Do you have a small front porch? One that is an easy target for porch pirates? Whip up one of these porch planter benches in just a few hours to add curb appeal AND create a drop space for deliveries to be hidden away from view.
Happy Sunday everyone!
I’m finally getting my rear-in-gear and sharing the building plans for this awesome (if I do say so myself) porch planter bench that I made back in early May.
My friend lives in a row house where the front porch is very small.
As with most of us nowadays, purchases were being delivered to his home and were left on the porch in full view of “porch pirates” (aka selfish assholes). I wanted to build something decorative to give some curb appeal to his home, but also provide him with a place for deliveries to be tucked away and out of temptation’s sight.
The porch planter bench was created! (I did the build, he did the building plans)
A storage bench with a planter at one end to soften the look and – from the street – hide the fact that there is a box there at all.
Porch Planter Bench
This is a super-simple build; no angles to cut, no sanding or finishing required – just pressure treated wood and straight cuts on your table and mitre saws.
You will need:
- (5) 5/8″ x 6″ x 8′ pressure treated or cedar fence boards
- (2) 2″ x 4″ x 8′ pressure treated or cedar
- 1 ¼” pocket screws
- 1 ¼” deck screws
- 2″ deck screws
- (2) 3″ outdoor hinges
Rip down your 2″x4″ boards to create 1 x 2’s – approximately 1 ½” by 1 ¼” on your table saw
Cut your new ~2″ x 2″ boards down to:
(4) at 21″ long (tall post)
(4) at 16″ (short post)
(1) at 29″ (hinge support)
Rip down 2 of your 5/8″ x 8′ fence boards to 1 ½” widths
From these cut:
(8) at 15″ long (short frame)
(3) at 29″ long (long frame)
(4) at 9″ long
(3) at 12 ½” (lid supports)
Rip down the remaining 5/8″ x 8′ fence boards to 5″ widths
From these cut:
(6) at 45 ¼” long (long sides)
(8) at 18″ long (short sides)
(2) at 13 ¼” long (tall planter sides)
(4) at 17 ½” (storage box base)
Start by drilling pocket holes in either end of your 15″ boards (short frame).
Use 1 ¼” pocket screws to attach two of your 21″ boards (tall post) together at the top and then at 1 ½” up from the bottom. I kept the spacing on this build easy so you can just use a 1 ½” board to act as a spacer between the floor and the lower cross-brace.
Your cross-braces will be flush with one side of your 2×2 board (this will be the outside of your porch planter bench).
Mirror this step on your remaining 22″ boards so that the 15″ board is flush with the opposite side of the posts.
Hopefully my photo below will make it more clear:
When attaching your 15″ boards between your 16″ short posts – offset the top board by ¾” from the top and 1 ½” from the bottom ON ONE SET. This will allow your bench top to nest nicely within the frame. The second pair of posts you’ll want the upper board flush with the top.
The next step for framing your porch planter bench is to drill pocket holes in either end of the 29″ (long frame) boards.
Attach your two short post sections together by using 1 ¼” pocket screws and connecting the bases at 1 ½” up from the ground.
Repeat on the other side. These frame boards should be flush with the outside of your posts.
Your 29″ 2×2 board (hinge support) connects the upper section of your porch planter bench one one side and rests flush with the top of the posts. I drilled pocket holes and used 1 ½” pocket screws to attach these (I attached from the underside so you can’t see the pocket holes in the above photo.)
The remaining 1 x 2″ 29″ board is attached flush with the outside of the posts, but again, inset by 3/4″ from the top.
Use 1 ¼” pocket screws.
Put the two taller frames together in the same way – except the 1×2″ boards will be flush with the top – using the 9″ 1×2 boards
At this point you have two box/rectangle frames – attach them together using 2″ deck screws through the posts.
I’m sure I made all of that sound far more difficult that it actually was.
The goal was to build a small box frame and a tall box frame and attach them together. The only mental challenge comes with having two sides of your smaller box with a ¾” inset.
Now you’re on to the super-easy part! Boxing it all up with your 1×6 fence boards!
I attached the short sides first – using 1 ¼” deck screws to attach the 18″ boards (short sides) at either end. Your short boards will line up flush with the posts.
I drew a light line down the boards to try and keep my screws holes in a straight line for aesthetic purposes.
Follow up by attaching your long side boards – 45 ¼” – to either side and covering up the cut ends of the short sides. Again, keeping your screws in line just makes for a cleaner look.
All sides will start at 1 ½” up from the ground (use your spacer again here).
Your remaining 13 ¼” boards will close off the sides of the taller box and should finish flush with the top of the posts.
I used leftover pieces of pressure treated wood to make a slatted base for the storage bench (long side) – by attaching three fence boards to the 16″ cross braces using 1 ¼” deck screws.
I used leftover pieces of the 1 ½” boards to create a slatted base for the flower pot section of the bench by attaching 1 ½” cross braces to the inside of the sides using 1 ¼” deck screws and setting the board at ~ 12″ down from the top (but this may vary depending on the size of the planter you plan to drop in here).
To make the lid for the porch planter bench, I laid out my 32″ fence boards (not ripped down to 5″ widths), and created a small ¼” overhang on what will be the front of the porch planter bench.
From here I attached the 12 ½” lid supports using 1 ¼” deck screws and offsetting these supports by ~5/8″ so that they rest on the inside cross supports. The goal is to connect the lid boards together AND to give the lid some extra strength so you/people can sit on it.
Rip down a final board at 32″ by ~ 3 7/16″ and attach it to the small space remaining on your lid area. Use 2″ deck screws and be sure to drill into the 2×2 board below – this is going to be your hinge support and needs to be solidly in place.
Attach your 3″ hinges to the top and you are done!
I chose to trim out the top of the planter pot section with 1 ½” pressure treated boards (with mitred corners), but this is optional. You can, more easily, create butt joints and glue and nail two 13 ¼” boards and two 18″ boards to the top of that section. It’s aesthetics which you choose; the goal is just to hide the posts underneath.
Drop in a patio pot or hanging basket and you are finished!
The total cost for this build, including hinges, was approximately $60 CDN – so FAAAAAAAAR less than anything you’ll find in stores or online, and by using pressure treated wood, your porch planter bench will last for years!
I think if I were to make it again, I might try attaching the sides vertically instead of horizontally – just to see how it would look with a shaker-style finish and a bit of trim work.
Wanna see how it looks in its home?
Small enough not to take up too much porch space, pretty enough to add curb appeal and large enough to fit several deliveries inside.
Porch pirates (aka selfish assholes) would have to check the porch planter bench daily to know if there were packages inside – so temptation has been eliminated.
From the street all you really notice is the planter section.