Garden & Lawn

Best Wooden Planters Including Troughs, Barrels, Vertical Gardens, Wishing Wells and more

Last updated on June 9th, 2022

Our site is reader supported, this means we may earn a small commission from Amazon and other affiliates when you buy through links on our site.

Do you have outdoor spaces where you want to grow something but you can’t? Maybe on your patio, your balcony, in the middle of your lawn in your front garden. One option worth considering is a wooden garden planter – a small structure that lets you grow flowers, vegetables, herbs and so on wherever you want to. Being made of natural wood, this kind of planter fits into all garden (and apartment) designs and decors. In this review, we look at classic trough planters along with one that takes advantage of vertical height rather than ground area, and a couple that is on the whimsical side.

For each wooden planter in our Best Wooden Planters review, we list the pros and cons and discuss the advantages of its features. Our Buyer’s Guide at the end covers some considerations to keep in mind when looking at the vast selection of planters made of wood, especially in terms of quality and the type of wood.

Our Best Pick of wooden planters is the Ruddings Wood 120cm Large Wooden Trough Planter. This planter is in the classic style and provides different depths of soil to suit a variety of different plants and is a very well made product that is designed to last.

Our Runner-up, and choice for Best Wooden Planter for Small Spaces, is the Beanwood Wooden Herb, Strawberry & Flower Garden Planter. With a small footprint, this planter takes advantage of vertical height to give you six growing spaces.

BEST PICK

Ruddings Wood 4ft Large Wooden Trough Planter
The Ruddings Wood Large Wooden Trough Planter has the traditional trough style that fits into any garden design – from natural through to contemporary. Its sustainably sourced wood construction suits those who strive for an eco-friendly garden while its solid construction holds up over time and weathers well. The slanted design lets you grow plants with a variety of root lengths, all at the same time. This Ruddings planter is the Best Wood Planter in our review, especially if you like to mix and match the flowers, vegetables and herbs in your planters.

RUNNER UP

BEST WOODEN PLANTER FOR SMALL SPACES

Beanwood Wooden Herb, Strawberry & Flower Garden Planter
The Beanwood Wooden Herb, Strawberry & Flower Garden Planter is our Best Pick of Wood Planters for Small Spaces (and our Runner-up). Looking like a step ladder with six growing boxes instead of rungs, this planter lets you add colour to your balcony or perhaps a herb garden in the corner of your patio. If you want to garden and have more vertical space than ground area, this model from Beanwood is the best planter made from wood for you.

Best Wooden Planters Reviews

1. Ruddings Wood 4ft Wooden Trough Planter 

BEST PICK

Buy on Amazon.co.uk

Ruddings Wood 120cm Large Wooden Trough Planter

The Ruddings Wood 120cm Large Wooden Trough Planter is a traditional style garden planter that looks good in any garden. This long planter, made of sustainably sourced wood, has two growing sections to accommodate plants with different soil and nutritional needs. 

Its construction is solid and sturdy and the planter will last a long time. The wooden sides are 20mm thick, and the ends and the separation section are 34mm thick. However, you do have to provide your own lining to stop the compost from drifting out between the wooden slats.

Note that the sides of the planter slope inwards and down, giving a variety of soil heights for plants of different root lengths. You can grow a complete salad, from shallow-root lettuce to long-rooted carrots at the same time. Despite this, please carefully check the dimensions of this planter because some online reviewers state that the bottom of this planter is narrower than they expected.

Pros

  • Solid wood (unspecified species) construction using sustainable timber for an eco-friendly planting space.
  • The wooden trough has two planting spaces with a wooden divider between them to separate your herbs and flowers or any plants with different growing needs.
  • No assembly is needed, just have it delivered and start planting right away.
  • Dimensions: 120cm (width); 29cm (depth); and 26cm (height).

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a liner.

Our recommendation

The Ruddings Wood 120cm Large Wooden Trough Planter has it all – looks, functionality and sturdiness. If you plan to grow a variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers, this Ruddings wooden planter can handle them all, at the same time.

It’s our overall choice as the best wooden planter for anyone looking for a long wooden trough. You don’t get much better quality than this.

Read next: Best trough planters


2. Beanwood Wooden Herb, Strawberry & Flower Garden Planter 

RUNNER UP / BEST WOODEN PLANTER FOR SMALL SPACES

Buy on Amazon.co.uk

Beanwood Wooden Herb, Strawberry & Flower Garden Planter

The Beanwood Wooden Herb, Strawberry & Flower Garden Planter is unusual in its appearance and in its growing spaces. It looks like an opened step ladder, but instead of rungs, it has triangular-shaped growing boxes. The A-frame shape has leg bracing for extra stability to absorb the weight of the compost and plants.

