Choosing Timber and Wooden Planters

Looking to buy a wooden planter but not sure what to purchase? We provide some helpful impartial advice on what is available in UK garden centres that you can use for your flowers, plants and vegetables.

Created by Nathan James Dodd on Tuesday, 9th of April, 2013.
Updated on Tuesday, 1st of September, 2015.


Guide to buying a wooden planter

Mark Twain once said that a cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education, planters can be seen in the same way when compared to raised beds. At their most basic they are wooden containers full of earth but, thankfully for the gardener, many have received an education to become useful and ornamental additions to the terrace or patio.

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As a natural material, timber blends very well into a garden landscape. Sawn timber or half log wooden planters are attractive, robust and available in various options from simple containers to practical ornamental designs.

Treated Planters

Properly treated, all timber products should last for many years with very little maintenance. Most now come pressure or dip treated with a 5, 10 or 15 year guarantee. When using a treated product for growing vegetables or herbs, we suggest using a fabric liner or landscape material as a barrier between the wood and the soil / compost. Most manufactured wooden raised beds or planters designed for growing herbs or vegetables now come with a liner.

Square Planters

There's a selection of elegant square planters with profiled sides and sturdy posts at each corner. Others forgo the posts and have interlocking timbers or half logs for a chunkier look in various sizes. The Grange 'Elite' and Forest 'Ludlow' are individual planters, deep and tapered with plenty of room for root development, while Rowlinson manufacture a rather unusual pyramid shaped planter. Their innovative range also includes a 'Barrel Planter' that features smooth half timbers and would roll over if it wasn't for flat bearers that keep it steady.

Troughs

Troughs are many and various, four square or based on traditional animal feeders with cross legs to provide a secure footing. These are quite mobile and will make for a striking display of colour in any location whether in full sun or in a position that needs brightening up. These troughs can also be particularly useful if you physically have trouble bending too far, planting a bed that is raised to your height will prevent a lot of back strain!

Raised Beds

Forest have a range of sturdy 'Caledonian' raised beds, the tiered version of which can contain an eye catching display of plants on three levels. The same company's 'Three Tier Cascade Planter' is an engaging cottage garden style from which plants teem over the sides of boxes on different levels and there is a similar product from M&M. Also multi-levelled is the three compartment Grange 'Corner Planter', that is intelligently designed for maximum impact in a confined space.

The sectionalised hexagonal herb wheel is practical as well as ornamental. The eye-catching geometric design looks extremely smart and functional, with the different beds clearly delineated to keep in check any invasive herbs such as mint. The wheel is sure to become a useful and impressive display of kitchen herbs as well as an eye-catching garden feature.

Tree Seat Planters

Other shapely products include tree seat planters, practical for people who like to relax in the shade with the fragrance from adjacent, carefully selected, scented flowers. Able to be fitted around fairly sizeable trees, they can be treated as any normal raised bed and the colourful planting will certainly brighten the base of any tree.

Interlogs produce a window seat planter, while several manufacturers have planters with trellises which range from the ornamental to ones that accommodate climbers including the Rowlinson square or rectangular planter with lattice or the Grange 'Bella Rosa Planter' that will fit neatly next to a door, in a corner or a confined space.

Wishing Well Planter

The 'Wishing Well' planter uses interlocking logs and a wooden six sided roof to re-create a covered well with plants as the central feature and edging seats. There is also a semi-circular version that can be positioned neatly against a wall. The 'Large Continental Style' planter is similar to the traditional wishing well but with a simple steel frame, instead of a roof, from which to hang a basket.

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