Turn a Log Into a Rustic Planter

What You'll Need

You don’t have to spend big bucks buying matching planters to add greenery to the outside areas of your home. If you’ve got some old logs lying around, you can easily turn them into gorgeous rustic planters that people will immediately notice and admire. A rustic planter adds a look of natural charm to any landscaping design, and it’s a great way to repurpose old wood that you may not be able to use for anything else. Log planters can be placed almost anywhere: in the garden, in your yard, on the deck, or on the porch. Here's how to create one of your own.

Hollowing Your Log

A chainsaw chopping a stump.

Log planters are as versatile as they are beautiful, and you have options for how to create yours. If the log has a good base and stands up well on one end on its own, you may want to place your log upright. However, you can also choose to lay the log on its side to create a longer, trough-like planter.

Choose whether you're going to hollow your log out from the top toward the bottom, or hollow out one side. Find yourself a nice, open area away from pets and people. Put on safety glasses to protect your eyes because little pieces of wood will be flying everywhere while you work.

Use an axe or hatchet, and begin hacking away at the log to hollow it out. This is the most effective way to hollow out an old log (and not a bad way to relieve some of that built-up DIY stress you're still harboring from your last project gone bad!). Define the edges of the planter first by making cuts along the outside edge. Remember, you need the shell of the log to remain. Then, you can really get to work on that log.

Make repeated chops into the wood of the log in the middle of the area where you're going to hollow it out, and work systematically down the height or along the length of the log to remove the wood you don't need. This job will be easier if you take breaks when needed, and give yourself time to complete the work. Remember, hollowing out the log is only step one—so save some of your energy for the rest of the process.

Transform it Into a Planter

A rustic log planter on a deck.

Use a drill and make several small holes near the bottom of the log, along the sides. Just a few evenly spaced holes are all you need. These small openings will serve as drainage holes to keep your planter from collecting too much moisture that can damage plants.

Pour potting soil into your log until it’s about two-thirds of the way full. Plant your seeds or seedlings as you would in any other planter: place them right on top of the soil, and fill the planter the rest of the way with the soil. Water your new planter. Add fertilizer if desired, and place your planter in a location where it can get a good amount of sunlight and others can see it. Treat your log planter the way you would any other planter. Check the soil daily to add water as needed, remove any weeds you find, and gently prune away any dead leaves or stems in your plants. Your plants and planter will continue to look beautiful with a little regular maintenance.

Succulents, herbs, and ferns are all beautiful choices for a log planter. The greenery creates a natural look that pairs well with the rustic log, but you can plant anything you like in your log planter including flowers and even vegetables. Experiment with logs of different sizes and fill them up with a variety of plants to see which look you like best, and create a woodland garden that other people will stop and notice.