Here’s a dilemma – I want to build a couple of cedar planters for myself, but have no idea where to get cedar boards from.
I ordered a small elevated planter for this season, but I have two custom designs I want to build and experiment with, and that means getting my hands on cedar boards.
Last year, I couldn’t find any cedar locally, although one home center had a couple of cedar picket fencing panels in sad shape last year that I passed on.
There’s a lumber specialty shop that’s maybe 35-40 minutes from here, but 1) now’s not the time to shop regional stores, and 2) their online price sheet suggested it would be less expensive for me to order the premium-priced boards by the pair from an online garden center.
I checked Lowe’s website, and they have 1″ x 6″ x 8′ boards (nominal) for $12.87 each, and thinner 5/8″ x 5.5″ x 8′ boards for $14.16 each.
The website estimated truck delivery at $40, then $65, and $79 at checkout for a dozen 1″ x 6″ x 8′ boards plus two 2×4 cedar boards. That doesn’t seem too bad.
But here’s the question – is it wise to order cedar boards from a home center?
Home Depot doesn’t seem to have cedar boards, or at least not like this. I haven’t checked with the local building supplier (they only have cedar trim in their online price sheet) or other lumber yards.
Some of the online reviews are fair. Others caution about split boards, warped and twisted boards, and of other defects.
Obviously the best action would be to visit a store and hand-pick the better quality boards, but that’s not an option now. Even when it is, I don’t have the capacity to transport 8′ boards home in my SUV, or at least not 1″ x 6″ x 8′ boards. 2x4s and 2x6s can be a challenge, but for the quantity I would want in cedar boards, home delivery seems a better choice.
I’m not opposed to ordering lumber online, and have ordered hardwood bundles from online suppliers in 4′ to 6′ lengths before.
At the time of this posting, Gardener’s has cedar boards at $55 for (2) 1-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ x 6′ boards. An order of (6) pairs or (12) boards would be $330. They have free shipping right now, and with the $5 per pair additional handling charge, that’s $360 not including tax.
It’s not an apples vs. apples comparison, as Lowe’s boards are 8′ long and Gardener’s are 6′ (you can get 8′ at higher cost and greater shipping premium). But $360 vs. $235 is a big difference. Although, I might be able to resaw the Gardener’s boards down the middle for ~3/4″ boards, doubling the length, so that’s something to consider, although kerf losses and planing would likely result in 5/8″ thick boards.
This dilemma – where to source cedar boards, let alone ones that are straight enough to work with near-immediately happened last year too, forcing me to delay the planter projects a year.
This is also a moot point of Lowe’s can’t deliver the lumber to me. They have two sizes of cedar – Top Choice boards with the 1″ nominal thickness, and also the thinner 5/8″ boards. The 1″ boards look to only ship from a Lowe’s store around 40-45 minutes away from here, which might be beyond their delivery range during normal seasons – I don’t know. I wouldn’t know until I placed the order and they started processing it for fulfillment.
As you can tell, I’m somewhat of a nervous buyer when it comes to sourcing certain project materials. I’ve learned that some suppliers are better when it comes to raw materials – wood, specialty wood, plastic bars and sheets, aluminum and steel, and others. Others are worse or even terrible.
So what I’m asking is this – if you’ve bought cedar at home centers, what have your experiences been like?
I’ve had good experiences with “project boards” from home centers for small projects, but for dimensional lumber such as 2x4s, I can be there a while, picking out the better (but still not perfect) boards from the truly terrible ones.
There’s also the idea of going with pine – I have a bunch of 2x4s I can rip down to more usable sizes – or other woods and painting or sealing them, but that’s not ideal for food-safe vegetable planters. One of my planned projects is for a sub-irrigated planter, which would require a pond liner to separate wood from soil, but it still feels like cedar is the better way to go.
I built some raised beds last year with cedar deck boards from Lowe’s. I couldn’t be happier. I have some of those pre-made cedar kits and they’re very thin. I wanted to use 2×6 boards but they were too expensive. The deck boards are holding up great.
Why don’t you rent a truck from your local store? That way you get the wood you want and it should be less expensive than delivery.
