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Make A Slot Together Wooden Pyramid Garden Planter

I have been busy with my Pallet Dismantling Bar again, and this time I have made slot together pyramid garden planter. This planter is not for our garden; a friend requested that I make a planter from reclaimed pallet timber for a local community garden (I am not even sure which community garden because Jo volunteers at three different ones).

This planter took me approximately 90 minutes to make, although I've still got to give it a couple of coats of wood preservative before it is ready for delivery later this week. During the 2nd week of august it will be filled with soil and compost and planted up with various annual flowers, and I promise to go along and take some photographs of it being put together, filled with soil and planted up.

The design is simple, and so is the required level of woodworking skill, the only tools required are a square, pencil, electric/cordless drill and suitable spade end drill bit, and a tenon saw, although a chisel and some sand paper would be useful for tidying up the slip joints.

I cut down some 2.4 metre long pallet deck planks that were 9 cm wide and 1.9 cm thick to 1.9 mtrs long for the base tier so that the tier inside the slip joints is a 1.8 mtr X 1.8 mtr square.

The corner slip joints for the first (base) tier are positioned 5 cm from the end of each plank and this measurement is used for the corners of all of the tiers. The slots for the tier above have been set at 20 cm in from the slots from the tier below, and again this measurement has been used throughout the construction of this planter.

Only the slip joint slots at the corners of the lower tier need to be half the plank's width in depth, this is to allow all four sides to sit firmly on the ground. All of the remaining slots used in this planter have been set at a depth of 1/3rd of the planks width.

It is important to remember that on all the slip joints you are working inwards so that you keep the dimensions and the slots in the correct place..

Marking out for the slip joint:

Drilling a 19 mm hole (same thickness as the planks)

The cut out slip joint slots for the bottom tier. Note that that the 1/2 depth slot is 5 cm from the end of the plank, and the 1/3  depth slot for the second tier is 20 cm in from the inside edge the first slot:

The bottom/base tier:

The second tier:

I hope you like that! ....... I know I do, and I am certain the people involved with the community garden will enjoy many hours seeing the various plants and flowers displayed in this planter.



Just a quick update; the slot together pyramid planter is now not required until the 22nd of September by the Build Community Garden, which is sponsored by the Open, youth support organisation, but today I did manage to get 2 coats of chestnut brown cuprinol on to it. When the preservative has fully dried, I will flat pack, and strap up the planter ready for delivery, installation and filling: and I still promise to take some photos of it all being done on site in about 6 or 7 weeks time.

The slot together pyramid planter for the community garden getting a lick of wood preservative:

However, I really enjoyed making the slot together pyramid planter, and although Lois has told me not to turn the garden into pallet wood project city, she has lost out on this one.

We have a young plum tree in the garden that I am really careful of when strimming the lawn, as I do not want to ring bark it. So I decided to to utilise the basic design of the slotted pyramid to make a protective barrier for the tree. which will of course be filled with various annual flowers for colour, Succulants for ground cover, and the pot of horseradish; which is a very good neighbour of a plum tree in a companion growing situation.  

So here is what I knocked up out some reclaimed pallet timbers this afternoon:

Tomorrow afternoon, I'll give it a couple of coats of wood preservative, and level the site properly, then on Saturday I shall install it in the final position, fill it with compost and soil ready for planting up at the beginning of next week

This morning  I found my old (held together with elastic bands) Kodak digital camera.

When I finished work for today I installed the new slot together planter around the base of the plum tree. Over the next few days and weeks I will fill it with a mixture of succulents and colourful annual flowers such as Marigolds, Chrysanthemums, Pansies and Violas, etc.

The base area prep finished, and the first wheelbarrow load of riddled through soil added and raked level;

The second wheelbarrow load of soil ready to be tipped, and raked level:

The planter assembled and installed in its final position:

Ensuring it is all square and correctly levelled:

Filled with 150 litres of multi purpose compost. I'll let all settle until this weekend before adding the succulents and flowers.


The slot together planter that I made to go at the base of our Plum tree has been planted up for a few weeks now. The plants have taken root and are beginning to look nice: it is a shame that I did not think about making this planter earlier in the year, as I am certain it would have looked stunning through the summer.

The wild Horseradish is in the central plastic tub; roots and leaves have already been harvested several times this year, but this is a very hardy, vigorous, and strong growing plant that needs to be kept under control.

I have chosen to include 6 varieties of Sempervivum succulents, which I've planted on the South side of the planter around the base of the Plum tree.

On the North side I have planted two types of large succulent that I am currently unable to identify; but which I think may be two different kinds of Sedums. A scaredy cat plant is in the south east corner, and various winter Pansies and Violas are in-situ, along with Snowdrop, Crocus, Dwarf Tulip, and Narcissus bulbs planted ready for a good showing next springtime.

My Guerrilla gardening friend: Jo, and I also managed to install the original Pyramid planter in the Build Charity's community garden at the Norwich Open Academy. It looks a little forlorn and and empty at the moment, but I intend to revisit this garden on a monthly basis and take photos so that you may all see the progress of the work undertaken by the special needs and learning difficulty people, along with the able bodied volunteer helpers.

So here are the first 3 photos of the Planter in the Norwich Build/Open community garden:

Jo and I when we first arrived with the planter stacked and strapped, and ready for assembly:

All slotted together, and ready to be moved to its final position:

Sat in its final position upon 2 layers of weed suppressing matting and ready to be filled with compost:

I am still awaiting the other photos taken on the day to be emailed to me, and will post them up when I receive them

My Guerrilla gardening friend Jo (in one of the photos above) has just within the last hour managed to email the photos from the Build/Open community environment day here in Norwich.......... it has only taken her exactly 3 months to email the photos over the vast and almost incomprehensible distance of 350 metres (Jo lives in the next street to us).

This picture is the pick of the bunch:

I have not forgotten my promise to you all to continue taking monthly photos as this community garden becomes established, progresses, blooms, and matures. Not a lot has happened in this particular garden during the last 3 months; inclement weather, apathy from other volunteers, and budget cuts, etc. have all taken a toll, so it does look a little forlorn, empty and almost abandoned as you drive along the Norwich outer ring road and pass it.

However, Jo, Lois and I have still been going over there one or two Saturdays each month to help keep the garden sort of tidyish and the three of us have made a pact to keep this community garden going for at least the next 12 months. Jo & Lois have been planning, collecting unused seeds and unwanted plants, and I have been exercising my Pallet Dismantling Bar and woodworking skills to make a few more additions to this community garden; two more slot together pyramid planters, several sideways grow bag frames, and a couple of other exceptionally nice and awe insipiring Reclaimed Pallet Wood Projects which I will reveal to the world come the springtime.


grand planter that.Nice little project for the new year. Cheers ........magnet

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