Free Woodworking Plans to Build an Adjustable Raised Planter Bed

05.31.11 By //
Project Image

This Raised Planter Bed is completely customizable to the size, shape and height you need for your particular space! It’s my one hang-up with some of the prefab kits you can purchase from the store, you can’t adjust the size or height if you actually need something a bit different! Now you can… and this piece goes perfectly with the Raised Planter Table we covered here.

Estimated Cost 


Dimensions for This Project

  • Tape Measure
  • Sander
  • Drill
  • Table Saw – can also use a Circular Saw, Jig Saw or a Router
  • Miter Saw – can also use Table Saw, Circular Saw, or Jig Saw
  • Nail gun – can also use hammer and nails or screws, just be sure to countersink if you choose screws.
  • 1 – 4×4 at 8’ if you want to make this bed larger you may need to purchase another post to account for center legs.
  • 12 – 1×4 Cedar or Redwood Dog Eared Fence Boards at 6’ (like this)
  • 3 – 1×6 Cedar or Redwood Dog Eared Fence Boards at 6’ (like this)
  • 2” Galvanized Nails or Screws 
  • Wood Glue 
  • Wood Filler
  • Sanding Supplies
  • Finishing Supplies
Cut List 
  • 4 – 4×4 at 20” Legs – adjust this as necessary for height and number of legs, more detail in steps below.
  • 8 – 1×4 at 33” Side Panels – adjust this as needed for the depth you require for your bed
  • 8 – 1×4 at 57 1/2” Front and Back Panels – adjust this as needed for the length you require for your bed. If you exceed 68” you will need twice as many panels and a center leg in between them.
  • 2 – 1×6 at 42 1/2” Top Trim – adjust this as needed for the depth of your bed.
  • 2 – 1×6 at 67” Top Trim – adjust this as needed for the length of your bed

**When or if you adjust the size of this bed, keep in mind the length of the fence boards as they are sold is around 6’ and they are dog eared so you will need to trim off a few inches to get them rectangular as you will need for this project. So the ultimate length of any fence board after you remove the dog eared section is around 68” or so. Each time your dimensions exceed 68” you will need to add a center leg and use 2 fence board lengths rather than just one to traverse a side! ** If you would like your bed to be more shallow, simply use 2 or 3 panels stacked and reduce the length of your leg by that amount (either 3 1/2” or 7” depending on how many panels you choose to skip). You will be digging a 6” hole in the location of each leg. The legs will sit below the surface of the ground and be burried a bit.

Before beginning to build, always check in on my site to make sure you have the most up to date set of plans, I occasionally update and change the plans to make the building process easier or to allow for less expensive purchasing of materials! Read through the entire set of instructions and all comments before beginning this project. If you print out or save plans, be sure to check in on my site to be sure you have the most up to date set of plans, as I occasionally update things for ease of building or buying. If you are new to building, read through the GETTING STARTED section and other articles found under the BUILD tab in the menu on my site, it has valuable information about how to get started, tools and techniques. If you are unfamiliar with the finishing process, visit my Finishing school for some tips and tricks for painting like a pro and for special finishing practices. Use glue to secure your joints and Consider Painting or Staining individual sections prior to assembling. This makes the paint application virtually flawless. Coat with a spray on Poly or Wipe on Poly to protect your finish and your piece and it will last for ages. Adhere to all safety standards and guidelines, and be sure you follow safety protocol throughout your build. If you are unsure about whether you are building safely, run a quick online search for the tool or technique you are using, or contact me via email or post to the forum before you move ahead. My contact info can be found in the menu of my site.

Step 1
Step 1

Step 1 

Create your Legs: Use your Table Saw with a Dado Blade to create a 3/4” x 3/4” Dado on two adjacent sides of each leg as shown below. You can also create these grooves using the table saw without a dado blade, by simply setting your depth to 3/4” and running your post across it a number of times until you have a 3/4” groove. You can also use either a circular saw, or jig saw by setting your depth to 3/4” and running it along your post a series of times in a row until you have carved out a 3/4” gap. A router with a straight bit or one part of a mortise and tenon bit will also work! The first image shown below is for corner legs, if you want to make this planter longer, you will need to add a center leg which should be constructed as in the bottom image for this step. **See the instructions section above for a note on adjusting the size. I recommend burying each leg 6” to add stability to your bed. Each leg is sized in order to allow you to place your legs 6” below ground level and with 4 panels, but if you prefer to have the bed sit on top of the ground instead simply subtract the 6” from the length of your leg, and if you prefer to shorten the height of the bed overall, you can subtract that from the size of the legs as well. The portion of the leg sitting above the ground should be exactly the same dimension as all of your panels combined regardless of whether you choose to use 2 or 4 or 6. The number of panels you choose to use for your height can be determined by aesthetic or if you live in a very cold climate you may need to go a bit higher to account for the frost layer.

Step 2

Step 2 

Leg Layout: The diagram below shows the layout of the legs once you have created your grooves, the blue legs show how the center legs will sit if you need to increase the length by adding center legs. You can pull out the spacing between your legs as many times as you need, and add a center leg any time the length exceeds the length of a fence board.

Step 3

Step 3 

Attach the Side Panels: Your boards should be pretty snug in a rug in your grooves and you may need to pound them down into place using a mallet. We are not going to secure these using nails or screws so that at the end of the growing season you can pop the panels out and store your bed away or so that you can adjust the size of the bed easily when needed. Since this will have an open bottom, you have no need to secure this any further than the legs already will by holding the panels in place with your groove. To adjust the depth of your bed, simply increase the legth of these panels. If you plan to go longer than the length of one fence board, you will need to add center legs as seen in Step 1 and then double up the number of boards per side. If you want this to be 100” for example, you will add a center leg and then you will have 2 columns of 50” panels.

Step 4

Step 4 

Attach the Front and Back: Do this in the same manner you did for the sides, use a mallet or something to hammer them down into place and add center legs if you need to increase the length of your bed beyond the length of one fence board.

Step 5

Step 5 

Add the Top Trim: Miter the corners for the most professional appearance and secure to the front, back, sides, and legs using nails or screws. If you adjust the dimensions of your adjustable raised bed, just adjust the dimensions of the top trim by ensuring the the inside opening as shown below at 31 1/2” x 56” is equal to the inside opening of the bed as measured from the corner or one leg to the corner of the adjacent legs in either direction. If you increase the overall dimensions of your bed by 10” in both directions, the interior opening will also increase by 10” in both directions and so your measurements would adjust to 41 1/2” x 66” for the opening and 52 1/2” for the side top trim and 77” for the front and back top trim.

Finishing Instructions 

Fill any Screw, Nail or Pocket Holes, Sand and Finish as Desired. For Finishing Tips and Tricks visit my Finishing School

**Disclaimer: Some rights reserved. Private use only. Feel Free to link to any of my plans so long as you provide an adequate link back to the appropriate post! Plans from this page are not to be used for commercial purposes or republished without the express written consent of Rayan Turner, The Design Confidential I hope to provide accurate plans, however, I cannot guarantee each plan for accuracy. Not every plan that I post has been built and tested, so you are building at your own risk. It is recommended that you have a clear understanding of how the project works before beginning any project. Please contact me if you find an error or inaccuracy so that I might fix it.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

1 comment on “Free Woodworking Plans to Build an Adjustable Raised Planter Bed”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.