planter with seating

How to build a raised planter with seating

Here’s my DIY raised planter with a seating area for two. This was a DIY-raised planter built on a budget. Within this post, I’m going to share with you how I made this planter with an easy step-by-step guide. You can find all the materials from your local hardware or timber merchant and a basic set of tools which many of you will already have. This is a great idea for garden seating with the addition of a spacious planter.

This raised garden bed with seating can be built within a weekend and will provide a place to grow flowers, vegetables, fruits or simple grasses and ferns. It also provides a place to sit, relax and enjoy your garden. If you’re not convinced a DIY planter seat project is right for you then you could consider a raised planter with seating kit. These kits are available in a number of different shapes and sizes and will take the hassle out of the majority of the project.

We initially built our raised planter for extra space to grow fruits like strawberries. But we also wanted some additional seating in the garden where we could enjoy the evening sun. This spot was perfect. We use it almost every day in the warmer months.

Getting started – How to build a raised planter with seating area

I started by removing a row of patio slabs for the area that would support the planter. I wanted the planter to be wide enough to have seating and plants. The total width was about 70cm. I levelled off the area using a shovel and wheel barrow. A large spirit level allowed me to get a nice even surface. With the area clear I laid some weed protection and started to put some of the wood into place.

Weed protection was used to prevent weeds from growing up into the planter and also out the side from underneath.

Protecting your wood

I’d recommend treating your first pieces of wood before construction. A couple of layers of creocote should be enough to prevent rot for a good 10 years. Simply brush some creocote onto the bottom and 20mm up the sides before laying them onto the ground.

It’s also a good idea to consider building your planter on gravel that will help water drain easily. To do this simply spread medium sized gravel over the area you are building.

We used a shed and fence paint from Cuprinol to protect the wood. It’s available in a number of different colours and should last about 5 years. It’s also very well priced in my opinion. Two coats of this should be enough to last.

Here I used F-clamps to pull the pieces together and hold them securely when screwing. A pilot hole and counter sunk piece was used before inserting any screws. This will help prevent splitting the wood.

Continue to build upwards until you have three layers of 145mm timber. Now it’s time to think about where you want your seating. This part is completely up to you. We went for 110cm wide seat and 44cm deep.

The seating platform can be supported with a simple frame made out of the 47x50mm timber. You’ll need to cut 45mm off each of the first side pieces so that they line up with the rest of the timber. This can be done using a circular saw.

Here is an image from the front of the completed planter so that you can see the seat configuration in a little more detail. You may want to lean the back support a little to make this more comfortable.

The next step is to complete the side walls all the way round.

Moisture barrier

Now it’s time to line the inner walls with a moisture barrier. This will prevent the wood from rotting too quickly. I’ve used a black moisture barrier but the green stuff is also suitable.

Using a staple gun I fixed the moisture barrier to the sides and along the bottom of the planter. I made sure there were drainage holes in the middle so that excess water could escape into the soil below.

The next job was to fit the top rail to the planter. This would give the impression of a thicker wood.

For this I have used 95x45mm timber with the corners cut at 45 degree angles. You can see in the picture above I have used blocks of wood so that the top rail can be securely fixed to the planter without any visible screw heads.

Here is the completed planter build before we’ve added any colour of plants.

As you can see it’s quite deep and will require a lot of soil to fill it. This was intentional for us as we filled it will all the soil we dug out for our ‘in ground trampoline‘.

For many of you, it will be a good idea to build a platform all the way across the planter at a similar height to the seat. This will save you from trying to fill the whole thing with soil which could get expensive. Just remember to install a moisture barrier and allow for drainage.

What to put in the bottom of the planter

To make a good bed for you plants I’d recommend starting with a layer of medium size stones (2-4cm which will help water drain through the bottom. Then a layer of organic materials such as logs, sticks, grass cuttings, straw and leaves which will create a good compost in which your plants can thrive. Covering this section with cardboard is a good way to prevent weeds from growing. Then a final layer of soil/compost will finish off the perfect environment for your plants to grow.

