Introduction: Portable Tree Planter

We’re renting, but we really want to grow fruit trees. We planted a few, but after two years in our house, the landlord sold the property and we had to move.
We decided to take our gardens with us because we bought the dirt, trees, flowers, and did all the work to make them flourish.
We wanted some big buckets that weren’t too ugly, could fit and grow trees and were hard to move.


200 litre (55gallon) Rain barrels
Jig saw
Hand saw
Hole saw drill bit

Step 1: Cutting Barrels

Decide how tall you want the bins to be. Keep in mind that if you have to fill them up with dirt. i decided that I wanted mine to be slightly less than half a barrel. There was a seam running around the barrel at half way, so I marked a line about 10 cm on either side of that and cut the barrel with a hand saw. After a few barrels, I got tired and used a skillsaw, but handsaw still works.
After this, I scraped the edges with a craft knife to clean them up and this gave a smoother surface than sanding.

Step 2: Making Handles

I wanted to be able to carry the bins, so I eyeballed some holes about 8 cm from the edge and about 10 cm apart. Cut them out with a holesaw drill bit and then used a jig saw to join them.
I then scraped a craft knife across the edge to clean any curly bits of plastic up at the edges.

I also drilled a drainage hole about 10 cm from the bottom. This creates a water reservour, but stops flooding.

Step 3: Cleaning and Painting

The barrels had previously had canola oil in them, so I washed them with some hot water and dishwashing detergent.

I then spray painted them black. This didn't work so well and the paint scratches off very easily, I probably needed to use an undercoat or just buy black barrels.

Step 4: Filling It Up

I filled up the bottom of the barrel with pvc pipes, old plant pots and stones, I did this to create a water reservour for the roots to draw from. I then put a little compost and filled it up with a tree and dirt. I then planted smaller plants around the tree.

Planter Challenge

Participated in the
Planter Challenge