8 Fresh + Fun DIY Outdoor Planters

Give your outdoor space or container garden a much-needed spring refresh with these eye-catching upcycled planters.

If your outdoor containers are looking a little worse for the wear after this harsh winter, don't despair! These gorgeous, easy-to-make DIY planters not only add fresh color and character to your garden and patio, but they're light on your wallet, too. Less money spent on containers = more money for flowers. I'd call that a win.

Colorful Drip-Paint Pots

You might cry over spilled milk, but you will rejoice when spilling paint on these fun planters. Grab an old pot, a funky color combo of cheap craft paint and get to spilling. Better yet if you have small children, let them do the spilling for you.

Say goodbye to plain, old terra-cotta pots and hello to vibrant, designer-worthy containers. All you need for this fun project is some craft paint, a drop cloth and about half an hour. It's also a great kid-friendly craft idea.

Make This: DIY Drip-Paint Pots

Don't Trash Those Old Tins



Photo by: Nancy J. Ondra

Nancy J. Ondra

Empty tea tins, cookie jars and even used tin cans become stylish (and free!) flower containers with just a little elbow grease and a screwdriver.

9 Clever Ways to Use Dollar Store Items as Planters

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Rubber Boots

Rubber boots make great planters for tall plants. Use a utility knife to cut penny-sized holes in the bottom of each boot for drainage. Line the boot bottoms with pebbles to help with drainage and weigh down the boots so they don't tip over.

©Rustic White Photography

Gravy Boat

A ceramic gravy boat turns tableware into a surprising planter. Since these dishes are generally shallow, they're a perfect fit for small succulents. Line the bottom with gravel to help with drainage.

©Rustic White Photography

Tin Loaf Pan

Low, rectangular vessels are ideal for grasses or cascading plants. Use a drill with a 1/8-inch bit to add holes in the bottom for drainage. For a rustic touch, leave the pan outside until it gets a slight patina.

©Rustic White Photography


Miniature Victorian-style teapots are popular items at variety stores. Plants with soft shapes, such as maidenhair fern, add to the pot's delicate beauty.

©Rustic White Photography

Kitchen Storage Containers

These look like flower pots, only funkier. Containers with ingredients like "flour" or "sugar" on them add personality. For a modern spin, pick containers of stainless steel or nickel.

©Rustic White Photography


Give your plants a Western spin with mini spittoon planters. These work well planted with lemon button ferns or Boston ferns and grouped in odd numbers. For drainage, drill a hole in the bottom.

©Rustic White Photography

Watering Can

A garden tool becomes a container garden with a little creativity. Don't forget to drill a hole added to the bottom for drainage.

©Rustic White Photography


A colander makes a great planter because the drainage holes are already there. To keep soil from falling out of the holes, line the sides of the colander with peat moss.

©Rustic White Photography

Candy Jar

Candy jars come in all shapes and sizes, so you can make any style planter. Choose urn-shaped jars for a formal look.

©Rustic White Photography

Beachy Pallet Boxes

DIY Planter Boxes

DIY Planter Boxes

Clever uses for old pallets are never-ending on the interwebs, but sometimes you just want to keep it simple... like upcycling a few old pallet planks into this easy, breezy budget-friendly DIY planter box you can build in about an hour!

Photo by: © Rustic White Photography, LLC

© Rustic White Photography, LLC

With their streamlined look and bright colors, you'd never know these gorgeous planter boxes were made from a discarded shipping pallet. Break out the table saw and make your own this weekend!

Toolbox No More

Greenery in Old Wooden Tool Box

Greenery in Old Wooden Tool Box

A centerpiece of fresh greenery is planted in an old wooden tool box on the coffee table in the newly renovated living room.

From: Fixer Upper

With a little creativity, almost anything can be turned into a planter. I'm swooning over this toolbox-turned-planter that Fixer Upper''s Joanna Gaines picked up from her local flea market.

