Thursday, July 3, 2014

Building a New Window Planter for My Wife (Call it a Flower Bunk Bed)

I recently built a new window planter for my wife for her birthday. It replaced the old one that I built for a birthday present about 15 years ago. I had to tear it down a while back to have the patio replaced. It had survived the North Florida elements for about 15 years and was due for replacement. 

For the base on the replacement I used standard 5 step treated 2x10 stair stringers that I purchased at a local home improvement store. To make the project take less patio space I turned them upside down. The plant shelves are made from that recycled plasticy simulated wood material that is supposed to never rot. It comes in 3/4 x 11 inch dimensions in 8 foot lengths. It is remarkably easy to cut and work with using standard woodworking tools. Since the pots are in direct contact with it and hold water under their bases, I thought it would resist rotting way better than standard treated lumber. I used stainless steel trim head screws to secure the shelves to the wooden stringers. To make it stay put and support the stringers, I used two of the typical framing lumber hangers found in deck and floor construction. All in all, I would say that it was one of the most enjoyable projects that I have done in years. My total cost was about $175 without the plants (my wife already had those). Below are some pictures and captions. I would be happy to answer questions to the best of my ability.

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 Flipping the stair stringers takes considerably less horizontal space on the patio. I put a good coat of water seal on these to protect them since they are exposed to lots of waterings. I paid special attention to coating the cut ends and end grain.

One of the footers with a typical galvanized joist hanger holding the stringer. I made forms from scrap plywood. Our patio is on a slope to facilitate rapid drainage so pouring footers for these allowed me to level them and raise them to the correct height. I secured the new concrete to the old by putting 2 - 2 1/2" concrete screws under each (tapcons) halfway into the existing patio and set the form around them and pored the concrete. these pads keep the wooden stringers from touching the patio allowing them to stay dryer and prevent them from rotting.

I notched the shelves and added a guard rail to the back and a rim to the front and sides.

I cut holes in the top shelf and we bought matching pots.

View from inside the kitchen. The lower pots make the view better.

Notched the shelves on all but the lowest. Note the guard rail in back. The corners are cut to allow water to run off.

Side view. The location gets a few hours of full sun and lots of indirect light.


Another view.

Take care and work safely,
Patrick Phillips