It’s a toolbox, planter, and garden desk—all in one! Plus, it fits right over a wheelbarrow—so handy! Made from free scrap wood, this repurposed caddy is my favourite new garden accessory and a total back-saver.
Placed on the wheelbarrow, I use it to keep all of my supplies in one place as I work outside: seed packets, hand tools, twine for tying plants, and a clipboard with garden notes—and there’s no bending to reach stuff. It’s all at one convenient height, right where I need it. You can see lots more frugal DIY garden projects here.
Trug and Flower Planter All in One
I have been wanting to make this for a long time. And now that I have it, I want a few more.
I use it for garden chores but seeing it with flowers inside makes me want some planters like this too.
Here’s how I made it. It really is just a simple box with long end pieces = no rocket science. Just some simple wood cuts and assembly.
I used old barn board that was previously used for some raised beds.
How to Get Barn Boards with Weathered Patina **CHEAP**
Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone but the big secret is: you don’t have to spend big bucks on weathered-looking barn board and it does not actually take years and years for the wood to age.
You can make your own by using new pine barn boards in the garden for a year (or so) and they will acquire that lovely old patina yet the wood will still be in good condition for other projects. I find it helps if the wood is exposed to soil and gets damp on a regular basis.
The wood you see here spent one year as a raised bed. Now it’s got that lovely, old look and is still otherwise in like-new condition.
I use 12″ wide pine which is very affordable where I live. Your local lumber store may have something else that is more common in your area.
The strange green-handled spear-like thing was used as the trug handle. I have no idea what it was originally intended for. Perhaps Cupid knows.
Some links go to my Amazon affiliate account to show product examples. With a project like this, try to use up scrap lumber.
- Scrap wood (12″ pine boards)
- 31″ wood handle (old tool handle or wood branch or whatever)
- (3) 29″ pieces (bottom and two sides) – or a bit bigger than the width of your wheelbarrow
- (2) 24″ pieces (end 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
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.
Secret Tip for Woodworking Success
The trick to woodworking projects turning out right is either to measure perfectly or—my favourite tip—trace things.
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. You could also sand or rasp them down if you are patient and/or strong.
The green tool handle measures 3/4″ in diameter so I used a drill bit that size to cut holes in the end pieces.
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 picture I had placed the newly built trug on the wheelbarrow to check it out. Can you see who also hopped onto it? The cat is very interested…
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.
This next picture shows my favourite new accessory for the trug: the portable phone holder/protector/speaker. It keeps the phone safe and amplifies sound at just the right volume (so the neighbours can’t hear it but I can).
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 favourite gardening hand tools.
I use 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.
And, when it’s not in use, it makes a lovely planter.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