Plantation Shutter Planter– Easy Version

Plantation Shutter Planter– Easy Version

After I cre­ated the orig­i­nal “Plant”ation Shut­ter Planter I SWORE I would never under­take a project like that again (might have sworn WHILE under­tak­ing it too)! Sewing cus­tom pock­ets from felt, burlap, faux moss net­ting and weed bar­rier fab­ric was a night­mare!  By the time I fin­ished it, I REALLY wished I hadn’t donated it to the Con­ser­va­tion Gar­den Park Gala for the auc­tion– after all that work, I wanted to keep it!

The orig­i­nal. HUGE shut­ter donated by Stan­field Shut­ter Com­pany, ten­der suc­cu­lents donated by Mill­creek Gardens.

How­ever, I recently dis­cov­ered an amaz­ing prod­uct called TUF-FELT which is sup­posed to be some sort of floor­ing under­lay­ment but, thanks to some won­der­ful inno­va­tors, has found an ‘off label’ use as fab­ric to cre­ate ver­ti­cal green walls. I decided I might just make MY OWN ‘Plant’ation Shut­ter Planter after­all!  Armed with some Tuf-Felt, I was pre­pared to try the Plan­ta­tion Shut­ter Project again– but in a form which could be eas­ily repli­cated!  Whew! While the orig­i­nal ver­sion took me sev­eral DAYS to cre­ate, this gal was assem­bled and planted in just 2 hours!  Best of all– you really don’t need to have spe­cial skills or tal­ents to pull off this ver­sion for your­self!  The tuto­r­ial below is long but I wanted you to have ALL the details.  You can prob­a­bly fig­ure it out just by look­ing at the photos!


Plan­ta­tion Shut­ter- you will need one that is either made out of wood OR made out of vinyl. That can be tricky because most of them are made out of a com­pos­ite mate­r­ial that is totally unsuit­able as it will soak up the water and fall apart quickly.  It will also need to be the type that has the larger lou­vers.  The shut­ter can be large or small– it’s up to you!  My shut­ter is 64 inches tall and 22 inches wide.  I bought mine at the Habi­tat for Human­ity ReStore  but the KSL Clas­si­fieds or Craig’s List are also good choices. Cost: $10

restore shutter options

THIS shut­ter is too big! THIS shut­ter is too wide! Ah, this Shut­ter is just right!

Plas­tic Strip– This needs to be the length of the top of your shut­ter.  You will adhere it to the top to keep water from infil­trat­ing the open grain part of the wood (even vinyl shut­ters have sides that are wood with vinyl over the top so the same poten­tial water issue exists. I just bought a weird plas­tic strip at the big box store called panel con­nec­tor’  that was $2 in the wood mould­ing dept.  Cost: $2

Looks some­thing like this– it is rounded on the top so it sheds water.

Out­door Weather-Proof Caulk­ing & Caulk­ing Gun- Buy this in the win­dow and door aisle, you will use this to seal any parts that could absorb water when you don’t want them to!  Total Cost:  $5 for the caulk­ing, I already had the caulk­ing gun but they are just a cou­ple of bucks if you need one.

Out­door water­proof sil­i­cone caulk & close up of Tuf-Felt

Tuf-Felt- A fel­low land­scape designer (Rosey Cob­b­ley) and I went in on some Tuf-Felt and ordered a bunch for our respec­tive projects.  I do not believe there is a local source for this– we had to buy it via the com­pany online but they were won­der­ful to accom­mo­date us! We ordered the 1/2″ thick type and I used 2 yards, cut into the proper width strips, for this project.  It’s fairly inex­pen­sive (around $12 per yard) so you may as well get a lit­tle extra!  Cost: $24

Sta­ple Gun- You just want a hand-held sta­ple gun.  A pnue­matic gun will apply too much pres­sure to the lou­vers.  I used 1/2 inch sized sta­ples in mine. I already had these– free.

Brack­ets– You can pur­chase pre-made fancy ones at the Big Box store like I did OR you can make some quite sim­ply.  If you plan to wall-mount the fin­ished shut­ter, you will not need the brack­ets.  You will use 1 x 4 pine boards instead– read ‘alter­nate instal­la­tion’ instruc­tions below for more details on that!  I will admit that the fancy brack­ets I wanted were pricey– Cost: $14 per pair, total cost $28.  You can save a lot here by sim­ply brac­ing a plain board on a 45 degree angle if you wish.

Spray paint and brackets

Brack­ets & spray paint prod­ucts I used.

Sta­bi­liz­ers– this is just 2 strips of wood that will be used to sta­bi­lize the brack­ets and help hold up your shut­ter (only for free­stand­ing install).  They should be about 18″ long, depend­ing on the size of your shut­ter, and prefer­ably made out of a hard­wood or even cedar or red­wood since they are the part that will come into con­stant con­tact with the ground.

Primer, Spray Paint & Sealant- Use this to paint your brack­ets and sta­bi­liz­ers white.  I had this on hand but if you need to pur­chase it, make sure it is rated for out­door use and expect a cost of $4 per can.  You will not use full cans of any of it.

