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creative planter ideas to brighten up your garden or patio

Updated on October 13, 2013

pots are *so* last year...

I don't know about you, but I'm completely bored with pots, windowboxes and run-of-the-mill hanging baskets. There's no rule that says any plant has to be grown in a store-bought pot, so be creative and add a little fun to your garden this summer. Look around for items that speak to your personality and favourite collectibles and see how quickly a dust-collector can turn into a garden centerpiece!

Be sure to punch some holes for drainage and line your container with coconut fibre or a similar material as well as wire mesh (if the containter isn't sealed on the bottom) to prevent soil spilling out when you water.

repurposed rain boots

These bright, bold rubber boots filled with small annuals are sure to make your guests smile---even just one or two on a little table can add a little fun to a small porch or windowsill.

If you have kids, you're probably got a closetful of outgrown boots that could be recycled like this, otherwise the local thrift shops would be your best bet. The boots don't even have to match!

I saw this DIY Tutorial on Rosina Huber's blog, and the instructions are very simple, even for a beginner

a bicycle built for blooms

There's something a little playful and nostalgic about a rusty bicycle overgrown with flowers...visit garage sales or thrift shops for older models, or you can 'antique' an out-of-commision newer bike with a little bit of spray paint & elbow grease. If you're not the DIY type, you can check out some of the commercially-made planters like this below!

Photo:The Art Of Hers

don't feel like scouring garage sales?

We don't all have the time (or patience) to wait for that thrift-shop find...these two beauties just need soil, flowers and you can enjoy a little bit of vintage beauty in your garden!

Red Carpet Studio Bronze Bicycle Planter, Small
Red Carpet Studio Bronze Bicycle Planter, Small

This one looks amazing with those long, trailing plants, would work wonderfully with a clinging vine as well.

Summerfield Terrace Nostalgic Bicycle Home Garden Decor Iron Plant Stand
Summerfield Terrace Nostalgic Bicycle Home Garden Decor Iron Plant Stand

Smaller size 'trike' planter, perfect for the front porch or a balcony garden.


a well-heeled garden

There never a shortage of worn-out shoes in my house, so why not turn them into something beautiful & unique? A little coconut fibre to line with, some potting soil and away you go!

You also can paint the shoes with spray or acrylic paints, then add a layer of sealer for durability.

Consider a pair of sexy stilettos with a little bit of white lobelia trailing out, or worn-out sneakers bursting with marigolds! Workboots or even cowboy boots would be cool too, and give you even more growing space.

just picture it

Even the most space-deprived among us can fin a place for this creative 'planter'. Filled with a range of small, easy-to-grow succulents, it's perfect for beginner gardeners or those with limited time and space.

Check out the Better Homes and Gardens has an awesome DIY tutorial for how to make this living picture frame...this is definitely one I plan to try this summer!

a great garden...or bust!

What's more whimsical than unmentionables in the garden? An old bra or bustier makes a fun container for a trailing plant, simple create a small structure from wire mesh and line it with coconut fibre or loosly-woven natural fabric like burlap. I like coconut fibre because it retains moisture, it's natural, biodegradable and fairly cheap. You can get it any most garden centres, or check out the links below.

Bear in mind this is a 'planter' that won't do well in extreme weather, but very nice if you have a covered balconey like I do.

kitchen charm

An old kitchen colander is perfect to re-purpose into a small planter---it already has holes in it for easy drainage and the larger ones are just the right size to fill with your favourite herbs and hang in a sunny kitchen window! I've seen upside-down cheese graters (the tall rectangular kind) used in the same way, just take them down and mist them with water if you're worried about water dripping out.

license to grow

Old license plates are still easy to come by in antique shops an flea markets, and very easy to bend into any shape you like, and can be used together to make larger containers. You could use a whole series from places you're been to form a planterbox that immortalizes your travels!

This cute wall hanger idea is from Dishfunctional Designs and very simple to make! This would make a neat gift for someone moving out of an area, a wonderful way to remember driving through a place.

caged blooms

If keeping a caged bird isn't your thing, consider filling that empty cage with some greenery! Fill the lower section of the cage with loose sphagnum moss or potting soil with coconut fibre and fill it with the plant of your choice. Vines that will wind around the cage bars such as ivy, morning glory, star jasmine, mandevilla or moonflowers are perfect for this idea.

The older, metal birdcages are ideal since they are much stronger than plastic---dirt and flowers weigh considerably more than bird droppings, so make sure your cage will support the weight! Of course you could leave the cage sitting on a stand or small table too.

Check out www.The Rainforest Garden's DIY Tutorial to see how this lovely cage was made.

Photo: The Rainforest Garden

hats off to creativity in the garden!

Strap hats, baseball caps---just about any type of headgear can be turned into a fun, functional planter! You may have to get creative with chicken wire to keep your plants in place, but the possibilities are endless.

tools of beauty

If you've recently upgraded your toolbox, this is a great way to re-use an old one! If you want something more rustic, you can rub a little steel wool or fine sandpaper over the surface before you fill if with plants, if will rust and age faster with the paint scraped away.

Garage sales, flea markets and antique shops should find you a few to choose from, this lovely little toolbox garden idea is from Confessions of a Curb Shopaholic, which is a wonderful blog by a gal named Rose with tons of great repurposing ideas, definitely worth a look.

space savers

If you're short on space or just want to maximize your gardening area, check out some of these great planters that make the most of even the smallest spot.

upcyled bottle lids become air plant containers

If you're into minimalist d├ęcor, these elegant and very simple air plant holders are a breeze to make and would look perfect in a modern kitchen window or even in the bathroom. I found this great idea on a blog by the always-creative Tempest, and I liked that it's something so easy even kids could do it---in fact, great project for the little ones to help with, find the full DIY tutorial here, and make some of your own!

the art of gardening

The possibilities for a plain sheet of plywood are endless---cut it into any silhouette that inspires you (like this awesome artist's palette) and cut circular holes just a little smaller than the top rims of your pots. Paint, decorate or varnish however you like and just drop your pots in.

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    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 3 years ago from New Zealand

      I liked these ideas of planters in the garden, especially the gumboots all different styles, pretty smart.