Urban Farming: DIY Upcycled Garden Planter Pot Ideas

Are you motivated to grow some of your own food at home, but do not want to dish out so much cash? Garden planter pots can get really expensive at the store. The good news is, you can make your own garden planters out of recycled materials you already have on hand or can easily collect for free in your area. Here are several inspirational ideas to get you growing!

(If you are lazy and/or have the money, you can always buy pretty garden planters on Amazon or your local garden store)


Plastic is by far my most favorite material to recycle into planter pots. Why? Because otherwise, these unassuming one-time use plastic containers are destined to end up in a landfill or our oceans where they will NEVER completely break down, kill lots of wildlife, and pollute our beautiful Mother Earth for eons to come. This eternal quality also makes them pretty darn sturdy and weatherproof containers for your herbs and other veggie plants.

The Good In Re-Using Plastics as Planters (source: Fresh Organic Gardening)

  • Plastics are kept away from landfills where they will stay in an undecomposed state for thousands of years
  • They can be found almost anywhere
  • They are cheap
  • They are easy to use
  • They last a long time
  • Re-using plastic containers minimizes the need to use up more resources that are sadly not being replenished

So why not recycle all those plastic bottles you and your neighbors use into gorgeous and useful garden planters that will churn out tons of free food?

grow lettuce and greens in recycled plastic bottles
Grow your salad greens in recycled plastic bottles – the bigger the better for root space

The easiest method would be to simply cut a large hole on one side of the plastic bottle (usually just the top, or a side as pictured above), poke some drainage holes on the opposite bottom end, then boom! A perfectly functional upcycled garden planter.

You can always spend the time to cover the plastic and make your upcycled garden planters more attractive like this:

Even better – go vertical with those used plastic bottles. Here are two such systems with slight variations in the design to get your creative juices flowing. The second one is not in English, but his design and demonstration on how to actually build the system is better.

Materials needed to make a vertical garden out of recycled plastic bottles:

  • several large plastic bottles (all the same size/dimension)
  • drill
  • circular drill bit (depending on size of bottle cap)
  • scissors
  • sandpaper

Recreate the simple yet innovative plastic bottle garden planter designs above, or get creative — improve upon one of these designs or make something completely different. Plastic is very easy to work with and experimenting won’t cost you a dime.

So many possibilities with recycled plastics!
So many possibilities with recycled plastic bottles!

Recycle almost anything into upcycled garden planters

Tin cans can also make beautiful and stylish little planters for your herbs. Place them on your kitchen sill for a rustic, homey feeling.

How to make a garden planter using old tires:

Here’s how to make biodegradable seedling planters w/recycled materials using just:

  • egg trays
  • cardboard toiletpaper tubes
  • newspaper

The possibilities are literally endless! Here a just a few more creative upcycled planter ideas:

Get creative and use what you have freely available. Do you have any special innovative ways to convert recycled or commonly unused materials into planters? Leave us a comment below!


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