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Planter and work table

built with Ipe wood

©2005 by Charles A. Plesums, Austin, Texas, USA

The Planter

The deck with the Adirondack chairs and tables also "needed" a planter. Actually 25 feet of planter, along one entire edge of the deck. The back of the planter is about 5 feet high, for privacy and to provide a backdrop for the plants, with the front about half as high. The front and back posts have a fineal turned in the actual post, not "glued on," to eliminate a potential "weak link" in the ipe.

Boards can be inserted at various levels, so that the pots are relatively hidden, and the plants show above the front. Additional shelves can be placed on the back. The unit is so large it must be assembled on site...this picture was taken minutes after assembly was complete.

When I returned a while later, the planter was starting to look occupied... The succulents that drape over the edge of their pots have been placed "on the surface" but the pots for plants that grow upwards can be hidden on the lower shelves.


25 foot Planter $4,300

If you have a huge planter, like this, you need a way to work on your plants. A rolling table was built from ipe as well, with solid legs, a solid ipe top, and slatted lower shelf. This table is extremely heavy - it was a struggle for two people to carry it up to the deck. But it rolls easily on large rubber tires. At this point the rolling work table is parked in the back corner by the planter, near the conversation group.

If this table were to be used on a lawn, I would recommend a simpler lighter table, not one built from ipe (it may be as durable as a tank, but it is as heavy as a tank, also.) The weight may be hard on the grass.

Planter Work Table

Rolling Planter Work Table $750

Construction Details

As noted, the ipe may be left plain, oiled, or a number of finishes applied. This planter was finished with Cabot's Australian Timber Oil, which applies quickly, then after a few minutes the excess is wiped off with a rag. As the sun and rain take their toll, that oily rag can refresh the exposed areas as quickly as dusting indoor furniture. The picture of the cactus was taken about 6 months after the planter was installed, so it is starting to show some wear. No finish is available that doesn't have to be renewed periodically, but ipe can be left unfinished without harm if you like the gray of weathered wood, rather than the rich mahogany color when it is oiled. A quick wipe with an oily rag every 6 months should keep the finish looking "furniture grade", or re-oiling every year or two will probably keep the brown color rather than migrating to "gray."

A piece this large and heavy cannot simply be carried in place as a unit. Therefore it was built as 6 "section dividers", each with two posts and the "front to back" supports, and was assembled on site (inserting the 18 front and back boards between each divider). Mortise and tenon joints provide the primary strength for each of the cross pieces, with a few (only about 25) stainless steel screws to keep the pieces together.

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©2005 by Charles A. Plesums, Austin, Texas USA. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.