How to make a slate planter

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
To do
To do

Do To do in January

Do To do in February

Do To do in March

Do To do in April

Do To do in May

Do To do in June

Do To do in July

Do To do in August

Do To do in September

Do To do in October

Do To do in November

Do To do in December

Planted with succulents, such as sempervivum, a smart slate trough looks good all year round. The soft grey and worn, uneven edges of reclaimed roof slates are the perfect foil for the fleshy plants.


You Will Need

  • Reclaimed roof slates (two large or four small)
  • Wooden wine box, single bottle
  • Glue, strong, 'no nails' type
  • Sempervivums (three)
  • Compost
  • Gravel
  • Angle grinder
  • Safety goggles
  • Safety mask
  • Protective gloves
  • Drill
  • Drill bit (large)

Total time:

Step 1

Lay the wine box on the slate and draw round it to mark out two side pieces and two end pieces, adding an extra 1cm along the top edge of each piece to form a lip above the top of the box. Measure the thickness of the slate and add double this to the length of the longer side pieces. If you’re using broken slates, you’ll need to plan it out in advance to ensure you have enough slate for all four panels.


Step 2

Hold the slate securely in a vice, packing it with wood if necessary, then cut out the four panels using an angle grinder (wearing safety gear). Or, alternatively, use a tile cutter. Then turn the wine box upside down and drill three large drainage holes in the base.


Step 3

Apply adhesive to one end of the box and press the slate end-piece carefully into place. Stand the box on a flat surface to ensure the bottom of the slate is level with the bottom of the box and that it covers the end completely. Repeat with the other end, followed by the sides.


Step 4

Once the adhesive has dried, line the trough with a carrier bag to protect the wood and cut holes in the bag for drainage. Add a layer of gravel, the fill the trough with compost and plant the sempervivums. Finish off with a layer of gravel mulch.


You can buy slates from reclamation yards, or you might be lucky to find some lying around in your own or a friend’s garden.