4 Creative Container Garden Ideas

Now that the weather has warmed up, it’s the perfect time to start growing some food! Whether that means rows and rows of veggies or a few pots of herbs, there’s something gratifying about eating food that you grew yourself. Growing food is a great way to help get that grocery budget under control and spend some time outdoors, too!

No matter how much (or how little!) space you have, a container garden can be a great way to get into growing some food of your own. If you plant in containers with a mix of organic potting soil and good compost, you avoid issues with weeds, poor soil quality, or contaminated soil that can come with planting in the ground.

Plants that grow well in containers include: herbs, hot peppers, beans (if you have room for them to climb), small tomatoes, garlic, strawberries, salad greens, chives, and edible flowers.

Sure, you can hit the home improvement store for pots, but why not give your container garden a bit of personality and save some money at the same time with these unusual garden hacks?

>>Next: Cooking Pot Garden

herbs in cooking pots

1. Cooking Pot Garden

Kip and Brian built their cooking pot herb garden using pots that they bought at the local thrift store. Thrifting is a great way to find unusual containers for your garden, especially if you think outside the box. You can use pots and pans like they did, old buckets, wooden crates….pretty much any container is fair game, as long as you prepare it properly.

To turn a found object into a pot, just make sure you fill the bottom with rocks or drill a few holes for drainage, fill up with organic potting soil and some compost, and plant away! For containers that have gaps and holes, like wooden crates, you can line them with cardboard before planting.

>>Next: Plant a Potato Barrel


2. Grow 100 Pounds of Potatoes in a Barrel

Over at Green Upgrader, Tim shows you how to plant a barrel of potatoes for a fantastic yield!

You can use a barrel, like in his post, and I’ve seen other intensive potato-growing plans that involve growing the potatoes in a stack of tires. Tire dumping is a serious environmental problem, so finding a way to reuse old tires does double duty! Plus, the stack of tires makes it easy to harvest the potatoes in the middle of your contraption — just lift up the tires and fish around for potatoey goodness.

>>Next: Build a Raised Spiral Garden Bed

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by hopistos

spiral garden

3. Build a Raised Spiral Garden Bed

Our back yard is full of bricks, so when I ran across instructions on building a spiral garden it was a no-brainer. You can read about how my husband and I built the garden over at Eat Drink Better, but here’s the jist:

  1. Lay down a thin bed of compost.
  2. Lay down some cardboard.
  3. Set down your bricks in a spiral formation.
  4. Add layers of bricks to your spiral until it’s as tall as you want or you run out of bricks.
  5. Build your layers inside the bed: fill 1/3 with rocks, the rest of the way with straw, top with compost, add plants, then top with potting soil.

If your backyard isn’t as brick-laden as ours was, you can often find bricks for free or very cheaply on Craigslist or even check out Freecycle to see if anyone’s trying to unload some bricks.

>>Next: Build a Gutter Garden

gutter garden

4. Build a Gutter Garden

How cool is this? If you’ve got some old gutters handy, you can transform them into a super sweet vertical container garden! These gutter planters are just drilled right into the side of the house.

Not sure what to plant? Life on the Balcony has a great list of plants that grow well in a gutter garden.

You can often find old gutters at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, on Craigslist or Freecycle, or at contruction sites. If you’re planning to scavenge at the latter, just make sure you talk to someone on site and ask nicely. If they were planning to landfill those gutters, they’ll often be happy to have you haul them off for free.

Have you guys been doing any container gardening? I’d love to hear about any unusual containers you’ve used and what you’re growing!

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by PseudoGil

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Bryna Pizzo
Bryna Pizzo2 years ago

Thanks you for the tips! I plan to put them to good use this spring.

Vita Pagh
Vita P.2 years ago

Good ideas. Thank you.

Sonia Minwer-Barakat Requ

Good ideas,thanks for sharing

Mary ann S.
mary ann s.2 years ago

Thank you for shareing

Natasha Salgado
Natasha Salgado2 years ago

Interesting and can look quite interesting...my mother would def think of it as a wrecking yard and then she'd ask me if i'm broke..Thanks!

Leny B.
Leny B.4 years ago

Has anyone tried growing sweet potatoes in a container? I live in zone 5.

Roxane Connor
Roxane Connor4 years ago

How about coffee cans and old mixing bowls?

Camila K.
Kamila A.4 years ago

I love these ideas

Tim Cheung
Tim C.4 years ago


NT T.4 years ago

Great ideas. The next time i want to get rid of something I will ask myself what I can plant in it.