Garden Repurposing Tutorial: Dresser Drawer Becomes Deck Planter

7 19254

 RePurposing in the Garden – Part II

133630313913439106_mxqZdcFX_fMary, Mary quite contrary … WAIT A MINUTE! Why would mary be “contrary” when we’re talking about how her garden grows? She’s pretty darn clear about how it grows, ” … with silver bells and cockle shells and pretty maids all in row.” Putting aside the rhyme and it’s probable religious and historical significance, any way we can make our gardens grow, is a good way! Let’s talk about garden repurposing!

Herbs. Forget all that highbrow, hoity-toity  talk about herb gardens and who grows what and why and blah, blah, blah. JUST GROW them!

Last year, the first year in my new home and therefore my first year with a garden, I plunked a bunch of assorted herbs in a corner of the garden.  What a pain … really. Every time I needed something, I had to go down the deck stairs, cross the lawn, open the garden gate and snip off what the recipe called for … all this while whatever was cooking was getting close to burning. I’m a bit scatter-brained that way!

That said, this year, Brainstorm! As I was strolling around one of my favorite haunts, the Habitate for Humanity Re-Store warehouse, what to my wandering eye do I see? I’ll tell you, dresser drawers (no  dresser), tar paper and spindles from a staircase … like I said – brainstorm!

For all of thirty bucks (and money spent for a good cause), I had the beginnings of my deck-top, right outside the kitchen door herb gardens.

Turning a Dresser Drawer into a Planter Tutorial 

green diva mizar's repurposed dresser drawer into herb planter

Sturdy drawers and tar paper

Sturdy drawers and tar paper


Eight Spindles

Eight Spindles

Here’s what I used:

  • Old drawers
  • Spindles or old deck railing – any length but the ones I used are about 3.5 feet.
  • Tar paper or even sheets of plastic  (I could have saved 5-bucks if I had repurposed the plastic wrapped around my rugs when they came back clean.  Yes … I saved it, talk about great drop cloths!)
  • Drill with a bit large enough to make a hole for the spindles
  • Screws
  • Glue
  • Wire, rope or cording


    Here’s how I did it:

    1. Drill a hole in each of the 4-corners of the drawer. Again, the opening has to be wide enough to accomodate the top  of the spindle. If you are using deck railings, I would suggest screwing them in from the inside of the drawer.

    Half inch wide hole for the top of the spindle

    Half inch wide hole for the top of the spindle

    2. Insert the top of the spindle into the hole. Make sure you use glue. I like Elmer’s Wood Glue, although I think any wood glue will do.

    3. To reinforce the connection, place a small piece of wood inside the drawer, right over the opening. Don’t worry what it looks like. It’s going to be covered with dirt anyway!

    Spindle inserted into the hole.

    Spindle inserted into the hole.


    Covering the hole

    Covering the hole


    4. Apply glue to the underside of the wood and into the hole if there’s any space. Screw through the wood and right into the top of the spindle.

    912969_10151354192200685_1265808678_n 911920_10151354192110685_384643099_n

    5. Once all the glue is completely dry and  you’ve got all 4-legs on and secured, put the herb box where you want it, in a nice and very sunny spot.

    Herb Box - I made it high so that "tending" the herbs is easier ... no bending!

    Herb Box – I made it high so that “tending” the herbs is easier … no bending!

    6. Line the bottom and sides with tar paper or plastic and add gravel for drainage, top soil and you are Good To Go! 





    7. You may want to secure the legs of the herb box, especially if you make it high. When you put gravel for drainage, dirt and plants in your herb box, the legs could get a bit wobbly. I took a piece of 16-gauge fencing wire and secured the rear legs to the deck railing. Not very fancy but it’ll get the job done.


    8. I add coffee grounds and egg shells for a bit of added nutrition for my plants … they just love that stuff! Just get in there with you hands and just mix it all in.

    photo photo


    9. Plant away!

    photoNow … I thought about drilling a couple of drainage holes in the bottom of each drawer, but waited. I wanted to see how the water might run through the edges of the drawers.  I DID put a couple of slits in the tar paper as an after thought. It’s a good thing I waited because even though the drawers are brand spankin’ new, water did find it’s way out – probably at the corners. So, I would wait to drill holes until you know how the water will flow. (Please disregard the gardening mess below … when I garden I generally make a mess – nothing neat about me at all. Looks bad though – sorry)

    I am SO excited to build box number 2 and to plant my parsley, thyme, oregano and savory. I think I’ll give tarragon another try. What a fussy, fussy herb!

    Listen to the latest Green Divas Green Thumb podcast for more great ideas!

    More Great Ideas for RePurposing in the Garden!

    As long as I’m re-purposing, I uncovered a couple of more really nifty ideas. They may not make your garden grow but they sure will look nice!


    The Gypsy Farm Girl is really into container gardening but does NOT like plastic pots.  Can you blame her … I think they are pretty dad-gum ugly! Determined to reuse, recycle/upcycle, and hide all the plastic pots she created this hanging basket in a bottomless rusty bucket. Very clever!

    Using an old metal head board or a metal mattress frame is a really good way to do something with something that might otherwise go into a landfill. Old cribs the ones old enough to have too much space between the bars making them dangerous for babies and baby gates for instance, work really well. Just imagine your cucumbers making their way up and over this crib frame.

    Crib trellis


    Metal mattress frames are really sturdy and a whole lot taller – perfect for pole beans,  sweat peas and even squash. May may look a bit cheesy but just wait until they are covered with lush green leaves and vegetables.  It’ll be a whole other thing!  016

    If container gardening is your thing this year, the sky’s the limit. Everything and anything can be re-purposed or up-cycled for to grow your veggies, herbs and flowers.

    Once filled with dirt, a couple of plants and a whole lot of your love and care, and while there’s no doubt your yard will be transformed into your very own Garden of Eden.


    Catch the latest Green Divas Radio Show

About the author / 

Green Diva Mizar'

Green Diva Mizar is a former co-host of the GD show. GD Mizar is also dedicated to providing safe, clean water to all through her company Pur2o Water Filtration & Purification.

Related Posts


    Gardenwife April 14, 2014 at 6:52 pm -  Reply

    I love your idea here! Did you find that the topsoil became hardened once it was watered and settled in? I’ve found containers do better if the soil mix is amended with something to aerate it. I meant to subscribe to replies. Sorry to duplicate post.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


btn_itunes Registered & Protected
Contact Us link

don't miss a GD thing!

Get all the latest GD news . . .

  • Green Divas myEARTH360 Reports
  • Green Divas Foodie-Phile Recipes
  • Green Divas DIY Tutorials
  • Green Dude Stuff
  • . . .
  • your email is safe with us!