Soil- I would use a mix of pot­ting soil and coconut coir.  Coconut coir is my secret ingre­di­ent in con­tainer gar­dens of all types and it holds 10x it’s weight in water and keeps more even mois­ture in con­tain­ers.  Gen­er­ally, I would NOT do this with suc­cu­lents as they want to dry out but in the unusual plant­ing appli­ca­tion we’ve got going on, the coconut fiber will pro­vide an extra mea­sure of insur­ance.  AVOID soils with peat moss if you can– peat moss is a pain and doesn’t work as well as coconut fiber. Most of the qual­ity nurs­eries will carry coconut fiber.  It is a sta­ple for me and I always have it on-hand.  No cost for this project but expect it to be about $12 for a big bag at Steve Rea­gan Com­pany (where I pur­chased it) or you can get sim­ple bricks that you can hydrate from Miller Land­scape Products.

Plants!- I am using Utah-hardy suc­cu­lents.  I will list the vari­eties below.  You need NOT put in as many plants as I did– they will fill in!  I used a ton because I knew that this lit­tle lady was going to be on tv and she wanted to look like a rock star while doing it!  Since I do tons of suc­cu­lent projects, I have these all over the place.  Har­vest them from your land­scape for free OR you can buy them.  To pur­chase as many plants as I put in this project would cost around $100 but can be some­where between cheap and free.  Smaller plugs are bet­ter as you’re fit­ting them into the small spaces between the louvers.

Optional- Dry Sphag­num moss to tuck in between the plants and hide the soil/ keep it from wash­ing out. I have this on-hand to so no cost for this project.

Total Project Cost Esti­mate: Between $40-$200 depend­ing on how much you have already or can get for free, the size of the shut­ter and num­ber of plants desired, and access to basic tools and materials.

The impact, is price­less.  I had a neigh­bor stop her car and come from 2 houses away to see what in the world I had on my front porch. HUGE impact.  Then again, being as I’m prone to crazy projects, it might have been to assess my men­tal health!


I will try and keep this part brief as it is pretty sim­ple– round­ing up the prod­ucts you need is the trick­i­est part!

My sweet Dad dou­ble checks my engi­neer­ing (thank good­ness– I didn’t pass!) and attaches the brack­ets and strength­en­ers to the shutter.

Add water­proof strip to the top of the shut­ter and then caulk around it to seal. Caulk all exposed parts where water could seep in.

Cut Tuf-Felt into strips as wide as your lou­vers. Use scis­sors you don’t care about or, even bet­ter, a box cutter.

Side view of fin­ished ‘pock­ets. No sewing . Just care­fully fill with soil and the soil will keep them in place.


Lean the shut­ter back to fill the pock­ets with soil so you are work­ing WITH grav­ity rather than against it!

Use a mix of Sedums and Sem­per­vivums (Hens and Chicks) to fill the pock­ets. Smaller size plants are better.


Side view of planted pockets!

It’s Done!

Alter­nate Assembly

If you wish to wall mount this on a block wall or wood out­door shed, skip the steps that require the appli­ca­tion of feet and instead use 2 x 4s to cre­ate a frame the same size as the shut­ter. Make sure there are drainage holes on the bot­tom part of the frame. Attach the plan­ta­tion shut­ter to the shadow box AFTER you cre­ate the pock­ets (don’t make them deeper than the boards) then attach the entire unit securely to the wall or shed. THEN fill it with soil and plants! Remem­ber that a fully loaded shut­ter with soil, plants AND the weight of water can be pretty heavy. Engi­neer your project accord­ingly. If you under-engineer it– it will fail. Never hurts to dou­ble check, as I did, with an expe­ri­enced handyper­son to ensure your cal­cu­la­tions are accurate.

Do you want to see this plan­ta­tion shut­ter planter  live and in per­son?  We’ll have it on dis­play at the kick-off party for the new Jor­dan Val­ley Home & Gar­den Club.  The gar­den party kick-off (called the “Sum­mer Soiree”) is $10 and open to any­one over the age of 18 (mean­ing men are wel­come but expect it to be girly, sorry no chil­dren)!  At the event, we will learn from home & gar­den experts, stroll the gar­dens, and meet new friends who share your inter­ests. Spe­cial mini-classes and demon­stra­tions by nation­ally rec­og­nized DIY experts will be offered as well as live music and deli­cious appe­tiz­ers– all in a gor­geous gar­den set­ting at Con­ser­va­tion Gar­den Park.  You can reg­is­ter for the Soiree HERE.

Reg­u­lar Club meet­ings will begin in July and are free of charge.  Join us!

Here’s the link to the Stu­dio 5 video! Try not to notice that I’m an old fat­tie and just enjoy the plants~!

Related posts:

Design DON’Ts– The Land­scape Island
Utah House @ The Utah Botan­i­cal Center
Glover Nurs­ery Garden


  1. Trevor Price says:

    Very beau­ti­ful plan­ta­tion shut­ters and it’s incred­i­ble to seem them home made.

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