For many Australians the garden is far more than just their own little slice of nature; it can be an escape from life, a creative outlet, and a real point of pride.

Container gardening is a terrific option for any home gardener who is looking to utilise space, get creative or give their yard a unique look. Almost any type of plant, be it a vegetable, a flower, a shrub or even a tree, can be planted in a container.

Adding to the unique personality that a container garden offers, upcycling old items as containers is both a fun and an environmentally friendly option. You’ll also save quite a bit of cash! Here are 13 creative ideas to upcycle a whole host of old household items as garden containers.

Tea Kettle

A perfectly charming container to sit on the windowsill or in the corner of the kitchen, an old tea kettle is perfect for holding small cacti or fragrant herbs.

Wine Barrel

Wine barrels bring an old-world charm to any backyard, and make for absolutely perfect planter boxes. Cut a barrel in half to double the planting space!

Toilet Bowl

If you’re a fan of the odd and eccentric, a toilet bowl or cistern makes for an incredibly interesting container addition to your garden. The porcelain is terrifically weather resistant, and also comes with built-in drainage!

Watering Can

From one can to another, the old, rusted watering can has always been an upcycling favourite. Small flowers look stunning in old watering cans, which can be hung up on the fence for added interest.

Old Work Boots

There’s nothing more charming than breathing new life into a pair of old work boots with the addition of a bit of soil and flora. The bigger the foot, the more extensive the display!


Designed to carry soil in a more temporary capacity, you can upcycle your old wheelbarrow by drilling some drainage holes in the bottom and loading it up with whatever plants tickle your fancy.

Chest of Drawers

An old chest of drawers can make for a gorgeous apartment-style planter box. By pulling the shelves out to varying degrees, you can have a 3 or 4 level high-rise container garden that will really draw the eye.

Toy Dump Truck

As the kids get older, their toys get dustier. But there’s no need to throw away that old push-around dump truck – repurpose it by putting it in the garden and filling the tray with your favourite flowers!

Decorated Tin Cans

Collect up a few old tin cans and let your creative juices run wild. Paint them, glue rocks on them, engrave them, then hang them up from your veranda or your fence.


An old toolbox, be it metal or wood, makes for an ideal planter box for the windowsill, and is perfect for planting herbs. If you’ve got a multi-level box, you may even be brave enough to plant on the swing-out trays.

Bike Baskets

Bike baskets, be they stuck to an old bicycle or otherwise, offer a cute and charming garden container option. Be careful with wicker baskets, however, as they may be affected by constant moisture.


You’ve got a hanging basket right there in your wardrobe, you just never knew it! An old leather handbag is a terrific hanging garden container option! Just remember to punch some drainage holes in the bottom with a leather belt hole punch.

Bath Tub

If you’re interested in forming a proper herb garden or a vegie patch, you’ll need something a little bigger. Bath tubs, like toilets, will last an age outside and also have the all-important drainage capabilities. A fancy claw foot bath will also offer elegance to match the eccentricity.

Like any creative pursuit, container gardens are limited only by your imagination. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get creative!


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