As the temperatures start to warm up, it’s time to start thinking about the growing season. We love to cook at our home, and a fresh batch of herbs on hand is always a life saver. Not to mention we love the smell of fresh herbs around us.
We wanted to have something close to the kitchen so that we could walk out and grab a handful of Thyme or Rosemary whenever we needed. Ideally ours would have been against a window sill, but our kitchen isn’t ideally situated for that. So instead, we decided to hang a long planter box over our deck railing.
This cedar planter box was super easy to build. I used cedar for the box since my research showed it was one of the best options for outside weather conditions. Plus I love the look and smell of cedar (yeah I may be weird).
I also stained my planter box using Sherwin Williams SW3518 Hawthorne, which is the same color as our deck stain.
For this project, you will need to decide how long you want your planter box to be. Ours is pretty long, but I wanted it to be the same length as our deck rail on that edge. Your’s will probably be shorter. My planter box ended up being 50” long, 9” wide, and 7” high. I purchased cedar which was 7” x 3⁄4 inches, and then cut it to three lengths of 7” x 50” (bottom, front, and back), and two lengths of 7” x 9” (two ends).
Place the cedar pieces against each other to make your box and make sure it looks square. If all looks good, then mark some pilot holes where you will be screwing the wood together. Drill the pilot holes, as this will make it easier to screw the screws in. You can also use some glue to help hold it together while you screw in the screws.
Once you have screwed in the sides and ends to the bottom piece, make sure everything looks aligned and square. Give it a quick sanding if there are any rough edges or splinters showing.
On the bottom of the planter box, drill 3 to 4 holes (about 1⁄4 - 1⁄2 inch). This will be to allow water to drain easily. Again, sand any splinters that are showing.
In a well ventilated area, now apply your stain. Do as many layers as you feel are necessary to get the color you desire. I did two coats for mine. I also did not stain the area where the soil will go because i didnt want the stain chemicals seeping into the herbs (probably wouldnt, but I’m paranoid). So basically, stain the outsides and bottom, and the top few inches of the inside. You can also apply a water proof sealer at this time to help protect the cedar from the rain.
Once dry, its time to mount the planter box at your location. I found this excellent Window Hanging Bracket on Amazon which holds this box, and stays relatively hidden by screwing into the deck rails behind where the box will sit.
Once you have mounted the brackets on your deck railing, hang your planter box on it. Place some small rocks around the 1⁄2 inch holes you drilled at the bottom. This will help water drain through, but stop the soil from falling through. Then fill up your box with your preferred soil and fertilizer products.
Now for the best part. Plant your herbs and water well.
Pictured above, last year we planted (starting from the left):
- Chili Plant
This year (2019), I think we will drop the Chili Plant, and maybe add Parsley instead. I want to do mint but that will need to be in its own container since it spreads and takes over so much. It is currently late March and I think the last frost of the year has passed, so that makes now a perfect time to get that herb garden prepared for spring and summer.