DIY: Cool contemporary plant stand

planter and stand
This container is planted with a sun-loving combination of bromeliad, kalanchoe and false cypress ‘Sungold.”

Garden pots can be splendid on their own, but when elevated, they achieve rock star status in the garden or on the patio. Plus, the taller the pot, the greater the impact. But big pots are pricey. Building this wood plant stand helps give the illusion of a larger pot and also makes for a lighter weight set-up and an easier job of moving if needed. And depending on your plants, it can be moved indoors for the winter.

The instructions are for use with a plastic pot – 14” tall and round at its widest point – a common size and material at garden centers and other stores. The 2” cedar spindles (1 3/8” actual) used are adequate for a plastic, resin, foam product or thin ceramic pot. If you would like to use a heavier ceramic pot, consider using a thicker spindle or post. If you reconfigure the design for a larger or smaller pot, keep the same scale by making the height of the pot one-third of the height of the pot and the plant stand combined. For example, in this design, the pot is 14” tall and the height with the stand is 21.” Make the width of the support beam the diameter of the pot.

container shade
A shade collection of coleus, begonia, ivy and calla lily round out this pot.

Materials needed
2×2 cedar spindles, cut to the following: 4 – 17.5” lengths with a 45° cut at the end, 1 – 14” length, 2 – 6.25” lengths. The spindles can be cut with a cross-cut, jig or circular saw or even a hand saw. Most stores that sell wood will also cut it for you. (Note: cedar is naturally resistant to rot, which is why I chose it, but you can use other types of wood as well. Consider staining or sealing other woods with polyurethane).

  • 4 – 2 ½” wood screws
  • 2 – 2” wood screws
  • T-bracket or brace (optional).
  • 14” tall and garden pot with a 14” diameter
  • Potting soil
  • Plantings of your choice

Tools needed

  • Saw to cut spindles, if needed.
  • Drill with a drill bit slightly thinner than the screws.

The construction of the plant stand is easy, but don’t hesitate to ask a more experienced craftsperson for help if needed. Basically, you are building an X-shaped support piece with the 14” and two 6 ¼” pieces – this is what the pot sits on. You then screw each of the longer spindles onto the ends of the X-shaped support, seven inches from the bottom of the spindles. Pre-drilling all the screws keeps the wood from splitting and helps the screws go more easily into the wood.

Step 1: Mark the center point on the 14” support piece and position each of the 6.25” pieces on either side at the center mark to create an X-shape. Pre-drill pilot holes, at a toe-nailed angle, through the shorter piece and into the longer piece. Screw a 2” screw at a toe-nail angle into the wood until tight and connecting the two pieces (see diagram). Repeat on the other side to finish the support piece. You can add extra support on the bottom with a T- bracket or brace, especially if you are using a heavier pot.

Step 2: Mark 5½” from the bottom on the inside of all four of the 17.5” spindles. This is where the bottom edge of the ends of the support “X” piece will be placed (see diagram). Position the spindle on an end of the support piece and pre-drill, then screw in a 2 ½” screw until tight, securing the two pieces together. Repeat with the remaining three spindles.

The plantings

This container is planted with a sun-loving combination of bromeliad, kalanchoe and false cypress ‘Sungold.” The planter can easily be transitioned indoors for the winter. Pull the false cypress and plant in your garden (it’s a hardy shrub) and fill the hole with a houseplant.

A note on toe-nailing a screw
It can be a little tricky, but with practice, you will get better. Pre-drilling the hole helps. Also, begin screwing straight into the wood for a ¼” and then turn to slightly greater than a 45° angle. If possible, I find it helps to be on the floor or a slightly lower solid surface to help apply pressure to the screw. Try positioning the wood against a wall to help provide stability and support.


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