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Garden Cart: A mobile home for your garden tools

This mobile garden tool cart allows you to efficiently store your garden tools as well as “drive” them straight to the work site.

Designed to store and allow easy access to rakes, shovels, hoes and garden forks of varying sizes, the top section can also serve as a potting tray come spring with the insertion of a floor section.  If you don’t need the mobile features of the storage cart, simply leave off the wheels and adjust the height of the back legs accordingly – a perfect way to store tools in the garage or garden shed.

Begin by cutting out all cart pieces to size using the schematics provided.  This cart was built in three stages: the upper box, the lower box and the leg and handle assembly.  Use deck screw and outdoor wood glue to fasten all pieces.  Pre-drill all screw holes using an (#8) adjustable wood screw pilot.  Using the accompanying template, transfer the pattern onto 5/4 inch stock.  Cut out the two handle arms with a jigsaw fitted with a fine-toothed blade.  Cedar was used in this project for its natural water resistant qualities.  Pine may be used as a less costly alternative.

What you will need

  • 16 ft. 5/4” pine or cedar (approx)
  • 20 ft. 2” X 4” pine or cedar (approx)
  • (#8) 1 ½” stainless steel deck screws
  • (#8) 2” stainless steel deck  screws
  • (#8) 2 ½” stainless steel deck screws
  • (#8) 3” stainless steel deck screws
  • 1 ¼” stainless steel finishing nails
  • Waterproof glue
  • 2 ft. 1 ¼” hardwood dowel
  • 3 ft. ½” steel rod (approx)
  • (2) ½” flat galvanized washers
  • (2) ½” axle cap nuts
  • (3) 1 ½” hooks, brass (or equal)
  • (2) plastic wheels (offset hub) 8” x 1 ¾”
  • ½” plywood (potting tray base) 22” x 14”
  • Diagrams [click here to view diagrams]


  • Hammer
  • Clamps
  • (#8) combination wood screw pilot
  • Sander
  • Framing square
  • Measuring tape
  • Jigsaw
  • Miter saw
  • Power drill
  • Nail set
  • 3/8” wood-boring spur bit
  • Hack saw
  • 2 ¼” hole saw
  • 5/8” wood bit

Build the upper box assembly

  1. Assemble the front, back and two side pieces of the upper box using 2 ½ inch deck screws and waterproof glue.  Clamps are useful for holding the 45 degree mitered corners together during assembly.  Check for square before setting aside to dry.
  2. Assemble the five vertical grid pieces into the box frame with 2 ½ inch deck screws.  The 2 inch x 4 inch pieces are secured to either end of the frame and the 2 inch x 2 inch pieces, ripped from 2 inch x 4 inch stock, are fastened equidistant between the two 2 inch x 4 inch pieces.

Build the lower box assembly

  1. Using clamps and checking for square, assemble the four pieces for the lower frame as shown, using 3 inch deck screws. 
  2. Install the three horizontal pieces of 1 inch x 2 inch ripped from 5/4 inch stock, inside the frame.  These pieces will hold the floor and tool holder in place.
  3. Install the five vertical tool holder pieces into the frame using 1 ½ inch galvanized finishing nails.  Toenail the nails into the wood pieces.  Set the nails with a nail punch.
  4. Mark the centers of the four holes for the tool handle plate using the drawer provided.  Drill the holes using a 2 ¼ inch hole saw.
  5. Install the handle plate over the back of the frame as shown, using 1 ½ inch deck screws.
  6. Install the floor of the lower box using 1 ½ inch deck screws.  Drill six ½ inch drain holes as shown.

Build the legs

  1. Install the front and rear legs of the cart as shown.  Clamps will again be helpful here.  Use a square to ensure that the legs are at a 90 degree angle to the lower box.  Locate the center of the axle position in the rear legs, and drill a 5/8 inch hole through the legs and the box frame pieces to receive the ½ inch axle rod (see diagram).  It is important that the holes are drilled perpendicular to the legs, are properly located and aligned.  This will allow the axle to be inserted easily though the leg and box assembly, and will prevent the axle from interfering and the area of the four handle holes. 

Complete the handle and wheel assembly

  1.   Using the template provided, drill the 1 ½ inch holes in the handle arms.  These will receive the handle dowel.
  2. Attach the arms to the legs as shown using 2 ½ inch deck screws.
  3. Secure the upper box onto the leg assembly using 2 ½ inch screws through the 2 inch x 4 inch pieces and into the legs.  Center the box side to the side and overlap the front corner of the box over the legs by approximately 2 inches. 
  4. Cut the dowel handle to length, and insert it through the pre-drilled handle armholes.  The handle is held in place with two 3/8 inch pegs, inserted and glued into 3/8 inch holes which are drilled ¼ inch from the outside edges of the handle arms. 
  5. Cut the ½ inch axle rod to length, insert it though the pre-drilled holes, and install the two wheels using ½ inch washers between the wheels and the legs.  Two ½ inch push on nuts hold the wheels on either end of the axle.  The length of the axle will depend on the particular wheel you are using, and must be long enough to accommodate each wheel, washers and end caps.  Washers are added to the axle inside the wheel to ensure the wheel does not rub against the frame.
  6. The tool cart can double as a potting tray.  Simply cut out a piece of ½ inch plywood 22 inch x 14 inch (approximate) as an insert, and drop it into the upper box.  A 1 inch finger hole will make removal easier.
  7. Hooks on the arm pieces are convenient hangers for small hand gardening tools.  Choose a suitable finish for your cart. 
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