Make Your Own Container Garden

Whether you live in an apartment, want to dress up your home’s entry or have a space to fill in your backyard, container gardens are the way to go.

Decorative pots, watering cans or buckets can make great planters. Depending on your space, you can arrange them in groups of three or more, each displaying a different plant, for a garden you can show off anytime, anywhere.

Just about any type of container that will hold soil and can be drained will serve as a novel, eye-catching planter. Old galvanized buckets or watering cans are particularly interesting; new ones can be “aged” with wet soil to give them character.

What You Need for a Container Garden
Potting mix
Slow-release fertilizer
Range of flowering plants
Containers, such as old galvanized buckets and watering cans

What to Do
1. To give an aged look to a shiny new galvanized bucket or watering can, smear a handful of moist soil haphazardly over the surface. Let this dry and then use a gloved hand to scrape or wipe off any lumps that have stuck to the surface. Don’t wash it off or you will remove the layer that dulls the silver gloss finish of the galvanizing process.

2. If an old container is still watertight, punch two or three 1/4-inch-diameter holes in the bottom with an awl or metal punch. Cover the holes with a layer of fiberglass screening so that they don’t become clogged with potting mix or allow the mix to wash away. If the bottom of the bucket or can has disintegrated through rusting, you may want to slip a plastic pot (with drainage holes) inside to keep the soil from escaping.

3. Fill the containers with a good potting mix, add a handful of slow-release fertilizer pellets, and plant as you would any other container.

Variation: If you have a large container, such as a galvanized tub, make drainage holes and fill the bottom with several inches of gravel. Then use the container to hold a changing display of seasonal flowers — from spring bulbs to fall mums — in individual pots.

Quirky Inspirations
Hollow logs, wooden crates, metal coffee pots, or even old birdcages can be adapted to hold plants; you can attach a length of chain or weatherproof cord to the top of a birdcage to make an unusual hanging basket.

Look around the basement, garage or attic for ideas. Baskets with plastic liners and several inches of gravel can hold pots of flowers handsomely. So can large decorative tins — the kind that come full of popcorn at Christmas — if you punch holes at the bottom. A pair of brightly colored children’s rain boots — long outgrown — could also make clever containers.

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram


A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Funny Jokes

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.


Funny Jokes

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.


Funny Jokes

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”


Funny Jokes

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Funny Jokes

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.