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Patio Style: Unusual Planters Made from Unique Materials

The simplest way to beautify a big, open (empty) deck is with some planters filled with flowers and/or plants. But there’s a lot of same-old, same-old when it comes to planters, which are usually large round ceramic pots (yawn).

But plants can live in all kinds of homes, from DIY upcycled vintage pieces to containers meant for other uses. So forget what the garden store has on offer and use found wood, a metal bucket, an old chandelier or maybe even a concrete block to create a truly interesting home for your flora.

Gorgeously Galvanized

With a collection of planters, vary heights and shapes of plants

Galvanized metal has been protected from rusting with a special coating, making it ideal for planters, as they will last for years in outdoor conditions. In the pretty collection above, buckets and tubs take on a new life as matching planters on a patio.

These buckets are a great example of how to achieve height with a patio planter

Galvanized metal reminds most of us of farms and rural living—so play up the contrast between its reputation and what you use it for by filling a planter with delicate, unusual plants, as shown here.

Variety keeps things interesting

Galvanized metal containers come in a huge variety of sizes, from small pails and cans, to larger storage containers like barrels. Mix and match for effect and keep plants with similar water needs together.

Fabulous Found Wood

Using local found woods for planters is especially apt when your location is far from a garden center or store

It can be easy to get this one wrong. What you need to keep in mind is that you want to find a good-looking piece of wood or a log to use as a planter—not just any random dead wood will do. Once you have found a pretty piece, be sure to work with its existing curves and gaps. You can either cut a space into the log (like in the example above) or utilize the log’s natural hollows for the plants.

In this planter, the focus is equally on the wood and plants

Wood planters work especially well for dry-loving plants like succulents, since they don’t need as much watering (which means the wood won’t rot as quickly and will last longer).

Small planters can have a big impact when unusual

This petite driftwood planter would be ideal for a smaller outdoor space or as a centerpiece for a garden table.

Curious, Colorful Chandeliers!

Always keep colors in mind when you are choosing plants—these variegated green ivy leaves look perfect with a glossy red chandelier

This is a super-fun and creative way to upcycle a chandelier that you love the look of, but which might not fit into the decor of your home. Why not bring it outside?

This chandelier was repainted the same color as the pots that were attached to it

Want to make one of these hanging beauties yourself? This is a not-too-hard DIY project, and the site DIY Showoff has the step-by-step directions.

This setup would also look fantastic with ferns instead of ivy

Of course, you don’t have to go vintage—how about a more modern conversion? This planter by Gumdesign gives the impression that the ivy is just floating in midair.

Classy & Cool Concrete

A little texture goes a long way with concrete

The cool thing about concrete is that it can be made into almost any shape you can think of—or just left to its own simple, urban-tough style. This gorgeous planter by Kornegay Design takes its design inspiration from the agave plant.

A splash of color can brighten up a patio pronto

This Sarai planter is handmade in Australia, but looks almost like it fell off the back of a builder’s truck.

Once these plants start trailing over these cinder blocks they will look even lovelier

You can DIY concrete planters too—like this one originally featured on Apartment Therapy, which was created with cinderblocks, liquid nails, and a great eye.

Starre Vartan

Starre Vartan is a design, travel, and environment writer, editor, and author who had a free-range childhood in New York’s Hudson Valley and the beach ‘burbs of Sydney, Australia. She feels most at home outdoors, and has lived off-grid on Hawaii’s Big Island; mountain biked in Trinidad; hiked the Continental Divide, and rappelled down an A[...]

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