Build a Barrel Planter from Recycled Materials

Repurpose a 55-gallon drum and leftover decking to create a rabbit-proof barrel planter that pairs perfectly with your deck.


Spruce up your porch or deck with this attractive and inexpensive planter made from salvaged materials.

Photo by Seth and Cheryl Rundle

Content Tools

Our 8-by-22-foot deck looked a little plain, so we decided to build a planter. The soil box is made from a thick plastic soap barrel taken from the dumpster of a company that washes buses and trucks.


• 55-gallon plastic barrel
• Landscape fabric
• Assorted screws
• 4-by-4s
• Scrap 2-by-4s
• Three 3⁄8-by-6-inch lag screws
• Scrap decking material


1. Cut the plastic barrel in half with a reciprocating saw, and then cut one end from each half and slide them together, creating a 6-inch overlap.

2. To create adequate drainage, drill holes in the bottom of the barrel and cover each hole with landscape fabric.

3. Build a frame from six durable 4-by-4 posts, joined by two pieces of scrap decking between each of the posts. For the middle posts, use a 2-by-4 to support the middle of the soil box.

4. Attach the back three support posts to the deck using the lag screws.

5. Hang the soil box inside the skeleton frame with screws.

6. Hang spare pieces of decking around the exterior of the frame like siding. Finally, mount the lower piece of siding that faces away from the house on hinges for easy cleanup, or in case you need to send somebody under the deck to fetch dropped keys.

Anyone with access to scrap wood, a few power tools, and large plastic barrels could make this sizable elevated vegetable garden for next to nothing, and it protects from all but the most athletic rabbits!