DIY Planters
July 14, 2004 3:58 PM   Subscribe

I want to add some plants to my deck and I'm looking for planters, or rather looking for industrial materials which might make good planters that can be bought for cheap. I spent hours on my Tandy looking through Google and Froogle, but can't seen to find anything appropriate. What I'm dreaming about would be any sort of tub or industrial looking trough or whatever which could be adapted to hold various plants. Metal and wood are the desired materials. If anyone has advice about where to go, how to look, or on specific materials that might make good planters, please post!
posted by chaz to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you have the ability, you could make planters from treated pine sleepers, which will give you a roughish/industrial look and can be carried to your deck in pieces and assembled there if there are problems with access. By making them yourself, you can choose the sizes and shapes to suit exactly what you need.

If you are looking for ideas, browse around the web sites of the "lifestyle" TV shows such as this one (or the equivalent on your planet).
posted by dg at 4:17 PM on July 14, 2004

Popular Mechanics - Build your own planters

I use tin / galvanized pails for my indoor plants, I think it looks nice.
posted by milovoo at 4:18 PM on July 14, 2004

Go to a hardware store - there are tons of things. We've used great-looking galvanized buckets, they come in all sorts of sizes, are have a nice, industrial feel. You could make a great-looking planter out of glass block. Those copper tubs you see used to hold champagne or beer at partes are pretty nice, too.

I helped a friend do a recycled garden a few years ago and he had porcelain sinks, tubs, tires, bike chains wrapped around buckets, empty paint cans (which are really beautiful when you peel off the label), dryer ducts, and pipes, all used for containers, and it was the most beautiful thing.

I've also purchased cheapie terra cotta pots and used cracked and broken china to make mosaics on them, which is really great-looking. I got tiles for free from a local supply shop, and bought some old china plates from a thrift shop and broke them myself.

I also love something like this for hanging plants - just put a little moss in it, as a liner. You could make them with wired pedestal feet, too, and put them on the deck. Any kind of screening or chicken wire might work too. I got that link from Crafty Chica, who has some other good patio/garden ideas too.
posted by iconomy at 4:23 PM on July 14, 2004

I'd caution against using metal or glass containers in sunny areas due to heat transfer - you'll be watering constantly and if the roots are exposed to sunlight behind glass, it could be fatal. If you're in a cold region and want the plants to overwinter, you'll need to think about frost protection, and again wood, metal and glass will not provide enough protection for the roots. I keep my apple tree in heavy clay pot that protects from frost.

I use wooden wine boxes for planters in areas of sun or shade. People throw them out, so I grab them and stick my annuals in. No one would know they weren't meant to be planters.

When thinking about a tub or trough, be sure you've got a drill that will place drainage holes in the bottom, if you're buying from a demo yard you can likely have an employee stick a few holes in with a heavy-duty drill before you take it home.
posted by Salmonberry at 5:29 PM on July 14, 2004

I made planters myself about seven or eight years ago, and they're still going strong despite my abhorrent lack of appropriate tools back then.

Basically nothing more than a couple 2x4s for corner posts, a bunch of 1x4s for bracing, plywood bottoms and sides, plastic sheeting, landscape fabric to make it look prettier, and vinyl siding to match the house. Bottoms are sloped and drilled and PCV inserts inserted for drainage without damaging the wood.

The only flaw to them has been (a) they're bloody heavy, hence basically unmovable; (b) I never could find nice endcaps for the corner siding and never did hack something up with a bit of cut&glue.

One of them is 2x4 feet, the other 2x8 feet; both have perhaps 2 feet high, with the bottoms being a foot, foot and a half deep. Yes, lots of hollow space below the bottoms.

We've grown all sorts of herbs to great effect, and green peppers and hot peppers and carrots and many flowers and strawberries. (Full south exposure and temperatures into the high 40s, too!)
posted by five fresh fish at 6:03 PM on July 14, 2004

On your Tandy? Seriously?

posted by damnitkage at 6:53 PM on July 14, 2004

Depending where you live, there might be good material scavenging/recycling places - in SF, there's SCRAP and various other places to get random things people have thrown out - excellent planter material.
posted by judith at 9:21 PM on July 14, 2004

Go to a TSC (Tractor Supply Company) or similar, and buy watering/feeding troughs.

Here's one.

They look really, really cool.

Maybe you've seen them in bars, particularly college bars, filled with ice and beer?
posted by yesster at 5:39 AM on July 15, 2004

some farm supply stores carry black plastic or rubber feed/water troughs too, to avoid that whole "metal in the sun" thing. one of my extended family members makes a (damn good) living off of these - he has three greenhouses full of them, grows fancy heirloom herbs and veggies to sell to a local upscale restaurant.

(sorry couldn't say for sure whether the tubs he uses are black plastic or hard rubber, don't rightly remember. he made a frame for them out of 2x4s, to keep them at waist level for easy planting-weeding-harvesting.)
posted by caution live frogs at 5:45 AM on July 15, 2004

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