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DIY Vertical Planter with Fence Slats and Terra Cotta Pots

This fun vertical planter is made with cedar fencing and terra cotta pots. It’s the perfect way to grow herbs or flowers in a small space or to add height to your porch decor. Free building plans.

vertical planter
I wanted to add some height to the decor on my back patio, so I asked my husband to help me build a vertical herb garden. This is the design we came up with. I love the mix of the raw, natural cedar with the colorful terra cotta pots. It has held up really well over the summer and I just love my vertical planter! Want to make one too? Here are the full instructions.
  • 5 cedar fence pickets, 3 1/2 inch
  • 1 48″ piece wood lathe
  • 3 metal hose clamps (5-7 inch size)
  • 1 1×2 board 6 feet in length
  • scrap piece of MDF
  • scrap pieces of 2×4
  • 3 terra cotta pots (8 inch size)
  • spray paint
  • Sharpie Oil-Based Paint Markers (available at Michaels in the art supply section)
  • plastic sheeting
  • screws
  • nails
vertical herb garden building tutorial

  • hammer or pneumatic nail gun
  • screwdriver
  • hand saw or miter saw
  • staple gun

Cut four 10 inch pieces and two 7 inch pieces of 2×4. Build a support frame for the planter box out of these pieces, with the shorter ones in the center.

how to build a vertical planter

Cut a 10×10 square of 1/2 inch MDF. Nail the 2×4 frames to the MDF, like this: 

build a cedar planter
Attach the full length fence pickets to the back side of the 2×4 box.
Cut fence picket into six 10 inch pieces and three 11 inch pieces. Nail the smaller pieces along the two sides and the longer pieces across the front of the planter box.

cedar planter building plans

A pneumatic nail gun makes this step super easy!
Cut the wood lathe down to size and use it to trim out the top edge of the box, mitering the corners to fit.
wood planter box
The tall fence pickets are not very sturdy on their own. To add strength, screw the 1×2 strip of wood along the back center board. If you want it even stronger, add 1×2 strips behind each fence piece.
planter box woodworking plans
Cut three 11 inch pieces of fencing and space them evenly across the pickets. Nail in place.


fence slat planter
Screw the metal hose clamps to the back using two screws. Screwing them into the horizontal pieces will make the pots lean too far forward, so place them about an inch above instead.
vertical garden planters
Drape plastic lining inside the bottom box. Cut a few drainage slits in the bottom of the plastic. Staple it to the 2×4’s.
line a wooden planter box
Cut off excess plastic so it won’t show when the dirt is added.
lined wooden planter

Now comes the fun part…. decorating your terra cotta pots!

Spray paint them fun colors and let the paint dry overnight.

If you’ve got great handwriting, go right ahead and start with the Sharpies. If you’re like me and are nervous about messing up, draw your design on first with a pencil.

clay pot decorating
Then fill in the design with the Sharpie Paint Marker. It’s that easy!


sharpie paint pen on clay pots
These markers were the perfect fit for this project because they are oil-based, which means they hold up to sun, water and abrasion. Perfect for decorating terra cotta pots! They work on wood, metal, plastic, stone, glass, pottery, rubber and more, so I’ll be using them a lot in the future. They also dry quickly, which I love because I’m impatient. And the best part is that right now all Sharpie Paint Markers are buy one get one 50% off (June 5th – June 11th). Bam!
sharpie paint pens
terra cotta pot decorating ideas
Isn’t that little bit of detail so cute?! Here are close-ups of the three different pots:


potted herb garden


herb garden pots
vertical herb garden
I am so happy with how my little planter turned out. In fact, I love it so much that I want to make another one that’s three times as wide. That’s the great thing about this project… you can customize the measurements to fit any space!
vertical wall planter
I can’t wait to eat fresh herbs all summer and to hang out on the deck sipping lemonade watching the kids play while my husband grills.
cute container gardens


vertical garden planters

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Sharpie Paint Marker, but all my opinions are my own.


    • Thank you Nadine! It makes me happy every time I walk by it!

      To answer your question: If you add the extra wood to the back of each fence picket, it does not need to be attached to the wall. The bottom square planter is heavy enough to keep the pots from falling over.

  1. […] Turn the fence or side of your garden into an adorable space for planting with these fence slats and terra cotta pots to plants whatever you want. This plan is super easy to work on and absolutely perfect for growing flowers, planting succulents, or you may also use it as a perfect herb garden. All you need is cedar fence pickets, wood lathe, metal hose clamps, scrap piece of MDF, pain, etc. thecraftpatch […]


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