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DIY 5 Gallon Bucket Planters – How To Grow A Garden Anywhere!

It’s hard to believe it was over three years ago we first created and trialed our easy-to-make homemade DIY 5 gallon bucket planters. One thing is for certain, we didn’t know then just how well they would work for us. And even more, we had no clue how many others around the world would build and use them too!

The planter boxes are an awesome solution for so many issues many gardeners face. For starters, they are perfect for those with limited growing space. The bucket planter boxes can fit on a small patio, deck, or even in the driveway.

In addition, because they are elevated, they make tending and caring for your plants easier than ever. That can be extremely helpful for those with mobility or disability issues. Especially when you consider how easy it is to plant, water and harvest the bucket planter box because of its taller working height.

DIY 5 gallon bucket planters
These 5 gallon bucket planter boxes are more than just an attractive way to grow without a garden – they also all but eliminate the need for weeding!

But perhaps best of all, the bucket planter boxes are not only easy to build, they are extremely attractive too. Whether building the 2 bucket or 4 bucket planter, they can be made from the most basic of tools and lumber, and in short fashion.

In fact, the simple 2 x 4 framework goes together quickly even for the most novice of builders. And when finished, creates an incredibly strong & beautiful planter box that looks great anywhere!

Growing In 5 Gallon Buckets – DIY 5 Gallon Bucket Planters

Growing in 5 gallon buckets has become quite popular in recent years. The size of a 5 gallon bucket allows the grower to plant and harvest nearly any vegetable they wish. More importantly, you can even grow the larger varieties of peppers, tomatoes and other vegetables smaller pots and containers can’t.

We have always loved growing in 5 gallon buckets. Not only are buckets inexpensive and readily available, they provide plenty of depth for plants to develop deep roots.

See how our bucket planters work – and how easy it is to grow in them!

A standard 5 gallon bucket has a depth of over 14 inches and is 11+ inches in circumference. That is more than enough room to grow massive, full size roots to power plants of all sizes. And with a few holes drilled in the bottom, they drain great as well.

We grow a full compliment of vegetables in our 5 gallon buckets. Everything from green, sweet and hot peppers, to tomatillos and cucumbers, to the full gamut of tomatoes ranging from mid-sized San Marzano & Roma paste tomatoes to full size heirlooms like Celebrity, Black Krim and more.

But we don’t just fill our 5 gallon buckets with vegetables, we also grow all kinds of herbs and flowers in them too. For us and for many others now, they are an easy way to grow extra flowers, veggies and herbs anywhere. Especially when you can plant them in planter boxes that can dress up any patio, deck or place you put them!

Creating Homemade 5 Gallon Bucket Planter Boxes

When we first started growing in buckets, we placed a couple of buckets on our back deck to grow a few cherry tomato plants. It was a nice way to have easy and quick access for salads without having to head to our garden.

tomatoes in containers
For years, we grew our plants in buckets and put them right on the ground like above. It worked, but the bucket planters not only dressed the buckets up, but made them much easier to manage!

We loved how easy the buckets were to grow in, but we wanted to find a way to make them more attractive. After all, a 5 gallon bucket sitting on a deck isn’t exactly beautiful. Even if it is growing beautiful food!

To dress it up, we made a simple 2×4 frame to fit over each bucket. Because the frame was from wood, it made it easy to attach a small trellis to the back. That made it easy to tie up our tomato and pepper plants we grew in the buckets, making the covers even more useful.

We liked them so much, we actually did an article for the blog on the bucket covers about 5 years back. And that is when one of our readers helped change the bucket covers for good!

A New Way To Garden For Those Who Can’t – The DIY Bucket Planter Boxes

After reading the article about our single 5 gallon bucket planter covers, a reader wrote to ask if we could create a version that could be raised off the ground. And could it be made to hold multiple buckets?

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She had always loved to garden. But, due to declining health and mobility issues, she couldn’t keep her traditional garden going anymore. The reader had thought about having large raised beds built, but realized it would be too expensive and take up too much soil.

She wrote that if she could have a few buckets raised off the ground, she thought it would still let her pursue her love of gardening, making it possible to be able to tend to a few plants. It was an idea that we fell in love with instantly – and became the basis for our bucket planter boxes.

burlap bucket planter
Ever since creating our plans, so many of our readers have emailed us pictures of their finished bucket planters. This builder got creative and used burlap to cover her buckets!

Building Our DIY 5 Gallon Bucket Planters

In place of the single bucket stand, we created bucket planter boxes that could hold either (2) or (4) 5 gallon buckets. It made it a snap for gardeners to grow multiple plants at once. Even better, if you built more than one, you could potentially create an entire “raised-bed” garden in buckets.

And buckets have some amazing advantages over raised beds! For starters, they can be inexpensive to build compared to tall raised beds. And instead of having to fill massive boxes with soil, you only need to fill 5 gallon buckets with soil.

Even better, at the end of the year, unlike the soil in raised beds, the soil in the buckets can easily be dumped into the compost bin to recharge. It is certainly a better option than raised bed soil that can be hard to keep fresh, healthy and energized. Especially for anyone with mobility issues!

We fell in love with them the very first year we used them. And after putting the step by step building plans in our Etsy store – we were amazed at how many others did too!

tomatillo plants in bucket planters
We grow a long list of vegetables in our bucket planters, including tomatillos!

We started getting photos and emails from all over the world of gardeners building them and creating their own beautiful bucket planter gardens. And we still do today. One thing is for certain, it never gets old for us. It is so neat to see folks creating deck and patio gardens everywhere, with simple 5 gallon buckets!

How Easy Are The DIY Bucket Planters To Build?

The bucket planters truly are inexpensive and so simple to build. They will also stand up to years and years of use. We have a total of eight quad planters at the farm now, and they still look new after 4+ years of use.

It takes just eight (8) 2 x 4 x 8’s to build the quad bucket planter, and just six (6) for the dual planter. And since the wood never touches the soil – you can build them from treated lumber, cedar or traditional lumber. They are also easy to stain, paint, or you can leave them natural.

5 Gallon Bucket Planter Plans

The cuts and assembly are easy to do with basic tools and woodworking skills. As for time, you can have it all together in just a few hours. We used shiplap to cover our 2×4 frame, but others have used corrugated metal, burlap, wood siding and a host of creative materials to cover theirs.

The step by step plans in our Etsy shop include both plans (double and quad). They can be instantly downloaded to your computer or device. Here is to bucket gardening, and building your own DIY 5 gallon bucket planters this year! Happy Gardening, Jim and Mary.