Make a mini garden

Project guide

Difficulty: Beginner
Estimated time: three hours
Cost: R150-R270 (depending on the pot plants or herbs you purchase)

This unit is easy to make and can be used for herbs, or in fact any variety of pot plants; the beauty being that because each pot (in this case, a 14cm pot cover) is independent, you can mix and match plants of very different water needs. A cactus can be right next to a succulent or a marigold… and while one needs water only occasionally, the other can get all the watering it needs. Crafty, right?

What you will need:

  • Six 14cm pot covers
  • One 1.83m length of 144x12mm SA pine
  • One 1.83m length of 19x19mm meranti
  • One 1.83m length of 9x44mm cover strip
  • One bag 25mm panel pins; water-proof glue.
  • To complete the unit, you will need the herbs, cacti or plants of your choice and a small bag of granite chips (optional).


You can also use plant pots, but we chose pot covers as they do not have a drainage hole. Therefore, I made a small hole in the base of each using a thin heated wire (or use a mini drill such as Dremel, fitted with a 1.5 or 2mm drill bit) provide drainage.


  1. As the mini garden pot covers are 140mm in diameter and 125mm high, the garden’s internal dimensions are 420mm long, 28mm wide and 144mm high. That is assuming you will use three post, as here; adjust the dimensions if you use more of fewer pots.
  2. DIY Mini Garden Image 1

  3. Cut two sides 430mm long, to give a little space between the pot covers. Again, adjust the dimensions if you use more of fewer pots.
  4. DIY Mini Garden Image 2

  5. Cutting the ends. As the sides and ends are butt-jointed, the ends need to be 280mm, plus, say 5mm to allow for a little extra space for the pot covers, plus 12+12=24mm to take account of the thickness of the sides. Hence, in this case, the ends are 309mm – we rounded up to 310mm.
  6. DIY Mini Garden Image 3

  7. Then we tied the sides and ends together loosely just to check that the pots all fitted; they did.
  8. DIY Mini Garden Image 4

  9. We nailed the sides and ends together and added short lengths of 19x19mm meranti to each corner to reinforce it.
  10. DIY Mini Garden Image 5

  11. To finish off, the 9x44mm cover strip was cut into four lengths and each support strip was tacked to the base of the box unit, spaced equidistant, providing drainage gaps between each. When positioning the pots, arrange them so that the drainage hole you made in the base of each is over a gap; this will prevent the support strips being water-damaged.
  12. DIY Mini Garden Image 6

  13. Position the pots, with their plants in them and jam plastic shopping bags or newspaper into the gaps as a base for the granite chips. Finally add the latter and enjoy your new mini garden… or whatever plants you have chosen for it.
  14. DIY Mini Garden Image 7