To get the thicker boards, that would mean ~90 minutes there and back and then another ~90 minutes to return the truck. With say an hour for picking, loading, and unloading lumber, that’s 4 hours to get some lumber. If there are no quality concerns or issues, I wouldn’t mind paying reasonable delivery fees.
anywhere BUT the big box stores….
I have always found that any lumber and sheet goods are of exceedingly poor quality and usually warped, curved or just plain ugly. I will get MDF sheets and the precut / preprimed trim pieces…
All the rest i always go to a cabinet supply shop or local lumber yard. I find the prices are as good if not better than the box stores and the quality is WAY better…
For cedar i would find a lumber yard that sells siding and cladding, they usually will sell cedar ( or in our case out west, redwood) for use in exterior trim applications
I bought some cedar from my local Home Depot for a planter project about six years ago. At the time, they stocked cedar in 1x stock. I think that I made the project using 1x4s mainly, but would have preferred 2x stock. The project came out fine and the boards have held up. I think that the planter is 5×3 feet approximately. I do remember having to pick through a lot of warped boards in the store. I would be hesitant to buy it online. I don’t think that you could expect the material to arrive in good shape.
When it came time to build some bigger boxes (8×4 foot), I opted for a composite kit from Costco. About five years in on those, the composite boards look okay but the plastic connectors are starting to show their age. I do remember seeing some cedar kits for 4×4 planters at Home Depot. Perhaps you can buy one of those for the lumber.
Are you sure that there’s no lumberyards closer to you? I’ve recently started getting my lumber from an amazing old yard in Providence. It’s really a lot of fun to wander around and see what they have, although it can be pretty intimidating.
There’s a hardwood specialty store ~ 25-30 minutes from here, but I don’t believe they have cedar. I didn’t see any at building supplier, and their online catalog only shows cedar trim. Google says there’s a specialty lumber yard around 40 minutes from here, and their online price sheet has steep prices. It might be worth checking out, but not at the moment given travel/shopping restrictions.
I ordered a Greene’s elevated cedar planter (https://greenesfence.com/collections/elevated-cedar-garden-beds), and while I considered getting one of their raised garden planter kits for the lumber, I want to build a raised platform and that requires a lot more wood and thicker wood for supports. They have original and “premium” kits made with thicker and wider boards, but it doesn’t seem ideal for what I have in mind.
I might put it off until life returns to normal, but if I can’t source the wood and work on the project by mid-May or early June, I’ll have to put it off until next year.
Could you use cedar for the box and something else for the platform? That might alleviate your food-contact fears.
Yes, but that doesn’t save much in the form of materials or cost.
I plan to make some planter stands as well, using pine that will likely be painted. Wood studs should be good enough for that. I might cap the bottoms with plastic or similar to help reduce ground water contact, will see.
Call the hardwood store and ask for recommendations for who carries cedar in your area. Those guys will know everyone within a 100 miles that is in the lumber business.
I grabbed a piece from Lowe’s the other day – because I live within a mile of the store. The cedar was a little junkie, but the small lengths I needed out of the piece were in good nick. Convenience. I’m in the PNW and cedar is readily available everywhere – I usually shop at a local run lumber/home store, Dunn.
Where are you?
Check craigslist? The materials can be a joy to browse…
Skip the pine!
Order from Lowe’s – just order 20% more, because there will be defects and warps and checks. It’s great soft scrap to have around too – that 20% will pay out sooner or later.
We had several suppliers for our cabinet shop business – some US and some Canadian based. I don’t believe that they dealt in small quantity deliveries.
In our remodeling business – we often dealt with Baird Brothers (Canfield Ohio) – but mostly for custom moldings (cedar included). They did a great job in shipping – and worked with my buyer to figure out what they had in stock and what combinations of lengths would meet our needs and be most economical. I think that heard about them on an early TOH show – probably in the Bob Villa days. I don’t know if they stock flat cedar boards – or are limited to moldings only.
I use Baird for some mouldings and hardwood as well. I’ve never ordered it from them, but I believe I’ve seen cedar on their website. They closed Monday though.
Located in Ohio – so closedown of non-essential businesses
Hopefully they will be back.
But I recall that we were always happy with them.
