12 Ways to Make Your Own Garden Planters

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Instead of settling for the usual, uninspiring plant pots, make your own planters from scrap wood, concrete or even empty plastic jugs. Add soil and an assortment of plants for creative and budget-friendly plant displays that are bound to inspire conversation with your guests or neighbors.

1. Gorgeous Geometric Planter Boxes

Show off your woodworking skills with these cedar creations.
Show off your woodworking skills with these cedar creations. (Image: Sarah Dorsey)

Step far outside the (planter) box with these wooden geometric planters. Cedar fence pickets serve as your basic building materials while a miter saw does the dirty work, cutting the complex angles that make up this stunning sculptural plant holder.

2. Repurposed Fountain Planter

Turn a broken or unused fountain into a tiered planter.
Turn a broken or unused fountain into a tiered planter. (Image: Matthew Ashman)

Instead of letting an old, unused fountain collect dust or turn into a mosquito-breeding pond, transform it into a tiered planter to bring back its beauty and usefulness. Cover the pump or ports that provide water flow with landscaping cloth -- in case you want to use the fountain for its original purpose again someday -- then add soil and assorted short-rooted plants. You could even add tiny furniture and a few accouterments to turn it into a deluxe fairy garden.

3. Faux Succulent Planter

This faux succulent planter requires no water -- ever.
This faux succulent planter requires no water -- ever. (Image: Bethany DeVore)

If your idea of the perfect planter is one that requires no water or maintenance of any kind, this is the project for you. Strip the fleshy stem material off of a few fake succulent plants, leaving each as a thin wire with a small plant on top. Wrap each wire around the base of a pen with floral wire, arrange the pens in your favorite vase or vessel, then surround them with river rocks. Tada -- eternal succulents.

4. Country-Chic Chicken Wire Planters

Create your own planters from chicken wire, paint stirrers and coconut fiber basket liners.
Create your own planters from chicken wire, paint stirrers and coconut fiber basket liners. (Image: Megan O Andersen)

Build a set of airy planters out of scrap chicken wire and unused paint stirrers for a new take on repurposing. Unroll chicken wire and bend it into a basic box shape with each side the same length as a paint stirrer. Staple stirrers around the top and bottom of the structure, fit it with a coconut-fiber basket liner, then add potting soil and your favorite flowers.

5. Petite Planter Party Favors

Decorate tiny plant pots, add succulents and give them away as party favors.
Decorate tiny plant pots, add succulents and give them away as party favors. (Image: Gillian Ellis)

Offer party guests favors they'll actually enjoy -- tiny custom-painted plant pots filled with living plants. Decorate each pot with stripes or designs created by painting between strips of painter's tape. Once the paint dries, fill each pot with soil and a succulent. Top the soil off with colorful aquarium gravel for a festive look.

6. Elegant Garden Planter Box

Build your own planter box and trellis for an elegant yard adornment.
Build your own planter box and trellis for an elegant yard adornment. (Image: Matthew Ashman)

Build your own cedar planter box, complete with trellis, for an elegant addition to your yard or patio. Build a basic box structure from cedar planks, then cut a scalloped base to elevate your creation. Embellish the top with wood trim, paint the piece, then fit it with a trellis made from inch-wide boards. Place the planter anywhere you'd like, then fill it with soil and roses or your favorite climbing vines.

7. Kid-Inspired Upcycled Plastic Planters

Turn plastic jugs into colorful kid-friendly planters.
Turn plastic jugs into colorful kid-friendly planters. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Perfect for Earth Day or any day, these adorable kid-friendly planters are made from repurposed plastic jugs and bottles. Cut openings in the jugs to allow space for planting, then poke a few holes in the bottom for drainage. Decorate the plastics with paints, googly eyes or added adornments to create planters that resemble animals, mythical creatures or even animated minions. What's not to love?

8. Cartons into Concrete Planters

Use milk cartons and jugs as forms for these eclectic concrete planters.
Use milk cartons and jugs as forms for these eclectic concrete planters. (Image: Mavis Butterfield)

Create these oh-so-adorable planters out of concrete and an assortment of milk cartons and jugs. Cut the containers so they're half their usual heights, then pour in a quick-setting concrete. A smaller container, like a plastic cup, creates the form for the soil -- coat it in vegetable oil so it doesn't stick in the concrete. Peel the outer container away once the concrete hardens, then add soil and plants.

9. Decorative Concrete Plant Pots

Make the forms for these decorative concrete planters from bowls and plant pots.
Make the forms for these decorative concrete planters from bowls and plant pots. (Image: Mary & Tim Vidra)

For another take on concrete planters, craft these creations by using salad bowls, kitchenware or shaped plastic pots as the molds or forms. Coat the inside of the larger, outer vessel with cooking spray so you can remove the hardened concrete with ease. Use a smaller bowl or vessel, its outside coated with cooking spray, to form the cavity for soil and plants.

10. Faux Pebble Planter

Craft polymer clay rocks to form this nature-inspired planter
Craft polymer clay rocks to form this nature-inspired planter (Image: Lucy Akins)

Polymer clay pebbles take center stage for this nature-inspired planter. Select your favorite colors of polymer clay and mix them together a bit to create faux polished pebbles or stones. Press the clay stones together inside an oven-safe glass bowl to take on the bowl's shape, then bake it and cool it in the oven. Pop the planter out of the bowl and add your favorite succulents and soil.

11. Pumpkin Planter Transformation

Hollow out a pumpkin for this temporary autumn planter
Hollow out a pumpkin for this temporary autumn planter (Image: Mary & Tim Vidra)

For a completely different take on planter, hollow out a pumpkin and use it as a festive fall display. Remove the pumpkin innards, like you would if carving the pumpkin, then add soil and your favorite autumn plants. Since these are made from actual pumpkins, cut them a day or two before a holiday party or special day. For a more durable option, use a foam pumpkin designed for carving.

12. Stunning Side Table Planter

Create your own double-duty planter table with wood, hairpin leg and a plant pot.
Create your own double-duty planter table with wood, hairpin leg and a plant pot. (Image: Carrie Waller)

Instead of looking for the perfect place to display your favorite houseplant, build this double-duty side table planter out of a round wood panel and hairpin legs. Cut a hole in the center of the wooden disc so that it fits the rim of a plant pot. Paint or stain the wood as you'd like, add the hairpin legs, then fit the plant pot inside the table. Problem solved.

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