The Striata Planter Box

One project for the front-yard that I’ve been wanting to get to for years is a rectangular planter box for housing some succulents needing more shade. With shelter-in-place, I finally got the chance to pop this off the queue and scrounge up some leftover pieces of 2 × 6 to make this all happen.

The original concept, as drawn, was 50″ wide × 9″ deep × 22″ tall, with 7 straight horizontal routed channels, each 1/2″ deep. It turned out to be a bit too shallow, a bit too long, and a bit too short; the routing channels made the look a bit too busy. All that, coupled with the inescapable need to change things as they get built, led to the final actual design.

The final box is 48″ wide × 15″ deep × 27.5″ tall, built from 5 horizontal layers of 2 × 6 redwood, all edge-glued together. The 4 horizontal joints are then hidden by routing them over to create straight channels, each 1/4″ deep and 5/16″ wide.

The outer edges of each side of the box are mitered at 45° angles, and the hardest part of the whole project is undoubtedly getting these miters right. I had almost considered doing straight cuts instead, but I’ve done enough of these in my life, and am now definitely down for a challenge.

I had intentionally made each cut ever so slightly wider than 45°, because having a slight gap is an infinitely more forgivable atrocity than having pieces that won’t fit. Even though ever so slightly could have been even slighter, I’m quite happy with how they edges turned out.

The finished panels are heavy! The box has a total of 24 square feet of 2 × 6 redwood, or about 36 board feet. In addition, the sides are held together by 4 ×4s at all four corners. Altogether, the whole thing weights well over 100 pounds!

Everything in the yard is on wheels, and this is no exception. But, this is the first project where I made the wheels hidden by recessing them about two inches from the bottom edge. It was just about right, such that it can still get around unevenness in the ground.

After giving the whole thing a good sanding, I put on two coats of an oil-based stain. The only things left to do are to cut and put in the bottom slats (from rough cedar), and install coco liners all around.

Of course, the best part of the project is populating it with a curated collection of succulents that might enjoy the cool and shady front yard.

And here they are, in order, clockwise from the upper center: Aloe veraAgapanthus africanusCorpuscularia lehmanniiAloe juvennaSedum nussbaumerianumSenecio vitalisSedum rupestreSedum rubrotinctumAloe rauhiiAloe bellatula, and Aloe perrieri (the rest are symmetric with the right).