Outdoor Planter Steps or Benches

Submitted by Ana White on Tue, 08/21/2018 - 13:52
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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

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

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.