7 Easy, Sustainable DIY Planters

Originally Published on April 28, 2022. Last Updated on February 15, 2023.

Looking for ways to revamp your outdoor space without breaking the bank? If you happen to have old bottles, boots, or wood laying around the house, you can transform them into creative, sustainable DIY planters. Taking common household items and giving them a new lease on life is one of our favorite ways to teach children about recycling, and there’s no shortage of second-hand objects that could be upcycled instead of landing up in landfills. Get inspired with these seven projects that turn trash into treasure.

1. Plastic Bottles

It’s no surprise we love recycling plastic and If you’re looking for self-watering planter ideas, using recycled plastic bottles is an easy way to make that happen. As an added bonus, this is a fun, lazy day project to do with your kids. How do self-watering planters work? They’re designed to get the right amount of water using the sub-irrigation method, meaning the plant is watered from the bottom up instead of the top down. Once you and your kids craft a couple of these DIY planters, all you have to do is remember to fill up the water reservoir (about every three weeks, depending on the size of your plastic bottle). 

If you’re looking for something a little more eclectic, you can make a face planter from a milk jug or turn a soda bottle into a cute cat planter

DIY Recycled Plastic Bottle Cat Planter

2. Cinder Blocks 

Looking to add a modern, industrial look to your outdoor space? Consider the cinder block. Sure, these gray building blocks may seem a little drab at first, but that just means it’s time to get the kiddos involved! Have the whole family paint cinder blocks in their favorite colors and designs. Be sure to use high-quality acrylic latex paint that can withstand regular wear and tear. Once the blocks are painted, fill the openings with potting soil. Smaller plants like succulents and garden herbs work best for cinder block planters. 

For a larger backyard, you can create a cinder block garden wall for all your flowers, herbs and succulents.

3. Wine Bottles

Did last night’s dinner leave you with a few extra empty wine bottles in the recycling bin? Upcycle those colorful glass bottles and transform them into DIY planters. Succulents are perfect for wine bottles because they have shallow roots, so they don’t need to be planted in deep pots to grow. DIY wine bottle planters make a statement, especially when lined up horizontally and used as a centerpiece for your outdoor dining table. 

If you haven’t cut glass before, you’ll want to polish up on your skills before you tackle this project. Take a look at this video to safely walk you through the steps.

Hanging DIY Wine Bottle Planter

4. Tires

Do you have old tires tucked away in the back of the shed? You can easily turn that hunk of rubber into a unique DIY garden planter that’s ideal for boho decors. All you need is spray paint, potting soil, flowers, and a tire. Make sure you use a half-inch drill bit and drill at least six holes on the bottom of the tire for drainage. The easiest way to hang your tire planter is with a chain and S-hook. Find a strong tree branch in your backyard, wrap the chain around it, and secure the ends with an S-hook. 

5. Wood Pallets

Vertical planters constructed from warehouse pallets are another trend we’re loving right now. But where exactly do you find warehouse pallets? Check with your local home improvement store because there’s a good chance they have stacks of them they’re eager to get rid of. These wooden DIY planters have a minimal footprint, making them perfect for balconies or small outdoor spaces. You can even hang them along your fence, creating a unique trellis look. 

DIY Wood Pallet Vertical Garden

6. DIY Concrete Planters

Concrete planters are blowing up Pinterest as one of the hottest trends in gardening, and they’re actually quite easy to make at home. Do you have an empty pint of Ben & Jerry’s or a half-gallon juice jug in your recycling bin? Then you can create a modern DIY concrete planter on a weekend morning. These planters make a stylish accent to your patio conversation area or outdoor dining table, and you can paint or spray paint over them so they match your backyard décor. We love them as a housewarming gift or treat the gardening guru in your life to a personalized concrete planter on their birthday. Since you’re making a cement mixture, it’s going to get messy, so plan on doing this project outside and lay some tarp or newspaper down so nothing gets ruined.

7. Old Boots

Next time you’re sparking joy by decluttering your home, hang on to those old boots hiding in the back of your closet. A worn pair of boots can make a flower planter that looks right at home if your outdoor style is rustic or shabby chic. Line up multiple pairs of these DIY planters in a row to create a farmyard-inspired arrangement. Best of all, this project is incredibly easy to do. Just drill drainage holes in the bottom of the boots, add potting soil, plant your flowers, and water them. Kids especially will get a kick out of watering their old kicks.

Turn Old Boots Into A Planter

Time to roll up your sleeves and tackle these seven easy projects. Not only will you feel good knowing you created something special and unique, but you also helped reduce landfill waste. Sustainability heroes, unite!

Which of these DIY planters are you excited to try? Let us know in the comments below!

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