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Outdoor Garden Plant Shelf

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If you’re short on space but want to expand your garden, then building an outdoor plant shelf can help you utilize vertical space and increase your plant capacity.

Most tiered outdoor plant shelves have very narrow shelves. For this reason, my mom tasked me with building her a custom plant shelf for her garden to hold her larger pots.

Not long ago, I built an A-Frame plant shelf. This is a great option for smaller potted plants. You can check out that tutorial here.

A Modern DIY Outdoor Plant Shelf, A-frame plant shelf, 2-tier plant shelf for indoor outdoor use

What Material Should I Use?

Most plant stands are made out of metal, plastic, and wood for their durability. When larger potted plants are watered they can get extremely heavy.

Wood: Wood is a popular choice for outdoor plant shelves because of its natural look and feel. However, it requires regular maintenance, such as sealing or staining, to prevent rotting and weather damage. Cedar and redwood are popular choices for outdoor use because they are naturally resistant to decay and insects.

Metal: Metal plant shelves are sturdy, durable, and come in a variety of styles and finishes. Steel, aluminum, and wrought iron are popular choices. However, metal can rust and corrode over time, so it’s essential to choose a rust-resistant finish or coat the shelf with a rust inhibitor.

Plastic: Plastic plant shelves are lightweight, affordable, and low-maintenance. They are also resistant to water damage and weathering. However, they may not be as sturdy as other materials, and some people find the plastic look less attractive.

Ultimately, the best material for an outdoor plant shelf will depend on your personal preference and the specific needs of your outdoor space.

Best Types of Wood for Outdoor Use

Cedar: Cedar is a popular choice for outdoor plant shelves because it’s naturally resistant to decay and insects. It’s also lightweight and has a beautiful natural color that can complement a variety of outdoor landscapes.

Redwood: Redwood is another excellent choice for outdoor plant shelves because it’s naturally resistant to rot and decay. It also has a beautiful, rich color that can add warmth and character to your outdoor space.

Pressure-treated pine: Pressure-treated pine is an affordable option that has been chemically treated to resist decay, insects, and weathering. It’s a popular choice for outdoor furniture and structures, including plant shelves.

Teak: Teak is a durable, weather-resistant hardwood that’s commonly used for outdoor furniture and structures. It has a beautiful, warm color that can add an elegant touch to your outdoor space.

For our particular project, we’re going to use pressure treated pine 2x4s. We’re going for maximum sturdiness and cost-effectiveness.

2-Tier Wood Plant Shelf Tutorial

Cut List:

  • (18) 2 x 4 @ 36”
  • (2) 2 x 4 @ 18”
  • (2) 2 x 4 @ 11 ½”
  • (4) 2 x 4 @ 8”

Materials List:

  • (18) 2 x 4 x 8’ pressure treated pine
  • 2 ½” deck screws
  • 2 ½” exterior pocket hole screws
  • Miter saw
  • Drill
  • Kreg pocket hole jig
  • 1/8 countersink drill bit
  • 1/8 wood dowel
  • Exterior wood glue
  • Flush cut hand saw

To start, cut all your wood pieces down to size and add pocket holes to the 8″ and 11 1/2″ boards.

Connect the 36″ legs to the 8″ side rails using pocket hole screws making the top flush and second support 14 1/2″ from the bottom. Do this step twice; one for each side.

diy outdoor plant stand; 2 tier plant shelf

Now you’ll connect those two leg panels together with two 36″ long boards. Pre-drill using the countersink drill bit and screw front rail into the side rails using 2 1/2″ deck screws. Two screws per joint.

Next join the 18″ boards with the 11 1/2″ boards using pocket holes making sure the pocket holes are facing inside. Do this step two times.

Attach these two front legs to the front of your top tier making sure they’re joined at 90 degrees and level with the middle support rail of your top tier.

Now you’ll add two 36″ boards to support the bottom tier. Again, pre-drill with countersink bit and attach the front and back rails with 2 1/2″ deck screws.

diy outdoor plant stand; 2 tier plant shelf

Evenly space your remaining five 36″ boards on each of the shelves using the countersink bit and 2 1/2″ deck screws.

diy outdoor plant stand; 2 tier plant shelf

As a finishing touch, add a drop of glue to each countersunk hole and plug with the wood dowel. Use the flush cut hand saw to trim off the excess. Once the glue is dry, sand any rough parts smooth.

To finish, add your preferred exterior stain or seal natural with Thompson’s WaterSeal Clear Wood Sealer.

Here is the finished outdoor plant shelf!

diy outdoor plant stand; 2 tier plant shelf
diy outdoor plant stand; 2 tier plant shelf
diy outdoor plant stand; 2 tier plant shelf