How To Turn A Drab Trash Can Into A Stylish Garden Planter

Transforming everyday objects into unique pieces is at the heart of sustainable living. In addition to upcycling things that otherwise may have been trash, the trash can itself has untapped potential. If you have an unused or old trash can that you're looking to get rid of, imagine repurposing it into a functional and stylish garden planter. This makes an environmental statement and showcases your creativity and resourcefulness.

It can also be a money-saving solution. Depending on the size, material, and color, planters can cost hundreds of dollars per piece — a trash can provides a significantly cheaper alternative. Additionally, this option allows you to get creative with your design, adding a colorful statement piece to your garden, porch, or house. And, depending on the trash can you choose, the height can create a sleek, tall look without spending a fortune.

There are many design possibilities hidden within the ordinary. This project will inspire you to look at everyday objects with a new lens, redefining their purpose and enhancing the charm of your green spaces.

Steps to prepare your trash can

The TikTok video from @signaturesbykay shows how to make a planter with an inexpensive trash can. This user keeps it simple, finding a trash can at Target, adding the plants, and leaving it as is, but if you're using an old can from your house or want to add your own design, there are a few more steps involved.

You'll first want to thoroughly clean out your trash can to remove all waste products that could contribute to poor plant health. Next, create drainage holes at the bottom of your can to prevent waterlogging and improve root development. The number and size of holes should correspond with their size and the species you intend to grow in them. Placement, filling, and selection of plants all play critical roles in both aesthetics and functionality of planters. Take note of factors like the weight of the filled planter when considering filling quality potting soil and the climate suitability of chosen species for the planter. As a final step, apply mulch on top as a moisture retention solution.

If the can is small, fill it with stones at the bottom (to assist with drainage) and soil before adding your desired plants. If the can is large, you can try using this pool noodle hack, which provides a great way to fill up taller trash can planters without using huge amounts of soil.

Ways to decorate a trash can planter

You can get creative when transforming your trash can. For instance, you can create a rustic look through faux aging techniques, using a base paint color and a contrasting one applied lightly with a dry brush. Adding rustic details, such as a rope handle, enhances this look.

Intricate mosaic designs using ceramic tiles, broken dishes, or glass pieces can turn the trash can into a stunning art piece. This involves arranging your pieces, attaching them with strong adhesive, and applying grout to seal them together. Stencil art is another creative option. For example, you could use large or small stencils with themes like birds, flowers, or geometric patterns to echo the aesthetics of your garden.

For a more natural approach, paint the trash can to mimic the look of a tree trunk or stone. A themed planter is also an option – you can paint or stencil the names of the herbs or flowers you plant onto the can. Decorating the trash can is not the only way to turn the trash can into a stylish garden planter. The style can also be extended to the planter's saucer.

Your imagination is your only limitation. Combine these ideas or create something unique to reflect your personal style in your garden.