Make a Plastic Kiddie Pool into a Garden Planter

  • 01 of 09

    Pool Party for Plants

    container gardening picture of kiddie pool container garden
    Finished Kiddie Pool Garden Planter. Photo © Kerry Michaels

    Plastic kiddie pool planters are inexpensive and easy to make. You can plant anything that has shallow roots, which includes most herbs and many vegetables. This would be a great way to have a combination of herbs, lettuce and some smaller vegetables in one place. Just be careful where you put a pool planter; if you put it on your lawn, it will probably kill the grass underneath.

    What You'll Need

    • Plastic, lightweight kiddie pool
    • Plastic window screening or newspaper
    • Utility knife
    • Drill with large...MORE bit (optional)
    • 4 cubic feet of potting soil (or a mix of potting soil and bagged gardening soil)
    • Slow release fertilizer
    • Lightweight covered wire fencing if critters are a problem where you live
    • Seeds or seedlings
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  • 02 of 09

    Adding Drainage to Kiddie Pool Garden Planter

    container gardening picture of cutting drainage holes in kiddie pool garden planter
    Cutting Drainage Holes. Photo © Kerry Michaels

    The first step is to cut drainage holes in the bottom of your kiddie pool with the utility knife. This isn’t difficult if you have a sharp blade. Cut lots of large holes (approximately 1” square, but this is only a guideline, they can be any size or shape that’s easy to cut) in the bottom of your pool.

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  • 03 of 09

    Add Drainage Holes in Sides of Pool Garden Planter

    container gardening picture of drilling holes in sides of garden planter
    Drilling Holes in Sides of Kiddie Pool Garden Planter. Photo © Kerry Michaels

    In addition to drainage on the bottom of your kiddie pool, drill or cut holes into the sides. Ideally, they'll be about 1/4 to 1/2 inch above the bottom of the pool, just in case the bottom holes aren't letting out enough water. Having plants sitting in the soggy soil will kill most of them, so having good drainage is key. You can also elevate your pool by putting it on bricks or wood to make sure the water can get out of the bottom. 

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  • 04 of 09

    Add Barrier to Your Kiddie Pool Planter

    container gardening picture of adding barrier to kiddie pool garden planter
    Add Barrier to Pool Garden Planter. Photo © Kerry Michaels

    Once you have finished putting in your drainage holes, you will need a barrier to keep the soil in and let water out. You can use plastic window screening or newspaper. Cut out your barrier so that it is big enough to cover all of your holes. Then lay the screening or newspaper on the bottom and up the sides of your pool.

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  • 05 of 09

    Add Potting Soil to your Garden Planter

    container gardening picture of adding potting soil to garden planter
    Adding Soil To Garden Planter. Photo © Kerry Michaels

    Situate your pool in a sunny spot. If you are growing herbs or vegetables, you’ll need full sun -- at least six hours a day.

    Fill your pool either with potting soil or a combination of potting soil and garden soil. Mix in a slow-release fertilizer. If you're planting herbs, go easy with the fertilizer, as the flavor of herbs diminishes if you use too much.

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  • 06 of 09

    Getting Garden Planter Ready for Planting Seeds

    container gardening picture of getting kiddie pool garden planter ready for planting seeds
    Making Rows for Planting Seeds. Photo © Kerry Michaels

    Smooth out the soil in your garden planter and pat it down gently. You want your soil to be loose, but you also want an even surface.

    You can plant any flower or vegetable that doesn’t have deep roots.

    If you are using any fencing, put it in before planting, so you won't disturb the seeds.

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  • 07 of 09

    Planting Seeds

    container gardening picture of planting seeds
    Planting seeds. Photo © Kerry Michaels

    One of the biggest mistakes people make when planting seeds are to plant them too deep. Check the information on your seed packet to see how deep and far apart you should plant them. Make rows in the soil according to the directions on your seed packets.

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  • 08 of 09

    Watering Garden Planter Deeply But Gently

    container gardening picture of watering garden planter
    Watering Gently but Deeply. Photo © Kerry Michaels

    Once you have planted your seeds you’ll want to give your garden a deep watering, preferably until water runs out the bottom of your garden planter. It’s important, particularly at this point, not to use a harsh stream of water that will disturb your seeds or wash them away. Either use a watering can with a rose attachment or a garden hose with an attachment that will provide a gentle spray.

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  • 09 of 09

    Caring For Your Kiddie Pool Garden Planter

    The fastest way to kill growing seeds is to let them dry out. In the early stages of germination, keep your soil moist at all times.

    You will probably have to thin your seedlings after they get their first set of full leaves, following the space that is recommended on your seed packets.

    If you are growing basil, once it is about 4-6 inches tall, let the soil dry out a bit between waterings. Also, if you are growing herbs, don’t feed them too heavily. You will get the most flavorful herbs if the...MORE soil is somewhat poor in nutrients. The same is true for nasturtiums, which will also flower more if fed less.