Lawn & Garden Decor

Lawn & Garden Decor

Wooden Garden Planter/The different wood options by: Glenn Mast

There are a number of options available when selecting what wood to use for outdoor garden planters, and each will lend its own unique color and properties to your project. What choice is best for you will partly depend on what type of outdoor project you are building.

 If you live in the Pacific Northwest, Western red cedar will be commonly available, while other species, such as cypress will be more readily available in the Southeastern United States.

Below are several of the more common wood choices for outdoor wooden planters use, as well as some of their advantages and disadvantages.

You must make special consideration when building outdoor wood planters. Unprotected wood, regardless of the species used, will eventually deteriorate when exposed to rain, wind and sun. Some species are more durable than others; they should all be protected in some way to ensure their maximum useful life.


Cedar is softwood with very desirable decay resistant properties. The two most common species available are Western red cedar and Eastern white cedar. Both species are easy to work with, and are sufficiently strong for most outdoor applications. 

Cedar contains natural oils that resist decay and insects, as well as provide that pleasant cedar aroma. Cedar is the wood of choice in much of the country for many outdoor applications, such as planters, decks, furniture, fences, shingles and siding.

Of the two species! Both species, however, take paint and stain well. Because cedar is a softer wood, it is more susceptible to dents and dings. If you want a clear finish on your cedar project, an oil finish is recommended. 

Cedar is usually less expensive than many of the other options available, and because of this, is an excellent choice for a project.


In many people's mind, teak is the premium choice for outdoor furniture. Teak is exceptionally strong.

Teak is very oily, which makes it resistant to moisture, insects and fungus, and makes it unsuitable for painted or stained finishes. Teak will weather to a silvery gray if left unfinished. Teak, being a tropical hardwood, however, is increasingly rare and very expensive.

Because of the high levels if silica found in teak, it is very hard on cutting tools. In fact, carbide or diamond cutting tools are a necessity. Due to the hardness of the wood, all screw or nail holes will have to be pre-drilled. The oils in the teak also make gluing somewhat more complicated.

While teak is a very beautiful wood, and exceptionally well suited for outdoor planters, its cost may make it impractical for your project.


Chorea is a newcomer to the American market from Indonesia. With the influx of furniture imported in the last decade or so, it is becoming increasingly more common. Chorea is a good alternative to teak, having many of the same properties. 

Chorea furniture can be purchased fairly inexpensively; as it is only available thru specialty hardwood companies, purchasing the lumber becomes more difficult. 


Mahogany, like teak, has long been the choice material for wood craftsman to its excellent weather resistant properties. This is true of the dark red heart wood, not the lighter sap wood. Three species of mahogany are commonly available. Honduran and African mahogany are primarily used for furniture and other outdoor applications, while Philippine mahogany, with its coarse open grain, is mainly used for interior doors and trim. 

Mahogany is an excellent choice for outdoor furniture & planters, and usually less expensive than teak. Mahogany is well suited for paint, stain, varnish and oil finishes. Left unfinished, mahogany will also weather to a silvery gray color.

The best type of wooden planters, are made from hardwoods, naturally. Wood is a natural product and it allows soil and roots to breathe. It is also porous so you should be careful that outdoor plants in wooden planters do not get flooded. For this reason, cedar wooden planters seem to be the planter of choice for outside planters.

Always add plants with the soil that they are in when planting them in a wooden planter. So the plant will not become shocked and die. You can also add worms to the soil in the wooden planter to get the soil to turn in a natural fashion. This is how the soil in the land is turned so it is good to emulate nature in this manner.

Wooden planters look good just about anywhere around your house. They add a touch of class and have a better quality look than plastic planters which can look somewhat cheap. Once you have purchased wooden planters, you will not want to go back to plastic. And wooden planters will last a good long time, especially if you get one that is made of cedar.

Whether you want to put it in your backyard, front yard or on your balcony or deck, a wooden garden planter can do wonders for the d├ęcor of your garden and your home. You can use your imagination a bit and really come up with some ideas to make your garden and the outside of your home into a floral showplace using wooden planters.


Author Resource: Glenn Mast is a successful business owner of a couple websites that offer Amish Handcrafted Products. His sites offer products and information about Amish Made Products & decor for your home, lawn or garden.


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