Galvanized WashTubs In My Cottage Garden

HerbLady49(Z6 PA)October 18, 2009

About 15 years ago I wanted to create a display using containers. I didn't want to be constantly watering and I wanted something that was long lasting. I liked wooden barrels but I had to replace them every few years because they rotted out on the bottom. I saw these 17 gallon galvanized wash tubs at my local farm store, and thought that I would give them a try.

Holes were punched in the bottom for drainage. I spray painted them with one coat of primer and two coats of paint specifically designed to be used on metal.


I have used them over and over through the years and they have never had to be repainted. I always set them on rocks or bricks to keep the bottoms from sitting on wet ground. The handles make it easy for two people to move the tubs around the garden. I use a soiless medium to keep them light weight. These tubs sit out in the sun all day, and the plants have never suffered from the heat.

The owner of this shop has had tubs on her front porch for years. She left them unpainted but added wooden legs. This is her spring planting.

After the spring plants fade she replants with summer flowers. The boxwood is stationary throughout the year.

I leave them outside all year. In November I insert stems of all types of evergreens into the soil, and they look fresh until they're removed for early spring planting. Flee markets and garage sales are great places to find old wash tubs, and if they have a few holes on the bottom, that's better still.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
MollyDog(6 PA)

What a great creative idea.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 10:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
midnightsmum (Z4, ON)

Now that's a great idea! Much longer lasting than terracotta, as well. I shall start looking for them, before the rest of you snap them up!!!!


    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 10:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

That is so neat! And what a great way to add some really fun colors to the garden. Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 12:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cyn427 (zone 7)

What a terrific idea! Wonder what the manufacturer will think when there is a run on these tubs!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 12:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kiddo_1(NE OH 5)

Absolutely charming! And I love the way you stack them - adds some height under the windows. Thanks for posting the pics. :-D

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 1:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
christinmk z5b eastern WA

I love it when people post their clever garden ideas! This is wonderful. Love the pastel colors you used.

I have an old BBQ bucket that I use as a planter. I was just thinking how I wanted to get similar planters to put in the front yard...

Your garden is beautiful! The pea gravel path, the little stone wall, the wonderful plant textures...could you maybe post more pictures your garden sometime? I know everyone else would love to see them too.
Thank you for sharing!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 1:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like them! What a great if it catches on and there's a big demand from gardeners, just watch the price go up! Better grab them fast.

I like both unpainted and painted.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 1:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Nell Jean

Some Texas Gardeners are using galvanized stock tanks for water features in their gardens. Galvanized tubs used to be fairly inexpensive, but they've gone up in price the past few years. Maybe the manufacturers knew they were catching on!


    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 3:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Those are great! I love the painted colors! The legs on those others are so perfect, too.

As Nell mentions, stock tanks are popular. I priced a few sizes recently and was stunned over today's price versus the days when I was raising horses!


    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 8:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
token28001(zone7b NC)

I went looking for one a couple years ago. I had planned to use it as a small water feature on a patio. I couldn't justify the expense and settled on some half price pottery. I'd still love to have one here at this house. But the prices...sheesh. Those are beautiful. I need to do more container gardens.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 8:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

CUTE! I have a stash of wash tubs about this size, all donated to my garden! I plan to use galvi feed and/or stock tanks for raised beds along my patio eventually (the long, narrow types) - to help drainage but also to hold moisture, we plan to use them as raised beds by removing the bottoms so they sit directly on the soil - this will help me water them less!
Your tubs are beautiful herblady.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 11:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

They are nice. I did have galvanized tubs as planters before but you should know that during winter, if you don't empty them out and they freeze, the water expands and causes the tub to break it seams. In my case, it broke the bottom off completely.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 4:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
FlowerLady6(z10 Fl)

Wonderful, colorful idea.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 1:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I read the headline of this post after it was made, but didnt read the post. Figured "Naaa..." too tacky. But today I decided to open it. I have to say they are so cute. I love them both ways, painted or even unpainted with feet. Love the idea of leaving the evergreens in over winter. Could make some really nice displays with those for the holidays.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 2:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Normally I just lurk here on my way to the hydrangea or iris forums but I just have to comment on this thread.I love this idea and have a 200 gal. tub sitting in the pasture that is going to get repurposed for this use.:) Thanks for the great idea.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2009 at 10:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sleepy33(5b KS)

Check these out I found online. They are meant to be used as gift baskets I guess, but they already are in colors and CHEAP! Plus they are a little shallower it seems, so you wouldn't have to use as much filler, and/or could use them in smaller areas. Such a fun idea and thread!

Here is a link that might be useful: Hullabaloo Trading galvanized tubs

    Bookmark   October 29, 2009 at 8:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What is a soiless medium? Where can I purchase some?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 8:34AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Hillside cottage garden
Hello! I am going to make my first ever attempt at...
Weekend Trivia: Sunday
Good morning dear cottagers. Today has brought with...
cyn427 (zone 7)
Random Weekend Trivia: Sunday
Good morning dear cottagers, I have missed our little...
cyn427 (zone 7)
Weekend Trivia - Saturday
Good Saturday morning, Cottagers! Spring is definitely...
midnightsmum (Z4, ON)
Horsetail Reed Rethink
I planted horsetail reed in the ground on purpose today...
Sponsored Products
Gnomes Limited Edition by Kartell
$430.00 | Lumens
Concord Azalea Garden Traditional Rectangular: 5 Ft. x 8 Ft. Rug
$190.40 | Bellacor
Hardy Island Bronze 3000K 60 Degree LED Landscape Spotlight
Lamps Plus
Campania International Medium Berkeley Cast Stone Planter - P-513-AL
$514.99 | Hayneedle
Malibu Outdoor Lighting. Sand Low Voltage Rock Landscape Light
$24.97 | Home Depot
Steam Spa Oasis Package for Steam Spa 6kW Steam Generators in Brushed Nickel
Beyond Stores
Traditional 22 x 2 Column Radiator Cast Iron Style White 23.5 x 39
Hudson Reed
Blue 'Orchard' Nesting Box Set
$32.99 | zulily
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™