140+ budget-friendly, upcycled garden planters and containers!

Transform your garden with 140+ budget-friendly and creative upcycled garden planters and containers! From repurposed household items to thrift store finds, these ideas will add charm and character to your garden without breaking the bank!

Transform your garden with 140+ budget-friendly and creative upcycled garden planters and containers! From repurposed household items to thrift store finds, these ideas will add charm and character to your garden without breaking the bank!

140+ budget-friendly, upcycled garden planters and containers!


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With the sunny spring and summer weather upon is, it’s time to dream about what type of plants to plant.

But equally fun is deciding what kind of plant pots you will use!

Outdoor garden planters can be anything that holds soil. Add drainage holes where you can, and you’ll end up with an instant and much more creative way to plant flowers or plants for your patio, deck, front porch, flower beds or as indoor planters as well!

So why not prepare early and be on the hunt for chicken feeders, vintage tins, metal buckets and more?

Here’s a few tips to start your own garden planters or hanging baskets with a twist so you too can enjoy a yard filled with unique and beautiful container gardens! 

flower buckets for a potting bench

Garden planter supplies:


hand garden tools

garden gloves

potting soil (not garden soil)

your favorite plants, flowers, herbs, veggies, etc.

cordless drill with metal drill bit or hammer and nails to punch drain holes

drain hole covers such as broken clay, rocks, landscape fabric

any durable container that holds soil and can endure water such as:

galvanized buckets

old wheelbarrows

wooden barrels

flowers in creative junk vases funky junk interiors - blue hydrangeas in galvanized bucket


Collect planter containers


1. Collect interesting contailers of all shapes and sizes for both small and large outdoor planters.

  • Consider collecting containers from the curb, flea markets, garage sales or thrift stores.
  • Look for high quality, and lightweight if you plan to move them around.
  • Try for different sizes so you can also incorporate areas of limited space.
  • Consider pots that can hang for balconies.
  • Try your hand at DIY planters you build yourself!

Build your own DIY wooden planters using reclaimed wood like THESE.

shed - adding plastic weather liner

Tutorial: Using heavy-gauge plastic to waterproof my garden shed

Waterproofing garden planters


2. Waterproof containers that aren’t naturally waterproof using heavy-gauge plastic.

Line the inside of any containers that are not deemed waterproof, or those you wish to protect. Just be sure to create drain holes through the plastic and container.

Creating drain holes


3. Create drain holes if your container doesn’t already have some.

Drill drain holes using a cordless drill teamed up with a drill bit meant to drill metal. Or punch drain holes using a hammer and nail for metal containers.

If your container can’t be punctured, ensure there’s plenty of space for a layer of small rocks, clay, branches, etc. to allow a space for the water to drain into so the plant roots aren’t sitting in saturated soil all the time.

Covering drain holes


4. Cover drainage holes with a layer of small rocks, broken clay pots, gravel, landscape fabric, or leftover window screen.

Loosely covering drain holes with something will allow the water to flow through the drain holes more freely, plus holds the soil in while allowing the water out.

5. Fill the container with your favorite potting soil.

A container potting soil is best since it’s formulated to grow and drain well inside planters. Avoid garden soil inside planters.

shed window box planters with growing flowers

The above window box planters are using a ‘fillers’ and spillers’ method.

Planting flower tips


6. Remove plants from pots, then gently spread roots apart.

7. Plant inside the soil.

For larger planters that have more space, think it terms of thriller, filler and spiller (spills) so your planters have height, width and something hanging over the pot as well. A very full and colourful foliage effect is stunning!

Watering plant tips


8. Water well by saturating the pot, then allow excess water to drain.

Watering heavily to start will activate any peat moss inside the soil, allowing more water in. However it’s important to keep soil with a heavy peat moss blend slightly damp so dried up soil doesn’t repel water.

Water your plants and flowers with a device that offers a spray effect closest to rain:

Watering can

Hose wand

Watering hose

covering a plastic plant pot with a galvanized ring

Above: A galvanized container covering a self-watering planters

9. Keep the soil slightly damp.

On hotter days, you may be required to water daily. Try having some planters in shadier areas for easier upkeep like hanging outdoor ferns HERE instead of flowers.

