person using stones to make a rough outline to build a stone planter
Photo: Kolin Smith

Step 2: Lay Out the Planter

Cleave an end from four blocks and position them at the corners of your rough outline. Place blocks of varying sizes between them, keeping the sides parallel. Divide the interior area with two walls that create equal-size planters; every other course will overlap the main walls, so just make sure you won't be left with gaps between blocks. If so, you'll need to adjust your planter's width. Once the layout is complete, mark the outline with a spade.
Ask TOH users about Yard & Garden

Contribute to This Story Below

    Tools List

    • spade
    • garden stakes
    • mason line and level
      mason line and line level
    • square shovel
    • tamper
      hand tamper
    • iron rake
      steel rake
    • mallet
      rubber mallet
    • two-foot level
      2-foot level
    • mason's chisel and maul
      mason's chisel and maul
    • brick hammer
      brick hammer
    • caulk gun
      caulk gun
    • craft scissors
      scissors to cut the landscape fabric

    Shopping List

    Cast-concrete blocks
    Choose those meant for freestanding and retaining walls, not walkway pavers. To calculate how many blocks you need, divide the area, in inches, of each wall by the area of the largest block's face. Add 10 percent to cover cuts and breakage.

    Paver base
    A 50-pound bag covers 2 square feet at 3 inches deep

    Leveling sand
    A 50-pound bag covers about 6 square feet at 1 inch deep. Drainage stone
    Get enough to fill your planters to three courses from the top.

    Masonry construction adhesive

    Landscape fabric