Planting a wooden wheelbarrow – location, planting and maintenance

A used wheelbarrow doesn’t have to end up in the trash. With a few simple steps it can be prepared and planted to become an eye-catcher in the garden.

Planting a wooden wheelbarrow
© tina7si –

You have discovered an old wooden wheelbarrow in the attic or at the back of the tool shed? Then you have found a little treasure which should experience a renaissance. Planted wheelbarrows quickly become an eye-catcher in the garden. Wheelbarrows fit perfectly into the bed and, lovingly restored and attractively planted, can quickly become a real eye-catcher. In the following we would like to tell you how wheelbarrows can best be planted and what you need to bear in mind.

Preparing the wheelbarrow

The decision has been made, the wheelbarrow should no longer be left to its own devices and will be freed from its hiding place. Now some preliminary work is necessary until you can actually start planting.

First of all, you should consider whether the wheelbarrow should be given a completely new coat of paint or whether it should remain in its natural Shabby look, or whether it should simply be treated with a woodstain to show off its natural grain. First clean the wheelbarrow thoroughly with a brush and a little soapy water. Let the wood dry and roughen the surface with sandpaper so that the paint covers better afterwards.


  • brush
  • bucket
  • brush
  • foil
  • gloves

  • sandpaper
  • Colour or glaze
  • foil
  • substrate

Define location

Wheelbarrows that are filled to the top with earth carry an enormous weight and can sometimes no longer be moved without great effort. It is therefore advisable to place the wheelbarrow at its stand before filling it with soil and planting it.

The choice of location depends on the plants that are to be inserted into the wheelbarrow.

Tip: Most flowering plants prefer a sunny location.

If the plants are to flower abundantly, they usually cannot do without the sun. The location does not have to be chosen fully sunny, even semi-shade is very well tolerated by most flowering plants. The full midday sun, on the other hand, is a thorn in the side of many plants. Place the wheelbarrow in semi-shade and avoid watering it several times, even on hot summer days. The supply of substrate in the wheelbarrow for the plants is rather limited and can dry out quickly. Therefore, plants in the wheelbarrow, similar to the plants in the tub, require increased maintenance.

What is the ideal location for the wheelbarrow?

  • sunny to semi-shady
  • sheltered from the wind
  • no full midday sun

Planting wooden wheelbarrows – step by step

❶ Set up wheelbarrow

Look for a suitable location. Please note that it is no longer so easy to move the planted wheelbarrow to another location.

❷ Line wheelbarrow with foil

Before the wheelbarrow is planted, it must be lined with foil so that the wood remains protected and is not attacked by fungi and microorganisms that are in the substrate. The best way to do this is to use thin pond liner.

❸ Insert drainage

The biggest enemy of most flowering plants is waterlogging. So that this cannot occur, a good permeability of the soil must be ensured. The irrigation water must not accumulate in the vessel, but should always be able to drain off well. Perforate the foil on the floor and put a layer of gravel on it.

❹ Fill wheelbarrow with substrate

Now fill in the substrate. Conventional potting soil is suitable for this. You can also use commercially available potting soil, which has already been pre-fertilized and provides the plants with sufficient nutrients for the summer months. Fill them to just below the edge of the wheelbarrow.

Tip: Instead of a wooden wheelbarrow you can also plant an old handcart.

© sabdiz –

What does the ideal substrate look like?

  • slack
  • porous
  • nutritious

“Tip:The potting soil can be upgraded by adding compost. Even if you use garden soil, it is advisable to add compost. Then the plants are supplied with natural fertilizer and can grow well.

❺ Planting and watering plants

Now you can start planting. First, the different plants should be arranged in such a way that they form the most harmonious and harmonious picture. Spread the plants out on the lawn or place them in the wheelbarrow with the plant pots and arrange them accordingly.

In order to obtain a closed and appealing picture, the height and shape of the plants should be observed. The higher growing plants are placed in the middle, smaller and rather flat growing or overhanging plants come to the edge of the wheelbarrow. So that each plant can develop independently, sufficient space must be left between the plants. Once all the plants are planted, all you have to do is water them.

Planting tips for wooden wheelbarrows

In order to be able to enjoy the planted wheelbarrow throughout the summer, flowering plants should be used. For example, anemones can form the centre and be framed by small alpine branches or daisies.

Of course you can also upgrade your farm garden with a herb wheelbarrow. Herbs with the same demands on location and nutrients can also be cultivated well together in the wheelbarrow. As neighbours in the herb bed, basil, garlic, parsley, dill or chives get along well together. In order to bring some colour into play, lavender can also be planted, which in turn is very compatible with thyme.

The most beautiful plants for the wheelbarrow

plant Description of the
Alpine Aster
© Maglido-Photography –
Alpine Aster Here you can bring variety into the game, because white, reddish or blue colour variations are possible.
Garden Anemone
© sehbaer_nrw –
Garden Anemone Already in May the wheelbarrow with the garden Anemone is in bloom.
Anemones are popular cut flowers and are available in pink, blue, purple or white.
cup primrose
© Elina Leonova –
cup primrose With the cup primula you get a permanent bloomer in the wheelbarrow.
The flowers appear in white, pink, salmon or purple.
© summersum –
capasters The Kapaster with its more than half a metre long shoots is very suitable for planting on the edge of the wheelbarrow.
The violet flowers are an additional decoration.

Maintaining flowers in the wheelbarrow

This results in few differences compared to the plants in the bed. Regular watering is very important. Because, as we have already mentioned, the plants in the wheelbarrow are at a disadvantage compared to outdoor plants due to the limited supply of substrate. You can compensate for this by providing sufficient water and nutrients. The earth must not dry up. Flowering can be supported with a liquid fertilizer.

If they regularly remove withered flowers, this encourages the plants to reflower. So you can enjoy your planted wheelbarrow all summer long.

Don Burke

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide.  I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

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