How to build brick planters

Updated February 21, 2017

A brick planter is an affordable, easy way to dress up a plain yard. It's also very versatile. It can be built against your house, around a large tree or be freestanding, and you can make it any size and shape you want. As long as you use large landscaping bricks (roughly twice the size of a standard home-building brick, or bigger), there's no need to mortar the bricks or build them around a frame. You just prepare the area, stack them up and fill it in with gravel and topsoil.

Clear all brush and debris from the area. Pull up any grass and weeds within the area. With your spade, even out the border of the area, scooping away part of the soil if necessary to make it straight. It does not have to be perfectly levelled, but it should look relatively level to the eye.

Roll out the weed barrier over the whole area, so it is 30 cm (1 foot) wider than the border. The strips of barrier should overlap one another at the long edges by 5 cm (2 inches).

Lay the first row of bricks in place, pressing them down over the weed barrier. Place the second row of bricks on top of the first, staggering the seams. Repeat until you have as many rows as you want.

Spread the gravel around the bottom of the inside of the planter. It should be about 5 to 7.5 cm (2 to 3 inches) deep and completely cover the weed barrier.

Spread the topsoil over the gravel at least 15 cm (6 inches) deep; it can be deeper, depending on how high you want the surface to be. If the surface is more than 20 or 25 cm (8 or 10 inches) below the top of the upper row of bricks, you might have trouble seeing the plants that you put there.

Cut off excess weed barrier with a Stanley knife. The box is now ready for planting.


To determine how many, lay a length of rope around the border of the area where the planter will go, then stretch it out and measure it. Divide that number by the face length of the bricks to determine how many bricks will be needed for each row. (Example: If the border will be 3 m (10 feet) and the bricks are 15 cm (6 inches) long, you will need 20 bricks). For brick planters that aren't being secured with mortar, it isn't advisable to build the wall more than four courses high. If your planter is going around a tree trunk, you should keep it shallow (one or two rows) so you aren't burying a big part of the trunk in dirt.

Things You'll Need

  • Landscaping bricks
  • Rolls of plastic or nylon perforated weed barrier.
  • Topsoil
  • Spade
  • Stanley knife
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