Answers

Q. Dimensions of this tall planter?

Overall the dimensions of these tall planters are 18″ wide in front, 15″ deep by 3′ tall.

Q. What can you use a tall planter for?

This project is great for year round décor and curb appeal for your home. 

These planters would be perfect for a balcony or deck.  Place them in the corner of your planned space, to give the deck some built in grandeur.  This also would help to make an outdoor space feel more delineated and mark the edges, allowing you to divide an outdoor space beautifully. 

Just outside your back door, this planter would make for a great herb garden for cooking, herbs are beautiful and useful!   Check out our other ideas for herb gardens here.

At Christmas time this planter can be used to decorate for the holiday.  Chick out this post for ideas of how to style a tall planter with winter décor

This tall wooden planters DIY project could also make a great spot for a patio garden.  The perfect place for you to grow some vegetables this summer.  To make sure your plants stay watered (vegetables can’t be forgotten or they die!) consider a self watering pot. 

Q. Would this planter work with benches?

A bench placed between two of these planters would make for a private little spot to take a rest… makes me think of a Jane Austin novel! 

If you built the frame with a 2×2, you could possibly even string a 4′ 2×4 from the side frame of one planter to the side frame of another planter.  Then just plank the top like the sides of the planter to create a built in bench.  Just be sure to sand really well to avoid splinters!

Q. What plants can you plant in a DIY Tall Planter?

There are so many options for planting in this DIY planter.

  • An evergreen shrub would look great year round. This can be real (or check below for some great faux options.)
  • A faux 4′ tall evergreen topiary (I have these on my front porch and LOVE them- not watering invovled!)
  • Faux Boxwood Balls – stay with me. I have also used these in my front planters and LOVE the no watering (do you detect a theme?)
  • Succulents for a modern design aesthetic (for those of us that don’t want to water every day. I think a string of pearls trailing over the side would be amazing.)
  • Flowers – beautifully blooming annuals, with some spiky plant for height and some sweet potato vine for a trailing edge.

Q. Are wood planters good for plants?

The short answer is yes. Because wood is a natural material it won’t hurt your plants. Just be sure that if you are using salvaged material (like pallet wood for example) that you know there is a chance that it could have come in contact with a chemical and avoid using this to grow edible foods.

In this particular plan the plant is in a planter not in direct contact with the wood, so salvaged materials would be safe to use and still grow edible plants.

Q. What is the best wood to make planters out of?

I would recommend Cedar planks like mentioned in the building plan above. These planks are not only affordable, but also bug resistant and shouldn’t shrink significantly like treated lumber.

A soft pine will break down quickly if in a lot of direct sunlight. If you are thinking of making this from salvaged wood like pallets for example be sure that the planter is out of direct sunlight most of the day, and if possible out of the rain/sprinklers. I would store in a place where it won’t get too wet in the winter time as well to prolong the life of the build.

Depending on where you live Cyprus, and or Redwood could also be good naturally bug resistant wood choices. But keep in mind that these choices could increase the price significantly.

Q. Should I put anything at the bottom of my planter?

Depending on the final location of this planter, weighing it down may be a necessary step to avoid it being knocked over.

In order to give this planter a place to weigh it down you may need to add some furring strips to the bottom (just like you added for the planter shelf- see steps above) Add the pickets over the front and two sides, then JUST the top half of the back, leaving the back open on the bottom.

Put in place and then fill the bottom with rocks, bricks, or any heavy trash you have lying around (heavy is the keyword (if it fits you could even fill a five gallon bucket with water and seal it shut and place that at the bottom) Then cover the back with the planks. using only screws to attach he wood so they can be removed if you need to move the planter.


More planters you can build:

Build this simple but elegant tall wooden planter for $50 or less following this detailed building plan and tutorial. The planter is 3 feet tall and perfect for an entryway.
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Jill has been working for years to make her house into her forever home. With a love of high-end details, Jill works to recreate a high-end look on a DIY budget.

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  1. What stain brand and color did you use? I love this color! I am struggling with picking a stain color I like! Thank you!

  2. How is this possible with 1x2s? Pics look like 2x2s and that would certainly make more sense. Please help, I love this idea and really want to make it work.

  3. I love this project. I am saving the page, because at the moment, I do not have the time to build this, but it certainly has made my “Honey Do” list. The first ever on my list not placed there by my honey. Anyways, while going through the instructions, I came across an idea for an improvement. Let’s just say that I am VERY OCD about wasted space, & as built, there is a TON (not really) if wasted space.
    Here’s an idea for this project…which I am going to do to mine when I get started on this:

    The space underneath the pot? Why not put a door on one side so that you can have a small bag of fertilizer or plant food underneath, & maybe some small hand tools that you use to till the soil in the pot…or whatever. And if you are wondering about the drainage from watering the plant (or rain, if its outside), well then just tilt the “floor” that the pot sits on at a plumbers slant (1/8″) ( You keep the pot from tilting by getting a house leveling wedge, find a 1/8″ depth on it, chop the wedge at that exact point, & put it under the pot on the lower side…VIOLA! level pot again!). Then you have the boards where the water would drain out (preferably on the ‘back’ side) separated just about 1/8″ to 1/4″, no more so the water can drain down the back of the planter, out of sight of your friends admiring your planter. Yes, water draining down wood leads to rot…so obviously you would have to THOMPSONS WATERSEAL ( yes I just gave them a free cheap plug, my bad, sorry) this planter at least a minimum of once a year to keep its good looks. Thank you…just an observation I made while reading the instructions.

    1. Those are some great ideas. I am glad you found this post helpful. Send us a picture when you build yours. We love seeing that people build what we share.