DIY – Make Your Own Garden Planters

Why buy new when you can DIY and save money?  Need a little inspiration to get your garden started in a container?  Check out what some amazingly creative people around the globe have used to grow a garden in – just about everything!


School desk edible planter - just one of many Clever Plant Container Ideas @ www.themicrogardener.com

This old desk school desk has a new life in the garden as an edible planter filled with luscious lettuces, shallots and colourful flowers.


Ideas for Repurposed Planters … INCLUDING the Kitchen Sink!


Stuck for where to start?  Looking for inspiration for what to grow your next garden in?  Look no further! I hope you like these creative planters as much as I do.


Porcelain planters seem to be quite popular in some gardens.

A new meaning for ‘potted’ plants! These old toilet cisterns have also been given a new life as planters. Porcelain is long lasting and with built in drainage, their prior lives could be concealed behind other plants or a bamboo screen around the base.


Here’s a list of objects, furniture, fashion and household items just waiting for a new life in your garden.

From the Kitchen:

  • Old tea kettle (reuse as a watering can) or upcycle into a planter.


Kettle planter | The Micro Gardener @ www.themicrogardener.com

Love this gorgeous kettle planter. With a few drainage holes it’s the perfect size for flowers or herbs.



Watering can planter | The Micro Gardener

Or just reuse an old watering can as a planter!


  • Lunch boxes and plastic cutlery holders from an old dishwasher or off the kitchen sink when washing up.
  • Old biscuit/cookie/tea or coffee tins.  If you’d like to make a hanging flower basket from a metal tin can like the one below, you can follow the instructions at Craft Stylish.


Cans come in consistent sizes so it's easy to create unity in your garden space with matching planters.

This tin can has been converted into an attractive metal hanging planter and filled with flowers. Perfect for a cool position in the garden.


  • Jars, urns, jugs and vases – these all look very decorative.


White crackle pitcher upcycled as a planter

They also make great table centrepieces. Try a low one with edible herbs for garnishes.


Used tin cans from the pantry – If you think this tin can planter garden looks great as a DIY project, visit Centsationalgirl’s blog which has all the instructions on how to make one of your own.


Old tin cans in a variety of sizes can be easily made into planters with a few drainage holes in the bottom.

These cute tin can planters are easy to make and look even more effective when you use ‘repetition’ as a design trick. Group a few together and plant the same plants or same colour for big impact.


  • Wire spice racks (cover the wire with coir fibre or moss before filling with potting mix).


Wire spice rack planter with moss and succulents - an easy DIY project.

This three-tiered wire spice rack has been filled with moss and mini succulents and makes great use of vertical space.


  • Bowls of all shapes and sizes – drill holes in the bottom first.
  • Colanders (have great drainage holes already).


Colander planter filled with bright cheerful pansies brings a splash of colour to the verandah. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Colanders are well suited to stand alone planters or being converted to hanging baskets with a little chain or rope. The base just broke off my silver colander so it’s my next planter project!


Colander planters are perfect for outdoor table settings as a feature display. Pop in some herbs and you can garnish your food at the table! | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

This brassy look colander is teamed up well with flowers and makes a decorative and practical planter. Try making a herb one instead and you can garnish your food at the table!


  • Muffin tins (raise seedlings or sprouts in these).


Make a simple planter out of unused oven or bakeware. A quick spray of paint can colour coordinate with your indoor or outdoor colour scheme. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Silver and succulents just seem to go together like bread and butter. This combination are just made for each other.



Sinks come with built in natural drainage where the plug used to be so make great planters. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

This neat little repurposed kitchen sink project has been mounted on rocks as a feature planter.



  • Dead refrigerator – door removed of course!
  • An old wok.
  • Crockery – or cracked pots.  These can always be glued or the damaged side hidden up against another plant or wall and revamped into a planter.


Got some old crockery? Cracked ones that no longer are useful in the kitchen can make great planters instead. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Inventive gardener Denise had holes drilled in these crock pots by her hubby to make attractive planters by the front door.


Plant Container Ideas with Repurposed Furniture:

  • Drawers and shelving – there’s no limit to what can be done with drawers. The depth determines what you plant.  There are loads of ideas for those with limited space such as the drawer and ladder combo below from DiggersList:


Got some old drawers you're no longer using? Why not repurpose into a planter box? | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

These wooden drawers have been reused as growing boxes nestled on a ladder framework. What a nifty idea and great use of vertical space for a micro garden.


