Make these easy DIY vintage galvanized washtub planters to add a perfect touch of autumn to your porch decor. Includes step-by-step instructions with pictures.
*August 2022: this post was originally published in 2014, and is still a great DIY idea. It has been completely updated with re-edited and larger images, better organized information, and source links. Enjoy!
DIY Galvanized Washtub Planters for Fall
When I shared my fall front porch, I showed you a pair of DIY galvanized washtub planters that were new additions flanking my door. I have been thinking about replacing the tall black planters for a while, but had a hard time finding exactly what I wanted…mostly because I wasn’t really sure what that was! In the end I got two vintage washtubs, and I love them. They are a completely different look from before which is what I wanted. They were very easy to put together, and I used items I already had in my garage. You can see in the top image below my starting point.
- I didn’t want to fill the entire tub with potting soil, and I needed something to contain the grapevine topiary. The solution was two very nasty pots in my garage that were the perfect size.
- Next I took up some of the extra space in the tub with packing material. Packing peanuts or plastic bottles work well, but I had the packing pillows on hand, and they worked great.
- I then added fresh potting soil to the pot and the rest of the tub. A little slipped down into the packing material, but most of it stayed on top. The next step was nestling the topiary into the pot.
- The lights were left on the topiaries from last year, so I tested them to make sure they still were functioning. They worked fine, so I left them on. I wished afterwards that I had thought ahead, and purchased brown corded lights. (I will list that source, along with some others, at the end of the post.)
- It boggled my mind a little that at this point it was all coming together. When I started I really wasn’t sure!
- The next step was adding the ivy. I had been growing ivy in porch planters since spring. All I did was divide each ivy plant into four parts. I then planted them in the 4 corners of each tub. I checked at Lowe’s for ivy plants, and they still have them. Another option is to dig up hardy ivy from your yard (if you have it.)
Here’s where I did a happy dance because this random idea of mine was a success. Believe me, I have had my share of fails, and was afraid this would be another. As always, I made a big mess, but it was so worth it!
Adding Fall Color
The finishing touch was sticking some fresh bittersweet around the bottom of the topiary, and adding a few little pumpkins. Any sort of orange or gold faux berries would work just as well. If you have squirrels, even faux pumpkins would be a good idea. My squirrels have already had lunch in my tubs.
The plan is to keep these going through the holidays. I’m winding the ivy up the topiaries as it grows. Even if the ivy dies, which I don’t think it will, I can add fresh greenery when the holidays roll around. I don’t have the lights hooked up yet…I thought I would save that until Christmas.
I kept to the plan and repurposed the galvanized washtubs for Christmas. (Pictured above.) I removed the pumpkins and bittersweet, and replaced it with pieces of fresh greenery. The ivy was still going strong, so of course I left it in the tubs.
This just might rank in my top 5 favorite projects ever for a few reasons. First it was easy, and didn’t take much time. It was budget friendly too. I paid $25 for each tub, but I’m sure they could be found for a better price at yard sales or flea markets. There have been many projects that I’ve had to give up on because I couldn’t complete them by myself. This was the perfect blend of gardening and decor…and I did it all on my own.
all in one place!
The Ultimate Guide to Fall
a collection of autumn decor inspiration, fun crafts, fall wreaths, and yummy recipes all in one place. It’s the ultimate guide to fall, and provides easy links to find exactly what you
are looking for!
*Affiliate links included. See my disclosure statement for details.
- brown corded white lights
- grapevine cone topiary
- faux orange berries
- faux mini pumpkins
- new round galvanized wash tub
- vintage round galvanized wash tub
- front door color
- wheat wreath tutorial