Architectural Salvage Idea – Make a Really Great Planter From Old Iron Fencing

Here is a “really great”, higher end decorative, architectural salvage design using a section of old iron fencing or gate section! This idea will give you an architectural accent that is really beautiful and has some adaptations depending on its ultimate location in your yard, patio or garden!

Over the Labor Day weekend, I was reviewing some past design projects to add to our new portfolio of designs and found a really wonderful design we did for a French Chateau style home at the top of a beautiful orchard area in Redlands, California. It was so beautiful that I thought it would make a great salvage project for you tasty “archeologist” who like to blend architectural accents into your interior and exterior projects. Here goes:

This project is the conversion of a piece of iron fencing or a gate into a really unique planter.

Step 1- “The hunt” — Find a appropriate piece of iron fence, iron gate or window guard. Size is dependent on the area your creation will ultimately reside.

Step 2 — “Construct and mount a planter box for connection to iron piece and creation of your planter:

1. Go to your home improvement store and pick up 5 pieces of 1×6 cedar or redwood fencing (these fence boards will cost you about $2. each) also get 2- 8′ 2×4 (which will also cost you about $4). You need 1 box of 1 5/8 course thread dry wall screws. (cost about $6). Get 1 package of PVC pipe mounting u-brackets (6) that are equal to the diameter of your fence rails or vertical pieces (approx. $4).

2. Cut 4 2×4 pieces the same size as the width of your fence board. It should probably be about 5 1/2″ (1×6 boards are usually a little shy of 6″).

3. Cut two fence boards to the desired dimension so that it has the same width as your fence section.

4. Cut two fence boards to the desired width of your planter box. 8” to 12″ is a nice scale for a 4′ to 5′ iron fence or gate section.

5. Screw a short 2×4 section flat against the two ends of the longer fence board sections using your 1 5/8″ dry wall screws. Be sure to drill “pilot holes” with a 1/8″ drill bit into the spots where you are going to screw the 2×4’s into the fence board. (this will keep the fence board from splitting).

6. Take your two short fence boards and screw them to the sides of the 2×4’s that were mounted to your longer fence board. (this creates the sides of your planter box). Do this with both of the longer fence boards and you will have a box (sides and backs) waiting for a bottom.

7. Measure the length of the bottom of your box frame from end to end and cut your third piece of fence board that length. Drill pilot holes on the outside edge of your third board and screw it into the box frame you built using your 1 5/8″ dry wall screws. You now have your planter box.

8. Cut 3 more 2×4’s the same depth as your new box and mount one on each end and one in the middle of the bottom of the box. Drill holes every 6″ in the bottom of the box with a 1/2″ drill bit (you should have quite a few holes). These holes are to allow water to drain (so that your plants don’t get root rot). These 2×4 spacers will allow your box to have a 1 5/8 inch space at the bottom of your box so water can exit.

9. Paint, stain or create the look of your choice for the planter box.

10. Connect the box to the fence with 3 rows of PVC U-Brackets mounted at top and bottom of planter box and wrapped around the fence to secure the iron fence to the box.

11. Paint or sand or create the finish color or treatment to the fence. (If you decide to paint the fence…rust-o-leum spray paint is worth a couple of extra dollars for it’s adherence and coverage of metal. Cheaper paints never cover as well!

When you plant your architectural planter consider having a climbing vine be part of your garden additions. The climbing vine is a fabulous touch growing up the iron vertical fence rails! Find a really great focal point for your creation…your friends will die for…this really “artsy architectural creation”!