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How to Build a Bucket Garden Stand

5 Gallon Bucket Stand Tomato Planter or Herb Planter

Building a bucket garden stand is a great way to have a garden when you have little space. They are also a fantastic way to organize and corral what could be a cluttering mess of pots in a small space.

As soon as Hubs retired he wanted to start a garden in our teeny tiny urban yard. I did not! I am more of farmers market lover than an gardener and wasn’t really wanting to have a plethora of assorted plastic uglies on the deck or toppled in the corner of the lawn. I do want him to have and do the things he wants though.

This 5 gallon bucket garden stand solved both problems. Hubs got his garden, although smaller. I got to keep the yard clean, the garden buckets are cohesive and match, he stained it to look as best he could. It lines up long and thin against the fence, and the all the pots stay upright neat and tidy.

A wood stand holding several five gallon buckets for garden pots. The stain is stained wood, the buckets are all white and they are filled with large tomato plants.

This diy bucket garden stand worked so well that when we were ready to buy a larger yard for his garden, we moved the stand to use for tomatoes.

Why Use 5 Gallon Buckets

We chose them for the price, availability and size.

Five gallon buckets are a great for growing vegetables and herbs of many kinds. They are large enough to host the roots of 1 or 2 vegetable plants, in our case tomatoes. You can also grow squash, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers, jalapenos, lettuce, or three to five small herb plants, such as parsley, basil, dill, cilantro, and mint.

Make sure to purchase clean buckets that haven’t been used to store anything chemical in them. As you can tell by the label painted on ours we bought new buckets at Rona for $3 each. At this price we could afford to get several, of all the same size, which made building the stand easier.

Garden Stand Supplies

This project uses all 2 by 4 inch lumber. The stain is optional, but I recommend it.

3- 2″ by 4″ lumber 10 feet long

1- 2″ by 4″ lumber 8 feet long

40-2 inch screws

4- inch screws

Dollar Store Plastic Mesh (2 by 3 feet roll)

8 – new 5 gallon buckets

7 to 8-40 lbs bags of potting soil (22 litre in Canada)

1 – litre external stain and sealer in one

DIY Garden Bucket Stand Instructions

Step 1 – Measure the Buckets

Measure the 5 gallon bucket. You need to begin by measuring the bottom of the five gallon bucket so that you can make the square openings the correct size. You want the opening to be large enough for the bottom to fit through, but small enough that the top edge won’t. Our bucket bottom was 10 3/8″ so the openings are set to be 1/8 inch larger at 10 1/2 inches.

Step 2 – Cut the Lumber to Length

All the cuts are simple square cuts, no angles needed.

Cut 2 lengths of 2″ by 4″ lumber to 98 inches for the sides

Cut 9 lengths of 2″ by 4″ lumber to 10 1/2 inches for the cross pieces

Cut 6 lengths of 2″ by 4″ lumber to 20″ long for the legs

Step 3 – Build the Box Frame

Build the box frame so that the two 98 inch long pieces are on the outside of the two 10 1/2 inch pieces. Make sure the top of your boards are blush with each other, then connect the corners with two screws at each side.

The end of a wooden bucket garden stand showing the placement of two by fours. The wood bucket stand is stained and sitting outside.

Step 4 – Add the Cross Pieces

Once the frame is made, measure for center and the long side, mark and then place your first cross piece. This will help make the box frame square. Do not attach the center piece, yet.

Measure 10 1/2 inches for each opening and place each cross piece.

The opening for a bucket garden stand made using two by four lumber. The image also has the measurements written on it for directions.
A handmade wood garden stand in brown stain. The stand hard not been filled with buckets yet.

Once all the cross pieces are in place, remeasure and adjust. Once the measurements are confirmed screw the cross pieces into place with two screws at each side.

Step 5 – Attach the Legs

Attach each leg so that the top is flush (even) with the top of the box. Place one leg in each corner, and two in the middle. Use the longer screws to fit through the leg and side piece and into the cross piece at the end.

Step 6 Staining

Staining the garden bucket stand is optional. Once built I used 120 grit sandpaper to remove any large splinters and then gave it two coats of Rustoleum external stain and sealer in one.

Filling the Buckets

The 5 gallon buckets need to have drainage. To accomplish this you can either drill several holes in the bottom of the bucket or use a large nail to punch several holes.

Once the holes are done add the fine mesh screen to prevent too much soil from leaking out the bottom of the buckets. The mesh allows for drainage, and doesn’t take up root space.

Finally, place the buckets in the stand and fill with soil.

A new 5 gallon bucket with holes drilled into the bottom for soil drainage.
Placing screen in the bottom of a new five gallon bucket for gardening.
A man filling a 5 gallon bucket garden stand with potting soil.

The Final Tomato Stand

When moving our external drive got lost resulting in many lost images. Here is our 5 gallon garden bucket stand in our new yard with tomatoes. It works so well and the tomatoes have been fabulous. This picture shows the start of this years plants, you can tell they are healthy and growing well.

A garden stand filled with buckets of tomato plants. The garden stand is sitting on the edge of a garden with raspberries behind it and a vegetable garden beside it.

Another bonus to having plants in the stand is they are relatively easy to relocate. Our tomatoes didn’t like being in the back of the house, so we moved them to a sunnier location. I am not sure if Hubs will ever plant his tomatoes in the garden, he is totally sold on this stand, he’s a happy gardener.

A large garden stand with bucket containers full of tomatoes. The garden stand is sitting in a garden surrounded by trees and grass.

I have an Outdoor Projects and Home Decor board on Pinterest you may enjoy checking out. This board is where I share all my outdoor project ideas and inspirational posts from other bloggers.

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