Unconventional Garden Vessels

My Garden Life
May 2, 2017
Table of Contents

In nature, plants occupy every imaginable space on the planet. Not just restricted to forests and fields, they grow from cliff-side cracks (succulents), submerged swamp lands (reeds) and will even grow right out of other plants (epiphytes). Since almost everything is a potential home for plant life, we can have fun with the quirky adaptability of plants by planting in re-purposed objects.


Bicycle with Basket used as Planter

Reclaimed Basins

Basin-like objects make a straightforward planting project:

  • An old rowboat becomes a vegetable garden with a cargo net trellis.
  • An outdated kitchen sink is just the right size for a few favorite herbs.
  • An antique horse trough that still holds water could become an aquatic garden.
  • An outdoor chimenea fireplace can erupt with plants from the top of its smokestack, as well as the hollow base where the flames once glowed.
  • Rusty wheelbarrows.
  • A wicker basket mounted on an old bicycle.
  • A vintage chest of drawers.

These are just a few of the many objects that are possible to re-purpose and plant in.


Pro-Tip: If the object doesn’t have adequate drainage as it is, drill four one inch-holes for every square foot of surface area to keep the plants from becoming waterlogged.

Reclaimed Basins: Clay Fire Pit, Wheelbarrow, Bathtub

Above and Beyond

If you’re up for a bit of a challenge, try playing with other forms of furniture. With a little ingenuity and access to power tools, almost any object can be modified to support plant life.

  • A partially hollow log makes a terrific planter
    and blends in perfectly with the natural environment. Fill it with colorful
    annuals and perennials or small shrub-type plants.
  • Vintage lamps and light fixtures (with their electrical innards removed) are also good candidates, offering an array of vertical and horizontal surfaces.
  • Birdhouses, swing sets, mailboxes, bobsleds and shelving units are just a few of the other possibilities.

Log made into a planter

Technical Details

Modifying these objects to hold plants and soil often involves improvisation and extra hardware.

Strips of reclaimed ‘barn’ wood or vintage architectural trim can be tacked on here or there to create pockets for soil. Wire mesh (hardware cloth) is useful to create containers on objects without flat sides, as it can flex to fit any shape. Bailing wire, sisal rope and an assortment of hooks, screws, and clips may all come in handy in the process. Often, an ordinary pot can simply sit on top of or be attached to the object in question.

Check out the Photo Gallery for more unique container inspiration!

What unique containers have you re-purposed to house your plants? Share a picture with us on Facebook, My Garden Life.


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