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


J Stasney

Wed, 04/17/2013 - 11:04

Treated Lumber
Well, line the box with plastic to keep the treated chemicals from leaching in?? Staple gun it in. How's that??
On the soil, lighten it up with peat moss.
1/2 and 1/2 with potting soil.
I was going to use Spanish moss as the medium to hold the soil anyways.
Most craft stores have this cheap.
Ummmmm....A quote: Research on the use of CCA-treated lumber in gardens has shown that treatment chemicals do not affect the growth or safety of home-grown produce.

But, if your worried and wish to error on the side of caution, line the box with plastic to keep the treated chemicals from leaching in?? Staple gun it in.

In reply to by J Stasney


Mon, 04/22/2013 - 05:02

I could post opposing links to documents that disagree however I will not bother. I grow my own food because I am health conscious, I prefer to error on the side of caution. I have listed in the comments that you could use treated lumber and line it however I have not found any BPA free liner so I would prefer not to do this. Since this is my post and I feel strongly about health and how long my gardens will last I prefer to use cedar and to give this as the best supply to use.
Since I have used treated lumber in the past for ground level as sides to my gardens when I didn't realize the health risk I found the treated lumber only lasts about 3 years before the bugs start to eat at the bottoms. I have cedar ground level gardens that are currently 6 years old and are still holding up well with no signs of bug infestation. I have made over 50 of these raised gardens now and now have 15 in my own back yard. I am very pleased with the results and the way cedar holds up. Anyone using my plans are welcome to change them as they see fit. I suggest using Cedar if you would like your gardens to last.
My suggestion to you is that you create your own plans and post them for everyone using your preferred method and supplies as I am sure there are many people who would enjoy them that are not gardening because they are health conscious but because they enjoy gardening. But I will kindly ask that you please respect my opinion on my plans.
Thanks so much for your understanding,


Mon, 04/22/2013 - 09:03

Janettx, I've also been keeping an eye out for BPA free liners here in Canada and found nothing. I'm with you on the cedar, especially considering I've got dogs and the occasional rabbits & squirrels who might chew on the wood and get sick from the chems anyway. disposing of treated lumber is a problem too.
Besides cedar looks awesome!
Love these boxes, I'm soooo making a bunch for my backyard! Thanks for posting!


Mon, 04/22/2013 - 12:43

I really like these raised beds. I have a large raised bed and it does very well but I like the idea of separate crops in each small bed and the idea that you could make them movable. When you go to the nursery they always ask how much sun a particular location will get. This way you can follow the sun. A lot of work but we all need a little extra exercise.

I agree that using treated wood is like playing Russian Roulette. I build my beds from the cheapest pine and even the fact that they sit on the ground all are in good shape after five years.

As for cost the real cost is the dirt (aka soil) you need to buy to fill them up. It is amazing to me how much soil they hold.


Thu, 05/30/2013 - 13:34

I could not find cedar 4x4's so used pressure treated...and to be on the safe side just used the leftover cedar to make a cover around the 4x4. Worked great and I'll never question it as a possibility of my kids failing their tests at school because they ate the veggies. Solution satisfied me..hope it helps others.


Sat, 06/08/2013 - 12:50

I'm curious. What do you have growing in these boxes? I can't tell from the picture what is in yours, but it looks to be growing well!


Sat, 06/08/2013 - 14:19

The pictures are a bit old...I have one full of herbs, but because these are so easy to cover for a freeze my herbs are now several years old. I have had luck with broccoli, cauliflower, parsnips, celery, bok choy, fennel, all sorts of peppers, cabbage, all sorts of greens, tomatoes, some root vegetables such as small carrot varieties and turnips. really I've had luck with everything except squash or anything that vines. I put my snap peas and beans as well as my squash, cantaloupe in a ground level raised gardens. I also now just put my tomatoes in pots rather than take up room in my garden for them since they grow so well in pots. I hope this helps. It does take a little bit to get a good soil mix. At first I wasn't planting my vegetables deep enough and I was getting but now we are doing well. We are even trying for trash can potatoes. Good luck with your takes a while to get the hang of growing in raised beds for some but don't give up. You too can grow a nice crop in your back yard!


Mon, 06/16/2014 - 12:49

First, thanks for the excellent plan. I built two of these for my wife and I to plant some herbs and vegetables, and they look wonderful and seem strong enough to hold 8" of high quality potting soil.

Two notes:
1. Cedar is a less common on the east coast (New Jersey), but I was able to find both 4x4s and planks at the local Lowe's. The wood cost was about $70 per box. Curious how this compares to other parts of the country; glad I didn't have to consider using pressure-treated lumber.

2. The threaded inserts were very expensive here ($1.60 each, not including the bolt/washer), so I ended up using 3/8" galvanized lag screws instead. So far so good, they are quite secure - I guess we'll see how they hold up over time.

Here's a pic of the finished project:

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