DIY wood planter box

A rustic wood log planter box makes a simple DIY project and is a satisfying way to create a unique accessory that you can fill with herbs or flowers.

Man cutting a tree trunk with a STIHL MS 180 chain saw to build a DIY wood planter box.

DIY wood planter box: preparation

Planters are available in all kinds of shapes and sizes, made from metal, plastic, terracotta, stone – the choices are limitless. But there is a particular charm to a planter made from wood, as the natural material is a great complement to the plants inside. Making a log into a rustic planter is a brilliant DIY project and the results are sure to be admired. We recommend using a strong, weather-resistant wood such as larch or spruce. Your planter will be lined with plastic so the wood is not damaged by moisture from the soil, though you will also need to include drainage to ensure healthy plants. 

Make sure you use dry wood for this project so your log planter box will last longer. Wood that is still drying out is prone to cracking. If you use a log that still has bark on, this may come off over time. 

Committed to your safety: protective equipment

Using powerful tools in your DIY is fun and means you can extend your abilities, which is great as long as you are relying on effective and safe protective clothing while using them. Always wear personal protective equipment when working with your chainsaw. This includes a helmet, cut protection trousers, safety boots, and more. The operating manual for your product contains more details on this. Fully familiarise yourself with the tool before you use your chainsaw for the first time, and check it is in flawless condition before each use. On request, your STIHL dealer will be happy to prepare your tool for its first use, and will also advise you on models and sizes of protective clothing that you can try at your leisure. Please remember that personal protective equipment is no substitute for safe working techniques.

A scene of trees in woodland

Chainsaws for your DIY wood planter box 

Having the right tool is essential for fun and successful DIY projects.

DIY wood planter box: materials

Materials for planter

  • A log, approximately 30 to 35 cm in diameter
  • 2 smaller logs to use as feet (approximately 30 cm long and 20 cm in diameter) 
  • Pond liner


  • STIHL chainsaw
  • Axe
  • Drill
  • 4 screws (approximately 150 mm long)
  • Sawhorse and tensioning belt
Illustration: STIHL chainsaw, logs, axe, saw block, folding rule, screws, drill screwdriver

DIY wood planter box: step-by-step instructions

With your materials and tools ready, you can get started. Make sure your surroundings are safe before you use the chainsaw, with no trip hazards or other dangers.

Illustration: DIY planter box

Keeping your DIY wood planter box in good condition

It goes without saying that you want your new rustic wood planter box to last as long as possible. That means doing your best to protect it from moisture.

  • A wood stain will protect it from decay and mould.
  • Raise your planter up on plastic feet to stop the wood from being affected by ground moisture.
  • Use pond liner to line the inside of the planter and protect it when watering your plants. Remember to make holes in the pond liner for drainage though; these should line up with the drainage openings in the planter. 
  • If you have used a debarked log for your planter, seal the outside with a weatherproof varnish.

Tips for growing herbs in your DIY wood planter box

Your new wood planter makes an ideal herb garden. If you fill it with high-quality soil and take care of your plants, you’ll soon be harvesting salad and garnishes. What you can grow somewhat depends on your soil and climate, but we’ve put together some ideas to inspire you.


Parsley is a classic culinary herb. You can grow parsley very easily in spring and summer as it likes a bright spot but doesn’t need direct sunlight.


This perennial spring herb is one of the most popular garden herbs and makes a delicious addition to salads and sandwiches. Chives are a moderate feeder and as such will grow in nearly any nutrient-rich soil.


Basil is not easy to grow, but amateur gardeners may wish to give it a go as a challenge. This herb needs a bright spot and lots of water. Get hold of seeds for bush basil – this type is more resilient than the sweet basil that you typically get in the supermarket.


Mint needs to be harvested in summer and cut back in winter. This aromatic plant grows like mad so it’s best to give it a planter of its own.

Summary: DIY wood planter box

  • Choose a suitable weather-resistant wood for your planter box, like larch or spruce.
  • To make your planter, you will need one large log and two smaller ones.
  • Always wear personal protective equipment when doing DIY with your chainsaw. You can find details in the operating instructions for your tool.
  • Make your planter by creating a hollow cavity in the larger log.
  • Pond liner with drainage holes will protect the wood while preventing your plants from becoming waterlogged.
  • Attach feet to the planter to make it stable.
  • Seal or varnish the wood of your planter so it lasts longer.
  • Your planter is ideal for herbs like parsley, basil, chives and mint.