During last year’s build, I learned some very valuable lessons that contributed to my inspiration for this current project. The amount of wood needed to build a water holding box and a base strong enough to hold the weight created an unappealing look in turn making me unsatisfied. Changes had to be made this year to successfully bring my vision of an ideal Hydroponics stand to life. 

The raised bed style planter was my only option since I do not have the yard space to accommodate other styles. I spent hours surfing the web to find the best style to fit the look I was going for. I wanted something efficient as well aesthetically pleasing to my standards. Below, you will find the designs I settled on. The planter box this year is made from Large Mixing Tubs that were purchased from Lowe’s. In the past, I had a fairly positive experience when building using Lowes plastic mixing tubs. They are inexpensive and easily found at your neighborhood store.

For this DIY, I chose to use steel frames due to my history of using wood. This type of frame will be strong enough to support the weight of three buckets full of rock medium. Not only will the frame maximize space on my deck; it will also have a better finished look since I prefer industrial look.

Ready to bring my ideas and building plans to fruition, these were the steps I followed to create an optimal Hydroponic plant stand and should be useful to you.

You’ll need these tools and materials:

  • Steel Saw
  • Measuring Tape
  • Clamps
  • Straight Edge (square)
  • Power Drill/Driver(3) 55 Gallon Plastic Barrel
  • 8 pieces  1/8″ X 1″ – 1/4″
  • Welder and Sticks
  • Lava Rocks
  • Hydroponics Hose
  • Pumps
  • Sump Tank Bucket

Let’s begin by determining measurements making sure the steel frame is sized correctly to hold the three mixing tubs. The longer side of the bucket is 34 inches and the shorter side is five feet five inches long. To make the brackets stronger, I cut out a 45 degree notch and fit the two pieces as shown below. PLEASE verify all the tubs fit before welding, I used clamps to hold it together long enough to verify. At this point with all the cuts and welds, you should have a rectangular frame that holds all three tubs together creating a sturdy base. You can include cross braces if you feel it’s necessary.

Now, it’s time for the legs. In my opinion, this is the hardest part because you have to level the legs in three directions. For this, I used a post and pipe level. Flip your frame so that the lip the mixing tubs sit in is facing down and then weld all four legs on.

By following these steps, you will have successfully created your own raised planter bed. You are free to move the frame to your desired location and begin filling your planting medium. Be sure to clean it before you start! 

Read our next article to help you decide what you should plant in a hydroponic system like this.