Build a Self-Watering Timber Planter in 9 Steps

Build a self-watering raised bed from treated pine to grow salad greens.

Timber planter

Everyone loves to grow fresh salad greens, tomatoes and herbs.

But backyard crops need regular water to thrive.

Too much or too little can result in problems like rot, wilt and split fruit.

A weekend away can be enough to kill off a thriving veggie patch if there’s no-one around to do the watering.

To avoid the problem of withered crops, build these self-watering timber planters and use them to grow edibles.

Not only do they look good, but they also keep animals at bay and you can leave them for weeks on end without having to worry about water.

How they work

These self-watering planters are also called sub-irrigated planters, or SIPS, because they allow the plants to sip water whenever they want.

Built as a box with posts and a floor attached to joists, the timber used is MGP10, F7, H3 treated pine, as it’s long lasting for outdoor use in exposed situations above ground.

Cut lengths of 70 x 35mm timber in half using a circular saw and fence guide to make the posts.

When the box is ready, add a pond liner to retain water, then position the socked agricultural pipe and fill with soil mix.

The secret to the success of these raised beds lies in the use of the socked agricultural pipe.

Once you fill the agricultural pipe reservoirs, they allow air to circulate and water to wick up to the roots of the plants whenever needed.

Watering plants from below means the roots stay moist and there’s less evaporation, so you don’t need to water as much.

TIP The clear plastic tube allows any overflow water to drain away.

Building the planter step 1: Build the box ends
 Building the planter step 1: Build the box ends
Australian Handyman

Position the end boards on a level workbench, aligning them with the corner to keep the assembly square.

Lay three posts across the boards, one on each end and one in the centre, securing each post with two screws into each board.

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