10 Creative Ideas for Recycled Garden Planters on the Cheap

Update (7/19/12): I haven’t checked to see what kind of readership we have in Mexico City lately, but we’ve certainly got plenty of kindred spirits: Inhabitat reports that repurposed planters are all over the place in the city’s Roma district.

Have you been to the local garden center lately? The prices of planters there, or anywhere else, are insane. Most small ones cost as much as $20 a piece! I have seen large planters for as much as $100, and that is just too much – especially with money being so tight right now for almost everyone.

This led me to look for some eco friendly alternatives to those expensive planters. These can be made with reusable materials from your own homeΒ – so you’ll be helping the planet. If you want a further incentive, they are so easy to make that you won’t have to spend more than a few minutes on each.

1. Light Bulb Greenhouse

Light Bulb Greenhouse

The good thing about using a light bulb is that it provides a glass container with a circular shape for good circulation. So when you use one as a planter, you have a perfect – albeit small – greenhouse.

This is especially great for herbs that grow only in smaller amounts, and you can make a whole set of these little greenhouses for an entire garden. It is a great way to save space, as well.

2. Plastic Bottle Herb Planters

Plastic Bottle Herb Planters

Why spend $40 on a hanging planter when you can make one for cents on the dollar? There are two ways to use a bottle this way: either using the top or the bottom. I would suggest using both.

Cut the bottle in half and use the bottom as the container for the plant. Hang it using a wire hanger with the ends on either side. Then take the top and use a second hanger to secure it above the planter, cap on. Drill holes into the cap, and use it as a watering apparatus, pouring the water into it and allowing it to sift through the holes.

3. Shoe Planter and Hanging Shoe Planter

Shoe Planter

If you have kids you know that they grow out of shoes about every five seconds. Try taking a few of those pairs and turning them into plant holders.

Of course, you can use other styles other than the clogs shown in the picture. But you will want to make sure they are breathable, and can hold water. With tennis shoes, you might want to cut the tongue off of the top to allow more room for growth. It also goes without saying that there have to be sides to hold the dirt, and you should remove any laces.

4. Car Planter

Car Planter

This might be the coolest planter I have ever seen. Located outside of a complex in East Vancouver, Canada, it was made out of a junk car that was hollowed out, repainted and left to grow flowers. It is beautiful and shows the ingenuity and creativity in everyday people.

If you happen to have a car that just won’t run anymore, why not take a leaf out of these people’s book and do something productive with it?

5. Tire Planters

Tire Planters

Tires are some of the biggest environmental nightmares around. But you can lessen the impact by taking your old tires and using them. All it takes is some cutting and they provide the perfect boundary for you to plant in.

6. Guitar Planter

Guitar Planter

The small central opening might not make the best option for a planter, but the hollow interior of the acoustic guitar makes it good for growing inside. I would be concerned about proper sunlight, however.

7. Painted Tire Planters

Tire Planters

Here is another tire idea. In this case, they stacked more than one tire to allow for taller plants. They also painted the tires to give it a nicer, more whimsical look. I like the way they also used bike tires, which was a nice touch.

8. Bathtub Planter

Bathtub Planter

Chances are, you haven’t got an antique bathtub just sitting around for you to put into your front yard and turn into a planter. But if you do, why not do it like these guys did? The upside is that it certainly holds a lot, and it is pretty cool looking.

9. Book Planters

Book Planters

Another of the cooler ideas I have seen, this is a great idea for small house plants, or even an indoor herb garden. I know I have hundreds of books, and some of them I could probably spare for this idea. Or just a trip to the second hand shop would give you plenty of options.

The only risk you run is during watering, so a mister would be preferable.

10. Chair Planter

chair Planters

If you have old dining room chairs, you can do this idea. I don’t like it quite as much because it looks a bit messy. But it is definitely interesting, and could make a unique garden motif idea.

As you can see, you can use practically anything for a planter. Try going through your storage or garage and see what you can come up with!

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