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DIY Modern Outdoor Planter Box

Add a cool geometric statement for your porch with this modern outdoor planter! Build the frame, then add PVC panels and a fun color to brighten up your entryway.

yellow modern outdoor planter box

Sometimes, I spot something at the home improvement store that catches my eye, and it instantly gets the wheels turning in my head. This project was from one of those moments! These cool three-dimensional PVC wall panels inspired me to make this modern outdoor planter!

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You can find lots of these PVC wall panels on the Home Depot website. There are tons of fun patterns and textures to choose from! The paintable, waterproof surface is perfect for this modern outdoor planter box! I decided on this cool pyramid shaped design.

PVC panels used to make modern outdoor planter box

Materials Needed for Modern Outdoor Planter

Don't forget your safety gear when woodworking! Here are my recommendations for safety glasses and hearing protection. No excuses!

How to Make a Modern Outdoor Planter Box

Download the Free Woodworking Plans

Enter your email address in the box below to get the woodworking plans sent straight to your inbox! The plans include detailed 3D models of each step of the process to help guide you through the project.

Cut and Sand the Frame Pieces

Cut the 2x2's so you have four 24" pieces and eight 19" pieces.

Set the table saw blade depth to ⅜" and cut a groove into one side of each piece ¼" away from the edge. On the longer pieces, cut an additional groove on the adjacent side, but at the opposite corner.

cedar 2x2 boards with grooves cut along length

Drill pocket holes into both ends of each 19" piece. These should be placed on the side adjacent to the groove like you see below.

grooves and pocket holes cut into 2x2 cedar boards

Sand all the pieces smooth. I used a random orbit sander for the flat parts, and these contour sanding grips for the rounded corners. The ⅜" size wraps around the corners of these 2x2's perfectly, so it keeps the curve consistent.

contour edge sander

Assemble the Frame

Mark a line 2 ⅛" up from the bottom of the 24" pieces on the two sides with grooves. Apply wood glue to the end of a 19" piece, then align the bottom edge with that mark. Use a square to make sure it's at a right angle, then clamp the pieces down to the workbench.

two boards clamped to a workbench and checking for square

Attach the two pieces together with 2 ½" pocket hole screws.

2x2 boards connected together with pocket hole screws

Sometimes the grooves didn't quite line up, so I placed a shim under the lower piece before clamping to bring it up to the right height.

two grooved boards connected at a 90 degree angle with pocket hole screws

Repeat with the other set of pocket holes. Then do the same thing with the other two legs. Connect both sets of legs together with the 19" pieces, keeping the grooves facing up and towards the outside of the frame.

modern planter box frame bottom

Attach the Bottom to the Frame

Cut the 5 ½" wide cedar fence picket into 21" long pieces. Attach them to the bottom of the frame with wood glue and 1 ¼" brad nails or screws.

attaching bottom slats of modern planter box to frame with nail gun

Make sure that the ends of the boards don't cover up the grooves in the frame.

bottom slats of modern planter box lined up behind grooves in frame

Leave a bit of space between each slat to allow water to drip through. I had to rip one of the slats a little smaller in order for it to fit.

bottom slats of modern planter box


We're not quite done building the frame, but now is a good time to paint. Doing it now will ensure that all the grooves have good coverage without worrying about messing up the PVC panels inside.

I painted the PVC panels with Rust-oleum Golden Sunset spray paint. This is the same color as the plastic planter I painted for our front porch this spring, and I love how the bright yellow contrasts with our red siding.

Rustoleum Golden Sunset spray paint on PVC panel

This is my spray painting set up when the weather isn't cooperating outside. The small HomeRight spray shelter fits on my workbench easily, and protects the rest of the workshop from overspray. A lazy susan with a non-slip lip is under the panel so I can turn it without touching the paint. Just make sure you leave the windows open for ventilation!

spray shelter with yellow painted PVC panel

I brought the paper covered in overspray to Home Depot to have them color match the yellow to an exterior paint. I didn't want to spray paint the entire frame, and I only needed a small sample size to coat the entire exterior. Don't forget to paint the top pieces too!

modern planter box frame painted yellow

Insert PVC panels and Finish Frame

Here's the fun part! Insert the edges of the PVC panels into the top of the grooves in the frame, then slide it into place. Fits like a glove!

The panels are flexible, so if it's not resting inside the groove at the bottom, you can bend it a bit until it pops into place.

yellow PVC panel in modern planter box frame

It's so satisfying when the project in your head starts to turn out exactly like you imagined it!

modern outdoor planter box panels in place

To finish off the modern outdoor planter box, attach the remaining frame pieces to the top. They should be flush with the top of the legs, with the edge of the panel in the groove. I forgot to paint the tops of the legs!

corner of modern outdoor planter box frame

Screw the top of the frame together with 2 ½" pocket hole screws.

modern outdoor planter box completed on workbench

Display Outside and Add Plants

Wow, this planter box makes quite a statement!

yellow modern outdoor planter box made of diamond shaped PVC panels

This square plastic planter inside will make it easier to switch out plants, or elevate larger pots.

planter inside yellow planter box

I filled the planter with beautiful fall mums for now, but I'm thinking of a topiary or other interesting plants in the future.

yellow fall mums in yellow modern planter

I'm thinking of making another version that will convert this planter design into an outdoor side table. You could change the entire look just by switching out the panels!

bright yellow DIY planter box

Check out these other DIY planter ideas!


Monday 1st of October 2018

This planter box turned out sooo cute! Thank you for the idea!

Jann Olson

Saturday 29th of September 2018

What a great job! Thanks for sharing with SYC. hugs, Jann

Cindy Magee

Wednesday 26th of September 2018

LOVE this idea! And yellow is my favorite color!

Thanks for sharing on Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop!


Friday 21st of September 2018

This is so cool! I'm loving the use of pvc. Our weather here in FL is harsh on wood, even treated wood. I'm pinning to make next year when I can build again! Super tutorial too!!


Thursday 20th of September 2018

What a cool idea! Those PVC panels are absolutely perfect and the planter turned out so amazing!

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