Tip: Consider self watering plant pots tucked inside other unique planters so they are easier to maintain during hot spells.

Feeding your flowers


10. Feed the flowers or plants with fertilizer that is meant for them. 

I generally use Miracle Grow plant food powder mixed with water once a week during the most active growing season. Plant food really makes a difference to the health of your plant and keeps them blooming for much longer.

11. Dead head any flowers that are spent.

Deadheading flowering plants will keep them actively blooming for weeks to come!

12. Consider planting vegetables, herbs and even perennials in large planters if you desire a smaller sized garden.

adding branches and flowers to a water fountain feature

Tutorial: Adding a solar water fountain to a galvanized garden

Add garden interest such as art or a fountain


13. Consider creating a focal point by adding a solar water fountain to your planter areas!

A solar water fountain is an easy add-on to any flower pot area. All you need is a price efficient fountain and a waterproof container of any kind. A fountain offers sound and visual interest. 

Other plant and flower planting considerations:


  • The smaller the pot, the quicker it will dry out.
  • A larger pot will have more space for roots to grow.
  • Potted plants and flowers in full sun will require more watering.
  • Anything in a planter, plant pot or raised flower beds will dry quicker than if planted in the ground.
  • Clay pots will dry quicker since they are porous.
  • Consider mulching on top of the soil so the plant pot can retain more moisture longer.

140+ Upcycled garden planter ideas below!


So let’s visit over 140 unique ideas to use as plant pots for your garden planter ideas this year! Visit some features below, then take in the added linkup with a whoppin’ 140+ more planter ideas to create!

solar water fountain in an enamel bowl

Galvanized planter pots with solar water fountain


Solar water fountain galvanized planters

Create a special area all its own by gathering up galvanized containers to create this rustic flowerbed area! To add a special touch, use a solar water fountain for an easy and instant water feature that couldn’t be easier to implement! 


nesting box potting bench with metal bucket planters

potting bench made with a chicken coop

Nesting box potting bench with metal planters


Nesting box potting bench with watering can planter

Make a major statement with your upcycle gardening with this creative nesting box potting bench plus metal bucket and vintage watering can containers for plants and flowers!

What a find this was!

Wooden crate planters


Ikea wooden crates as planter crates

If you love to shop at IKEA, consider picking up their small wooden crates to create these charming planter box crates!

Flower and plant stencils as well as different wood stains are shared in this very popular tutorial.

This idea would work for any sized new or old crate.

DIY potting shed sign with rake hooks

DIY potting shed sign with rake hooks


Potting shed rake sign with easy potting bench idea

Hang upcycled plant pots from a charming DIY Potting Shed sign using an old rake as hooks! Great for hanging your garden tools as well.

But this round, don’t fight the plain clay pot look. Group clay pots in various shapes and sizes to create this delightful cluster! Perfect for patio planters as well.

Don’t forget to include some vines for any planters that allow the extra height!

DIY window box planters on a garden shed

Scrap wood window box planters


DIY window box planters with scrap wood

Whether you desire raised planters or window boxes, this tutorial shares how to build and install them on a garden shed. Be sure to visit the post to see the larger one too!

It’s so fun to customize window box planters! Consider mixing up colourful foliage with more than one plant for a full effect! 

Above plants: geraniums and english ivy

Oversized tulip tray flower bed riser


Oversized tulip tray flower bed planter

To help bring life to an otherwise flat flower bed, try this oversized tulip tray flower bed! Made with scrap wood, you can whip it up for free!

Raised flower beds are also perfect for tall outdoor planters.

Old Kettle Rock Garden - enhanced. via Funky Junk Interiors

Old vintage kettle and pot planters


Kettle rock garden

Create a charming kettle rock garden by grouping together like-minded kettles. They are divine filled with succulents or small flowers! But don’t forget the rocks!

Learn how to plant old kettles to become wonderfully unique junk garden planters! Click to read full tutorial.

Old kettle herb garden – Funky Junk Interiors

A collection of quirky old kettles, perfect for indoor plants, are prettied right up planted with herbs making an idea kitchen garden. I really enjoyed moving this little group around to different locations just for fun! 


