Building some simple planter boxes from redwood sleepers

Aug 6, 2022 | The Garden | 0 comments

I was always aware we’d have to fix some things on our new house once we moved in. I unfortunately had not realised that most of the garage cladding would need replacing. The previous owners, or perhaps the owners before them, decided it would be an excellent idea to build a planter box/raised bed using two sides of the garage as the structure.

I soon realised that this had caused quite some damage to the side of the garage. So this became a priority for me to resolve. However, I didn’t want to lose what had been growing in the raised bed. So I must build new planter boxes, and transplant the plants before removing the old one.

You can sort of make out from this photo what I’m talking about. Excuse the low quality, I’ve zoomed in on a larger photo.

A close up of the existing bed, you can see it’s touching the walls.

The Plan

We decided the best place to put the new boxes would be alongside the garage wall where the yard still gets a lot of sun.

After doing a bit of research, the plan is to use Redwood sleepers. These come in 200mm by 50mm at 2.4 metres long, ideal sizing for the boxes. They should also be pretty durable, and I think they look good.

Building the boxes

Fairly straight forward, I cut up the various lengths of timber, created a drill guide block (pic below), drilled three holes on each end of the longer pieces, drilled pilot holes in the shorter bits and screwed it all together. 

I also cut some short stakes that I drove into the ground in the four corners of the boxes. These don’t go very far into the ground, perhaps only 200mm, but they prevent the boxes from shifting and I also put a couple screws from the inside of each corner, through the corner stake and into the box. Hopefully this adds some strength, although I doubt it’s necessary.

Transferring the plants & removing the old bed.

Once the new ones were in place, we set about removing the plants we wanted from the existing bed and keeping them in containers while we trasnferred the soil into the new beds. Once that was done, we were able to replant them (thanks Taly), and start the removal of the old bed.

I discovered something quite odd when digging the soil out of the old bed. Someone decided it was a good idea to plumb the downpipe into the center of the bed, perhaps for some sort of self watering? 

In any case, I’ll need to resolve this as well now.


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