Creating your own planters from well-loved but worn-out items or from found treasures adds a personal touch to your garden. There's no need to spend a great deal of money—actually, you may not need to spend any money at all. Let these crafty DIY projects crank up your imagination and spark some ideas. It's amazing how good a little rust can look when contrasted with some greenery and flowers.
For especially small or shallow containers, succulents and drought-tolerant sedums are appropriate plant choices.
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Wagon Wheel Container Garden
Have you always wanted a succulent garden, but you thought you didn't have the space for much variety? This wagon wheel garden can accommodate dozens of succulent plants in a very contained space. Of course, you could plant anything you want in this garden. The folks at The WHOot say herbs are also good choices for this project. If you don't have a wagon wheel source, you might be able to adapt an old bicycle rim to the project.
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Wine Cork Mini Planters
Miniature succulents almost rival pets in popularity, and here's a fresh way to display them. Upcycle That shows you how to make tiny planters out of those wine corks you've been collecting, just by hollowing out a planting space in the cork. A wine cork planter isn't going to provide a lot of room for plant roots, so succulents are a perfect choice. It doesn't hurt that they look fantastic.
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Tea Time Planters
All kinds of dishes and pots can turn into plant containers. This charming tea set garden offers a touch of spring with primroses, but you can switch them out with seasonal plants as summer warms up. Stacey Priestly at The Hip Horticulturist says the hardest part is drilling the drainage holes (hint—use a masonry bit and put tape over the spot to avoid bit slippage), and any mistakes you make are fixable or may get covered by the plant.
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Jello Mold Umbrella Stand Planter
If your Jell-O mold has not gotten much use in your kitchen, Jenny at Refresh Living uses them to create planters that double as a centerpiece on an umbrella table. You can even fill it with fresh herbs and let your guests help themselves (mint for mojitos anyone?). If you don't have an umbrella table, this planter looks just as lovely with a candle in the center.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
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Repurposed Guitar Planter
Do you have an acoustic guitar that's beyond repair? You can make it into a wall decoration, or you can give it a new life as a guitar planter. Some people are content to simply stuff a small pot in the hole, but Kitchen Guitars went for a more creative approach. Sawed open in half, this planter showcases both the plants and the structure of the instrument.
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Hanging Basketball Planter
Combine your love of gardening and your love of sports with this hanging basketball planter. Surajsajo submitted this tutorial to Instructables, but it could be duplicated with soccer balls, volleyballs, or even footballs. It's simple enough, requiring only a utility knife and some string. For once, sports equipment isn't banned from near the garden. It could make a fun gift too.
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Bird Cage Container Garden
It seems like every flea market has an old birdcage for sale for mere peanuts. Don't ask what happened to the bird, just scoop up the cage and turn it into the perfect birdcage container garden. Pam at The House of Hawthornes made this beautiful container of portulacas with a $1 yard sale find and some green spray paint. She makes it sound easy and has also included an instructional video.
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Roof Vent Verticle Garden
Vertical gardens aren't just trendy; they can also be practical. A project in a kit can be expensive, but that's not the approach you would expect from Cindy Barton at Flea Market Gardening. Who would have thought a roof vent would make an amazing garden container? All it takes is the kind of vent with screening on the back (normally to keep out animals) and some dirt to fill it up. As soon as the plants fill in and hang onto the dirt, it's ready for display. You'll never shop a flea market the same way again.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
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Chandelier Hanging Basket
Is your garden missing a sense of elegance? The DIY Show Off herself, Roeshel, can help you fix that with a chandelier hanging basket, and it's not hard at all to assemble. It doesn't matter what condition the chandelier is in, because you can paint it any shade you like—and you certainly won't be plugging it in. You can be subtle or over the top, depending on the flamboyance of the chandelier you choose. She just needed pots to fit and some epoxy and waterproof glue to construct it, and an S-hook to hang it. Sweet.
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Old Wheelbarrows as Container Gardens
Andrea at The Cottage Market did not let a little rust and a few holes keep her from making use of her old wheelbarrows. She made the imperfections a feature by repurposing the wheelbarrow as a planter. If yours needs drainage holes added, just grab a drill (and your safety glasses). Did the sun move to the other side of the yard? Roll your garden over there. Andrea's wheelbarrows are true vintage, but any old wheelbarrow gains character when it's filled with blooming annuals.
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For some people, the idea of cutting up a book, no matter how old or boring, to make a book planter is an impossible request. Don't reach for your favorite comfort novel, obviously. Old books are inexpensive buys at flea markets and yard sales. Pick up a few thick ones, the kind you would never finish reading anyway, and check out Russel Brown's how-to on Apartment Therapy. The results can be as intricate or straightforward as you choose. Book planters won't last forever, but after you know how to make them, it's just rinse and repeat. He advises using just a few low-growing succulents because of the small size of the "planter." The cutting of the hole through the pages is the most time-consuming part.
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Using shoes as planters can give you some very kitschy looks, but most shoes do not allow for enough soil to be practical. If you want to raid the accessory section in the thrift shop, think bags. Straw bags, tote bags, and even clutch purses are all readily available for low or no cost. Purse planters need a little prep work to hold soil and water, but it's not difficult. All you need is a plastic bag to serve as a liner. Purses as pots are so charming and colorful that they really add a sense of summer fun to your garden. Placing yours in a sheltered spot where it won’t get repeatedly rained on will help it last a bit longer.