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I'm building wood planters for the deck and wondered if anyone has tried lining planters with heavy plastic (or maybe pond liner material)? With a few drainage holes and a layer of gravel in the bottom, do you think it would be a good idea?
That has been a long standing trick, to use a plant pot inside the wood container to reduce degradation of the wood. I would recommend choosing the plastic pot first and then build the planters to suit. For large or irregular shaped planters the pond liner would probably be best suited, just make sure you design your weep holes so that the moisture doesn't get between the liner and the wood.
I have often done as Spruce suggests, built wooden boxes to wrap around standard plastic planter boxes. Plastic pails can be set into wooden boxes too. One benefit of an air space between the wood and the plastic container is that it tends to keep the roots of the plant cooler and reduces water evaporation. This is especially important in hot, arid climates.
I have also on occasion lined odd sized wooden containers with fiberglas fabric and resin. This makes a really strong and water proof container.