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DIY Fruit Tree Planter

Jun 25, 2014
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Bright, beautiful lemons are one of my favorite things on the planet!

Not only is a slice of lemon the perfect addition to a refreshing glass of water, but the fresh citrus flavor of a lemon brightens up savory dishes and delectable baked goods alike. As if the wonderful things it does to food aren't enough, the juice of a lemon is one of nature's remedies to dirt, grime and grease.

Having a fresh supply of citrus is possible even if you don't live in Florida or California. All you need is a lemon, orange or lime tree planted in your own DIY planter box. And here's everything you need to know about building one for yourself!

Gather your materials. For my planter box that measures approximately 18" x 18" x 23" tall, I used:

  • Cedar fence pickets: 4 pickets measuring 6' long x 5 ½" wide (approximately)
  • Whiteboard: 16' measuring 1" x 3" (I had the home improvement store associate cut my 16' board in half so that I could fit the 2 pieces at 8' into my car)
  • Whiteboard: 18' measuring 1" x 2" (as above, I could more easily manage 3 lengths of 6' each)
  • Whiteboard: 8' measuring 2" x 2"
  • Exterior Paint (I used Behr's Porch Paint in Gray Enamel and a bright white for exterior trim)
  • Exterior Screws, 2 ½" long
  • Power Drill
  • Brad Nailer
  • Wood glue
  • Weed barrier or landscaping cloth
  • Craft stapler or thin brad nails
  • Lemon Tree
  • Potting Mix
  • Top soil or Mulch

Using your miter saw or circular saw, cut each cedar fence picket into 3 sections measuring 20" long; cut 12 pieces total. Cut your 1" x 3" boards into 17 ½" pieces: You need 4 pieces for each side, or 16 total.

Cut your 2" x 2" board into 4 pieces at 23" each. These will be the corner blocks of the box.

Cut your 1" x 2" boards into 17 ¼" pieces for the internal support system you'll build into the box when you've assembled it. You need 2 for the edges and between 8-10 pieces for the lengthwise slats, depending on how much space you want in between them. Set these aside until the box is finished.

When all of your pieces of wood are cut, paint them in the color of your choice. I painted my cedar pickets in Behr's Porch Paint and all of my 1" x 3" and 2" x 2" pieces in the exterior white semi-gloss.

After they dry, assemble each side of the box accordingly:

Place 3 pieces of picket next to each other with a 1/8" gap in between each piece and at both edges. This is to allow for swelling and expansion of the cedar. At the top, bottom and 2 evenly spaced in the middle, brad nail a piece of the 1" x 3" for 4 evenly spaced pieces running perpendicularly across the planks. You will do this to create all 4 sides of the box.

For 2 of the sides, attach one piece of the 2" x 2" blocks to each side using wood glue and the exterior screws. We'll call these 2 boards the "full" sides because you will not do this for the other 2 sides.

Taking the 2 full sides on opposite ends, line up the other 2 sides in between them, forming a square box. Using the wood glue and exterior screws, join all 4 sides together to assemble the final box.

Lay the box on its side and at the base of the box, attach one of the pieces of 1" x 2" on the inside and another of the pieces on the opposite side using the brad nailer. Turn the box upright and lay the remaining pieces of 1" x 2" on top of the attached cladding pieces to create a planked platform support for the planted tree.

Cut an appropriate length of the landscape cloth or weed barrier and attach it to the inside of the box using a craft stapler or brad nails.

Fill the inside of the box with potting soil and plant the tree according to the included planting instructions. Cover the top of the tree with your top soil or mulch and water your baby citrus tree thoroughly!

Now you just have to sit back and watch your potted project – placed in a location receiving at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily – develop into a lush lemon tree!

What kind of plants or trees will you grow in your planter box?

Rheney Williams writes about her DIY garden and home projects for Home Depot. Rheney has been building planters and other crafts this spring, using her bevy of power tools. Home Depot's broad selection of power tools can be found online.

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