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Unique DIY Flower Planters for Outdoor Spaces

I love using unique items, or rather items that are no longer useful for their intended purpose, in my gardens. We aren’t talking about your run-of-the-mill terracotta pots, ceramic pots, or new planters; we’re talking about something totally different. Unique DIY flower planters are a great addition to any outdoor space. They add so much charm tucked in among other plants in flower beds or added to a grouping of planters on a deck, patio, front porch, or any outdoor space. We’ve all seen the same old ideas around the internet, and while those are great ideas, we’re sharing all fresh ideas and pictures in this post. Get ready for an overload of creative ways to make your own unique DIY flower planter.

Children's rain boots with flowers planted in them.

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How to Turn An Item Into a Planter

For not a lot of money, you can make a simple planter; and, what better way to repurpose items that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

With a little spray sealant, you can turn almost any item (even those not intended for outdoor use) that will hold soil into a planter. Depending on what the piece is, most times I don’t do anything to it, except drill some drainage holes in the bottom of the item. Although some items will only last a season or two, others will last for years.

Rather than adding soil directly to your makeshift container, simply add a plastic planter, like those pots that plants come in from the garden center. It makes for much easier cleanup at the end of the gardening season.

Where to Find Unique Garden Planters

First of all, go through your own home and see what you can find that you’re no longer using. If you have mostly new stuff, visit an elderly relative’s home. They always have cool stuff they don’t use any more. The good news is that it isn’t difficult to come up with something to use as a unique planter. So, what if you’re a not creative person, don’t worry we have tons of ideas for you below. Keep reading…

A thrift store or yard sale is the perfect place to find things to use as unique planters.

Keep in mind that smaller items don’t work as well as larger items for flowers or other plants. However, if you are interested in making a succulent planter, you can get by using small planters.

Let me take you on a little stroll through a local thrift store. It was difficult to restrain myself and not snatch up some of these items, but I just spent a weekend cleaning out my creepy, hoarder garden shed. So, I need to resist the temptation to buy anything more to add to my collection.

This is a great way to get your creative juices flowing. Use your imagination, think about your favorite plants in these and you’ll be amazed at what you can come up with.

Old purses make super cute planters. I think this one was intended as a beach or pool bag because it is lined with plastic. Remember, in most cases, large planters work better than small ones, and this purse is the perfect size. Can you picture this bag full of flowers hanging on a rustic fence?

A large purse or bag in a thrift store.

Rain boots make the cutest planters. I won’t share it again here, but I’ll bet you all have seen the popular picture of kid’s rain boots used as colorful planters along a wood fence. Again, use your imagination.

Children's Rain boots in a thrift store.

Let’s walk down the aisle with all the kitchen things. Can you imagine flowers planted in these? See the colander planter in the next section.

Colanders in a thrift store.

I think this is some sort of steamer, or a part of one. Can you picture it painted red with a white geranium planted in it? I think the sifter is kind of small, but it would look cute hanging on a garden hook with a spiller plant, like creeping jenny, planted in it. 

Kitchen accessories in a thrift store.

Maybe this wood box thing was intended for magazines, but with a few holes drilled in the bottom for drainage, it would make the cutest simple wooden planter box. Just picture it full of your favorite plants and flowers, or even a herb garden.

Wood box in a thrift store

Creative Ideas for Unusual DIY Flower Planters

Check out these creative DIY flower pots that are not your typical container.

A friend of mine and Gingham Gardens’ reader, Leslie, used an old coffee maker to create the most whimsical planter to add to her gardens. She filled it with supertunias, sweet potato vine and a fun grass. What a great idea!

Coffee maker used as a flower pot.

My neighbor, Holly, has all kinds of old stuff she uses in her gardens. Here she used an old mop bucket as a planter. Is this ever creative!

An old mop bucket used as a unique flower planter.

Do you have an old birdbath that doesn’t hold water anymore? What a unique way to give something a new life that would otherwise end up in the trash. My sister, Becky, turned her old birdbath into such a planter.

Bird bath with flowers planted in it.

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What about old boots or old shoes as planters. I was over chatting with my neighbor while she was cleaning her garage. As she was getting ready to toss a pair of old work boots into the trash, I asked if I could have one. I didn’t quite dumpster drive, but close. Lol! Anyway, here’s the result. I think this old work boot planted with marigolds looks adorable tucked into one of my flower beds.

Man's work boot used as a unique planter with marigolds

I saw this spray-painted colander sans planter in a greenhouse I visited. What a cool idea! This makes the perfect planter, because the drainage is already there. When I replicate this, I will add some landscape fabric or a coco fiber liner to the colander to help hold the soil and moisture in.

