12 Creative Wheelbarrow Planter Ideas

Use these tips and ideas to turn a wheelbarrow into a creative garden planter. Whether it’s wood or metal, old wheelbarrows are perfect for displaying colorful annuals, trailing vines, creating mini plant nurseries, or growing plants like herbs or strawberries.

For more ideas also see Wheels In The Garden—a gallery of things with wheels used as garden art and containers.

Wheelbarrow Planters

That old wheelbarrow your neighbor is throwing out may be perfect for creating a one-of-a-kind garden planter.

Choosing a Wheelbarrow Planter

If you’re junk shopping for a wheelbarrow, here are some things to look for.

  • If the wheelbarrow is wobbly, can the bolts be tightened?
  • If the tray (main bowl) is rusted out or has holes, is it still strong enough to hold soil or pots?
  • If the tray is ugly, can you paint it?
  • Are the support legs intact?

It’s pretty rare that a wheelbarrow destined for the trash cannot be repurposed as a garden planter. If you like the look of it, grab it! With a little care, a lick of paint, and some plants, you should be good to go.

If you want to create your own using old metal wheels, check local online ads in places like Facebook Marketplace (and place your own wanted ad) as well as auction sales, yard sales, second-hand stores, and Etsy or Ebay.

Planting Tips & Options

  • Line the tray with landscape fabric to protect wood and prevent soil from falling through the drainage holes.
  • For plants with different soil needs, keep each in its own pot.
  • For maximum wow-factor, follow the thrill—fill—spill formula, with a variety of eye-catching, lush, and trailing plants.
  • Alternately, use the wheelbarrow to raise seedlings or propagate cuttings away from rabbits and slugs.
  • Love seasonal decorating? Place your wheelbarrow by an entry way and enjoy decorating it to suit the seasons all year-round. Pansies, pumpkins, and wintery greenery are all options.

Here are some of my favorite ideas from home garden tours and my own garden.

Wheelbarrow With Wooden Trug

Wheelbarrow planter with sweet potato vine.

I got this heavy duty wheelbarrow for just $10 from a local junk seller. It was bright orange so I opted to paint it black and add white flower stencils.

The wooden trug (free instructions) can be functional or decorative. I made it to fit over the wheelbarrow to hold tools while I’m working but also love it with flower pots inside.

Antique Wood Cart

Vintage wheelbarrow with flowers.

This planter is a composite of new and old materials and makes a fabulous patio planter. This one appears to be lined with landscape fabric to help extend the life of the wood.

Potato Vine Planter

Old wheelbarrow with sweet potato vine and purple flowers.

The colorful foliage of the sweet potato vine contrasted with the purple flowers and reddish hue of the old wheelbarrow are gorgeous.

Use these tips to propagate sweet potato vine from cuttings—it’s very easy to do.

Rusty Wheelbarrow

Rusty metal wheelbarrow with purple flowers and iris leaves.

This reminds me of old metal wheelbarrows used for concrete work. I love how the leaves—which I assume are irises—contrast with the petunias.

If you are a rust fan, I have a gallery of rusty garden art ideas here.

Wooden Wheelbarrow and Rustic Arbor

Vintage wheelbarrow with colorful flowers next to rustic garden arbor.

I visited this garden many years ago and still remember how beautiful it was. The old, faded antique wheelbarrow filled with colorful flowers next to the rustic wood of the arbor—so pretty.

There is a gallery of arbor ideas here if you want more inspiration.

Antique Plain Wood Wheelbarrow

Antique wooden wheelbarrow with colorful flowers.

This is one of my favorites—you don’t often see these older wheelbarrows with unpainted wood. The single-color flower choice helps the planter stand out.


Wooden wheelbarrow with purple and yellow pansies.

Sometimes old wheelbarrows have seen better days and are best anchored in the garden to live out their days.

Others, like this one, are still functional. Load it up with flowers and move it around as desired throughout the growing season.

Strawberry Planter

Wheelbarrow planted with strawberries.

I turned this wheelbarrow found in the trash into a strawberry planter (DIY instructions) which I have continued growing for years.

As the plants create runners, I root them in the lower section until they are ready to be transplanted elsewhere in the garden.

I have a guide to growing strawberries here.

Garden Art Wheelbarrow

Old wheelbarrow with broken strawberry pot and red flowers.

I saw this one on a garden tour. I like how they added a broken strawberry pot to the mix.

This has more unique ways to use strawberry pots in the garden.

Wheeled Planter Box

Wheeled flower cart with pink and purple flowers.

Not really a wheelbarrow but a fun use of old wheels on a wooden planter box. The masses of trailing petunias provide lots of character and color.

Flower Planter

Old wheelbarrow in garden planted with flowers.

This is a favorite way to fill in bare spaces in garden beds—add vertical garden art, items like homemade obelisks, or a nice wheelbarrow planter like this one.


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Examples of wheelbarrow garden planters.

Melissa J. Will

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