12 Unusual and Upcycled Container Gardens

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Carry-Along Succulents

An old metal tool tote makes a perfect home for a succulent garden. The best part is it can be moved wherever a little pop of greenery is needed. Make sure to drill a few drainage holes in the bottom.

Cranium Garden

Not exactly upcycled, but certainly unique, these head planters are bound to elicit smiles and admiration.

©Courtesy of Rate My Space contributor KatG

Another Toolbox

This old metal box used to be home to a reciprocating saw. Now it's a beautiful, low-maintenance display of succulents.

Flower Bed

The tooth fairy is not going to find the pillow in this bed. The only thing she's going to discover is shade-loving perennials, moss and a few rocks.

©Courtesy of Rate My Space contributor Faeryhollow

Truck Beds

When your kids outgrow their toys, use them as planters. 

Overflowing Wheelbarrow

This wheelbarrow almost looks as if it got mistakenly left out in the yard and the flowers took over and made it their home.

Photo By: unknown

Gutter Garden

A rusty old piece of gutter moves from the roof to the deck railing to become a planter for colorful annuals.

Photo By: Courtesy of Marian Parsons

Pitcher Perfect

This planter would make a wonderful accompaniment to a dainty afternoon tea in the garden.

Photo By: Shutterstock/Mary Lynn Strand

Carmen Miranda Arbor

The top of this arbor boasts a beautiful bonnet of color, making for a grand garden entry.

©Courtesy of Rate My Space contributor kmphelps

Tin Can Alley

Lightweight aluminum garbage cans add a shiny touch of industrial chic to a modern setting.

Photo By: Courtesy of Brian Patrick Flynn

Chic Spiral Planter

Finishing Up

Finishing Up

Add potting soil. Adjust shape as you fill and tamp down soil slightly to create desired spiral form. Add plants leaving enough room for future growth. Water fully.

Photo by: Image courtesy of Sam Henderson

Image courtesy of Sam Henderson

I'm always looking for out-of-the-ordinary ways to display my spring blooms, so I got overly excited when I saw this stunning, easy-to-make spiral planter made from inexpensive reed fencing and a galvanized tub.

New Life for Old Furniture

Dresser Drawer Porch Decor

Dresser Drawer Porch Decor

Photo by: photo by Sam Henderson

photo by Sam Henderson

This repurposed shaving stand planter is oh-so-pretty and the perfect solution to my patio privacy issue. Recreate this look with an old dresser, desk, storage cabinet or any other drawered furniture.

Gelatin Mold Concrete Planters

Make Your Own Concrete Planter 03:40

Marianne Canada uses an old bowl to make a decorative concrete planter.

Before you throw away old cereal bowls or gelatin molds, consider using them to make these custom concrete planters. This project is easy, fun and a great low-cost alternative to the expensive containers you'd find at a big-box store.

Planter + Birdbath

Bathing in Style

Bathing in Style

Birdies will love splashing about in this stylish birdbath. 

Photo by: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo by Sam Henderson

Attract feathered friends and add a little character to your garden with this bright, double-duty planter. Because birds are most attracted to cool water, place this container in a shady spot and plant with shade-loving blooms.

More Unique Upcycled Container Gardens

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A Hanging Garden

Colorful purses, small tote bags and other handled handbags make fun and fashionable plant holders. Lining them with plastic will keep the potting soil from staining the fabrics. Hang the handles from hooks on a wall, slip them over fence posts or dangle them from tree branches.

At the Beach

Bring a bit of the seaside to your garden with a collection of beach-themed planters, such as inexpensive sand buckets or other plastic beach toys. Plastic and insulated metal coolers make great containers too. You can even fill large shells with sandy growing mix and tuck small succulents into them.

Basket Cases

Decorative or storage baskets come in an amazing variety of shapes, sizes and colors to complement any of your favorite container flowers. To help wicker and woven-wood baskets last longer, treat them to a coat of varnish or polyurethane and line them with plastic before adding the plants.

