The Craftiest Way to Move Plants Indoors and Outdoors With Ease

January 13, 2017

For an indoor garden that might occasionally want to sun on the patio, or any plants that need to come in and outdoors with ease, this tutorial for adding wheels to an everyday wooden planter is a little bit like giving a plant wings. The instructions below are excerpted from Michelle Slatalla's book, Gardenista: the Definitive Guide to Stylish Outdoor Spaces.

A portable planter on casters can be moved around in search of sunny outdoors spots, or migrate inside in cold weather. We painted our box pale gray to harmonize with the other elements in our outdoor room.

Photo by Matthew Williams

What you need:

  • Painter’s canvas drop cloth (optional)
  • One 36-by-12-inch planter (ours is the cedar Window Box Planter from Chelsea Garden Center)
  • Pale-gray exterior paint in a high-gloss finish (we used Farrow & Ball’s Purbeck Stone)
  • Paint roller and paintbrush
  • Metal paint tray
  • Power drill
  • Four 3-inch steel swivel casters
  • 16 wood screws
  • River rocks
  • 1 bag of potting soil
  • Plants of your choice

How to make it:

Step 1:

Paint the exterior of the planter in two coats of high-gloss paint, allowing the first coat to dry fully before applying the next.

Photo by Matthew Williams

Step 2:

To attach the casters, first predrill four holes on each underside corner of the box for the wood screws, using a drill bit the same size as the screws. Attach the casters using wood screws. If the box doesn’t already have drainage holes, drill a few.

Photo by Matthew Williams

Step 3:

Line the bottom of the box with river rocks for drainage; fill with potting soil.

Photo by Matthew Williams

Step 4:

Add plants and water well.

Photo by Matthew Williams

Michelle Slatalla is the editor-in-chief of Gardenista. She's been a columnist for The New York Times, Time, and Real Simple, and is the author of six books.

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1 Comment

Smaug January 13, 2017
Note that in the picture the wheels are mostly attached to the sides of the box, not the bottom- this would give it a chance of surviving for a while. I mostly use plastic bottoms on wooden planters because the wood moves so much a bottom can easily swell enough to tear apart a fairly sturdy planter- making it an unstable place to attach wheels- and will rot out within a few years, whatever sort of wood it is. Note also that painting the outside of the planter will trap moisture and cause the box to rot faster than it otherwise would. Moving plants in and out of the house will generally involve at least one step down, often several, so casters will be of limited use- a small folding handtruck might be a more practical option.