Add instant curb appeal with these simple and inexpensive DIY tall, tapered planters.

I’m getting old folks.

I’m not happy about it in the least, and this past month has really knocked me on my ass.

It started with my 12 year old asking if I was going bald because she saw a patch of white hair showing through one bed-head morning (I’m between colourings).  The next day I must have sneezed or something and I threw my back out for a couple of days.  This week at work I laughed so hard – I think during a hot flash – that I sweat right through my clothes.  Friday (two days ago) I had a couple of friends over for drinks… to be fair, I’m a homebody and rarely go out (particularly so with Covid) and I almost never drink – but I’ve been hungover for 2 whole days.

Kinda funny – but it hurts to laugh. lol

My brain still thinks I’m 23 (I’m actually 47) and I find looking in the mirror sorta hurtful to my unbelievably wrong self-image.

What does this have to do with tall, tapered planters?

Nothing, but as a blogger I have to hit a 300 word minimum before Google will acknowledge my article in search engines, so I thought I’d throw in a little self-deprecating humour/self-pity. lol

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Okay, tall, tapered planters…

I’ve been eyeballing a few versions on Pinterest with a vision in my head of tall, narrow planters holding beautiful Fall mums.

Simple, elegant, sophisticated… but not at $80 – $120 CDN per which I’ve seen at Home Depot.

I decided not to reinvent the wheel and come up with plans of my own, but to exploit the talent of bloggers before me and go with the building plans from Rachel at Joyful Derivatives (posted on Juggling Act Mama – love a good collaboration)

The blogpost for DIY cedar planter box tutorial will give you the supplies and cut list you need, so I won’t steal their thunder, but I did have to change things up a bit for my project because (as you know if you are a DIYer) cedar and pressure-treated wood are almost impossible to come by right now.

I knew I wanted my tall planters black, so buying inexpensive 1 x 10″ pine wasn’t an issue because the stain-sealer I used will help prolong the life of the wood.

1x10x8 pine shelfThe boards I used were $10.81 CDN and certainly didn’t look as good as this photo – but again, outdoor stain hides most of the imperfections.  For 3 DIY tall planters I bought six 8′ boards.

Once you’ve made your cuts per the DIY cedar planter box tutorial , you put them together one layer at a time.  Make sure you are using outdoor-appropriate wood glue.  I used my brad nailer to hold everything in place, but then followed up by adding two 1 ½” screws to each side to make sure nothing will come apart over time. (fingers crossed)

DIY tall planter, DIY tapered planter, DIY planter


One thing to notice is that each board is overlapped by only one other.  This is what keeps your DIY tapered planter square.  The thing with this is that you have to make sure that the same edges overlap on all three pieces – you’ll be covering it up later with trim pieces – but it is important that the seams are all on the same edges.

I found building all three at the same time – in a repetitive pattern made this easier.  (I didn’t have to think about it).  I didn’t do this on my first planter and it caused me to make an error on the trim work afterwards.

I sanded the top and bottom of each layer to give flat edges to apply the wood glue to and to give the seams a tighter fit.  It’s not necessary, my planters won’t hold dirt (the building plans are for bottomless planters) so I don’t need to worry about soil leaking out, but it made me feel better.

Next up is trimming out the edges of the tapered planter to hold your layers together.  The 8.5° angle runs parallel on these boards per the photo below.

The 1 ½” boards go on first on the edges of the planter that DON’T have a seam – one per side.  The 2″ boards overlap the 1 ½” boards at the corners and cover up the seams on the boxes.


Trim out the top of your DIY tall planters with 2″ boards, mitred at the corners and you are basically done!

DIY tall planter, DIY tapered planter, DIY planter

Because my boards were so knotty and crappy, I decided to give my planters a good sanding before adding outdoor stain-sealer.  You’d be surprised how many mistakes sanding can hide. (wink)

I know a lot of bloggers are promoting Olympic Elite stain for outdoor projects right now, but the reviews I read from customers were terrible… even on the Olympic website.  I decided to try something different (that had better reviews) and hope for the best.

Behr waterproofing stain and sealer

I won’t be able to tell you how great/bad it is until next summer – once I’ve seen how it holds up to the hot weather now, the freezing winter and the wet Spring – but I can tell you it went on like butter.  Smooth and self-levelling.

Two coats are needed for a solid colour stain and I did the inside AND outside of each DIY tall planter.

DIY tall planter, DIY tapered planter, DIY planter

(above is one coat, below is two)

DIY tall planter, DIY tapered planter, DIY planter

I’m so pleased with how they turned out – but I should warn you that they are large.  The height of mine comes in at 28″ which is perfect, but the width comes in at 21″ (an 18″ opening for your plants).  I’m not sure if I should have started with a narrower board for my top pieces, or increased the angle on the cuts to get something a bit narrower?  A 12″, 14″ even 16″ pot will drop in easily, but leaves a fair amount of space to fill around it.

I decided to make a third DIY tapered planter to temper the size of these two, only change to the plan was I didn’t add a top row.

DIY tall planter, DIY tapered planter, DIY planter

To drop your pot into these, all you have to do is measure the depth of your plant pot that you want to drop in, measure down that distance inside the planter, and then measure the width across at that height.  No fancy cuts needed, just scrap boards cut to (in my case) ~15″ in length.  No nails, no glue, no screws – the boards just wedge in at that height and can be easily removed for next years’ plants.

DIY tall planter, DIY tapered planter, DIY planter


I have my tapered planters flanking the stairs on my hot tub, which will also get two coats of the Behr waterproofing stain and sealer in the next week or so.

DIY tall planter, DIY tapered planter, DIY planter

DIY tall planter, DIY tapered planter, DIY planter

It’s still a tad early for Fall mums in my area, but my local greenhouse (Love you Heeman’s!) did have 9″ pots available for $9 each and I just transplanted them into 1 gallon nursery pots and backfilled with some dark potato vine.

I also added a small drip tray underneath each pot to help keep some of the water from running straight through when I water.

DIY tall planter, DIY tapered planter, DIY planter

DIY tall planter, DIY tapered planter, DIY planter

If you are looking to make large privacy planter boxes, or like the mirrored grate I have on the fence, check out the posts linked.

DIY tall planter, DIY tapered planter, DIY planter

Now go click over to the blogpost for DIY cedar planter box tutorial and give the ladies some love for their fantastic free building plans!


Have a great one!


Linked to:  Between Naps on the Porch