Trash Can Planters

front planters.jpg

an inexpensive large planter solution

Our Atomic Ranch house needs landscaping -- desperately. If dandelions and thistles were a cash crop, we would be very wealthy. However, we also have a pretty big yard, so this is an expensive proposition. And pretty landscaping ranks decidedly below functional improvements like a new fence. But I want pretty! And we needed some pop on the front porch. Our long-range goal involves built-in planters, so I didn't want to spend a fortune on this project either. 

So I came up with this solution: planters made from trash cans. They gave me the height and sleek look that I wanted, and they didn't cost a fortune. In fact, excluding the cost of plants, each planter cost about $20 to make. 

Materials:

56 Quart Swing Bin Trash Can in Silver: $14.99 from At Home

56 Quart Swing Bin Trash Can in Silver: $14.99 from At Home

1. Choose your Trash Can

I wanted something sleek and a little modern for the front of our house. But you could do this with any container that suits your decor. This style of top became a perfect planter, however. Mine are plastic, but metal would be great, too. Before purchasing the trash cans, I made sure the lids fit well in the top of the can and balanced perfectly on a lip inside.

Drill drainage holes in the bottom

Drill drainage holes in the bottom

2. Drill drainage holes 

Using a large drill bit, make at least 5 drainage holes in the bottom of your trash can. 

 
Duct Tape the top of the can

Duct Tape the top of the can

3. Duct Tape the Top

Because the top of the can will become your pot, you don't want the flip top to move much. I taped it with a little duct tape, but I left the cracks unsealed -- that will help with drainage. 

Add soil and plants

Add soil and plants

5. Add Soil and Plants

I balanced the rounded tops on an empty pot for this step. Fill the top with soil and add your plants! I used a variety of sun-lovers including: 

  • Potato Vine

  • Sweet William

  • Pansies

  • Japanese Sedge

  • Aeonium

You could make this even easier by just plopping a pre-made hanging basket or potted arrangement into the lid. They are roughly the same size!
 

Coconut Liner

Coconut Liner

4. Add the coconut Liner

Flip the top over, and insert the coconut liner. This will help keep the soil in the lid, and it also helps the pots retain moisture. Additionally, the liner helps distribute the weight of the soil and plants evenly. 

Add stones

Add stones

6. Add Stones

Fill the bottom of the can with enough stones that the can can't be knocked or blown over. I used river rock that we have in our yard. You could use bricks, broken concrete, or anything else that is heavy. Just make sure your container won't be top-heavy. 

7. Assemble

  1. Place your stone-filled cans where you want them.

  2. Place the tops into the can.

  3. Give your plants a good drink!

 
I have 4 planters on the front porch and one by another door -- all for under $90 (not including the plants).

I have 4 planters on the front porch and one by another door -- all for under $90 (not including the plants).

Put it all together!

Put it all together!

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trash can planter .jpg