Inexpensive planters???

I'm interested in building some inexpensive planters for our driveway. I want them to be about 12' long, 2' wide and 2' tall, with open bottoms for drainage. They don't HAVE to be square but that's probably the easiest shape to work with?
Windsor stone is too expensive and doesn't make square planters without a lot of extra work breaking stones in half.
Someone in another group suggested hypertufa ( a combination of concrete, peat moss and sand or perlite ) but that looks like a hell of a lot of work to make them that way. You have to build molds etc and for this size the molds might cost a lot too.
I thought of making them with 8x8x16 concrete blocks which are a whole lot less expensive but they'd be pretty ugly that way, wouldn't they?
So have any of you solved this kind of problem? How can I make my planters inexpensively and with as little work as possible? ( I have too many other things to do! )
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- Popcorn Lover
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How about wooden planters? 2 ft tall is certainly easy to build...just lagbolt boards of something moderately rot-resistant to uprights. Paint if you want. Fancify the joinery if you want.
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about 5 years before rotting. I was going to facetiously suggest stacking up old tires ;) Frank
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Popcorn Lover Wrote:

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Ornata wrote:

What a weird ass way to post Ornata.
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Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8b
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In addition to painting, you can also try parging: http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/leonard57.html
Or ask your hardware store and see what they have for exteriour stucco and tiles. Home Depot had a faux brick stencil for concrete walls a few years ago. There was a pattern for stone as well. The cheapest planter is just a raised bed. :)

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I've been looking into making some rather large planters for the yard, a couple that would be 2'x12'x2' tall.
I've been modeling various materials in AutoCAD ( I'm a registered user and ACAD drafter ) to help me do the work eventually and figure out the relative materials costs.
It started out with Windsor Stones but would have cost around $650 to do my project that way. They're nice but expensive, and they also don't make square planters without having to cut some of them in half.
So then the discussion turned to railroad ties, but I was told by the tie company that they're 8-9 feet long and weigh 150-200 lbs each. NOT for me, when I'll have to be doing this work myself.
But they told me that they had highway guard rails which are 6 feet long and only weigh around 75 lbs. I could handle that, but some of them would have to be cut up to fit my plans.
Then they told me that they sell cut up guard rail blocks that are 8x8x14" long and only weigh about 15 lbs each. $1.50 each. GREAT!
AND it actually works out to the lowest cost of all with those, around $238 plus delivery charges, probably around $300 total. Not bad.
My only question is, how do you secure those? With the ties and long guard rails, you can spike them in place, but can you do that with these smaller blocks? They won't split or anything? Seems like a lot of spikes though, if you used 2 spikes per block. And a lot of work.
And then I found out today that spikes cost about $1 each too. I thought of maybe using liquid nails under the top layer of blocks but they said the creosote may screw that up, that creosoted ties won't take paint, for example.
I'm not sure what to do now.
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In article snipped-for-privacy@N0T-SPAM.COM says...

I make 2'x8'x(1'high) planters out of regular 2x4s and 1/4" plywood. I'm building 3 new ones for Spring planting. Just build a 2x4 (or rip the 2x4s into 2x2s) frame for the bottom with (in my case) 1' risers every two feet. The risers at the corners don't need much support but in the mid span I connect the two sides about 6" up to prevent bowing. Screw the frame together, cut the plywood to fit the sides and screw that to the frame. On the bottom piece drill 1" holes for drainage.
I then prime the entire box with a good primer like Kilz and then use oil based paint that they use for porches on everything. For 12' long you'll have to piece together the sides since plywood comes in 4'x8' sheets.
It's not necessarily cheap, wood is getting expensive nowadays. If I were to cost out each of my boxes it would be:
1 1/2 sheets of plywood at $15/sheet = ~$22 5 8' 2x4s @ $3/each = $15 1/4 gal Kilz = ~$3 1/3 gal oil paint = ~$8
For a total of about $50. Again, not that cheap but it's a big box and no stores sell planters this big. I estimate it takes me perhaps a total of 6 to 8 hours of labor to assemble and paint each box. This year I'm building 2 that will cantilever off a roof which will require a little more lumber and engineering to figure out loads making sure it doesn't collapse.
So my plywood box survived all of last year and this winter unscathed and looks as good as when I installed it with no degradation to the plywood. I think the oil based paint had something to do with it. I was thinking of experimenting with exterior latex paint since oil paint is a real PITA to deal with when cleaning brushes and it gives off toxic fumes making it difficult to paint indoors.
To see this version of the box that I made go to:
http://www.brandylion.com/images/front_box.jpg
Note: I forgot to add that since the box is suspended, there are 2' 2x4 "joist" beams screwed underneath below the bottom every 2 feet to keep the plywood bottom from sagging.
I'll be building my new boxes later this month so maybe I'll put up a photo diary as to how they get put together.
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