Upside-Down Planter Planning

Overcoming Obstacles

I know what I want to plant in my garden and how I want to do it. I have some obstacles I have to worry about too. The neighbor has a dog, there are wild chickens, and other animals could be a concern for my plants. Because of this, I intend to make an upside-down planter to grow in.

The main issue with upside down planters is they need to hang from something. And it needs to be sturdy because the planter, soil, water, plants, etc will have some heft to them. Then there’s the wind, some places that might not be an issue, but here it will be. And of course then there is the issue with how to water it when it’s hanging.

Preparations

I headed over to the place where the plants will be and had a bit of a look around. After examining things like compass directions, sunlight, and shadows I found that one edge of the deck seems to get good sunlight at this time of the year nearly all day long. And, the deck itself is off the ground by a good few feet. That got me thinking of a way I can hang the planters off the railing. Which would make watering the plants much easier and give me a sturdy way to hold the planters.

The Hanger

So I headed into the nifty (and free) Tinkercad to design something that could use the railings as a sturdy support. I’ve got a bit of scrap 2×4 I can use. So I threw something together really quick based on that idea and I came up with this rudimentary design:

The idea is to use some bolts with wingnuts between two 2x4s that clamp onto multiple rails. The vertical bar goes over the top of the railing to hold the planter itself. I will probably want to add some kind of padding between the wood and railings to add some protection.

There are a couple of technical concerns with this design too. Mainly it’ll be a problem at that joint for the vertical bar. I feel like just using a couple of screws might not be strong enough, so I’m planning on adding something there to strengthen it. I do realize this may be a bit of overkill, but I’m working with the materials I have to make something cheap and easy.

Buying Supplies

I’ve already got the wood for this project, so I only need to get the hardware, screws, bolts, wingnuts, etc. Luckily, most of this can be found at the local hardware store. And of course while I’m buying supplies for this I’ll probably pick up supplies for the planters themselves.

So far on my list of supplies to buy for this project are:

  • 5.5″ bolts
  • Wingnuts
  • Washers
  • 2x 5gal buckets
  • 2.5″ screws
  • 1″ screws
  • Screen
  • Brush (for staining)
  • Stain

Luckily for me I was able to actually find everything I needed to begin. As you can see here I have all that I need to make the hangers and the planters themselves. I ended up going with carriage bolts because that was the only thing in stock that would really meet my needs. I decided to go with a “natural” color stain. This is basically garbage wood, and I’m not staining it to protect against rotting and insects.

Build

The next step in the process was measuring everything to get actual dimensions for the wood. I found I’d need four pieces measuring 17″ each for the crossbars, two pieces at 7″ each for the vertical connector, and two pieces at 22″ each for the horizontal support bar that holds the planters themselves.

With those measurements I picked out the proper pieces. Luckily I had three pieces that were the perfect size and I could just cut them in half. The next step was measuring and marking my cuts. Once everything was in order it was time to cut the wood. I would have preferred to use a miter saw, but I wasn’t able to buy one. So I had to use a circular saw, which means the cuts aren’t quite as straight as I would like them to be.


After that it was time to stain the wood. This was actually my fist time ever using stain, so I’m sure I did it wrong. Actually, I know I did it wrong, because I didn’t think about sanding the wood first. But because this is garbage wood, and the stain is only meant to protect it from rot and bugs, I just threw on a coat of stain and let it dry.


Once the stain finally dried (8 hours to cure!) it was time to begin assembly! I started with drilling the holes for the carriage bolts through all four of the crossbars. I then attached the vertical connector and verified everything would fit right before attaching the horizontal support bar. Once that was done, I put them in place!


After many months of putting the project on hold, things really came together quickly when I found potting soil. Stay tuned for the next DIY project where I transform those simple five-gallon buckets into hanging planters!

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