With a drainage hole added, an antique can is easily converted to a unique planter. For another look, recycling an old toolbox, below, could add the quirkiness you might be looking for. (Photo by Micheal Rhian Driscoll)

I don’t like to use the word “nag,” so I’ll say this- I asked my husband on a frequent and consistent basis to get our old barns cleaned up because they were full of junk. Absolute junk!
One morning, pigs started to fly and he started this project while I was out in the yard, trying desperately to find a spot to plant some flowers that I had impulsively bought without a sure place to put them.
And as my husband schlepped out some old tires, well, the tires started turning in my mind.
So many odd things can make quirky and fabulous planters, so before you plunk down your cash on more terra cotta, scope out your home and garage and keep planter possibilities in your mind when walking through antique stores and yard sales.
Pilfer through your husband’s castoffs for dented discards like an old toolbox, lunchbox, old oil cans…
Your man’s trash can be your new treasure! (Make sure you ask though, husbands get sort of peculiar when you drill a hole in their lunchbox).
Rusted-out wheelbarrows, tires, old sinks and more are great finds.
Have an old chair that’s beautiful but makes you cringe if it will hold a guest or not? Or one that’s collecting dust in a shed?
Use it like a plant stand to set a potted plant on. If it’s got a wicker seat that seen better days, take out the wicker altogether and set a plant in the hole. Bonus if you paint it a standout color.
Feeling really ambitious?
Take an old (but sturdy) chest of drawers and create a tiered planter look by pulling drawers out at different levels.
You may want to construct a brace below your bottom and between other drawers so it doesn’t topple.
Though I pick on my husband, I can be a bit of a hoarder myself.
I can’t ever seem to toss spice tins, so how nice would an Old Bay tin, or mustard seed tin, look in a kitchen or office with some herbs growing in it?
Another fun kitchen theme is an old metal colander.
Drainage is already built in, giving you time to do other perk ups to it- like painting it a bright color or even creating a hanging harness for it.
Haven’t ladled out punch in a while? For a touch of whimsy, plant a long flower in an antique ladle.
Have teeny-weeny rain boots missing their mates? Large conch shells from vacation or coffee cups you love but aren’t your daily choice?
Memory items make great planters because they are already special.
For a Maryland look, try some Black-Eyed Susans in bushel baskets.
Planting first into a smaller plastic planter to hide in the basket will keep the wood from rotting quickly.
While I always encourage people to get carried away, there are a few practical things to look for or make adaptions to using some of these alternative planter ideas.
You may not have to use it as an actual planter at all.
Plants that won’t spread beyond their container can be dropped right in the decorative vessel. That way, the container already has drainage, and you can change out plants easily.
If planting directly in your “planter,” you’ll obviously have to fill it. If your “planter” is on the light side, use gravel or stone as a filler, weight, and drainage.
If it’s already heavy, try packing peanuts but be aware they will settle and pack as time goes, and you will likely have one stuck to your bottom during the project.
Look for a drainage spot and poke or drill as necessary.
Take time to watch your plant though you might have planted the same one in your garden several times before.
For watering, keep an eye on how quickly the water dries or sits the first few times you water it.
Remember to still follow the guidelines when you place your planter when it comes to sun or shade.
You know how when you see a flower growing out of a crack in the sidewalk it makes you smile, because it is so unexpected?
That’s what makes alternative planters fun too — the flash of pretty in the unexpected.