How to Make a Tool-box Planter

Create a versatile planter in four easy steps.

Credit: Terry Guscott / Stylist: Heather Cameron

Make a versatile planter in four easy steps

For season after season, I have enjoyed this versatile planter made from a wooden tool box. It’s easily moved around and its long, narrow shape makes it adaptable to many garden locations. 

Old tool boxes can be found at antique stores, flea markets and garage sales – the more beat-up looking the better! Throw on a coat of paint if you like; historic blue milk paint pairs well with many colours found in nature. 

In the past this planter has been a home for a mix of scented geraniums, herbs, grasses and sedums.

This year it is perfectly planted with shade-loving annuals, including 
assorted coleus, fuchsia, white lobelia and impatiens. Tucked up under a north overhang, it brightens an otherwise dark corner. 



What you’ll need
• Wooden tool box

• Drill

• 1 bag planter-box mix

• Organic fertilizer (granular) 

• Assorted plants

STEP 1: Drill holes in the bottom of the container. This is a must for drainage.

STEP 2: Add planter-box soil and organic granular fertilizer at the recommended rate.

STEP 3: Lay out your plants and nestle them in.

STEP 4: Water well, and maintain as needed.

make a planter out of old tool box

Planting Themes

Hummingbird Heaven: Plant assorted fuchsias with trailing blue lobelia (sunny spot).

Copper Canyon: Combine brown grasses, coleus, purple hebes and grey creeping sedum (sunny spot).

Desert Memories: Sedums, echeverias, summer aloe and cacti (sunny spot).

Perennial shade inspiration: Hostas and hardy fuschia, sprinkled with annual lobelia (shady spot).