Every garden is better with unique touches. These creative garden container ideas come from home gardens. Have a look at the unusual plant combinations and grab ideas for cheap recycled planters.
Want something with wheels or whiskey barrels? See 22 Creative Wagon Planter Ideas here.
Creative Ideas for Plant Containers
I love unique garden ideas where old items are given a new life as a one-of-a-kind focal point amongst the plants and trees.
The key is to success with recycled items made from metal, wood, glass, or stone is ensuring they can withstand year-round weather conditions in your garden.
Metal and stone obviously last longer than wood, but even wood items like old kitchen chairs can have a good long second life if protected with the right exterior paint and sealant.
If rust or a rustic patina is your thing, that’s even easier.
Have a look at these photos from home garden tours. I’m hoping you will find inspiration to adapt things you have on hand and create unique plantings of your own.
1 Broken Yellow Kitchen Chair
The legs may be long gone but this old chair is standing strong. With the seat adapted into a planter box, it is mounted on the fence wall and planted with annuals.
Related: Gallery of Garden Art Chairs
2 Antique Birdcage Succulent Planter
I think you can’t go wrong with a birdcage like this one. It’s a piece of art. Artist Susan StLouis of Goderich, Ontario, Canada created this wonderful planter packed with succulents and an emerging calla lily. Her entire garden is a creative gem.
Related: How to Make a Birdcage Planter
3 Blue and White Dish Planter
I got started with garden art as a way to fill in my garden when it was small and new. Here I used some blue and white plates and old medicine bottles to add a burst of color and whimsy to my lobelia planter. Once the plants start taking off, I remove the plates and bottles.
4 Chair Succulent Planter
This old wooden kitchen chair is painted white and sets the stage for the gorgeous succulents planted on the seat. To make it simple, start with a preformed container the size of the seat. Here they used chicken wire and coir lining to hold the potting mix in place.
5 Old Kettle Flower Pot
When items are no longer used in the kitchen but have lots of life left in them, off to the garden they go. Here the white flowers are lovely with the metal patina.
6 Hanging Picture Frame Flowers
This is another one from my garden. The frame is an old window frame I found in our shed. I suspended it from a tree branch and attached a basket of fuchsias. The way it’s attached, the flower basket and frame both turn in the wind, creating an interesting effect.
7 Ferns in Metal Buckets
If you have a surplus of certain plants, use them in planters for the season. Here ferns grow readily and they look wonderful in these buckets along the back of the house. The pink and blue annuals add good bursts of color.
Container Gardening Complete
by Jessica Walliser
This has everything you want to know about growing plants in containers! Flowers, herbs, veggies, and more!
It’s packed with useful information, creative container projects, and lots of beautiful photos.
8 Black Kettle Flower Pot
Instead of placing soil or potting mix right in a container, insert a flower pot. This way the plant has the drainage it needs and it’s much easier to put everything away at the end of the season.
9 Blue Door Plant Stand
Not wanting to attach anything to the walls of our house, I instead use surrogates like this old farmhouse doors. I can attach lots of garden art and a hayrack planter and switch things around each year without causing any permanent damage to our house walls.
10 Floating Pond Planter
11 Outdoor Plant Table
I’ve been seeing this a lot lately—outdoor plant tables—and I love them. An assortment of potted plants is displayed along with various trinkets and treasures like garden art, rocks, and shells. I love having potted plants grouped together for easy watering and something like this can be easily updated throughout the growing season.
12 Face Planter
This funny ceramic planter is the star of the show. Sitting on an old gold painted foot stool with hair of lavender, the colors look perfect together.
13 Concrete Urn
This is an idea you will see over and over again here: many planters look better when raised up off the ground. Here the urn is on top of a matching pedestal, giving it a stronger presence next to the shed door.
Plant Ideas: Purple petunias, Creeping Jenny (bright green spilling over sides), Campfire Fireburst (Bidens, a flower in the asters family) – red, yellow, orange flowers, plus ,more variegated foliage for contrasting pops of color.
14 Hypertufa Heart Planter
What a collection of succulents! Love the bold colors and how they suit this heart-shaped planter. There are instructions here to make your own hypertufa planters.
15 Clay Tipsy Pots
These were the first tipsy pots, also called topsy turvy pots, I created in my garden many years ago with a bunch of clay pots. Whatever containers you use need holes in the bottoms to thread the support rod through. I have a tutorial here: Make Tipsy Pots.
16 Boot Planter
This old black boot is planted with succulents and has a rip by the toes, which is good for drainage.
17 Teapot, Cups, and Saucer Planters.
An Empress of Dirt Facebook friend shared this from her garden. If you have a nook in the garden that is sheltered from wind and rain, this is a sweet way to dress it up.
