This DIY garden trug made from scrap wood is extra large and perfect both to carry tools while working in the garden or use as a decorative flower planter. It’s a good beginner woodworking project.
You can use these instructions to Turn a Wheelbarrow into a Planter.
Make a Practical and Pretty Garden Trug
A garden trug is a container used to carry tools or display flowers or vegetables in the garden. Traditionally, they were shallow baskets made from wood.
The garden trug here is my updated version. I wanted something to hold tools and supplies on my wheelbarrow while working the garden. I made it the right size to sit snugly on top with the sides of the trug sitting over the wheelbarrow edges. By having a container like this, the tools do not get mixed in with any weeds I toss in the wheelbarrow and (then) disappear into my yard waste pile.
It also works as a flower planter with pots stashed inside.
This is definitely a good project for beginner woodworkers. The side boards do have curved edges. If you don’t have a jigsaw, you can leave the corners square.
How to Build a Garden Trug
Keep in mind that these are the measurements that worked with my wheelbarrow. If you want it to fit yours, check the width and adjust the design accordingly.
- Scrap wood (12″ pine boards). Unlike other lumber, pine “barn boards” are true to size. A 1×12 board actually measures 1-inch thick by 12-inches wide. If you use other wood, the dimensions will be different.
- 31″ wood handle (old tool handle or wood branch or whatever)
- To get the aged look of the wood the secret is simple: time and weather. I find it only takes about a year of outdoor exposure for the wood to get that nice aged patina.
- (3) 29″ pieces (bottom and two sides) – or a bit bigger than the width of your wheelbarrow
- (2) 24″ pieces (side pieces)
- Deck screws (size needed depends on the wood you’re using)
- Tools: saw, jigsaw (optional), screw driver, drill and drill bits (for handle holes and pilot holes)
- Paint or chalk markers for decoration (optional)
- Hooks for hanging tools
Optional: Make to Fit Your Wheelbarrow
The thing that makes this trug awesome (to me) is how it fits over the wheelbarrow.
To achieve this, I measured the width of the wheelbarrow where I wanted the trug to fit and used that width plus an inch (=29″) to determine how wide the sides and bottom should be.
Here you see the 3 long pieces (bottom + two sides) and the two end pieces.
To get cuts right, I like to trace one piece on top of another.
For example, I cut the bottom piece to be 29″ long. Then, I used that cut piece to trace the cutting lines for the two side pieces. This way, they will all be identical.
The end pieces came from another scrap piece of wood and the height (24″) allows leg room and some height.
I used a jar to trace curves for the top edges of the trug end pieces. I wanted a rustic look but no sharp edges where I might whack my elbow or something. I cut them out with a jig saw.
The green tool handle measures 3/4″ in diameter so I used a drill bit that size to cut holes in the end pieces, centered approximately 1.5-inches below the top of each side.
Attach everything with deck screws (intended for outdoor projects). If the wood you are using is prone to splitting, drill pilot holes first.
For this trug, the sides sit on top of the bottom piece. Screw them together and then add the end pieces and insert the handle.
You can also add small screws to the handle to keep it in place.
In this next photo you can see my manager supervising the job.
And her sidekick, the chipmunk. I swear he inspects everything I do in the garden.
This next picture shows how the garden trug fits over the sides of the wheelbarrow.
Serendipity made a guest appearance: my garden twine fit perfectly on the handle. You would think I had planned it but I didn’t. I just got lucky.
I added a few hooks for scissors and my favorite gardening hand tools.
I use natural twine all the time in the garden for tasks like tying peas, beans, tomatoes, and other vines. I really love how easy this is to use.
When the trug is on the wheelbarrow, there’s still lots of room for cargo or piles of weeds.
And, when it’s not in use, it makes a lovely planter.
Be sure to check out 12 Creative Wheelbarrow Planter Ideas as well.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