This Beanwood planter is a freestanding vertical planter, which means that it has more growing space than the area it takes up on the ground. The six triangular boxes have their tips pointing downwards and their long sides are open at the top for maximum growing capacity. The whole structure is made of pressure-treated timber of an unspecified species. Treating wood this way allows it to absorb water without succumbing to rot, a useful feature for a planter.

The drainage system from each growing box also helps in avoiding root rot, leaving your plants healthy. With six growing spaces, your options are open. Consider growing the same flowers in all of the boxes, but with a different colour in each. Or perhaps a different herb in each level? Or how about a salad ingredient in every one of the spaces?

This Beanwood wooden planter comes flat packed ready for assembly. Online purchasers of this unit report that, although assembly is just four steps, it’s tricky with a lot of wooden pieces and screws. We recommend using an electric screwdriver and a friend to make the task easier.

Pros

  • Freestanding vertical planter with six triangular boxes as steps to grow a variety of plants.
  • Pressure-treated timber (unspecified) for rot resistance and long life.
  • Opens like a step ladder for a minimal footprint to fit a significant growing area into a small space.
  • A drainage system allows for even drainage from each box that prevents root rot and keeps your plants healthy.
  • Comes flat packed and assembles in four steps – pictorial instructions provided.
  • Dimensions: 30cm (width); 63cm (depth); and 91cm (height).

Cons

  • Wood quality could be a little better.
  • A little tricky to assemble.

Our recommendation

If you’re short on garden space or have just a small balcony at your apartment, the Beanwood Wooden Herb, Strawberry & Flower Garden Planter lets you enjoy home-grown flowers, herbs and vegetables. 

It’s our pick for Best Wooden Planter for Small Spaces and our overall Runner-up as it provides lots of growing space but takes up very little ground space making it ideal for those with smaller gardens who still want to enjoy a mass of flowers.

Read next: Best raised bed kits


3. VegTrug Medium Raised Bed Planter

Buy on Amazon.co.uk

VegTrug Medium Raised Bed Planter

The VegTrug Medium Raised Bed Planter is a classic wooden planter from a company with an excellent reputation for quality garden products. This planter is set on raised legs to a comfortable height at which to garden. This makes it a great choice for those who struggle to bend over to garden or work at ground level, including the elderly, wheelchair users, and anyone with a bad back.

This VegTrug planter is made from sustainably sourced fir, a plus for the environmentally-minded out there. The wood is treated with a food-safe preservative and the manufacturer recommends that you repeat this annually (as we also recommend with all wooden products) to keep them looking like new. 

This is one of only two planters in our review that comes with a liner to stop the compost from falling out from between the wooden slats, and with perforations to drain away any excess water. The liner is replaceable so you can renew it if it becomes worn or torn. 

The planter holds a massive 420 litres of compost – that is seven 60L bags of compost. Be aware that’s a lot of compost, and it’s heavy. On the plus side, it means that there’s enough growing space for a large mixed vegetable garden, especially as the slanted sides of the planter give you a variety of soil depths for different plants. On the more-difficult side, that’s a heavy weight to move if you decide that you want to shift the planter to a sunnier place after you’ve filled it. Be very sure that it’s in the right place before you start.

A useful feature of the VegTrug Medium Raised Bed Planter is the fittings to attach netting or a warm cover, perhaps fleece, to. Use netting at the height of summer to keep bugs away and use the fleece at the first signs of frost to keep the plants protected from frost.

Pros

  • Constructed from sustainably grown fir for those interested in eco-friendly garden structures.
  • A replaceable, perforated fitted liner is included to keep your compost within the planter.
  • The planter is raised on legs to a comfortable height to work at, taking much of the back-breaking work out of planting.
  • Holds seven 60L bags of compost so plan to plant a large mixed vegetable bed or all your bedding plants.
  • Fittings to attach netting to protect your plants from bugs or fleece to protect them from early frost.
  • Assemble the single box flat-packed planter after watching the online assembly video for the easiest time.

Our recommendation

The VegTrug Medium Raised Bed Planter is a well-made wooden planter on raised legs that makes it accessible to people who can’t bend down to garden. It comes with a replaceable liner so you just need to assemble the unit and go out and buy seven bags of compost to get you started. If you’re looking for an accessible planter in which you can grow everything you want, this VegTrug Raised bed Planter is for you. If this is not large enough, check out the next size up.

Read next: Best herb planters


4. Outsunny Wooden Planter Box with Trellis

 Buy on Amazon.co.uk

Outsunny Wooden Planter Box with Trellis

The Outsunny Wooden Planter Box with Trellis is a planter box that serves as a privacy fence or a space divider as well. The trellis attached to the back of the box lets you train climbing plants such as clematis and roses, even vegetables like beans and peas upwards to hide you from your neighbours or them from you.

