board with plants build in for display, easy upgrades around the home for the whole year
Photo: Linda Lamb Peters
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June: Built-In Botanical Centerpiece

An integrated planter filled with easy-care succulents adds a flourish to a plain wood table, just in time for summer entertaining. To make it, use a length of K-style gutter as a trough for the soil and plants. With a jigsaw, cut a rectangular opening in the table's center to the width of the gutter's top and at least 6 inches from the table's ends. Snip the gutter to the length of the gap, caulk its end caps in place, and drill inch drain holes every 2 inches along its bottom. Next, cut four pieces of 1x2 lumber, two that are 12 inches and two that are the gutter's length. Attach the latter to the gutter's outside edges with ½-inch wood screws driven 6 inches apart from the inside. Then drive ½-inch screws through the gutter's end caps into the 12-inch 1x2s. Finally, affix the assembly to the tabletop's underside: Drill pilot holes spaced 6 inches apart through the 1x2s and drive screws into the holes. Use screws that penetrate at least half the top's thickness. Line the trough with landscape fabric and fill with a soil mix for succulents; pick plants that are low-growing so that you can see over them when seated. Give the plants lots of sun and an occasional watering, and they'll wow guests all season.
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