Outdoor Planter Steps or Benches

freestanding steps porch outdoor
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These outdoor planter steps are easy to make and could also work as outdoor benches.  Free plans by ANA-WHITE.com

build steps not connected to the wall

We've been busy finishing up our landscaping for our home.  It's been a big project!

We stepped our front yard down, as it's on a steep hillside, and used the material that was there to grow the yard size.  But this left us with a retaining wall that needed steps.

I had planned to build steps out of the retaining wall blocks, but in Alaska, we couldn't source the blocks needed for steps.  So we decided to create wood steps.

I came up with these!  The steps are sturdy and "float" on the lawn (or soon to be lawn) - so we don't have to worry about seasonal elevation changes.

And I love the planters on the ends - kind of makes the steps feel more permanent and substantial than just steps would have.

After we built them, I realized how many other uses these planter steps could fullfill ... firepit benches, tiny house steps, food truck steps ... they are beautiful on all four sides, so could be a very versatile project!

These planter steps were the star of this video -

And with quite a few of you asking, I'm glad to be able to get you plans today!

Enjoy the free plans following.

XO Ana

plans for freestanding planter steps
Dimensions shown above


Shopping List

NOTE: Use materials appropriate for exterior use, if on ground, use materials appropriate for ground contact.

6 - 2x8 @ 8 feet long

4 - 2x4 @ 8 feet long

2 - 2x6 @ 10 feet long

2-3/4" deck screws

Cut List

BOTTOM STEP (NOTE: For bottom step rise to match top step rise, swap 2x8s in bottom step for 2x6s)

2 - 2x8 @ 96"

5 - 2x8 @ 18"


1 - 2x8 @ 96"

4 - 2x8 @ 18"

2 - 2x8 @ 21"

1 - 2x8 @ 54"

3 - 2x4 @ 7-1/2"


8 - 2x4 @ 14-1/2" - cut to fit


8 - 2x4 @ 22 -1/2" both ends cut at 45 degrees, long point to long point measurement


4 - 2x6 @ 54"

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Circular Saw


Step 1

Build bottom step out of 2x8s screwing together with self tapping deck screws.

I used 2x8s for the bottom steps, but this does make the bottom step 1-1/2" taller than the upper step.  Since we are growing grass around our base, I was ok with this difference.  If you need your steps to match, you can use 2x6s for the bottom step instead.


Step 2

Begin top step construction as shown above.

Step 3

Attach remaining boards to complete top step.

Step 4

Place top step on bottom step.  Adjust for square.

Step 5

Step 6

Attach trim and treads to the steps framing.



Thu, 07/01/2021 - 12:05

Ana, we have a concrete back porch 19' long that I would like to use this plan for. I would like to lengthen the steps out so not to create a steep step. I'm thinking 4 steps would cover it.

Could you help me adapt this to cover that length and size? I'm thinking maybe 2 sets of steps 8 ft wide with planters in middle and the 2 ends?

Greatly appreciate you and your site!!