Built-in planter designs can easily transform your outdoor living space from boring to beautiful. When you add these planters to your backyard, deck, or patio, you can add lots of greenery while saving on space. That is why these 65+ built-in planter ideas are perfect for smaller outdoor living spaces.
Try one of the tiered projects on this list to really save on space. Want to add some seating to your deck but don’t want to sacrifice that planting space? Try the built-in planters that are both features in one! Climbing plants are a beautiful addition to a garden and with a planter with a built-in trellis like the ones on this list, you can grow these plants without the use of a wall.
If you are on a budget, never fear; many of the projects on this list are made from affordable materials like wooden crates and concrete blocks. If you want to give your outdoor space a natural, earthy feel, try one of the built-in planter ideas using stones and rocks. They are pretty, practical, and inexpensive. Read on to learn more about making all 65+ DIY projects!
Concrete Planters and In-Set Grass Patches
Bring your lawn up onto your roof or deck with the ideas from this rooftop garden. Cut the deck boards to leave circles, or whatever shape you like, for grassy patches of lawn. White and marbled light gray planters provide privacy with dwarf or small trees, tall plants, and vines trained to grow on trellises behind the planters.
Built-In Patio Planter with Bench
Create molds for the planter and the end and corner support for the L-shaped bench. Again, use quick-drying, concrete countertop mix and choose a stain to complement your style and home décor. Use a caulking gun and masonry construction adhesive to attach the bench supports to the planter. Build each length of the bench seat, place the straight ends of the bench in the notches, and then attach the mitered ends to the square of wood that caps the center support. To soften the look, add pillows.
Green Wall Backyard Planter Project
This Gro-Wall is a modular system for vertical gardening that permanently attaches to a wall or fence. Because it’s modular, you can easily create a wall that is as tall and long as you need it to be. It can be single-sided or double-sided with an attractive wall of greenery on each side. The watering system is contained within the modular units, and it is designed to conserve water by preventing and capturing leaks. In addition to creating vertical gardening space, a two-sided wall would provide a lush, attractive privacy screen.
Built-In Deck Planters for Privacy
If you have a backyard with a larger deck that you would like to screen, you have enough space to mold concrete planters large enough to grow small trees. Intersperse the trees with shrubs or taller plants that are native to your area, the types of plats that you might find growing under the trees in the shaded areas of local woodlands and forests. This creates the natural look of a woodland glade for your deck.
Built-In Planter Half-Wall with Bench
If you have the ugly side of someone else’s high fence that you want to hide or a high wall that you want to soften, try building this long planter and bench against the wall. Fill the planter with dwarf trees, and consider pruning them espalier-style, or try tall plants like tree kale. You also could add a trellis to your planter and grow climbing vines.
DIY Stacked Stone Plant Beds
It’s easy to create stacked stone planters in just about any shape you like. Decide on a location for the planter, and then lay out a garden hose or a length of clothesline rope in the shape you want. Use spray paint to spray around the outline of your shape. Then clear a one-foot wide space just inside the outline. Tamp down the soil inside the space you have cleared to provide a firm base for your wall. If the area you choose for your planter slopes, tier two or more planters. Start with building the lowest tier, and link the tiers by running the capstone of lower layers under the foundation of the next higher tier.
Read More: 65+ Charming Porch Planter Ideas to Make Your Exterior More Fun
Tiered Concrete Built-In Deck Planters
If your home is on a hillside or mountainside or it has a steep slope and you like a contemporary look, these tiered concrete planters might be your answer. They can act as a retaining wall, and they eliminate the need to mow a difficult and potentially dangerous area.
Wooden Planter for Small Spaces
If you have a small space or you would like an attractive way to hide an air conditioner or a garbage can that occupies part of your patio, you can save work and make this narrow planter from shipping palettes. You need only add the boards at each end, the base, and a cap around the top. Finish it with varnish, stain, or paint to create the look that best coordinates with your décor.
DIY Rusty Metal Garden Planters
Some feel that gardens in the United States should reflect our cultural heritage, so they tuck cast iron manual pumps and hand plows into garden nooks instead of replicas of Greek and Roman statues. These rusty planters reflect that idea. The planters are made from recycled corten steel, which can be purchased in rolls so that you or a metalworker can cut it and weld it to create any size and shape planter you like. It takes three to six months to achieve the rusted look on the exterior, but the interior remains protected from the weather which means these planters last a long time.
DIY Wood Bench with Planters
This cedar bench, with its asymmetrical planters, was coated with a varnish to let the grain of the wood show. This treatment gives it a casual, natural look, and the staggered placement of the boards for the planters adds to the open, airy feel. It’s an inviting look that could blend well with a rustic, coastal, or contemporary décor, or it could fit into a look that mixes styles.
Flower Bed with Built-In Stone Planter
This attractive light stone planter uses mortar, which frames the individual stones, but it is low enough that it could be dry-stacked without mortar. It provides textural contrast with the fence, the stove, the candleholder, the grass, and the feathery, fern-like leaves of the plant.
Read More: 65+ Window Box Planter ideas to Style Up Your Home or Apartment
Built-In Wooden Box Deck Planters
Privacy is often an issue for small patios, decks, and balconies around urban areas, apartment buildings, and apartment complexes. These tall, narrow planters made from wood slats add design interest with their repeated horizontal lines without requiring much floor space. Add the tall grasses, and you have a privacy screen that still lets in the sun and the breeze.
Stacked Stone Planter with Bench
Before starting, sort your stones into three piles – large, medium, and small. Use larger, less attractive stones as a foundation, and then overlap where stones meet in lower layers with the next layer. Mix stones of different sizes and colors for a random look. Mortar isn’t needed for a wall under 18 inches, but use mortar or use a caulk gun to apply beads of masonry construction adhesive between layers, or courses, to strengthen higher walls. Before applying the mortar or adhesive, switch stones around and try different stones in different locations until each course helps to create a look you like. Natural materials, especially locally sourced materials, are popular for decks.
Deck Bench with Built-In Planters
Bring the classic dark with white tuxedo look from your kitchen out to your deck, and tie the two areas together. To further coordinate the look, take extra posts from your deck fencing, saw them in half, and use them as the legs for your benches.
Built-In Planters with Water Feature
Add a pump, filter, tubing, and waterfall features to this planter, and place it beside an above-ground or in-ground pond to add the pleasant sound of splashing water to your backyard. Include fish and water plants for a soothing effect. This planter could be the centerpiece of a meditation garden.