18 Garden Ladder Flower Stand
Ladders are one of my top favorite items for the garden, but they have to be old and wooden. I have a photo gallery of garden ladders here.
19 Maple Syrup Collection Buckets
These metal buckets are not used for maple syrup tree tapping anymore, so you can sometimes find them at auctions or thrift shops. They already have holes near the tops so they are easy to hang.
20 Stacked Teacup Planter
I’m not sure if these were made for gardening or not. When choosing ceramics as planters, the ability to provide drainage is key. I find I can drill through some (using a diamond hole saw drill bit like this one), and others will not budge. If you can’t create drainage holes, insert plastic flower pots that you can remove after watering to pour out excess water in the reservoir.
21 Car Tire Planters
This photo came from a friend on Facebook who created this colorful set of tire planters for her garden. I love the creativity but I’m not entirely convinced it’s safe or beneficial to have tires in the garden. You will want to research what is known about run-off and leaching of chemicals to make your own decision.
22 Row of Walkway Containers
One good tip for an arrangement like this is to have a theme that repeats to unify the appearance of the planters. I find it works when either the containers or plant choices are related—or both.
23 Pansies in Pretty Pot
There are so many choices! This planter is a good example of how one color scheme can make a powerful statement. The bits of yellow pansies emphasis the blues and purples.
24 Delightful Dish of Succulents
This one is for plant lovers. An array of succulents come together in this cone-shaped planter. Up on a plant stand, it shows of the contrasting colors and textures of the plants.
25 Big Bird House with Flower Roof
This is another one from my garden. As the flowers grow, they cover the entire roof area. You can see the tutorial here for making a planter like this using shoe organizers.
26 Succulents and Starfish
Another lovely tabletop display in a large ceramic planter with succulents, critters, and a starfish.
27 Tube Pipe Plant Stands
These are fun: check your Habitat ReStore or other store that sells used building materials and look for metal duct pipes like these ones. Two are used as plant stands, and one has a fountain on top. It makes a nice display with the varying heights.
28 Bucket of Flowers on Fence
Old metal buckets have so many uses in the garden as art and plant containers. here the purple petunias and clematis really stand out.
29 Narrow Side Deck with Planters
Put your flowers where you’ll enjoy them most. Here the planters are gathered by sunroom to be enjoyed from inside the house.
30 Mini Bench Planter
If you have one of these decorative wood garden benches, turn it into a plant stand by cutting out the seat in the shape of a small window box.
31 Tree Stump Plant Stand
For many years in this area there was an assumption that when a tree is removed, the stump must go too. But, if the tree died and the roots are not a hazard, a tree stump is a great plant stand. Plus, the decaying wood provides food and habitat for countless insects and birds.
32 Lunch Box Pansy Planter
I wasn’t intending to use this old lunch box as a planter, but as soon as I saw the pansies in it, I had to keep them together.
33 Big Bold Urn
This entire garden was a fantastic riot of plants. Here the purples and yellows demand your attention. The urn itself is a very pleasing piece of garden art.
34 Old Metal Box Planter
If it can withstand the weather and it’s not too precious for outdoors, plant it! I’m not sure what this container is/was, but it looks great by the stairs with petunias and spider plants.
35 Stacked Planters
To fill in space in a garden bed, go vertical. Each of these planters would be okay on their own, but with one stacked on the other, they really stand out.
36 Funky Junk Wall Planter
I love how the orange plants sizzle next to the thermometer and clock. Some of my favorite gardens have color schemes like this that run throughout the space both in the plants and decor.
37 Painted Metal Junk Hanging Planter
It’s hard to give these things a name! I assume this was once some sort of duct piece and now enjoys life as a hanging planter, suspended from a shepherd’s hook in the garden.
38 Fence Hanging Baskets
A good fence not only provides privacy, but it’s art space as well. Here they have hanging baskets on each fence post, which fills in the space nicely with lots of color and interest.
39 Strawberry Pot Planter
Strawberry pots are not just for strawberries. I use mine for annuals each year like this coleus and lily.
40 Bird Feeder Planter
I had this old bird feeder that I found was not safe for the birds so I planted it instead. I lined the inner tube (where the birdseed goes) with landscape fabric, filled it with potting mix, and planted trailing lobelias in the sides.
41 Cake Tier Planter
A plant stand like this one is a lucky find. Pick a theme each year and dress it up with plants and garden art.
42 Over-sized Hanging Basket
If you are a one and done kind of gardener, perhaps a giant hanging basket like this one is your planter of choice. Mind you, there are so many plants there, you could transplant them and fill many containers.
And, that’s it. I hope you have found ideas for your growing space.
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~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