If you have a larger area to fill then you can also use pieces of wood on the bottom section. Placing sticks and logs in a vegetable planter can be a helpful technique for improving soil quality and promoting healthy plant growth. Here’s why:

  1. Drainage: When you place sticks or logs at the bottom of your planter, it helps to create space between the soil and the bottom of the container. This space allows excess water to drain away more easily, preventing waterlogged soil that can cause root rot and other problems.
  2. Aeration: The logs and sticks in the planter also create channels for air to flow through the soil, promoting healthy root development and preventing compacted soil.
  3. Nutrients: Over time, the sticks and logs will break down and add organic matter to the soil. This can provide essential nutrients for your plants and improve soil structure.

When using logs and sticks in a planter, it’s important to choose materials that are free of any toxic chemicals or preservatives, as these can leach into the soil and harm your plants. You can also add a layer of landscape fabric or other permeable material over the logs and sticks to prevent soil from settling down into the gaps.

Find the perfect spot for your raised planter

You might already have a good idea where your raised planter is going to be located, but if not, consider these factors before you get started:

  • Where does the sun rise and set in your garden. Will the seating area be perfect for the morning sun or evening sunsets?
  • Will the planter get suitable light during the day to grow everything you want? If it’s in a shaded area you might need to grow different plants that will survive low levels of light.
  • Is the planter on a slope and therefore need reinforcing to prevent movement?
  • Is the planter near trees and tree roots. The planter will need to be built in a location that has a good sturdy base. Tree roots can easily grow into and disrupt the stability of your planter. If you have tree stumps in the way then you may find it difficult to remove these yourself so you’ll need to call a local tree surgery service to professionally remove the stumps.
  • Avoid building over or too close to drainage and sewerage access points. You’ll need to ensure access is still easy for these important maintenance areas.

Clearing the area ready to build

It’s best to make sure the area is clean and tidy before you start anything else. You’re going to need suitable space in which to build you planter. Measuring and cutting the large pieces of wood can take up a reasonable amount of space so make sure you have plenty. Now is a good time to have a little sort out in your garden if required.

Managing your garden and outdoor space can be very time consuming and some may consider hiring a gardener to help out. Compare the Gardeners is a website that lets you get quotes from local gardeners quickly and easily. You can look at their website for more information and get your garden ready for this beautiful planter.

Mark out the area

Using some string, chalk or simple sticks you can mark out the area you wish to build your planter. It is completely up to you how big you want your planter to be. Try drawing some basic plans on a piece of paper before you get started and measure up your space to see what you can fit in.

Decide how big you want your seating area to be. Will it be for one, two or more people? Try and allow at least 45cm width for each person to sit comfortably next to each other.

Our planter was built to fit into a specific space in our garden. An area that gets all the evening sun and partially blocks a unpleasant looking fence. It is the length of the patio and fits nicely to one side of the garden. We used to have a low down border with flowers that was edged with half log rolls. These wooden borders were completely rotten so we decided to make this raised planter in its place.

Materials for this raised planter seating

Raised planters constructed from wood are both strong and durable but are susceptible to rot. Ensure you buy pressure treated timber for this project.

You can find the above in a 3 pack to save some money here.

You don’t have to use the same timber as me. I would have preferred a sleeper thickness for this project but I also wanted to keep the price down. Find the sleepers here.

Here is a peak at our current project building a raised planter with thick sleepers.

sleeper raised planter construction

The price difference is quite considerable between the sleeper (200x100mm x 2.4m) and the construction timber I used (145x45mm x 2.4m).

