Rain barrels are typically used to collect water runoff from roofs for use around the home landscape. Age and weathering will eventually damage a rain barrel over time. Reusing the barrel to create a beautiful container garden allows thrifty gardeners to avoid disposing of an old barrel. The practical use of leftover materials provides the perfect opportunity to create a unique rain barrel home garden.
Drain and rinse the inside of the rain barrel with a garden hose to remove mildew and soil from the inside of the rain barrel. Locate the lid and attach it to the top of the barrel.
Flip the barrel onto its side and position it securely between two heavy objects (or use a helper). Wear protective goggles and use a circular saw to cut the barrel directly in half into two even sections. Keeping the barrel intact results in a planter that will stand out as an eyesore in the garden. Half-barrel sized planters allow partial burying of the barrel to limit visibility of the barrel material.
Flip the barrel over with the open end facing down. Punch drainage holes into the barrel base using the hammer and screwdriver. Place 1-inch holes every 5 to 6 inches around the bottom of both halves the barrel.
Place the barrel upright on the ground and examine the cut edges. File off sharp areas using a straight file or medium grit sandpaper.
Dig out a round area in the garden to position the barrel to create a sunken barrel garden. Burying a portion of the barrel will hide some of the plastic material.
Fill the barrel half full with shredded mulch to promote good drainage in the container and eliminate the use of a large amount of potting soil. Add potting soil to the barrel to bring the soil level to 3 to 4 inches below to the barrel rim.
Position plants in the container after carefully removing each plant from its transplant pot. The top of each plant root ball should lie about 1 inch below the pot rim. Position trailing plants around the edges to hide the cut marks in the barrel material.
Fill in around each plant with potting soil and firm the soil surface. Water the planter well to ensure deep penetration of moisture to plant roots.