Cheap and easy planters

I have a bit of a bi-polar, existential dispute going on within my persona. On the one hand, the sun instantly burns my skin to a color resembling a freshly cooked shrimp, and both body and mind yearn for the protection of lush green shade to hide in. On the other hand, the artist in me absolutely loves the multitude of wild, exuberant, strong, sculptural shapes of sun-loving plants like Yuccas, grasses, Eryngiums, etc.., not to mention blue foliage. So, since I’ve built up plenty of shade over almost a decade, there isn’t a lot of light to go around. Contemplating this problem, I started thinking that maybe there was something I could do to create better access to light in a few places, so that perhaps I could grow some of these beauties, after all. And so began the Side yard experiment.

The west side of my house gets really hot, but not until the afternoon. The distance between our house, and that of our neighbors’ is only something like 11′. Luckily, theirs is a one-story – otherwise this might never have worked out! The idea was that if I lifted the plants up a little, the sun would hit them earlier in the day, and they would like me a little better than if I simply let them languish, and fend for themselves at ground level. There was only one problem. Big, tall planters can cost a fortune, and quite frankly, I would rather spend that on the plants themselves.

The answer was in corrugated metal panels - easily obtainable at your nearest box store for not much money at all, and a few tools.

The answer was in corrugated metal panels – easily obtainable at your nearest box store for not much money at all, and a few, well-choosen  tools.

The 12' sheet of metal offers all kinds of possibilities. You can make them tall and skinny, or short and squat. After you decide, just cut enough strips in the same width, until you have the circumference you want.

The 12′ sheet of metal offers all kinds of possibilities. You can make them tall and skinny, or short and squat. After you decide, just cut enough strips in the same width, until you have the circumference you want.

Match up the grooves on each end of the panel, and drill some holes - reasonably evenly spaced.

Match up the grooves on each end of the panel, and drill some holes – reasonably evenly spaced…

... and bolt them together. Easy-peasy!

… and bolt them together. TIP! Drill the two holes at each end first, and bolt them together. They will hold the panels in place while you drill the rest of the holes. Easy-peasy!

It works pretty well. This photo is from last year, after I had just planted it with a Yucca rostrata. I'm happy to report that this year, the Yucca is still there, and looking better than in this picture. Somehow whatever light it gets seems to at least sustain them, if not outright thrive. Or perhaps it's not just the light, but also the phenomenal drainage offered by these bottomless planters? Hard to say, but overall, I'm fairly pleased with my $10 planter! :)

It works pretty well. This photo is from last year, after I had just planted it with a Yucca rostrata. I’m happy to report that this year, the Yucca is still there, and looking far better than in this picture. Somehow whatever light it gets seems to at least sustain them, if not outright thrive. Or perhaps it’s not just the light, but also the phenomenal drainage offered by these bottomless planters? Hard to say, but overall, I’m fairly pleased with my less than $10 planter! 🙂

About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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27 Responses to Cheap and easy planters

  1. rusty duck says:

    A perfect match for the steely blue planting!

  2. Alan @ it's not work, it's gardening! says:

    Love this idea! 😀

  3. Mark and Gaz says:

    Great idea 🙂 industrial and modern chic!

  4. Well damn, you know I love this and want to make some of these RIGHT NOW! What a fabulous idea and execution. You rock Anna!

    • annamadeit says:

      Have fun, Loree! They are fun, because you can play with them – stack a tall one inside a low one, and so on, for a multi-tiered effect. My only worry is that the metal gets HOT, and I wonder if it might scorch the peripheral roots… I guess that remains to be seen. The rostrata hasn’t complained yet.

  5. yayayayayayya!! LOVE ! Want! Sell? 🙂

  6. Alison says:

    That is brilliant! Well done. A similar look to a culvert planter, but way cheaper.

  7. Über brilliant! Will have to copy this when we finally tear out the front lawn. To prevent the sun from cooking the roots, I’ll make the containers extra large and then add a layer of spray foam inside for insulation (not my idea, I read that somewhere).

  8. Very smart and creative! And I like how the color of the Yucca is so similar to the silver container.

  9. Kris P says:

    Very clever! I expect you could spray paint them with something like Rustoleum too if you wanted to vary the look.

  10. Those are so clever! I would probably cut myself! Very nice.

  11. Pingback: FarWest 2015 – | Flutter & Hum

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