Colander with petunias planted in it.

This tea kettle makes an unusual planter. The paint is starting to peel, so I wasn’t too keen on using it for its intended purpose anymore. It’s a bright spot here in this shade garden. If you use an item such as an old tea kettle or kitchen pan, be sure to drill holes in the bottom for drainage. Don’t forget, you can jazz your kitchen utensil up with a can of spray paint. Metal objects will likely start to show rust after a season or two, but that just adds to the charm.

Tea kettle in a garden used as a unique planter

Old chairs used as flowerpots make a statement piece in the garden and are a great solution that can be moved to blah parts of your garden. Many examples of chair planters show a hole cut out in the chair to sit a pot in, but I just sit a pot of flowers on my chair and call it good.

Bright pink chair with pot of flowers sitting on it.

Several years ago, I spotted the red buffalo plaid metal bucket at a garage sale and could immediately picture what I wanted to do with it. I’m not exactly sure what the bucket’s original purpose was, but I knew I wanted to use it as a planter. It’s fairly large, so it’s perfect as a planter. I added some chipped dishes along with the plants.

Red and white buffalo check bucket with flowers planted in it.
Again, old shoes make the cutest planters. I have this thing for garden boots, except I don’t really like to wear them. These garden boots look better as a planter in my gardens than on my feet.

A garden boot with flowers planted in it.

I can’t take credit for the idea below, but I saw it on a garden tour and thought it was adorable. Planting succulents in an old shoe is a good way to contain them. The hole in the shoe just adds character.

Succulents planted in an old shoe.

Tin cans make cute planters. Leave them plain or add paint. I found this tin can thingy at Walmart in the clearance aisle. Pretty sure it wasn’t meant for plants, but it was too cute not to stick a plant in it. Again, to use something like this as a flower pot, holes need to be drilled in the bottom for drainage.

Red can with yellow flowers planted in it.

Enamelware was popular back in the late 1800s, early 1900s as kitchenware. It’s readily available at flea markets. Although I wouldn’t use it for it’s original purpose, I definitely use it in the gardens. Enamelware makes the cutest planters. I could not drill through the bottom, so I filled the bottom of the bucket in the picture below with pea gravel and then placed a pot inside the bucket.

Enamelware bucket with red and white geraniums planted in it.

This little decorative bird cage full of ivy looks so sweet hanging on my old rustic fence. It was sitting on my old rustic ladder, but I was watering it one day and a mouse ran out. I kind of freaked (that’s a lie, I totally freaked) and decided to move it to my fence, so the critter wouldn’t think it’s a good place to build a nest.

Decorative bird cage with ivy planted in it.

Gingham Gardens is all about using vintage items in flower gardens (you can check these ideas out here, here and here. Some vintage items make the best upcycled flower planters. The planter below is simply a pot of petunias put into the top of an antique chicken feeder. Talk about charm!

Dark pink petunias in an antique chicken feeder

Another favorite antique item that I use as a planter is an antique coal barrel that I picked up at a flea market. The lady I purchased it from apologized and pointed out that there were holes in the bottom of it and that’s why it was marked so cheap. Ha ha! 

Old coal bucket used as a flower planter.

This antique copper boiler was originally used to boil water for all kinds of things. Now, it’s one of the treasures in my neighbor’s garden. She changes it up from year-to-year, but this year was my favorite with ageratum and creeping Jenny. 

Antique copper boiler with flowers planted in it.

Here are a few more fun articles on Gingham Gardens with lots of container gardening ideas:

Have you created any unique outdoor planters? If you have, please share with us what item you used in the comments section below. If not, I hope you’re inspired to make your own DIY planter and add your personal touch to make it a one-of-a-kind creation. It really is the perfect way, with little effort, to add charm and character to your garden.

Happy gardening,

p.s. Feel free to save the pictures throughout the post and the pins below to your favorite gardening board on Pinterest to remind you of the post later. If you hover in the upper left-hand corner of the picture, you’ll see the little Pinterest icon. Just click it and pin away. There are more pins to share below.

p.p.s I’d love to have you follow Gingham Gardens on Pinterest. Lots of great gardening ideas and tons of eye candy for gardeners. Gingham Gardens is also on Facebook. Stop by Gingham Gardens’ Amazon store!

Pins to Save to Your Favorite Gardening Board:

Image of buffalo check bucket with flowers planted in it with text overlay - Unique DIY Planters

Image of a rain boot with flowers with text overlay - Unique Flower Planters