There was a time when cedar closets were all the rage among our clientele- and getting cedar trim – crowns etc. locally was not possible.
Baird would drop ship them to our client’s house – boxed – shrink-wrapped and sometimes encased in foam.
A few years ago I built raised beds with cedar purchased at Menard’s. It’s held up quite well. I used a combination of 5/4 deck boards, 4×4 posts, and 1/2-inch fence boards.
By and large, my experience at big box stores is that the quality of the cedar boards seems to be higher than the quality of pine boards.
Last time I looked, my local Home Depots carried cedar.
Stuart, I am not sure where you are located, but here in Michigan I have a few places to pick from. I am a woodworking instructor and I have seen that every hardwood supplier I have ordered from, except one, has cedar listed on the price sheets I receive monthly/quarterly. It may be worth an email or phone call to any lumber yard close to you and see. If schools weren’t shut down, I would suggest calling any high school in the area and pose those questions to the wood shop instructor there (if they still exist).
I did a similar project recently and got my lumber at Lowes but took forever to find good boards. My hesitation would be that they would just grab a bunch off the shelf and ship em to you.
Have you tried 84 lumber? I’ve been moving most of my lumber buying to them after spending way too much time looking for good material at Depot and Lowes
Thanks, I’ll give them a try! There’s one not too far from me, and I’ll keep in mind to visit them after the current situation improves and travel restrictions end.
I purchased Cedar 4×4’s awhile back. I picked some nice timbers out of many cracked, curved unusable stuff. I paid around $13.99 for 8’ 4×4’s at Lowe’s. I’ve noticed Cedar dog eared fence pickets at HD. I’ve been wanting to check Menards, i think they stock lots of Cedar. Some 12’ long stuff even. Menards would be a good selection I think.
Sounds like you need a Menards near you Stu. Cedar boards are the entire front page of their pro ad this week. 126 sizes available, it even mentions they have real lumber yards.
It just sucks that they started price gouging things like masks and cleaning supplies.
Yep. All the Menards near me stock a pretty big variety of cedar. I generally deal in builder-level quantities, though, so I’m used to culling the ugly boards for cutting up or returning.
Cedar is never cheap in my experience, but the price can fluctuate fairly rapidly.
Just a side note- the cedar you’re looking at will rot in a few years. Only old growth heartwood, thicker material, will last long.
In general the home stores have the lowest quality. and most expensive delivery, though many Home Depots have $20 “pro delivery” if you ask at the pro desk.
Not sure if you have menards in your area? they have pretty good cedar in stock if you are willing to pick through the racks. As a bonus it is generally outdoor so you can preorder online, then pick your own boards outside and drive off and only interact with the one person at the gate.
Unfortunately, no, there aren’t any Menards stores anywhere new me.
At the time (6 years ago) I was considering a couple of 4’x8′ raised planters, I also pined over the right healthy choice of lumber for vegetable and herb gardens. After some research I was able to eliminate any of the available “garden kits” as either too flimsy or too small and pressure treated wood for obvious reasons. I finally settled on some stock pine, dimensional lumber, from HD. After talking with some friends and neighbors, as well as a large local nursery, I determined that the pine would not self-destruct in such a short time as to make the choice untenable. With a load of 2×12 pine boards and some 4×4 posts for inside corner support, and a few construction screws, I was able to quickly and easily build two 4’x8′ raised planters that are still in place today in a South Florida sub-tropical climate. So in short, my reasoning is that even if I need to replace these every few years, the cost, ease of availability and construction far outweigh my other alternatives.
Two years ago I built some protective cages for my potted sunflower plants, and the pine didn’t self-destruct after that one season, but they did discolor and get ugly really fast. I know that cedar needs to be refinished to keep appearances up, but was hoping for something more resistant than unfinished pine.
If all fails I’ll give it a try, or at least use pine for my raised planter box project where it won’t come into contact with the soil/potting mix. In that case, I should be able to paint or seal the exterior pine and keep the interior untreated but blocked from moisture. Or, I’ll seal/finish both sides and the interior will still be blocked off from moisture and soil via EPDM pond liner.