The planter box and trellis are made from fir that’s treated to be weatherproof and left in its natural colour to suit any garden and patio colour scheme. The box is made of fir slats so you do need to purchase a liner to keep the compost in and to drain the excess water out. 

The unit is freestanding so you don’t need to attach it to a wall or a fence – it can sit at the edge of your patio or by your balcony railing. The growing space in the box is open; use it with a liner and compost to grow plants freely. Alternatively, for easy clean-up at the end of autumn, grow plants in pots and put the pots in the planter. 

Whether you grow climbing roses, clematis, peas or beans, plants will wind up the diagonal trellis with ease. Place two or more of the Relaxdays Planters with Trellis together for a wall of colour and encourage the climbing plants to cross between them for a solid screen of blooms.

Pros

  • Constructed from treated fir in its natural colour that fits into any garden scheme.
  • Freestanding wooden planter box backed by a trellis so you can grow climbing plants in the planter and train them upwards.
  • The trellis is a diagonal diamond design that gives ample clinging surface for most climbing flowers, vines and vegetables.
  • A planter box is a single growing space that holds several flower pots or can be used itself with compost as a planter container.
  • Dimensions: 70cm (width); 38cm (depth) and 150cm (height).

Cons

  • Needs a liner as the box has slats at the bottom.
  • Some may think it is a little flimsy but it still gets the job done and is sturdy enough.

Our recommendation

The Outsunny Wooden Planter Box with Trellis is a planter that makes use of vertical space and offers you privacy along with it. If you feel that your patio, a part of your garden or your balcony is overlooked, grow something climbing in this planter box and screen out the world with natural colour. They also look great when positioned on either side of a door.

Read next: Check out my review of the best wheelbarrow planters made from metal and wood


5. Smart Garden Solid Pine Wooden Wishing Well Planter

Buy on Amazon.co.uk

Smart Garden Wooden Wishing Well Planter Solid Pine

The Smart Garden Wooden Wishing Well Planter is a solid pine planter in a different style from the others in this review. If your garden landscape resembles a forest or a fairyland or has a touch of whimsy in it, this wishing well planter could fit right in.

This wishing well offers two levels on which to display your flowers. Match the flowers in the well section to those in the bucket for a coordinated vertical look, or create a contrasting display with different flowers on each level or the same flower in both but in different colours. Adding this vertical visual interest to your garden draws your visitor’s eyes upwards to the roof of the wishing well and opens up their view.

The wishing well is constructed of solid pine. Some online reviewers of this planter do recommend that you treat the wood with a weather-proofing product before you assemble the well. They report that the treatment used by the manufacturer doesn’t hold up to the weather. It’s always a good idea to do this and to regularly (usually yearly) reapply the weatherproofing solution.

Your purchase includes the plastic liners for both the well section and the bucket. These liners keep the compost in the well and are perforated to let out any excess water. Please check the dimensions of this planter carefully. It’s not large and some online reviewers expressed surprise at its small size when it arrived but the dimensions stated are accurate.

Pros

  • Wishing well, with a bucket, made of natural pine for a woodland addition to your garden.
  • Plant flowers in the well and in the bucket for a vertical two-tier display of colour.
  • Plastic liners are included keeping the soil and compost from falling out into an unsightly pile.
  • Dimensions: 48cm (diameter); and 100cm (height).

Cons

  • Wood is not well weatherproofed and needs painting before planting.

Our recommendation

The Smart Garden Wooden Wishing Well Planter provides a two-tier display for your flowers in a whimsical shape. Who doesn’t smile when they see a wishing well? If you’re looking for a planter that’s also a statement piece in its own right, consider adding this wishing well to your garden landscape.


6. Round Wood Trading Scottish Oak Whisky Half Barrel Planter

Buy on Amazon.co.uk

Round Wood Trading Scottish Oak Whisky Half Barrel Planter

The Round Wood Trading Scottish Oak Whisky Half Barrel Planter says something about you even before you put any plants in it. Never mind garden structures with wood veneer or fake rusting, this is the real thing!

This half barrel planter is just that – a real oak whiskey barrel cut in half horizontally. Its aged look is authentic, the barrel really has been used for years to hold whiskey. It’s been rolled around, stored and transported – it’s been used. The metal rings around it are really battered and rusty. This is a garden planter that screams “authenticity”. Plus recycling older objects is environmentally friendly and popular now.

Whiskey barrels are made to hold moisture so, as long as the wood doesn’t dry out, they should be water-resistant. When the wood dries, it shrinks and the metal bands become loose. Just fill the barrel with soil and the wood should expand again. However, it’s safer to use a liner in them before you put the compost in. This is especially the case if you receive the bottom half of the barrel – it has a large hole into which the bung fits.

