Diy Planters

By Kristen Castillo

September 6, 2016 5 min read

Maureen Fitzgerald -- founder and owner of WisconsinMommy.com -- and her husband were tired of rabbits eating all of their leafy greens.

"We saw an elevated garden in our local store but decided we could make one ourselves for less," she says.

Using cedar boards, a miter saw, screws, a drill and a drill bit, the couple designed and built a stylish and functional elevated garden.

Not only did Fitzgerald "outsmart" the rabbits but also she found it was "easier to weed as it is waist-high and no bending is required."

Another bonus: She says the soil warms up a little faster in spring since it is aboveground.

*Do It Yourself

Whether you want to make your own planters for fun or simply to save money on store-bought designs, DIY planters are very doable.

"You can make your own planters from discarded, found or bought at resale shops containers, such as decorative trash cans, big popcorn cans, bowls, vases, old cooking pots, etc., says artist and designer Pablo Solomon, known for his environmentally friendly landscape designs. "They can be made of metal, ceramics, plastic, glass or wood -- almost anything that will not decompose easily when wet."

Solomon has created DIY planters out of a variety of different materials, including an old brass spittoon, a metal bean pot, a pitcher and a heavy plastic waste can.

All you need to do to turn a container into a planter is drill a drain hole in the bottom.

You'll need a special diamond-tipped drill bit to make a hole in ceramic, clay and glass containers. Solomon suggests getting a drill bit capable of drilling granite, which costs about $15 and will last a lifetime for an average user.

When making a hole in a metal vessel, use metal drill bits, which Solomon says are inexpensive.

"For softer materials like plastic and wood, regular drill bits work fine," he says, cautioning all DIY gardeners to wear eye protection when using a power drill.

*Creative Designs

"There is a somewhat gratifying feeling knowing that you can grow food and just about anything," says Ed Roman, a Canadian singer-songwriter and gardener.

"The most important thing is creativity thinking outside the box," he continues. "Excuse the pun."

Roman loves the "reduce, reuse, recycle" concept because the only cost is building material.

"Wood pallets are an excellent way to build up the lettuce bed," he says. "All you need is a little bit of screen door screening and a staple gun and away you go."

Roman lines his DIY planters with "old frost blankets," which are both porous and allow water to drain while still maintaining the soil.

He recently crafted planters out of old shipping crates he got from a monuments distributor.

He also suggests creating a planter by stacking old rubber tires three at a time, noting how old tires are often free since they'd otherwise be thrown out or recycled.

"They can be filled with earth and placed anywhere," he says. "I've seen some incredible tomatoes and peppers being grown with this method."

*Plan Ahead

Still, not every DIY design goes as planned.

"A little planning can save a lot of grief," says Tony Smith, president at NurseryEnterprises.com, who warns some containers used for planting projects may not be easy to empty after use.

"If you will probably never empty the container to change the soil or re-pot the plant, then you're probably OK," he says. "But if you foresee the day when you'll want to empty the container and swap out the potting soil, then you might consider choosing containers that have shapes that are conducive to easily removing a firm and strong root-ball."

*Size, Substance & Style

Find style inspiration from around your home.

"Get planters that are bigger than you think you need, especially around the front door," says Craig Jenkins-Sutton, co-founder of Topiarius, an urban gardening and landscape design company. "A planter that is too small will un-impress."

Jenkins-Sutton, who has created many custom planters, advises changing out the plants for each season and always making a statement too.

"Do up the display!" he says. "Don't skimp on plants."

When creating DIY planters, make sure the containers are sturdy.

"Pots made of certain materials might need to be taken inside during the winter," explains Jenkins-Sutton, who recommends invest in organic potting soil.

No matter what the vessel you're designing or what you're planting, be creative and resourceful, and of course, have some gardening fun.

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