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Casters. Wheels. Leveling and Moving a garden planter box

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Forum topic by scottkeen posted 07-22-2019 02:06 AM 218 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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scottkeen

59 posts in 1381 days


07-22-2019 02:06 AM

I sketched up and built a self-watering grow-bag vegetable-garden planter-box based on the idea by Larry Hall's Kiddie Pool Grow Bag Garden System.

This planter box I designed and built measures 25-1/4” wide x 92” long x 7” high and was designed to fit on my condo balcony, where I plan to grow some vegetables. The vegetables are grown in fabric bags sitting in a shallow basin with water and pea gravel.

I would like to be able to level and move around the planter box to clean under it, and on the very rare occasion roll it through the sliding patio door (32” wide) to the inside of my condo when the homeowners association paints and seals the balcony.

With water, pea gravel, PT wood, and grow-bags of vegetables and soil, I’m estimating the planter box weight to be around 900-1,000 pounds.

EDIT: When I have to move it, I will drain out the water, shovel out the pea gravel, and remove the grow bags. Then I’m just moving about 200 pounds of wood.

I was planning to put 8 casters total, on each end and 1/3 and 2/3 of the length, each 4” caster rated for 330-pounds (2,640 pounds rated total).

But then I’m going to have a problem leveling the planter box. I would normally just shim the box, but with casters, how can I level the box?

PS. I know someone is already thinking this—can the balcony support 1,000 pounds? Yes, the floors are about 12” thick concrete and there are large steel posts supporting the outside corners.


8 replies so far

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

1645 posts in 1949 days


#1 posted 07-22-2019 12:39 PM

IMHO – you have a hidden challenge with all that weight: rolling it across the aluminum threshold on your sliding patio door to get it inside. The single point loads for 4” caster are going to be really high rolling over the 1” high threshold. Suspect you will dent/bend the aluminum?

Lived in condo with similar balcony, and had several 55 gallon drums and 400lb stacks of 5 gallon pails stored in closet accessed via outside balcony (Don’t ask why). Regular castors or hard wheels on hand truck would not roll the heavy loads across the threshold without great difficulty. Had to use a hand truck with large rubber balloon tires, and still managed to bend the outer most track rail for sliding screen door.
Hence, would suggest you consider using 8-10 inch OD inflated rubber wheels, like those found on wagon or wheel barrow.

Hard to imagine that long platform bouncing over the threshold? If the deck is full of water for plants, it’s going to splash everywhere!

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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scottkeen

59 posts in 1381 days


#2 posted 07-22-2019 12:58 PM



IMHO – you have a hidden challenge with all that weight: rolling it across the aluminum threshold on your sliding patio door to get it inside. The single point loads for 4” caster are going to be really high rolling over the 1” high threshold. Suspect you will dent/bend the aluminum?
- CaptainKlutz

It’s a valid point, and I was thinking to build a little ramp just to get the wheels up and over the the threshhold, maybe just 3/4” high. The planter box is 4” deep, and the water only comes up to 2”.

But there’s a bigger problem—what the heck am I thinking that I can just push around 1,000 lbs?

So I’m going to edit my original post, to say I’ll be draining the water, shoveling out the pea gravel, and removing the grow bags if I have to move this around. Then it will just be about 200 pounds in wood.

The question will still remain, how do I level the box when it’s fully loaded at 1,000 pounds and it’s on wheels.

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

4106 posts in 2443 days


#3 posted 07-22-2019 01:07 PM

It will level itself with all that weight. In addition, the pressure treated wood will warp, bend, etc sitting out in the elements. I would cut it in half to make two easier to move boxes.

View scottkeen's profile

scottkeen

59 posts in 1381 days


#4 posted 07-22-2019 01:42 PM



It will level itself with all that weight. In addition, the pressure treated wood will warp, bend, etc sitting out in the elements. I would cut it in half to make two easier to move boxes.

- Redoak49

I need the water to be level in the box. The box is 4” deep, and the water needs to come up to 2” all the way around. The condo balcony has a slight downward slope to run rain off the edge, so I know my balcony is not level.

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scottkeen

59 posts in 1381 days


#5 posted 07-22-2019 01:53 PM

Maybe the easiest thing to do is place some 2mm outdoor vinyl tiles on the lower side of the balcony and roll the planter box wheels onto them to shim up the box. I can stack them if needed, until the water in the box is level.

View LittleShaver's profile

LittleShaver

565 posts in 1074 days


#6 posted 07-22-2019 02:11 PM

Your balcony is probably sloped a 1/4 inch or so. May not be worth the effort to level the planter.

Have you considered multiple boxes? Smaller boxes would be easier to move about the balcony and condo.

-- Sawdust Maker

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1924 posts in 617 days


#7 posted 07-22-2019 02:15 PM

Scott – you level it the same way they level old houses.
jack it up and shim the supports when you get it level.
try to distribute the overall weight as evenly as possible.
building it close to the ground will severely limit your options
in everything pertained to moving and leveling it.
Note: the larger the wheels, the easier it will be to roll around.
you can get a 4 ton bottle jack at HF to level it but you need
at least 8” between the frame and the floor.

you know those panel carts at the Box Stores that have bigger wheels
in the middle ? and how easy they are to steer when fully loaded ?
think about using 6 wheels with the middle two maybe 1/4 or 1/2” shimmed
over the other four. . . . . when the cart is in position, that is when you
use blocking and braces and the jack to level it into the permanent position.

-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

View Delete's profile

Delete

439 posts in 827 days


#8 posted 07-22-2019 02:21 PM

Buy two of these and mount one under each end. Each one will support over 600 lb., I got mine at Busy Bee, in the US Grizzly probably stocks them. The two black knobs you see allow you to adjust to level after they are positioned. They are adjustable for length and width and you can go with 4 rotating casters or 2 fixed and 2 rotating.

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