Don’t know exactly what vehicles you are driving, Stuart, but I used to regularly haul 8 foot 2×4’s and 2×6’s in a 98 Toyota Camry. Also hauled a 10 foot stick of 2″ conduit once, but that was tricky (that 2″ won’t bend very much). And, I’m talking about with all the windows and the trunk closed.
Most people would be surprised what you can fit in a car I think. 8 foot lengths of material fit in my subaru forester if i feed them through to the front between the right seat and right side pilars. 10 footers fit angled front right to back left. Not a very large vehicle.
Many years ago, when I was driving a smaller car, I would put the passenger window down, fold passenger seat forward, and insert lumber or conduit diagonally into the car, with the end sticking out the window and resting on the passenger side mirror. Use an old towel and some duct tape to protect the paint on the mirror and edge of window frame. Of course, there is a limit to how many 2x4s you can stick out the window, but I never had any problems. 10′ EMT conduit was easy. The key point is to duct tape the towel, so it doesn’t blow away and let the 2x4s eat the paint off your car.
My wife drives a 2dr Wrangler, and you would be amazed at the amount and length of materials I’ve loaded into that thing! (hey, it gets 2x the gas mileage my truck gets)
Check the ‘Materials’ sub-section of your local Craigslist. In my area there are several lumber mills that actively advertise on my local Craigslist.
That’s a really interesting question. I’ve had the same dilemma. I dont really need anything custom and i have been pretty saddened to realise that it ends up kind of cheaper to buy pre-made planters than actually buying material and making them yourself. Sad because i would enjoy the work. So curious to hear if the Lowes supply is decent, please post photos of the delivery if you end up ordering (maybe on instagram) ?
I built an elevated cedar planter last year out of 6ft cedar fence pickets. My local Lowe’s always has hundreds of them in the gardening section. They are less than $3 a piece. Had about $30 bucks in wood.
I did check the cedar fences last year at one home center. They had far fewer than I expected, and the wood looked in terrible condition. So I gave up and pushed the project to this year.
I’m about to go through the same process. I want to improve the playset with a climbing wall. Lat time I was at HD they only had 5/8 cedar in large lengths. As you said, they can be cracked or heavily warped. People picking don’t really care to get you nice boards. The order says 10, so they grab 10.
I would pick pretty much any other supplier if possible. Even at an increased cost or delay in shipping.
I wouldn’t personally as all of our raised garden beds are built using discounted lumbers (70% off at HD) 2x6s, 2x8s, 2x10s, 2x12s and the two largest beds are 8’x8′ built using 4x6x8ft. Have had great success in the past 5 years, growing vegs and fruit trees. The lumber will rot eventually so I figured best save $$$ on that and put money into good soil/fertilizers/water.
They are in the backyard, weathered but holding together well. I would opt nicer materials/finish if for displaying in front of the house.
Some will not use treated lumber for growing esp. food but we’re not in that school of thoughts.
Cedar is rot resistant but will bow if the boards are too thin as I discovered with my first raised bed.
I think you once mentioned visiting the supersize Home Depot Union/Vauxhall location in central NJ? There used to be many vintage lumber yards around here, but most are gone. Try contacting Jaeger lumber or Dreyer’s Lumber in Chatham, it’s close to Rt.24/78, both should have cedar. Even bought redwood 4×4’s from there once, but that was years ago. Dryer’s also has a good tool selection inside, with many name brands.
Really coat the boards with sealer and oil based exterior varnish/poly, and even consider using a plastic flower box liner inside to help them last longer.
I visited Jaeger’s larger Madison location last year and don’t remember seeing any cedar. They did have Baltic Birch although only in one size. If I remember correctly, they’ll do courtesy deliveries above a certain order amount, but I haven’t looked closely into that yet. Will check Dryer’s, I keep forgetting about them. There’s a hardwood supplier about 30 minutes south that I only went to once, and I checked the website of Boards & Beams up in Fairfield, but their prices seemed high. Looking again, it seems fairer for 1″ and 5/4 S1S2E and even 2″ S4S kiln dried. Clear cedar is a lot more – I think I was looking/focusing on that by mistake – but that doesn’t seem appropriate for the projects I’m looking at. I don’t know why they haven’t hit my radar before now, possibly because of the longer travel distance, but I’ll definitely go there once restrictions are lifted.
