How to Make Barrel Planters

What You'll Need
Liner (enamel-based)
Potting soil
Plastic sheet
Organic mulch

Barrel planting is among the latest addition in the affordable, garden landscaping niche. Barrels act as stylish and practical containers for growing plants. Bright, seasonal foliage growing in hollowed barrels helps to accentuate the style quotient of the garden. Establishing barrel planters is not demanding. You can make barrel planters by following some simple instructions listed below.

Procuring Barrels

In order to add a rustic touch to your garden space, use wooden barrels that are lined with metallic bands. Authentic, wooden barrels can be procured from breweries or wineries that often sell used barrels at throwaway pries. These are essentially wine (brewing) barrels and are usually hard to find in cities. If wooden barrels appear too expensive or difficult-to-procure, you can use plastic barrels. You can find such gardening barrels at hardware and grocery stores. Although, plastic barrels don’t rust due to their synthetic surface, they do compromise upon the overall, raw appeal that is at the core of barrel planting.

Shaping and Sizing Barrels

Once you have found a suitable barrel, you need to shape it. In terms of styling, half-barrels are the norm. This is usually done to ensure that the planters are within reach for various gardening activities. Further, creating half barrels means that you can create two barrel planters from the same barrel — a simple way to reduce your expenses. To create half-barrels, you need to cut through the barrel to create two, equal halves. This can be easily done with a saw. Some hardware stores might do the cutting for you, for a token price.

Insulating Barrels

Using a standard liner, used for painting surfaces, coat the inside of the barrel. Ensure that you apply at least three coatings. This adds durability to the barrel by making it resistant to water seepage. It also arrests mildew development. You can also insulate it with a plastic sheet that can be pasted along the inside. However, the sheet might come-off during the rainy season.

Placing Barrels

You should decide a spot in the garden for placing the barrels. The spot should not be overcrowded by surrounding foliage. Planters grown inside a barrel have restricted access to sunlight. The presence of too much foliage can further reduce minimal sunlight that is needed for the plant’s growth. Using a spade, dig-up the chosen spot. Widen the hole to about 3 inches wider than the half-barrel. Push-in the barrel inside the hole. Barrel planters are always installed at an angle, with the mouth of the barrel pointing downwards. This helps to ensure that rainwater does not get collected inside the barrel. You can vary the angle between 30 and 45 degrees.

Preparing Barrels for Planting

The barrel has to be prepared like a small, self-sustaining garden space. For this, you need to add some potting soil. Dig-up some moist soil from your garden. Mix it with a handful of organic mulch. The mulch helps to retain moisture along with draining-away excess water.

Choosing Plants

It is advisable to choose perennials for barrel planting. They need minimal care and present a sustained bloom. You can also create blended patterns by surrounding the barrel with turf grass and growing flowering plants inside it. The usual favorites include bulbous flowers like tulips. The other choice is to grow smaller flowers like primroses in-and-around the barrel. This creates a contrasting appearance wherein the green, garden foliage forms the background. Ensure that the flowers needing a steady supply of sunlight are planted near the mouth of the barrel.

Decorating Barrels

The outside of the barrel can be lined with gravel. This adds a natural, pleasant-looking boundary to barrel planters. Small pieces of shredded bark can be spread around the barrel to add more volume to the wooden appearance of the barrel. This is particularly useful if you are using plastic barrels.