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We have a lot of fence length in our backyard and to be honest, it was feeling a little blah. I love to plant herbs each summer but I was getting tired of tripping over flower pots on the deck. With all of this in mind, I decided to create some planters that would hang on our fence.

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What I love about this easy DIY is that it’s quick and simple (it took us an hour to do) and that it’s perfect for your back yard or even a vertical wall on your patio or balcony. Here is everything you need to know, step by step, to create this little vertical garden in your own outdoor space!

Choose Your Material

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I wanted to make this project as simple as possible, so I opted to use only one type of material, in one size! Cedar fence boards are inexpensive, easy to transport (because of their length) and offer uniformity and clean square edges. I used cedar because I wanted the planters to match the cedar fence, but you can use pressure treated wood, too. I just suggest using a material that is treated as these planters will be exposed to soil and water and you don’t want them to rot.

Step 1: Take Some Measurements

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I decided to make my herb planters the dimensions of a fence board for height and depth because again, simplicity. I held a tape measure up on the fence to figure out how long I wanted each box to be and then cut my pieces accordingly. I went with 30″ wide boxes because that made sense for the scale of the area.

Step 2: Cut Your Pieces To Size

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For each box, using a mitre saw, I cut all of the pieces that I needed.

Here’s what I cut:

  • 2 long pieces of equal length (for the front and back pieces); I cut them to 30″ long each as that was my desired size.
  • 2 short pieces of equal length; this length is the size of the width of the fence board.
  • 1 long piece, but shorter than the previous 2 long pieces for the bottom of the box. This piece was shorter by 2x the thickness of the board so that the end caps would fit snuggly inside the box.

Step 3: Assemble the Box

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On a flat surface, place your pieces together and ensure that everything fits together nicely. Using an air nail gun, affix each piece together, nailing all along the seams. Note: If you don’t have a building partner then I suggest using some clamps to keep everything in place.

Step 4: Create Your Mounting Brackets

To hang my planters I chose a French Cleat system because I wanted to be able to take the boxes on and off the fence. This mounting system is tried and true and really simple. The ‘engineering’ of this system allows the boxes to hang on the fence by a mitred mount. Here is how you can create your French Cleat system:

Again, I used the same size of boards. I was able to get all of the mounting brackets I needed from just one fence board! Using a table saw, I ‘ripped’ one of the boards completely in half (length wise). After that, I ‘ripped’ each half (again length wise) at a 45 degree mitre cut to create the bracket.

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Using a mitre saw, I cut the bracket pieces to length. I cut each length of bracket about an inch or so shorter than the planter boxes themselves just so they’d tuck in a little on each end. Be sure to keep your pieces together so you know which ones fit snuggly!

Step 5: Affix Your Mounting Brackets

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Step 5A: Using an air nail gun or screws, affix your mounting brackets to each planter box. Ensure your bracket piece is centred on the back side of your planter box. I mounted mine about 1/3 of the way down from the top of the box.

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Step 5B: Decide where you wish to hang your planter box on the fence. Once level, use screws to affix your mounting brackets to the fence. I used screws here to ensure the mounting bracket was as secure as possible.

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Test fit your planter box to ensure a good fit and placement of your mounting system. Everything should fit snug and secure. Repeat for each planter box.

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Step 6: Planting

Fill each of your planters with soil and plants and hang them on the fence. All that’s left to do is enjoy your beautiful craftsmanship.

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Materials Needed For This Project:

  • Wood (I used cedar fence boards)
  • Galvanized Finishing Nails
  • Screws
  • Soil
  • Plants

Tools Needed For This Project:

  • Compound Sliding Mitre Saw
  • Table Saw
  • Air Nail Gun & Air Compressor
  • Level
  • Tape Measure
  • Drill
  • Clamps (if required)

Don’t have the tools? All major hardware stores do tool rentals for a nominal fee so if you aren’t an avid builder like I am, you don’t need to invest here.

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