10 Upcycled Planters That Are Perfect for Your Garden
A surprising number of household items can be repurposed for planters. Learn how to transform utility boxes, seashell pots, glassware, and more into a statement part of your outdoor landscape.
You might not guess it, but alternatives to traditional terra-cotta garden planters are lurking in some pretty unconventional spots. The electrical supply section of the hardware shop, masonry yards, farm-supply stores, and even your own basement are all places that harbor items that, with a little imagination, can be transformed into attractive vessels for plants.
Upcycled planters can come in a variety of forms; however, there are a couple of key things that make for a successful container garden: ample amounts of soil and a planter with good drainage. While it may seem difficult to decide how to plant your prized blooms and crops year-round, you can simply take items you likely already have in your home and reinvent them as your next favorite planters. And, as always, ask your local gardening center for their advice.
Some household items are already well-equipped to become a planter: A steel electrical box (more often used to shield circuit connections) has holes on one side that can provide drainage. All you have to do is add soil and a plant. And a vintage milk pail is an ideal container for pre-potted greenery. Others, including clay chimney flue liners, which are open on both ends, require some modifications. If you are looking more on the creative side, round up your shells from your last trip seaside—or to your local arts and crafts store—to make a one-of-a-kind seashell flowerpot.
As the examples here show, such unpredictable shapes and materials can enhance your plants and their natural surroundings. Best of all, once you begin thinking outside the typical pot or planter, you’ll see possibilities everywhere you turn.
Who said creating a container garden was difficult? With this do-it-yourself craft, a new planter is just three easy steps away: Plant, water, and enjoy. The best part about this upcycled planter is that the only essential to piece it together other than your beloved plant is the container itself. Pick out a metal container that will sit beautifully in your windowsill, and the rest will fall into place during the warm-weather months. You can even create a mini winter forest to enjoy all year long by potting low-maintenance dwarf conifers.
Shop Now: Behrens 000-OV Hot Dipped Galvanized Steel Oval PlanterTub, 2 Gallon, $16.96, amazon.com.
Make the most of your household staples and upcycle a utility box for your garden. If you don't have one handy, you can find these boxes at the hardware store to make sleek, modern pots. Choose a range of shapes and sizes. Turn so that the side with holes is at the bottom, and plant with low-growing succulents, such as Echeveria "Black Prince" and Sempervivum; top with gravel. (We used type two.) For an exotic centerpiece, arrange several in a tray filled with grit.
Sprucing up your outdoor space will be fun with this project. These decorative terra-cotta bowls can instantly enhance everything from your tables to your door as simple accessories. While the flower and plant pots have detailed designs, it only takes one step to make this craft. Make sure to have plenty of craft paint, stamps, and painters' tape to bring it to life. Simply paint between the lines of the tape—and there you have it, personalized pots that will never go out of style.
Chest of Drawers
Move your green thumb indoors with this chest of drawers. To make this project, remove the drawers from the dresser and paint all the sides in colors of your choice. Let them dry for approximately 20 minutes; apply a second coat if needed. To use these wooden drawers as planters, they must be sealed with a sealant to make them waterproof. One way to do this is to cover the interior of the selected drawer unit with duct tape. You can further layer it out with a plastic packet for extra safety. Fill the bottom of the drawer with an inch or two of pebbles for drainage. Plant as desired, using a high-quality potting soil mixed with a bit of perlite and compost; avoid overwatering. Cover the remaining area with extra dirt to level it up.
Shop Now: Martha Stewart Family Friendly Multi-Surface Pearl Acrylic Craft Paint, $3.19, michaels.com; Miracle-Gro Potting Soil Mix, 50 quarts, $14.47, homedepot.com; Ashland Natural River Pebbles, $4, michaels.com.
You will love adding this oceanside-inspired pot to your selection of plants. To create the shell pots, sort through the shells to decide on a color scheme. Starting with the larger shells and working in sections, glue the shells to the pot. Overlap the pot's rim slightly to conceal top edge. Glue smaller shells and coral bits to fill in any open spots. For barnacle pots, resize the clusters by gently prying apart with screwdriver and mallet. Glue clusters to the pot's top edge.
Round up the spare baskets you have in your house for the ultimate upcycled planter that is easy to piece together and has effortless style. Baskets are best served as an essential to add mini trees or overgrown plants. This plant addition to your abode helps bring the outdoors inside, without the hassle. The basket can almost serve as a way for plants to blend into other furniture and décor in your home, like couches, rugs, and coffee tables.
Shop Now: Ashland Rush Storage Basket, $15, michaels.com.
Who doesn't love to grow their own produce? These oversized pots are perfect for growing tomatoes and other crops conveniently in your backyard. While picking the fruits and vegetables you want is the easy part, the opportunities are endless to make a DIY experience you will always remember in other ways, too. To make this craft more unique to your home, try adding a paint that matches your house's color scheme or aesthetic.
Shop Now: La Jolie Muse Flower Pot Garden Planters, $42, amazon.com.
Sake boxes are creative perfection for your planting. Begin by drilling four drainage holes in the bottom of each box. For scented geraniums, cut actively growing shoots with at least three leaves from healthy plants. Fill the sake boxes with vermiculite; water until moistened. Use a chopstick to make a hole in the vermiculite, and insert a cutting. Settle the vermiculite around the cutting, covering at least one leaf node, and re-water. Heavy-duty plastic wrap, supported by 18-gauge copper wire, retains humidity. Insert one end of a 9-inch-long piece of copper wire into the vermiculite in one corner of the box; bend the wire diagonally across the top of the box, and insert the other end in the opposite corner. Do the same with a second piece of wire, crossing the first, as shown. Hold the plastic wrap in place with a rubber band. Create a name card for the cutting with care instructions inside, and tuck it into the rubber band.
Create a makeshift upcycled planter from the glassware in your home. Fill your glasses with soil and plants for a unique twist to potting your beloved flowers, herbs, and more. The adorable, miniature planters can also serve as accessories and décor for your spaces. Whether it is the living room, bathroom, patio, or deck, the glassware is an effortless touch to your everyday furnishings. Expand beyond glasses with vases, bowls, mason jars, and other forms of glassware for chic and trendy ideas you can use day in and day out.
Take a step back in time with sand pots reminiscent of old-fashioned décor. The stone-like appearance of an urn makes for an elegant touch to include in your home, while the functional design makes for an easy upcycled planter. Landscaping sand defines this project, along with paint, a garden ornament, and wood glue to piece the finished product together. This pot is an easy way to incorporate the plants you love in a timeless way.