Beyond the Pails

Plastic, metal or wooden buckets are ideal for displaying all kinds of flowering and foliage favorites. Smaller pails are perfect for individual plants; bigger buckets are great for large single plants or colorful combinations.

Case by Case

Give an old suitcase new life as an out-of-the-ordinary container. Old (or new) chests, makeup cases or wicker cases are other good options. Add the plants, prop the lid partway open and let the stems spill out over the edge.

Color Your World

Recycle your old paint cans into pretty container gardens. Or buy metal paint cans at hardware stores and home centers. To dress them up, drizzle craft paint around the top rim and add some drips down the sides. Cover with a coat of polyurethane to stop the cans from rusting, or leave them untreated and enjoy the rusty, rustic look that develops within a few months.

Dad's Garden

Celebrate the guy in your life with a collection of containers that represent his favorite things. If he enjoys grilling, for instance, tuck some low-growing plants into a little hibachi, or go big by turning an old kettle grill into a mobile planter. Other fun ideas include coffeepots and mugs, animal-themed containers, toolboxes, auto accessories and sports-related items.

For the Birds

Old bird cages, birdhouses and feeders make fun and fanciful containers for displaying pretty plants. Abandoned nests, bird figurines, feathers and other avian accessories help to complete the theme.

Hats Off

Give tired or tattered old hats new life as a hanging garden. Baseball hats make instant pot covers: Simply open the sizing tabs in back, slip the opening around the base of the plant and snap the tabs closed again. On straw, felt or fabric hats, cut a hole into the front or top and gently feed the plant stems through the hole.

Have a Seat

Convert old wooden, wicker or plastic chairs into uncommon containers by cutting a hole in the seat and slipping in a pot of flowers. Doll-sized chairs don't need any extra preparation: Simply set a small pot right on the seat.

Kitchen Capers

Old or damaged kitchen-related items — those you don't plan to use for cooking any longer — offer endless possibilities for plant containers. Cooking pots and pans are just the start: Try colanders, cupcake tins, measuring cups or any other items meant for holding liquid or dry materials. Bundt pans and angel food cake pans make perfect planters for living wreaths.

Going Fishing

Turn a tackle box into a unique container. Display some lures in the upper tray or plant those sections too. Bait buckets, cricket cages, traps and fishing baskets also work well for holding plants.

Office Space

Turn an old desk into a charming container by tucking small bushy and trailing plants into the partly opened drawers. Complete the effect by popping plants into desk accessories, such as a pencil holder, an old telephone or a small desk lamp.

On the Farm

Bring a touch of country charm to your deck, porch or patio with a grouping of farm-related containers, such as bushel baskets, wooden crates and berry boxes. Feeders, waterers, buckets, feed scoops and other livestock-related items offer other planting possibilities.

Picnic Planters

When you're not using your picnic table, dress it up with a display of picnic-themed planters, such as plastic pitchers and glasses, colorful serving bowls and, of course, an old picnic basket.

Thrifting With Shoes

Sneakers, shoes and boots in either plastic or leather make absolutely adorable holders for individual flowering or foliage plants. Sit them on the ground, prop them up on a rack or hang them on a wall or fence.

Time for Tea

It's easy to get carried away collecting teapots and teacups to the point that you run out of room to display them indoors. Why not turn some of them into pretty planters? It's fine if they're chipped, or if their handles or lids are missing. Metal teakettles and tea tins can be delightful additions to the grouping.

Portable Gardens

When your kids have outgrown their play wagons, turn those toys into marvelous mobile containers. Regular-sized wagons can hold a wide variety of plants, so you can grow a whole garden in a single wagon. Wagons are also great for growing lettuces and other greens.

Wetting Your Plants

Don't throw away those leaky or dented watering cans. Use them as-is or remove the handle and widen the opening to make more room for plants.

Yes, You Can

Old or reproduction food tins make terrific pots for your favorite annual flowers or houseplants. Group them by a theme, such as candy, coffee or veggies, or mix them up for a quaint and colorful collection.

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