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.

| December 2016/January 2017

  • Spruce up your porch or deck with this attractive and inexpensive planter made from salvaged materials.
    Photo by Seth and Cheryl Rundle
  • Mount the lower piece of siding that faces away from the house on hinges in case you need to send somebody under the deck to fetch dropped keys.
    Photo by Seth and Cheryl Rundle
  • Use screws to attach the scrap decking to the sides of the barrel planter frame.
    Photo by Seth and Cheryl Rundle

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.

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