  • Baby change tables – with a shelf below and a place where you can remove the soft mat from the top, these make ideal potting benches or shelves on which to put other planters.
  • Chest of drawers – these can make useful vertical plant shelves, potting benches and planters like the one below:


With a little imagination, there are lots of new ways with old things. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com Here's a great example with a chest of drawers, boots and kettle.

Got an old dresser, chest of drawers or buffet you no longer need? Then repurpose it into a fun and functional planter or potting bench.


  • Chairs – when the seat breaks or needs refurbishing, use this as an opportunity to create a garden planter.


When timber chairs are past their prime or the seat falls apart, it's the perfect time to reuse as a feature garden planter. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

This attractive clever edible folding chair planter looks good enough to eat! Trailing herbs and flowers and the timber chair frame are a perfect match.


From the House:

  • Old cane washing baskets – have great drainage and depth so make the perfect planter.  They can be spray painted or age gracefully in the garden.
  • Bath tubs – these make fantastic deep planters and can be themed to your own tastes!


A quick spray paint and a bit of artistic flair has turned this old bathtub into a cow planter! | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

This bathtub has been remodeled into a unique cow planter filled with flowers. A fun project for a kids garden.


From bath tub to garden tub this creative gardener has created a colourful feature planter. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

This small bath tub has been painted with ducks and flowers for a kid’s garden planter.


  • Washing machine drum – old style washing machines also suit quirky planters.


Metal objects DO heat up in hot weather so choose your planter carefully. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

The cylinder from a washing machine has been used as a modern looking cache pot for a plant.


  • Wire waste baskets and rubbish bins – with good depth and often fine wire mesh for drainage, they just need lining and potting mix to start a micro garden.
  • Laundry peg baskets – make great hanging baskets as they come with ready made drainage and handle for hanging.
  • Baby bath tub – made from a variety of materials, when no longer needed, they can be retired to the garden for a new life as a planter.  Below is an example of an enamel bath tub from The Angry Pin Cushion.


A couple of clever plant containers: pansies now reside in an old roasting pan and baby bath. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

On the left is an old roasting pan and to the right is a baby bath – both reinvented as planters filled with pansies.


  • Children’s toys such as dump trucks and wagons make great planters as they have space in the top for micro gardens.


Children's toys like trucks, buckets and boxes are all deep enough to grow a mini garden with some drainage modifications. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Love this idea for a kid’s garden space at home, childcare centre, kindy or school. Fill with edibles like chocolate mint and colourful calendula.


Kids LOVE colour so plant a variety of colourful plants including edible flowers in their planters. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Toy carts and wagons make fun and practical planters for kids gardens. Plant colourful salad vegies and you have ‘Meals on Wheels.’


  • Baskets and boxes – I’ve grown lots of mini gardens both permanent and temporary in baskets and cardboard/wooden boxes.


Make sure you consider the size, shape and habit of the plant to the container you plant into so they look right together. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

This metal wire basket has been lined with coconut fibre to hold moisture and planted out with colourful fuschias. Balance the plant to the size of the container for a great effect.


  • Prams with the hood removed or folded down for maximum sunlight suit those of you wanting meals on wheels.


Filled with edibles, this could be a meals on wheels planter. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Filled with edibles, this could be a meals on wheels planter.


  • Portable BBQ grill.
  • Basins (with a built in drainage hole where the plug used to be). They are usually made from durable porcelain and make long lasting planters.


Old metal wash basin planter with terracotta pot garden art | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

This old metal wash basin has been revamped as a planter, filled with attractive plants and even some terracotta pot garden art!


Doing a renovation? You may find a space to reuse a basin as a garden planter. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

An old basin has been used here with the plumbing still intact so drainage is no problem!


Plant Container Ideas from your Wardrobe:

Don’t think fashion is relevant in the garden?  Think again with these inspirational  (and unusual) ideas!

  • Clothes!  Couldn’t resist including this one from Violet Alone – how many of you are brave enough to hang a garden out in your lingerie?


Think your wardrobe doesn't have anything to offer? Think again! | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Needless to say, the bigger the better with a bra planter! One of the more unique ways of growing a garden.


  • Bags and baskets – just get creative with whether they become the planter or hold another pot inside.


These succulents work well in this pretty basket planter. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Got an old basket you no longer use? They come in all shapes and sizes and usually have great drainage built-in. They also have the added benefit of being portable gardens with handles!