I figure I’ll run a quick experiment – will order from Gardener’s, Lowe’s, and Home Depot, and see what each of them can deliver. When I can (or can determine exactly what I need), I’ll hit up the hardwood supplier ~40-45 minutes from here.
I’ve gotten spoiled by sources like Bell Forest, where I can order 10 or 20 board-foot packs and get them at fair pricing with minimal effort. Last year I couldn’t find cedar locally, not even at the home centers, which was pretty discouraging. It seems that maybe I just didn’t expand my search radius far enough.
I was going to suggest B&B in Fairfield, but yeah, you’re going to pay. The are on the boutique side of things as opposed to a lumber supplier that supplies contractors/home builders/deck builders.
Home centers… not unless you can see what you’re getting first, otherwise you’ll be looking for ways to load it in your car to send it back. Ask me how I know. 🙂
True, but if they’re willing to deliver and for a fair price, they have other materials I’ve been hard-pressed to find locally, such as 5′ x 5′ Baltic Birch.
I built a raised bed for my kids that included a built in bench/step so they could “garden”.
I hand picked the boards at the store because there are plenty of curved ones and was actually loading them into my minivan. I can fit 10′ long boards/pipes into my little Toyota sienna (to a certain quantity). I imagine you can lower your seats, put down some cardboard, and do the same.
If you do order from the store (in a small quantity), they will send out whatever was sitting on top of the pile, which will be the rejects of other customers. If you buy a pallet they’ll be straight because they’re cinched down tight.
Would lining the insides with the weed preventer sheets help? Would reduce soil contact on the wood. I mean the garden mulch black sheets that comes in rolls. Maybe a coating of food grade linseed oil/ beeswax combo on the exterior? Perhaps both sides? Might really add to the cost.
My local yard has 1x6x8 western cedar for $14.80
Lowe’s is $20.95 ea.
Here in Portlandia we’ve hit lots of great lumber vendors. I never buy any building materials from a Big Box.
If I was looking for cedar I’d first try fence builders. Or their suppliers.
We only use 2X cedar for beds and most bigger boxes. 2x is still normal for vertical cedar (aka not budget based) fencing unless someone’s weaving it.
No idea how how I’d pick boards without a truck or van though.
Roof rack? Sure. That would work. Can you rent one Stuart?
Crap. 1X for vertical. Not 2X. Jeez.
If I can’t fit boards length-wise to where they rest on my armrest between driver and passenger seats, that means it’s time to up my order amount and pay for delivery.
have you tried https://www.woodworkerssource.com/?
When I checked I saw they only have aromatic cedar, but looking now they have Spanish cedar, but at fairly high pricing. The boards are also different sizes, whereas I’d prefer dimensional-sized lumber for my current needs.
How far are you from Southhampton? I googled “cedar near me” and found Medford Cedar Products. If I recall, you are kind of near me (central NJ).
Google says 90 mins one-way.
With my workload and schedule set around my kids’, it’s been hard to find the time. If I’m willing to travel at least 60-90 minutes each way, I’m sure there are tons of options in PA and down-state. Right now, my needs, skill, and transport capabilities aren’t where I can justify that yet.
It’s unfortunate, but for myself and a lot of others, home centers are by far the most convenience sources for project materials.
I’m hoping to save myself trouble of home center cedar absolutely sucks, but it looks like I’ve also volunteered myself to be a guinea pig.
If you are in the detroit market try northville lumber has good quality of cedar and also John’s or groesbeck lumber
We are under lock down here in Michigan, can only leave for specific things. Businesses are all closed. Virus cases rose about 26 percent from Monday to Tuesday. Only had one day notice of the stay at home ruling. I won’t be doing many projects until this 3 week stay at home law lifts.
Realistically, I’m not ordering anything right now, but I’m trying to have a plan in play so I can source material fast for a time-sensitive project if things improve and restrictions loosen up in time.
I haven’t been to any stores in 11 days. My wife went out twice, once for groceries and once for dinner takeout, plus kids to the ENT for scheduled ear tube checkup. There have been a couple of walks and time in the yard.
Everything is on hold, but pretending it’s not can help with the mental stress aspect, at least for me.