Your Whiskey Half Barrel Planter may need some DIY work before you can use it. You need to put drainage holes in the base to let excess water leave the planter. You may also want to put heavy casters on the bottom as well so you can move the barrel when it’s full with soil and plants. These half-barrels hold 75 litres each and that’s a great deal of heavy filling.

These are unique planters. Each one looks different and may be cut to a different size. Having a matched set is not going to be possible.

Pros

  • Constructed by cutting a real oak whiskey barrel in half horizontally; the wood is genuinely aged.
  • Metal rings are rusted and weathered for an authentic aged appearance.
  • Dimensions: 65cm (diameter); and 45cm (height).
  • Weight is 15kg (empty).

Cons

  • The planter needs a liner.
  • Size and appearance may vary.
  • Needs some DIY attention, mainly just drilling holes to prevent them from flooding your plants.

Our recommendation

The Round Wood Trading Scottish Oak Whisky Half Barrel Planter provides a talking-point garden accessory in its own right before you even think about what plants to grow in it. If you have room for this planter and can make it the star of its part of your garden landscape, this is an authentic aged addition to your garden décor.


Buyer’s Guide

Style – how rustic do you want?

By their very material, planters made of wood lend themselves to a back-to-nature garden scheme. But some are more rustic than others. The Round Wood Trading Scottish Oak Whisky Half Barrel Planter in our review is authentically weathered and aged while the VegTrug Medium Raised Bed Planter has a smooth, almost modern, finish. And don’t forget that you can paint any wooden planter to match your garden and patio décor and style.

Shape 

Not all wooden planters have straight sides like cubes. The Smart Garden Wooden Wishing Well Planter is the most obvious example from those we review. But many planters have a narrower base than top.

This reduces the amount and weight of the compost it can hold, but it also lets you place plants with deep roots in the centre of the planter and those with shallower roots at the edge. Grow deep-rooted carrots close to shallow-rooted lettuce, keeping them both happy and healthy.

choosing a wooden planter

Size

You need to be realistic about the size of the planter you need. Many online reviewers of planters state that the ones they bought turned out to be smaller than they expected. Work out how much space you need to grow whatever it is you want to produce and check the dimensions of each planter carefully. Vegetables, in particular, can usually be packed in more tightly than the seed packet says, but too much overcrowding leads to spindly and unhealthy plants.

And remember that compost weighs a lot. Be certain to place your planter in its permanent location before you fill it up with compost or soil if choosing a large planter. Once it’s full, it’s probably too heavy to move. Or, alternatively, attach heavy-duty casters to the feet/bottom of the planter to make it easier to roll between locations.

Waterproof 

whisky barrels planted up

Even wooden planters that have been pressure treated or coated with waterproofing products are not necessarily waterproof or water-resistant. In fact, pressure treatment makes the wood rot resistant and not waterproof.

Your best move is twofold: treat the wooden planter yourself with a water-resistant coating before you use it, or assemble it and repeat this treatment regularly, perhaps annually. Secondly, use a liner in the planter. Some planters come with their own waterproof porous liner. If your one doesn’t, use a porous plastic or fibre liner to keep the compost in the planter and to let the excess water drain away. 

Draining water from the bottom of the planter is essential to ensuring that your plants receive just the right amount of water and don’t drown. But where does the water go? None of the planters in our review come with a saucer or a tray to collect the excess water. This may not be an issue if the planter is on your grass or in a flowerbed, but you don’t want drops of water staining your patio stones. Make sure to place a drip tray under your wooden planter to collect the run-off and empty it often before it overflows if this might be a problem for you.


Final Conclusion

Wooden planters add style as well as extra growing space to your garden, patio or balcony. They range from the very rustic to the contemporary, all the while injecting the warm texture and feel of wood into the landscape. Whether you want to grow a salad garden on the balcony of your apartment or block out the sight of your rubbish bins with roses climbing up the trellis of a planter box, the best planters made from wood offer a decorative way of doing so.

Our pick for the Best Wood Planter is the Ruddings Wood 120cm Large Wooden Trough Planter. This traditional style planter fits into the design and décor of the garden and patio and is built of sustainable timber. It comes ready assembled and has two sections to grow your plants in.

The Beanwood Wooden Herb, Strawberry & Flower Garden Planter is our Runner-up. Shaped like a step ladder, it provides ample growing space for those who only have a small area to garden in.

Whichever wooden garden planter you choose, add to the success of your plants by choosing the Best Multi-Purpose Compost for them.


Last update on 2022-03-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

Write A Comment