Build your own toolbox planter with scrap wood


Branch handled toolbox garden planters

Create charming outdoor plant pots by building a charming toolbox planter from scrap wood! They are SO easy to make, and the added branch handle adds such a perfect touch of nature.

You don’t even need to plant toolboxes! Simply tuck plant or flower cuttings into water-filled jars to get this colorful foliage or greenery look! Perfect for shade loving areas.

Clay pots decorated like vintage crocks


Vintage crock look flower pots

Have any plain clay pots on hand? Here’s how to change the look to resemble a vintage crock using stencils! This tutorial also shares a special texture technique so you can cover up any plant pot or concrete planter to get an old world charm look!

Find Vintage Crock Pot stencil from HERE


Bike basket planter


French Country Cottage – Old bicycle flower planter

Who doesn’t love the framework from an old bike? Well, this one just got better with a bike basket loaded with toppled over fresh cut lilacs. Gorgeous! I love these kinds of ‘planters’ because it’s an easy move when you need to mow the lawn. Easy is good.

Toolbox junk garden planter by Chipping with Charm

Tool box organizer planters


Chipping with Charm – tool box flower planters

Laurel stacks some tool boxes filled with annuals to brighten up a little spot in the yard. I think this idea is darling and is a great way for added height to a space during the summer months.

Chicken feeder flower planter by Snowflakes & Dragonflies

Chicken feed flower planter


Snowflakes and Dragonflies – chicken feed flower planter

A sweet old rusty chicken feeder has never looked so good, filled to the brim with violas. So pretty for most any foliage that’s small in size.

Umbrella front door wreath with spring flowers by Eclectically Vintage

Umbrella door wreath


Eclectically Vintage – Umbrella flower wreath

Kelly’s fresh take on a front door wreath using an umbrella for a flower vase sure chimes in well with April showers! The umbrella containing water is genius! Especially for an outdoor space.

Other garden-related projects to make:


Create unique and easy garden labels with cedar strips and stencils HERE

Check out these repurposed junk vases HERE

Visit all my unique outdoor projects HERE

JUNK garden planters! How to upcycle collections into fabulously unique garden planters, junk-style! Click to view many ideas!



More garden planter ideas on Hometalk


Upcycled styled planters on HomeTalk

The amazing HomeTalk community comes to the rescue once again with never ending upcycled garden container inspiration. You’ll love this collection!

I also have a post showcasing many upcycled features in my own garden on HomeTalk HERE.


Visit 140+ more upcycled garden ideas below!


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Categories: Gardening, Junk Drawer
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34 thoughts on “140+ budget-friendly, upcycled garden planters and containers!

  1. Oh, how I wish Spring would get here soon….it’s gonna be a miserable blustery weekend here! I am curious how I can find out what your theme is going to be each week. It just always says “to be announced” so I haven’t known for a while. Thanks.

    I appreciate you allowing me to share my post on my latest collection….like I need anymore!


  2. I am in NEED of Spring! We have had a taste of it here in TN. . . just a couple of warmer days here and there. Just enough to make me despise the winter weather all the more! I can’t wait to start getting in my garden and seeing some green! Thanks for hosting! Life to the full, Melissa @ DaisyMaeBelle

  3. What a nice surprise to come by to link up and see my vintage bicycle!! Thank you so much for the feature Donna! I actually pulled that bike out to take a few photos of it today too 😉 Thanks for hosting~ hope you have a fantastic weekend!! xoxo (typos make me crazy-posting again) 🙂

  4. I’m sure missing the gardening space I had in my previous home :/ Oh well, someday, right? In the meantime I never get tired of seeing all the cool gardening stuff everyone else is up to! I just linked up my cloche in home decor. Thanks for hosting, Donna! Have a good weekend.


  5. Thanks for featuring my tool bin planters Donna!! My husband actually bought those to use in his garage..imagine that?? I think they are “living” a much better life all pretty on my porch 🙂 LOVE the theme…can’t wait to peek around for some Spring inspiration!! Laurel

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