A version of this article originally appeared in OUR HOMES Spring 2019.
Grow up instead of out! A vertical garden is a great way to layer textures and add dimension in your outdoor space. Plant pretty flowers, nurture a vegetable patch or cultivate a kitchen garden.
Customize the height of the ladder to suit your space. These step-by-step instructions create a two-planter ladder.
TOOLS & MATERIALS
(Makes 2 planter boxes)
2 1x6 cedar planks, 6-foot length
1 2x6 cedar plank, 8-foot length
Nail gun or hammer and nails
2-inch galvanized wood screws
1. Cut box fronts, backs and bottoms: From each 1x6 plank, cut two 24-inch lengths to be used for the front and back of the planter box, and one 21-inch length for the bottom.
2. Cuts box ends: Set your mitre saw to 15 degrees. Take the 2x6 plank and cut the end 15 degrees. Flip the board and measure 5-¼ inches along the short edge and cut again with the 15-degree mitre. This will create one end of a planter box. Proceed until you have the four ends cut.
3. Cut ladder rails: From the remainder of the 2x6, one end will already be cut at 15 degrees. Measure your finished ladder height (in this case we chose 3 feet for a two-box ladder) and make a cut at 15 degrees along the same angle for the first rail. Repeat for second rail and cut it to match. To have the back of your ladder sit flush against a wall, measure 2 inches in from the pointed upper tip of each rail and cut perpendicular to the 15-degree surface.
4. Construct planter boxes: Sand all freshly cut edges to smooth out roughness. Place end pieces long-side down. Place the 24-inch front and back pieces flush against end pieces and nail together. Flip the box right-side up and drop the 21-inch bottom in. Secure the bottom by nailing it to the sides. Repeat for each box.
5. Construct ladder: Lay the ladder rails on the floor and place your planter boxes between the rails at the desired height. Secure planter boxes to the ladder by drilling two-inch screws from inside the planter boxes to the ladder.
6. Display and grow: Place finished planter box ladder against a wall, fence or deck, fill with potting soil and get growing!