How to build a raised bed

Here’s another example where we build this raised planter bed for growing bamboo. The bamboo provides an enclosed space in which the bamboo can grow but restrict its ability to spread. We’ve also made use of the underneath section for some additional log storage.

how to make a raised bed

Building a raised bed for flowers, vegetables, fruit or bamboo can be accomplished in a very similar way to the above. You do however have the freedom to create a shape, size and height to suit your needs. To find your perfect design simply take into consideration the following:

  1. Size: The size of your planter or raised bed will depend on how much space you have available and what you want to grow. You’ll want to ensure that it’s large enough to accommodate the plants you plan to grow, while also being manageable in terms of maintenance.
  2. Location: The location of your planter or raised bed is also important. You’ll want to choose a spot that gets plenty of sunlight, ideally at least six hours a day. You should also consider factors such as wind, access to water, and proximity to other plants or structures that could impact the growth of your plants.
  3. Soil: The soil you use in your planter or raised bed is critical to the success of your plants. You’ll want to choose a high-quality potting soil that is rich in organic matter and nutrients. If you’re using a raised bed, you may also want to consider adding compost or other organic matter to improve the soil quality.
  4. Drainage: Proper drainage is essential for healthy plant growth. If you’re using a planter, ensure that it has drainage holes in the bottom. If you’re using a raised bed, consider adding a layer of gravel or other drainage material at the bottom.
  5. Material: The material you choose for your planter or raised bed can impact its durability, cost, and appearance. Common materials include wood, metal, plastic, and stone. You should also consider whether the material is food-safe if you’re growing edible plants.
  6. Accessibility: Finally, you’ll want to consider how easy it will be to access your planter or raised bed for planting, watering, and maintenance. If you have mobility issues, you may want to consider building a raised bed that is tall enough to be accessible from a wheelchair or other mobility device.

Here’s a quick look at the build process for this raised bed.

Painting your raised planter.

Make sure you have a good covering for your planter to protect it from rot. The thick wood should last many years but a good coat of paint once a year will make it last many more.

raised flower bed bamboo

Adding plants

This is where you can be a little creative. Do you want to be surrounded by beautiful flowers, bushy grasses or ivy and ferns. It’s completely up to you.

DIY raised flower beds

Why not build your perfect flower bed with bench seating areas for you and your family to enjoy? Add strawberries, lavender and a mixture of flowers for the perfect combination.

When choosing the best types of flowers and plants to use in a raised flower bed, there are several factors to consider. Here are some suggestions for plants that are well-suited to raised flower beds:

Annuals: Annual plants complete their life cycle in one growing season and are a great option for adding bursts of colour to your raised flower bed. Some popular annuals to consider include petunias, marigolds, zinnias, snapdragons, and cosmos.

Perennials: Perennial plants come back year after year and can provide a more consistent and long-lasting display of blooms in your raised flower bed. Some popular perennials to consider include daylilies, coneflowers, salvia, and black-eyed Susans.

Herbs: Many herbs can thrive in a raised flower bed and provide both beauty and function. Some popular herbs to consider include basil, thyme, oregano, sage, and rosemary.

Vegetables: Raised flower beds can also be used for growing vegetables. Some popular vegetable options include tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, and carrots.

When choosing plants for your raised flower bed, consider factors such as the amount of sunlight the bed receives, the soil quality, and the size and shape of the bed. It’s also important to consider the overall design and aesthetic you’re going for, as different plants will create different effects in your raised flower bed.

We quickly found that this arrangement became far too overcrowded and we needed to spread out the plants a lot more.

And here is the planter with a lick of paint.

A year on and we’ve added a porcelain tile patio and painted the planter grey to match the rest of the garden.

What a big difference this has made to the garden. Now we can enjoy the sun and wildlife from our favourite spot in the garden. You can see we’ve also installed a new porcelain tile patio which make a huge difference to the look and feel of the garden patio area.


What tools will you need for this project? Here is a list of tools I used but you may find something similar works just as well.

This concludes the planter build. Please feel free to leave a comment or ask a question below.

If you like the look of my other garden projects then you can read the step by step instructions in each on these posts:

Building a planter on a slope

If you’re building the planter on a slope you’ll need to think about how the retaining walls will work. Digging in a step will be required and applying suitable support is key. You can use sleeper support spike to ensure a solid fixing to the ground. Try one of these:

More projects around the garden

Here are a few more of my projects that helped transform my garden into a paradise.

Thanks for reading 🙂


  1. The vertical posts are they driven into the ground or does this whole structure sit on top of the ground?

  2. I love this! And these instructions are really easy to follow, thank you.

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