There are three reasons to turn old household objects into plant containers:
1) Recycling is good for the environment
2) They’re more interesting than your usual plastic and terracotta tubs
3) They’re free!
If you don’t have an old sink, toilet or bidet gathering dust in your garage, you can pick one up at your local tip. They make really quirky garden containers and fit in well with your border or rockery. Plus it’s a hell of a talking point at parties!
Try half-burying a sink to blend it in with the rest of your garden. Or buy feet from your garden retailer to raise your container and make it a stand-out feature on your patio.
You can keep your new container au naturel, but why not give it a faux stone look? Cover the whole surface in PVA glue and let it dry.
In a bucket, mix one part Portland cement, one part building sand and one part peat with water. Once it’s nice and viscous, smear it all over the surface of your container.
The PVA glue will help the mixture bond to the surface, while the cement mixture will dry to give the appearance of stone. This also helps plants and moss attach to the container, making it fit in better with your garden.
I planted household objects like this sink for BBC Gardener’s World Live 2009
Before you start, move the container to its final position in your garden, because it will get heavy quickly. Now stick some rocks and gravel in the bottom to aid drainage and stop the plughole getting blocked with peat-free compost (take the plug out too!)
Then add a mixture of peat-free compost and grit, approximately two parts to one.
Why not add fish to the toilet bowl?
As always with containers, start in the centre and work outwards. Plant a dwarf conifer in the middle and surround it with a selection of alpines and bulbs.
You can then add trailing plants like ivy to run over the edges, or add a few small boulders to create a mini alpine rock garden. As a general rule for containers, better too many plants than too few. Add a sprinkling of gravel to finish.
For more garden planting ideas, check out my blog:
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.