A pair of boot planters looks cute with colourful flowers peeping out of the top. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

You can’t go past a pair of old work boots for rustic charm, especially if they’re old garden shoes. Pop a hole in the sole and plant away!


Why throw old shoes or boots when the heel goes or they're a bit worn when they can make a fun planter? | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Once outgrown, these cute little white children’s sneakers make perfect pots for the garden. Softened with matching white cascading flowers they make a perfect pair as the plants chosen don’t dwarf the shoes.


Rachel Mahlke, an artist from California transforms old stiletto heels collected from her friends and thrift stores, into extraordinary planters with cacti and other succulents.  First she removes the top of the shoe and then sands it, drills holes for drainage and finally plants a cactus in a mixture of natural and organic fertilizers and soil.


Foot fashion turned planter - what you can create as a garden is only limited by your imagination. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

A classy modern looking stiletto cactus planter is at the other end of the scale! A succulent is the best choice for this micro garden.



Canvas drains well as the cloth is porous so the top plants will automatically water those underneath. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Use a hanging canvas shoe rack to hold small plants in the pockets. What a clever vertical micro garden for a small space!


  • Hats – many come with a neck strap and can be filled with potting mix and plants, then hang the strap up on a hook for a hanging basket.


Plant Container Ideas from your Garage, Garden and Shed:

Clean out your garage, look in the garden, poke around in the shed or garage sale and you’re sure to find some useful items that can be repurposed as planters.

  • Rotten logs – if you’d like to make your own planter, you can follow the instructions at Make It From Scratch.


Rather than letting a natural resource go to waste, repot an old log with colour or edibles. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Reusing old timber logs that are not housing wildlife is another fun project for those looking for a free sustainable planter.


  • Milk crates, buckets and old trolleys.
  • Old wheelbarrows – they come in all shapes, materials and sizes but make fantastic portable planters for all sorts of edibles and ornamentals.  You can also just use the top part of the barrow if it’s made of plastic into a water garden, nestled down in between other plants.


Having a garden on wheels has many advantages - move it around to suit the sun/shade, provide more shelter or easily transplant to a new place. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

When the bottom of the wheelbarrow gives way, the depth and angle of the barrow makes a great planter with a few drainage holes. Plus the added bonus of having a portable pot.


  • Tool boxes – metal, wooden or plastic these work well as planters.  See how the one below (courtesy HGTV) has made good use of a design trick (using contrasting colours). It’s planted out with drought tolerant succulents and colour-coordinated with the red flowers in another pot.


A colorful metal drillbox serves as a planter for sempervivums and sedums. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Even tradies can garden! This bright red metal drillbox has been reused as a planter for sempervivums and sedums.


Succulent toolbox planter - an easy project when planted with drought tolerant succulents. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Planted out with complementary colours, this bright red toolbox makes a great home for low maintenance succulents.


  • Ladders make great vertical spaces for pot plants.
  • Old bicycle baskets hooked onto the handlebars. Flowering dianthus look great in these repurposed planters.


Your old bike might not be quite so ornate but many bikes still have baskets or could have one attached. Get creative! | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this gorgeous bicycle planter – the baskets had been filled with coir fibre and planted with flowers.


  • Rustic tools or farm equipment.


One garden I've seen had old equipment and tools as features in a garden with pebble mulch. It followed the pathway to the front door and was a real feature. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Got a rustic garden? This old Seed Drill has been turned into a planter. Why not theme your garden with a collection of old tools and farm equipment?


  • Barrels and boxes.
  • Old suitcases – when they get too battered and bruised from travelling, give them a well deserved rest in the garden as a planter or as storage for garden supplies.
  • Wooden crates and pallets – if you’re handy with a hammer and nails you can make all sorts of creative wooden planters.
  • Watering cans – big or small these always look great.


Want a mini feature garden for a table or as a centrepiece? A watering can can be filled with edible herbs or cascading flowers and look great as a planter. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Got a rusted out watering can? No worries! Just repurpose it into a cute planter.


  • Clam shell sandpits and wading pools – these structures are usually well made with plastic walls high enough to grow a decent number of plants.



Have these ideas inspired you to start a repurposed planter project?  If so, please leave a comment, share your ideas and photos to show others what you’ve done.  We can all learn from each other.

If you liked this post, check out these clever design ideas, tips on frugal gardening and more on repurposed containers.

© Copyright Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener 2010-2016 – http://www.themicrogardener.com. All rights reserved.

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