Book Excerpt: How To Make A Cedar Pot Dolly

Build this dolly to easily move heavy containers across porches, patios, decks or other flooring surfaces. Excerpted from "Container Gardening Complete."

by Jessica Walliser
PHOTO: Cool Springs Press

Carrying heavy garden pots or even houseplants from one location to another requires a lot of effort. This rugged but attractive cedar plant dolly, designed by my friend Ron Sims, makes it easy to move containers of almost any size across a porch, patio, deck, or other flooring surface. The caster wheels swivel, allowing you to easily change the direction of movement. This dolly is easy to build, even for those with minimal carpentry skills, and you can make it for a fraction of the cost of commercial pot dollies.

Materials Needed

  • 1-by-3 cedar board, 6-feet long [1] (Note: real size is approx. 3⁄4 by 2 1⁄2 inches by 6 feet)
  • 1 1⁄4-inch exterior woodscrews (1 box)
  • Caster wheels [4]

Tools Needed

  • Handsaw or power saw
  • Framing square
  • Cordless drill with twist bits and driver bits
  • Spring clamps (4)
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Eye protection
  • Work gloves

Step 1

cedar pot dolly

Cut the piece of 6-foot cedar board into six equal pieces, 12 inches long. Four pieces will make the top of the pot dolly and two will be used to create the bottom. Lay two of the boards down parallel to each other and approximately 12 inches apart. Lay two more boards on top of them with the corners overlapping to form a square. Place a spring clamp on each of the four corners to hold the boards in place. Lay the final two boards in between the outer two boards on one side. Use a tape measure to ensure there’s an equal distance between each of the boards. The exact amount of space between each of the boards will depend on how dry the lumber is, the weather conditions, and how the lumber was milled.

Step 2

cedar pot dolly

Once the boards are equally spaced, use a pencil to mark their edges on the bottom two boards.

Step 3

cedar pot dolly

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Remove the outer boards, then attach the crossmembers to the middle boards by drilling pilot holes then driving a pair of exterior screws into each board. Make sure to carefully align the boards to the pencil lines, which will ensure the boards are square.

Step 4

cedar pot dolly

Place the last two, outermost planks in their place, again making sure the corners line up square. At each corner, position a caster wheel, set in about 1⁄2 inch from the outer edge. Use a pencil to mark each of the four holes in the caster wheel’s base.

Step 5

cedar pot dolly

Drill pilot holes where each of the four caster wheel screws will go, holding the bottom board carefully in place. Make sure you don’t drill all the way down through the bottom board.

Step 6

cedar pot dolly

Put the caster wheel back in place, and attach it with 4 screws driven down into the pilot holes. Repeat the process with the other three caster wheels, making sure each corner remains square as the wheels are installed.

cedar pot dolly

Note: Your pot dolly is now ready to roll! If you’ll be handling it quite a bit, you might want to sand down any rough edges. You can also paint, stain, or seal the cedar, if you wish.e cedar, if you wish.

Excerpted from Container Gardening Complete: Creative Projects for Growing Vegetables and Flowers in Small Spaces (Cool Springs Press, 2017) by Jessica Walliser.

cedar pot dolly

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