Build an easy-access planter
Small-Space Salad Box
E. Spencer Toy
Enjoy easy access to fresh greens with this easy-to-build raised planter box.

Having fresh greens at your fingertips is one of the best parts of the growing season. And with a raised planter right outside the kitchen door, you can have a continual supply of salad greens nearly year-round.

This 3½-foot-tall box, designed by Sunset senior Home writer Peter O. Whiteley, is an especially easy project, taking only a few hours to build. Just buy a ready-made redwood window box at the nursery and attach sturdy legs. Then all you have to do is fill it with soil and plant.

3 steps, start to finish

E. Spencer Toy


• 3 8-foot surfaced redwood 1-by-4s

• Tape measure

• Hand or circular saw

• A 3-foot-long redwood planter box (ours measured 34½ inches by 10½ inches) with a top lip of at least 1 inch

• Water-resistant wood glue (we used Gorilla Glue)

• Electric drill

• 44 1-inch deck screws

• Carpenter or framing square

• Water-based exterior wood stain (optional)


1. Cut the 1-by-4s into pieces. You will need:

• 2 crosspieces equal to the width of the box (ours were about 10 inches long)

• 4 36-inch lengths for the legs

• 4 16½-inch lengths for the feet

(Note: In the following steps, you’ll need to drill holes before securing screws.)

E. Spencer Toy

2. Add the legs. Turn the planter box upside down and remove any existing feet from its bottom. Position a crosspiece about ¼ inch from one end, then glue it in place. Repeat on the other end. Secure each crosspiece to the box with one screw at each corner. Set one leg on the underside of the box’s top lip and align it with one crosspiece. Use the framing square to check that the leg is vertical, then glue and screw the leg in place with two screws an inch from the box’s top lip and two at the bottom. Add a fifth screw as shown above, securing the leg to the end of the crosspiece. Repeat with remaining three legs.

E. Spencer Toy

3. Brace the legs. Turn the box right side up. Sandwich each pair of legs between two feet: Set one 16½-inch-long board against the inside of one set of legs so it protrudes evenly at both ends. (We cut the tops of the feet at a 45-degree angle for decoration.) Measure the distance between the legs where they join the box and also near the foot, then adjust the width so legs are straight as you glue and screw the foot in place. Align and add outer foot using two screws as shown. Repeat with the other set of feet. Stain the box with a water-based exterior stain, or let the wood weather naturally.

More: How to grow veggies in pots