Creative Planter Ideas

18 Creative and Unique Garden Planter Ideas

Spring has arrived and it’s the perfect time of year to assess your needs in the garden for the summer season ahead. Garden planters are a surefire way to enrich any outdoor space. Why not repurpose some of those old vintage items you’ve got into some unusual containers for plants? 

It can feel daunting getting back outside to confront what is there after 6 months of winter but prettying up your patio can be simpler than you think and sometimes all it takes is a few unique outdoor planters to breathe new life into the space. We’ve put together 18 of our favourite garden planter ideas for you to try — from wheelbarrows to wellies.

Wheelbarrow garden planter idea
Wheelbarrow garden planter | Swans of Oakham

1. Wheelbarrow planter

Repurpose your old rusty wheelbarrows and garden carts for potting up your perennials this year. They’re strong and sturdy, so can take a lot of weight, perfect for loading up with compost and housing your favourite vibrant flowers and cascading plants. Position your wheelbarrow planter on the patio or amongst your flower beds to create a unique garden feature. 

Top tip: if your wheelbarrow hasn’t sprung a leak already, make sure you drill some drainage holes in the bottom so your plants don’t get oversaturated.

2. Step it up with a ladder planter

Old metal and wooden ladders can be great as vertical wall planters particularly if you are a little shy on floor space. Prop your old ladders up against your garden wall and attach some metal troughs to each of the rings or alternatively, you can simply balance existing pots on each step. They can also work as a great guide for growing creepers, a makeshift trellis if you will.

3. Window box planter

Wooden pallets are a great garden planter option, they can be cut up and decorated with a vintage sign, ready to hold all of your best pots. Or, grab an old metal container, like a toolbox or even a biscuit tin, and pop it straight onto the shelf. If you opt for the tin trick, like the wheelbarrow —make sure you drill drainage holes first.

4. Vintage veg boxes

Ideal as a raised bed for growing root veg. Make sure you line your vintage veg boxes with landscaping fabric from your local gardening centre before filling with compost. This will help protect your plants and keep moisture in and pests out. You can also add a coat of paint if you fancy some additional colour.

Wine planter
Pop some herbs into this repurposed wine rack | London Fine

5. Wine crates

Penchant for a good Pinot Noir? Why not repurpose your old wine crates, they make great planters for stacking up on the patio or popping on the window sill. Make sure you line them, just like your veg boxes, with good landscape fabric before flowering.

6. Makeshift mosaic pot planters

Make use of old bits of broken pots and smashed plates by creating a one-of-a-kind flower container. Take a plain terracotta pot and superglue on a unique pattern of broken porcelain pieces.

7. Hanging pots and planters

This is another great option for anyone looking for ideas for plant containers but is a little short of space. Why not utilise your veranda ceiling to create an overhead full of hanging pots? Or create a green wall out of your garden fence? All you’ll need is a few hooks and some plant pot hangers.

8. Basket pots

Old wicker shopping baskets, picnic baskets and even shoe storage baskets make fantastic little outdoor planters for flowers and grasses. Scatter them among your flower beds, along walkways or piled up on the patio to introduce some different textures. Make sure you line them if you want them to last year-round.

9. Birdbaths and old fountains

Retired fountain features and bird baths also make charming flower features. These are great for planting an array of different plants and annuals. Set it up in the middle of your lawn to create an outdoor feature.

10. Bike basket planter

Don’t throw out your kids’ bikes just yet—bike baskets are another great way of creating a mini garden on wheels. Pot up your bike basket against an old oak tree or garden fence. 

Top tip: plant a few creepers around the wheels. These will then grow up around the frame, using it as a trellis.

11. Old hanging tyres

Getting your tyres changed? Why not keep your worn-out wheels and create unusual containers for plants? Create a simple hanging garden feature by fastening old tyres on hooks or nails to your garden wall, a big tree trunk or garden shed wall and fill it with cascading plants. Add a coat of spray paint to brighten them up or make them blend in with their backdrop.

Beer barrel planter
Beer barrel planter ideas for the garden | Fernyhough Antiques

12. Beer barrels

Get your hands on a large vintage wooden barrel, beer keg or cask to create a rustic garden planter feature. Similarly you can also chop up your barrels into smaller rings or sections to create a series of oval planters, perfect for lining up along walkways. Again, remember to line your barrel with some landscape fabric.

13. Teapot planter

It might have retired from making the perfect brew, but why not trade the tea for tiger flowers and give your old teapots a new lease of life as a new plant pot? Ideal for adding a finishing touch to a patio or as a feature for an outdoor table.

14. Wellies and worn-out shoes

Old boots and wellingtons can also be used as garden planters. These can be scattered around your patio or throughout your flower beds. All you need to do is poke a few drainage holes in the heels and you are set.

Watering can garden planter ideas
One-of-a-kind elephant watering can garden planter | Decopunch

15. Watering cans

Another great way to up-cycle old garden tools. Watering cans can make charming garden planters, just ensure you choose delicate flowers to make use of the space. 

Top tip: if you’ve got a few watering cans knocking around, why not hang them from a garden fence or shed to make a feature wall? Check out our article on creating a characterful garden shed to hear how.

16. Felled trees and hollow logs

Chopped down tree stumps and hollowed logs are a haven for wildlife and all creatures great and small. Potting them up with some lovely bright blossoms can help our fellow insects whilst still looking impactful.

17. Old chandeliers

Even retired light fixtures can be used as unusual garden planters. Remove any candles, lights or bulbs, and fix mini pots to each of the chandelier arms. These look amazing when hung from veranda roofs and packed with cascading plants.

Trough garden planter
A galvanised trough makes a great large garden planter | Bucks Retro & Vintage

18. Sinks and tin bathtubs

Are you upgrading your bathroom this spring? If so, perhaps don’t be in such a rush to get rid of those old wash basins or tubs. An eccentric option could be to create an unusual outdoor planter. Surprisingly, they are perfect for planters because they have built-in drainage already and don’t need any additional lining. All you need to do is pot them up and position them.

Vinterior’s top tips for planting a container

So, you’re feeling inspired and have found the perfect vintage item to repurpose as a planter. Here are a few of our top tips for making sure your plants and planter are built to last:

  • Make sure your planter can withstand all weather conditions if you are using recycled items. Consider spraying metals with a weather-resistant lacquer to avoid them corroding and add a tung oil or wood treatment to any wooden items.
  • Line wooden, wicker and any fabric planters with a good quality landscape fabric before potting them up.
  • Choose a good quality potting soil or compost to feed your plants.
  • Make sure the plants you choose are suited to the area your planter will sit in, for example, deep shade or direct sunlight.
  • Read the small print and study your plant tags carefully, watering and fertilising according to their instructions.
  • Grab a drill and ensure that all of your pots have drainage holes.
  • Remember, vintage items and plants all need a little TLC. Check in on them regularly and patch them up if they need it.

So there you have it, our top 18 creative pot and planter ideas. If you’re after some stylish pots but don’t have anything inspirational to repurpose then why not check out our selection of vintage garden pots and planters to get started?

Feeling DIY inspired? Read more of our blog posts about how to clean and restore your garden furniture and how to decorate your garden shed.

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