Okay I am going to go way outside the box. My big box store has cedar fence pickets 5/8″ x 5.5″ x 6′ for $1.99. Adjust the design a bit to have shorter planter boxes and I would comfortably build a planter box out of them. Since they are for building fences, the local stores have hundreds of them to pick ones that look pretty good.
P.S. Use a planer to improve the exterior surface finish.
I tried looking into copper treated lumber for raised beds and found studies found barely elevated levels of trace chemicals from the lumber within roughly an inch from the lumber itself. Plants would also die long before they absorbed an amount of copper that was even remotely harmful to humans. No difference was found between using cedar from copper treated lumber when building raised beds in actual experiments. The U.S. government is yet to approve of copper treated lumber for raised bed gardens though. Probably not yet enough testing done yet to safely cover their ass. Its a been a while since I looked into it so don’t trust me and I’m still not 100% sure on the matter. You would have to do your own digging for sources.
It might not be as big an issue if you only plan to grow ornamental plants in the raised beds as opposed to vegetables. But some of the soil in close contact to the wood might end up being contaminated for a long time .
At our place in Florida – I’ve had luck building a few small (condo living = small) projects with bald cypress.
Up north, I’ve lined several planters that I’ve built over the years with roofing tar (careful not to plug drain holes) and that seems to have helped.
I should have specified vegetables intended for human consumption was tested. No abnormal levels of any chemicals were found beyond roughly an inch from the wood.
I built an outdoor shower last summer using 5/4×6 cedar decking from Lowe’s. The price they had it for was better than any local lumber yard near me. It was kiln dried and overall the quality wasn’t bad. I hand picked everything but I don’t recall there being a ton of crappy boards that I set aside. My advice would be to order more than you need in case you get some duds and then return what you can’t use to your local box store. Even if they don’t stock it at your particular store, they will still accept the return
A bit late, and not sure if this will be much help…
About a decade back, I built some window boxes for my place. I used cedar fence boards from a nearby Home Depot. It was long enough ago that I don’t remember the specific product, but I was on a pretty tight budget, and I either carried them on foot a couple miles, or took a city bus. I probably needed like ~35 ft or so.
I think I used these:
not certain, but the dimensions and price seem about right. granted, there are a couple inches lost due to the corners chopped off the ends, but in my situation, it either fell into planned scrap, or was maybe just economically justified/acceptable.
It was long enough ago that I don’t really remember picking them out, so no clue whether most of the stock was trash, or if it was generally acceptable or whatever, so I’ve no clue how delivery would work out…
I live in the Pacific Northwest so cedar is easy to get and I haven’t had to use big box material in general. I have used it, though. I found mixed product quality but was able to get what I needed at those times. I found Lowes had better selection than HD (no Menards near me) and I found the selection varied widely by individual stores. I am within 45 minutes of 3 Lowes and 3 HDs but do 90% of my buying at the closest HD. The websites are unreliable for info on the lumber at my local stores.
If you can get 2x material it isworth the expense, 5/4 decking usually is a good option too.
Check with local fencing supply companies. They may have stock they will sell.
Otherwise try Bear Creek Lumber. They strongly promote their shipping capabilities and can ship up to 8’ stock length via UPS. I have not used them.
Good luck and thanks for this site, i check it almost daily.
2 years ago I fixed my dad’s fence with cedar from our local Lowes. It was all decent quality for what I was doing with it.
5/8 by 5.5 by 8ft fence pickets as they were called – dog eared.
2x4x8’s cedar rough cut.
Now the 2×4’s had a bit of twist in them and one had a pretty bad knot – but I did go the store and pick out bits. checked HD too picked lowes. Turns out had I only known there is a dedicated lumber not 3 miles away but I’d never heard of it. Point there – do a bit of googling for lumber or construction material wholesalers.
now that said – worked out fine. I wouldn’t have built fine furniture with it but it was for an outside fence
Might be worth a try redesigning the box to use less cedar. if you don’t see the 2×4’s might be worth using kiln dried studs and priming and painting then – then using cedar pickets. For the bottom use the pickets against the soil – but support them with a painted 2x bracing. Just a thought.
It probably depends a lot on where you are.
