Make your own wheelbarrow planter with an old metal or wood wheelbarrow. I’ll show you how I converted a rusty old one into a strawberry planter.
Also see 22 Wagon Planter Ideas for carts, wagons, whiskey barrels, bikes, and wheels in the garden.
Make a Wheelbarrow Planter
I have two wheelbarrow planters and both of them came from my neighbor’s trash. They were throwing them out because the barrels were rusty and had holes in them.
Whether the wheelbarrow is metal or wood, so long as it can still hold soil, you can make it into a flower container.
1 Fix Big Holes But Allow Drainage
Wheelbarrows often get rusty because they are left out with water sitting in the barrel.
For a planter, the holes can be useful: you do want some drainage.
Drill Drainage Holes
If your wheelbarrow does not have any holes, consider drilling a series of 1/4-inch or larger holes throughout the base to allow water to escape.
Cover Large Holes
For the wheelbarrow pictured here, the hole was too big so I placed a piece of hardware cloth (wire mesh) over it.
Next I lined the whole thing with landscape fabric to reduce the exposure of the metal to moisture.
I never use regular landscape fabric in the garden—it becomes a major weed magnet over time, but I do find it useful for container gardening.
2 Paint Wheelbarrow
You may want to extend the life of your wheelbarrow by giving it a few coats of rust-resistant outdoor spray paint.
I painted mine green both outside and inside the barrel.
3 Add Potting Mix
Place your wheelbarrow where you want it in the garden before adding the soil. Otherwise it can be heavy and awkward to move.
You may also want to secure the legs in place with rocks or bricks.
I built a second wood planter to layer on top.
Another option is to use a bunch of individual flower pots instead of planting directly in the wheelbarrow. This makes it really easy to maintain.
Use a potting mix made for the plants you are growing. I always use an all-purpose organic mix made for vegetables so I never have to worry about what is in the soil.
4 Add Decor
I wanted a cute sign for the planter box but the word STRAWBERRIES was too long so I opted to make a giant strawberry instead.
Using a scrap of 1×12 barn board.
I sketched a strawberry shape on the wood and cut it out with a jig saw (this is the one I have).
I used an exterior wood primer and then painted the strawberry with acrylic craft paints.
When everything was dry, I added a few thin coats of exterior Mod Podge to protect it.
The strawberry is attached to the planter with a wood screw (right through the middle of the white flower).
5 Add Plants
Plant whatever you like: it’s a great place to display flowering annuals and trailing vines like sweet potato vine.
You can also grow a lot of vegetables in containers.
I planted various types of strawberries for berries from June to fall.
As the plants send out runners, I root them to start new strawberry plants.
The whole thing is covered in straw for the winter to insulate from the weather and the plants resume growing each spring.
Related: How to Grow Strawberries
The whole project cost me nothing more than the cost of the strawberry plants.
Otherwise, the wheelbarrow came from the trash, the planter box was made from scrap wood, and I had leftover hardware cloth, landscape fabric, and craft supplies on hand.
If you don’t have odd supplies like this laying around, you may have to thrift or yard sale shop for them to keep it frugal and fun.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