Out of all popular container garden tools, the most classic and widely used just might be the venerable whiskey or wine barrel. With absolutely timeless looks and superior utility, these barrels make for a perfect planter in almost any garden setting.
These timeworn barrels can be found nearly anywhere, including your local gardening and home supply stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot, or sourced from friends and neighbors who may be willing to part with extras. The shape and look is pretty uniform: rustic wood, aged metal bindings, and a classic bulging silhouette.
The shape makes barrels a perfect ready-made planter. The universal look and timeless appeal makes them one of the most versatile pieces of garden equipment you can own.
With this list, we’re taking a closer look at the myriad methods and styles used to include the handcrafted beauty of these barrels in gardens around the world. You’ll see an intense variety of projects on display, from standard well-stuffed planters to elaborate setups involving bird houses, water features, and other whimsical elements.
We hope you feel as inspired as we do by these fantastic projects!
1. Classic Barrel Planter
For our first shared project, we present the classic barrel planter, using a standard half barrel filled with soil and flowers a-plenty. This simple and elegant planter solution adds a rustic charm to any space.
2. Tumbling Flowerbed
This idea is both elegant and simple, using a half barrel without major modification. Tipped on its side, you can plant a flowerbed that spills forth like the original liquid contents of the planter. Source: DinnersreadyArkansas
3. Tiered and Turned Barrel Planter
Using a saw, hammer, and some ingenuity, you can build your own barrel planter as shown below. Once the outside has been cut, the tiers are open for planting any sort of greenery you prefer. Our example shows how it looks chock-full of succulents.
4. Half Barrel Planter
This ingenious project involves one major but simple bit of work: slicing the barrel itself in half. Once you’ve done this, you’ll have a pair of equally viable large planters ready for your garden.
5. Umbrella Stand Planter
This fabulously efficient idea plays on the useful size and heft of the barrel, using the deep planter to support a patio umbrella. This can be done simply and quickly with any half barrel and soil, as long as you’ve got the umbrella.
6. Bird House Planter
This charming project combines the utility and visual appeal of a standard barrel planter with the added surprise and beauty of built-in birdhouses.
7. Flip-Lid Planter
While many of the planters on this list involve placing the barrel directly on the ground, this unique project adds a set of bespoke legs to the bottom, while re-using the original barrel end as a “flip-top” lid.
8. Teacup Barrel
This fantastical idea combines the utility of barrel planting with the whimsy of a tea party! Adding paint and a hand-carved wooden handle will net you a beautiful set of oversized “teacups” for the garden.
9. Bamboo Barrels
Here’s a novel twist on the standard barrel planter. Using the ample soil space and depth, you can achieve maximum privacy and green surroundings with the careful planting of bamboo. The plant can reach great height and thickness in a short time.
10. Solar Light Planter
Using a simple solar powered light, you can transform a simple barrel planter into something with nighttime appeal, too. Virtually any light style will suffice, but this arched lantern blends stylistically.
11. Moss Planter
The careful use of pristine green moss can add a layered, opaque look to your new barrel planter. Pictured here with a singular tree erupting from the soil, this moss covered project appears lush over a concrete patio.
12. Fountain Planter
Filled with polished stones and a succulent garden, this wine barrel has been completely transformed by the addition of a hand-pump fountain. The continuous water flow and striking looks make this a holistic, beautiful addition to the garden or patio.
13. Potato Planter
This project utilizes an entire barrel, with simple side cut-outs allowing for growing space, fresh air, and sunlight. This idea is perfect for growing potatoes, or any tuberous plant, which requires shade and a cool space in the soil.
13. Vegetable Garden
Our next project shows an entire array of vegetable (and some flower) planters crafted from wine barrels. This makes for a neatly organized garden, while allowing for an amazing variety of plant life.
14. Water Garden
Here’s a strikingly original idea: using the half barrel to craft a water garden, replete with lilies! This project requires a bit of work but the entire process is detailed in the following link.
15. Wall Of Planters
This idea combines a couple existing barrel planter ideas, basically combining to create a beautiful “wall” of greenery, sprouting from the rustic looking containers. With firs, succulents, and other plants, the variety achieved can be astounding.
Here’s the most whimsical, elaborate project we found. Using multiple barrels, some manual labor, and a lot of patience and creativity, you can craft this fantastical barrel planter train, complete with multiple “cars” full of lush greenery.