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Containers from Recycled Materials

Think outside the terra-cotta planter with these stylish alternatives

Wire Wastebasket

Find a wire wastebasket of preferred height at a home store. Lightly line it with peat moss, then fill the remaining area with potting soil. Top it off with your desired plants. Here, white delphiniums lend subtle elegance to an entry area.

Vintage-Look Lampshade

Cover the bottom of a new or flea-market lampshade with an inch of small stones for drainage, then fill with soilless potting mix. To introduce a sophisticated style to your garden, plant the shade with this textured combination of dusty miller, lambs' ears, and flowering tobacco.

Paint Can Planters

Look for clean, unlabeled paint cans in various sizes at a home store. Using a hammer and nail, punch several holes in the bottom of each can for drainage. Fill with potting soil and tuck in plants such as the flowering tobacco, kalanchoe, and corn plant (Dracaena) shown here.

Clever Wood Cube

This mosasic-look planter started out as a plain, unfinished wood cube with several drainage holes drilled in the bottom. To add texture, we glued halves of wooden clothes pins (minus the springs) to the outside, added four 2-inch wooden balls for feet, and spray-painted the whole thing white. We finished up with a coat of polyurethane, then filled with potting mix and a maidenhair fern.

Wicker Window Boxes

Select a wicker storage basket that fits the desired space. Use small nails and wire to fasten the basket securely to a window sill. Arrange small potted plants to fit snuggly in the basket. We used pentas, sweet potato vine, and coleus in this example. Pull the pots out to water and let them drain before returning them to the basket.

Toolbox Planter

Raid the toolshed (or an antiques dealer) for this idea. An old wooden toolbox gets a makeover with a collection of small potted plants. Drill holes in the bottom of the box to allow for drainage. And if your box isn't made of a rot-resistant wood like cedar or redwood, finish it with a coat of polyurethane

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