Up until now, COVID-19 hasn’t afforded me too much extra time because work has actually increased for me (I’m not even remotely complaining, let me lead with that), but I found some time this weekend to tackle some projects around the house that were just long overdue and one that I’d been wanting to take on but hadn’t really developed a plan for. Anyone else out there sometimes just go for it and hope it works out? Thus, this mailbox address planter was born.
I knew what I wanted it to look like (stained wood, black accents and plants), and I had actually purchased the house numbers months earlier, but other than that I didn’t have a great thought on the actual bones of the project. We’re also quarantined like much of the world so it was important that I use what I had on hand (minus the plants, I did buy those). After some looking and measuring, I figured out I had enough wood to make a planter box and just used our existing mailbox, stain and screws I had on hand for the rest! Which means the total cost for me on this was $17!!! If you have to buy the wood and house numbers, you’re looking at more like $47 — I’ll break all that down below — which is still a heck of a lot cheaper than buying a new one, and friends, this is such a great addition for curb appeal!
What You’ll Need
It is so nice when a project turns out how you were hoping, and this one truthfully is very simple despite looking somewhat complex. Here’s what you’ll need (if you don’t have/feel comfortable using power tools, no worries. The hardware store will cut your wood to size for you (linear cuts), and you can just use a hammer and nails instead of brads):
- Stain grade panel // this is what I used because I had it on hand and our porch is covered, but if your address box is exposed, I would consider something like cedar that is more geared for exposure to the elements
- Minwax Provincial stain
- Foam brush or old tee shirt
- Heavy duty picture hangers
- House numbers
- Plastic bags
- Plants and soil
- Circular saw
- Drill and 5/16″ bit
- Brad nailer
DIY Mailbox Planter with Address
Step 1: Cut Your Wood (or ask the hardware store to)
I took a 4′ x 16″ stain grade panel and cut it to 20″ x 16″. Using scraps from the same panel, I ripped them down to 6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ (for the sides of the box) and 20″ x 6 1/2″ (for the front of the box). Finally, I used some old plywood to cut the bottom of the planter box to 18 1/4″ x 6 1/2″.
Step 2: Stain Your Wood
Using a foam brush and my provincial stain, I stained each piece (front and sides only because no one sees the back). I would recommend taking a cloth and wiping the excess stain off before building your planter. Otherwise, your wood will be super saturated. **Optional: Give everything a good sanding after staining to add that rustic look.**
Step 3: Build The Planter
Using some wood glue and your brad nailer, build the front of the box by attaching the sides to the front. The stain hides the nail heads, so I didn’t fill these. You can’t even see them! Next, I added the bottom, again, with wood glue and brads. Finally, I attached it all to my 20″ x 16″ board by gluing it up and nailing through the back into the existing box.
Step 4: Add The Mailbox
We bought our existing mailbox at Lowe’s years ago, and it’s functional and fit the color scheme I was going for, so I didn’t see any reason to paint it or change it in any way. I simply placed it on the front of my 20″ x 16″ board just above the planter (I wanted it to look like the mailbox is deeper than it is) and screwed it in using two round-head screws.
Step 5: Add The Hardware
This step is two-fold. First, add the numbers to the front of your box. Our house numbers were actually silver when I purchased them, but I opted to paint them black because it fits better with the color scheme we have outside and in. All I did to paint them was use some Rustoleum flat black spray paint and give them a couple of coats. It dries fast (praise, because I’m impatient!). The numbers I purchased had the option of using a floating mount or flush mount. I chose flush because I already had a lot of layers of materials and didn’t want to weigh down the overall aesthetic. They also come with templates to hang, so it’s super easy to do! I mount those using the instructions provided and right aligned them for a more rustic modern look.
Before I added plants and soil, I wanted to make sure the heavy duty picture hangers I bought were level and worked with the existing anchors in our stone out front. If you’ve followed me on Insta for any time at all, you’ve probably seen my hanging hack to avoid measuring too much (yep, I cheat, but it’s effective). You basically take a piece of painters tape, tape across the existing anchors, mark a hole where each one is then put your tape on whatever it is you’re hanging and voila; an easy template for hanging. Once you’ve got your hardware in, go ahead and hang the planter to make sure it’s level and where you want it.
Step 6: Add Plants
This is my favorite step because plants make my heart happy, and there is something about working in soil and getting your hands dirty that feels so rewarding yet fun. I bought a Drop & Grow case of sedum because they’re very low maintenance, cold hardy and come back each year. My kind of plant! While they were more expensive than I would typically pay for a plant, I ended up only using about half of it, so I’m excited to get to use the rest in some other areas of our landscape! I lined the box with plastic bags to make sure my wood doesn’t get damaged during watering, filled the box with soil 3/4 of the way up then added the plants. Eventually, these will start to spill out of the box (one of my favorite aspects of sedum and the reason I have a million pothos around the house!).
Step 7: Hang and Enjoy
After hanging up your planter one last time, take a step back and enjoy the view, friends, because it is quite an upgrade! We live in a 60s ranch, so updating our exterior is a work in progress, and this one made a huge leap forward and also provided an overall look for how the rest of the decor/landscaping will feel when we’re finished. I did have to use a shim behind the bottom of our mailbox planter because the stone exterior of our house isn’t even, so if you have a rough exterior like stone or stucco, slip a shim in there to make sure your planter hangs level.
If you give this a try, be sure to tag me so I can see how yours turned out!