Where I am I have found HD lumber to often be cheapest but the lowest quality. I only buy lumber there if it’s just a couple pieces and I had to go there anyway.
Building supply stores, around here the largest chain is Parr Lumber, but I have a few smaller locally owned stores as well, they tend to be much better quality on average. I recently picked up a batch of 2×4 x12′ cedar boards from a place nearby called Bargain Barn for only 1$/ ft, all very straight.
Being a contractor or regular customer may make this a more comfortable thing to do, but you should be able to ask by phone the quality of the boards and even ask (within reason) for them to pick ideal boards, and you should be able to reject pieces if you are there to see the delivery at no expense (again, within reason) or send them back on the next delivery (which obviously, if you are not a contractor you may not have regular deliveries).
I work in construction supply. I get cedar for my customers. I get it from specialty lumber yards and US Lumber. I’m a distributor so I have an advantage, but it doesn hurt to ask a local construction supply company. Construction Materials, HD Supply, Colony Hardware, Ram Tool these are the ones near me. They might be a little annoyed but its usually easy enough to get a quote and email back to a customer. I know that Colony Hardware charges a 5$ delivery fee and Ram Tool doesn’t have one. the other 2 I’m sure about. Just a thought.
I’m as big a fan of natural wood as you’ll find, but have you considered using Trex for this? Zero rot, same or better discoloration resistance, and no worries about food contact (unless you hesitate to put food in plastic bags). Also no warped boards.
For what I’m looking to do, wood offers a lot more flexibility when it comes to design aspects and also reusability.
For simplicity, I could always go with 20 gallon totes or nursery pots. There are also a bunch of other planter and elevated planter designs by Keter and VegTrug.
I’ve built several pieces of outdoor furniture out of western red cedar, and I can tell you that the price, selection and quality at my local specialty lumber yard was significantly better than both big box stores. These specialty lumber yards have survived and thrived against the big boxes for good reason. As absurd as it sounds at this time , if they are open, I would make that 40 min trip and maybe even call/pay ahead. I bet they would even cut the wood to fit your truck. A lumber yard is probably the very easiest retailer to practice social distancing at.
Our lumber yard is ok, but if I travel 40 minutes or more each way, I can get much better stuff. I have a small car but they will cut things and they are much more accurate than the BB stores.
I do have cedar that was used for planters that came from Lowe’s. They are the dimensions you mention. I was given them by a friend when he broke down his planter beds. It has been sitting in a detached garage for a long time and the boards are still in pretty good shape. It was used for the beds for 2 years or more before I ended up with them.
This summer I may build something with them like planter boxes or Deck seating with planter boxes. Have to see how well they’ll clean up first. Maybe stain them.
My perspective is having a lumber yard just down the road from me. I also have a planer machine. I have seen the prices of surfaced cedar. The electricity I use and amount I pay for the materials are way cheaper where I’m at. That would be a “NO”.
You can always mix. Use treated pine frame and face with cedar planks. Just double treat and seal the pine. Keep in mind cedar will still eventually rot. Don’t use plastic planters
If by “big box” you mean Lowe’s or Home Depot, NO WAY would I buy lumber blind and have it delivered from those places. I have bought lumber at both a few times, but only because I could hand-pick the pieces and take them home. As recently as last week, I bought cedar 2×6’s at a Home Depot and had to go through 10 pieces to find one that was not split, had an edge chewed off by the saw, or was bowed or warped so bad as to be unusable. Ditto for some cedar 4×4 I bought there once. I had to go through 20 pieces to get 4 good ones. Hunt around for a non-big-box lumber yard near you. Are there none within driving distance? Around here (Oregon) I deal with a small local chain of lumber yards, and they have always delivered beautiful, straight, stacks of cedar which I am using to rebuild my deck. And if by chance I get one that isn’t up to my liking, they exchange it with no questions asked. I bought about 300 cedar pickets to do a fence, and because they come bound in pallet bundles, there was no way for the lumber yard to know what was deep inside the stack. I had about 20 that had some splits and holes in them, and they cheerfully swapped them right out for new ones. With Home D’s “hit percentage”, even if they would exchange them, I’d have been lucky to get 20 GOOD ones out of 300 instead of 20 bad ones.