Elevated Cedar Planter Box from Gardener’s Supply: Product Review
This large raised planter from Gardener’s Supply is made from cedar planks and powder coated aluminum legs.
Assembling the Planter Box
The planter arrives with all of the hardware necessary to assemble it. Be aware that it is very heavy and large! It’s packaged into separate boxes and you may need help to lift and carry those boxes to where you plan to set up the planter box.
The assembly instructions are fairly straightforward but be sure to follow them closely as it’s easy to make a mistake.
You’ll Need Some Tools – It’s possible to assemble the planter box without power tools but there are a lot of screws to insert so I quickly resorted to a power drill with a Phillips head driver bit. You’ll also need a hammer or rubber mallet.
Get Help to Assemble It – Although the planter box can be assembled by one person (I did it by myself) it will be much easier to do it with a partner. This will help to ensure that the box is perfectly square when you assemble it and it makes it easier to hold pieces in place as you screw them together.
Wear Gloves – The cedar planks for the bottom of the planter box are rather rough so you may want to wear gloves while handling them. Don’t worry about the roughness – they’re entirely covered by the potting soil once the planter is assembled.
Cedar Expands When Wet – Note that the cedar planks on the bottom of the planter box can expand when wet. I didn’t fill the planter box with growing medium for several weeks after assembling it. After several days of heavy rain I found that the cedar planks had expanded so much that they no longer fit in the bottom of the planter box.
I waited a few days for the planks to dry out but they didn’t shrink back to a size that would fit into the planter. My husband had to shave half an inch off the long edge of one of the planks to make them all fit flat. I’m not sure if this would have happened had there been the weight of the potting soil pressing down on the planks. I suspect that the swelling would have been less and you probably would not have noticed it unless you got underneath the planter and looked up. Now, four months later, all the boards lie flat, although each board is bowed in the center.
What Do You Do With the Screws? – I found that there were 12 extra screws left over after I had finished assembling the planter. I’m not sure what those were for or if they were just extras, but there didn’t seem to be any use for them. The packing insert says that there are 44 screws (and indeed there were 44 screws in the package) but it only mentions using 32 of them. I understand have extras – but 12?
Pre-Drilled Holes Don’t Line Up – I had trouble getting the screws into the corner support pieces. I’m not sure if that’s because the planter box wasn’t perfectly square or because there was just no way those pieces were going to line up. I tried it many different ways, including taking the thing apart and putting it back together again but could never find any way to get all four corner holes to line up properly.
In the end, I decided to skip the screws on two opposite corners as it didn’t really seem necessary to screw them together. It doesn’t seem to have had any effect on the long-term stability of the planter box.
Where to Place the Planter Box
Be aware that the planter is very heavy when filled and can’t easily be moved – so set it up where you intend to leave it.
Make sure that the surface on which you place the planter is level and can support its weight. If you place it on a softer surface, such as lawn or gravel, use paving stones or cement pavers beneath each leg to prevent the planter box from sinking into the ground.
There are no drainage holes in the cedar planks on the bottom of the planter. At first I was concerned about this but I’ve found that water drains easily between the planks so there’s no need to drill drainage holes.
The fabric liner prevents potting mix from draining out of the planter with the water. It’s not particularly thick but it does the job.
Still Looking Good
After four months of use (during which the critters repeatedly ate all of my seedlings – I’m now building a “cage” to cover it), the planter still looks like new. Although the planks on the bottom have warped slightly, the sides and the powder-coated legs are straight and show no signs of wear.
If you like, you can stain and/or seal the cedar but it looks nice as it weathers (it turns grey) and is naturally rot-resistant.
Because of the long, 8-foot span I was concerned that the planter would sag in the middle. I’m pleased to report that there has been no sagging at all – the sides are still perfectly straight.
I’m relatively tall (5’10”) and I find that the 29” height of the planter is just enough to allow me to garden without much bending.
The planter needs a lot of potting mix to fill – about 13 cubic feet or roughly 3+ of the largest bags of potting soil you can find. Use a light-weight potting soil, not garden soil, to fill it. I mixed in some compost to provide additional nutrients and add some “life” to the potting mix.
Although the planter box has been in use through the winter, temperatures here in Tucson don’t fall much below freezing. If you live in an area with very cold winters, I’d recommend removing at least half of the potting soil before it freezes solid. This will minimize the amount of pressure against the sides of the planter due to expansion of the soil when it freezes.
And if you live in a hot, dry area, be aware that you’ll have to water frequently during the summer to maintain a consistently moist soil for your plants.
I really like this planter. It’s sturdy and holds up well over time. It looks nice (and should fit into most decor schemes), holds a lot of plants, and raises things up to a level where I don’t have to bend to tend to the plants.
On the down side, assembly can be confusing and some of the parts may not fit together well, particularly where there are pre-drilled holes (although this hasn’t seemed to affect the stability or longevity of the planter). There have also been some reports of quality control issues. If you find that things aren’t to your liking when the planter arrives, just call Gardener’s Supply at 888-833-1412; I’ve found that they have excellent customer service.
Where to Buy It
The 2′ x 8′ Elevated Cedar Planter Box is a Gardener’s Supply exclusive. You can buy it directly from Gardener’s Supply for $289 plus shipping (note that there’s an additional $10 freight charge on top of regular shipping costs due to the weight of the planter box). You can also buy it on Amazon for $289. If you want it with a frame and covers, a 2′ x 8′ Elevated Cedar Planter Box, Frame and 2 Covers Kit is available from Gardener’s Supply.
There’s also a 2′ x 4′ Elevated Cedar Planter Box if you don’t have room for the larger size. (At Gardener’s Supply: 2′ x 4′ Elevated Cedar Planter Box and a
Elevated Cedar Planter Box, 4′ x 4′)
And now over to you – Have you tried a raised outdoor planter? How did it work? Let us know in the comments below!
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