5 Best Half Barrel Planters of 2024

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The Best Half Barrel Planters

The Best Half Barrel Planters
  1. Strata Sankey Oakwood Barrel Planter

  2. Stewart Blenheim Half Barrel Planter

  3. Cheeky Chicks Large Recycled Solid Oak Barrel

  4. Temesso Wine Barrel Solid Oak Barrel Planter

  5. Temesso Half Wine Barrel Planter

Half Barrel Planter Reviews

Editors Choice
  • Made from recycled plastic making it a more environmentally-friendly choice
  • Planter looks like real wood but does not require any of the maintenance
  • Plastic construction is strong, sturdy and weather resistant
  • Lightweight at just 1.4 kg so very easy to move around the garden - unlike real wooden planters!
  • Completely watertight and can also be used as a small pond or water feature

  • Doesn’t have any drainage holes so you’ll need to make these yourself
  • The colour is closer to black than brown and may be darker than some people expect

Made from recycled materials, the Strata Sankey Oakwood Barrel Planter is a rustic-looking, low-maintenance option that’s also environmentally friendly. It’s manufactured by a relatively small UK company based in Nottinghamshire.

Despite looking like part of a wooden barrel, this planter is in fact made from recycled plastic. It therefore has the charm of a traditional planter, but can be left outside all year round without the fear of applying waterproofing treatments or dealing with wood rot.

Weighing a light 1.4 kg, it’s also practical to move around the garden, whilst still feeling solid and robust. In fact, it’s so watertight that many customers have even reported using the Oakwood Barrel Planter as a small pond, or water-feature, to great effect.

Because of this, it’s one of the best half barrel planters if you’re looking for something eco-friendly and versatile. Naturally, it’s also a great option for planting bulbs, flowers and shrubs – though you’ll need to make drainage holes.

The barrel measures 49 cm in diameter, with a depth of 24 cm. It’s therefore a good ‘medium’ size, suitable for most gardens. The colour is relatively dark, closer to black instead of brown, but there are brass-coloured bands that help lighten the overall look.

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Runner Up
  • 22 L capacity is large enough for bulbs and small plants or as a small water feature
  • Made from plastic so there’s no need to treat it or worry about it rotting over time
  • Lightweight and easy to move around the garden
  • Plastic is completely watertight making a barrel that can be used as a small pond without leaking

  • Doesn’t have any drainage holes so you will need a drill to create your own
  • Top rim has a lip that traps water when turning upside down to drain - makes it difficult to pour all water out if necessary

With a choice of two colours, the Stewart Blenheim Half Barrel is a great option no matter the colour scheme of your outside space.

The ‘copper’ option uses warmer tones, fitting in with oranges and browns in the garden, whilst the ‘pewter’ model works well with cooler tones like stonework and gravel. Of course, neither planter is actually made from genuine metal, and is instead constructed from realistically-moulded plastic.

Although this Blenheim Half Barrel planter looks like traditional wood, it is actually made from hardwearing plastic. As a result, it’s frost proof, lightweight and durable. No maintenance is required, and at 1.08 kg it’s easy to move around – unlike standard wooden barrels, which can be very heavy.

It measures 40 cm in diameter, which is a suitable size for planting bulbs and small plants. There is a larger 61 cm option which can be used for potting up shrubs and trees. Although it doesn’t have pre-drilled drainage holes, they can be added at home; however, the plastic is quite thick so a quality drill-bit will be required.

By not having holes already in place, there is also the option of using this planter as a small water feature. It has a 22 L capacity and the plastic is completely watertight making for an inexpensive solution to get an ornamental pond in the garden.

Overall, this is one of the best half barrel planters if you want value for money; it’s a reasonable price and a good size, as well as suitably authentic-looking despite its plastic construction.

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Also Good
  • Very authentic - upcycled from a genuine whiskey barrel
  • Environmentally friendly choice - recycled construction, not using raw materials
  • Large size is suitable for lots of plants or small shrubs/trees
  • UK-based business from Worcestershire

  • Much heavier than plastic planters and more difficult to move around
  • Requires treating to protect the wood against the weather
  • Drainage holes may need to be drilled in on arrival

As authentic as it gets, this Cheeky Chicks Large Recycled Solid Oak Barrel is made from the lower portion of an old whiskey barrel.

It’s made from solid oak, resulting in a fully rustic appearance, with metal bands around the wooden slats to hold it all together.

The dimensions are 64 cm wide by 45 cm tall, resulting in a large planter with a very generous capacity. It may be too large for some smaller gardens, but if you’ve got enough space you’ll be able to plant bulbs, flowers, shrubs and even small trees.

Used to store Scottish whiskey in a previous life, this cask has plenty of character and history tied up with it, giving it a bit more life than a plastic replica model; however, there are some downsides to this as well.

Firstly, it’s a lot heavier than a plastic barrel planter, weighing approximately 25 kg. It also doesn’t seem to have been treated with any specific protection against the outdoors, meaning that a bit more maintenance is required as well.

Some of the barrels already have sufficient drainage holes when they arrive, but others may need more to be made. Also, unlike the plastic barrels featured on this page, this isn’t guaranteed to be watertight and can’t reliably be used as a water feature.

If you’re looking for something particularly authentic and rustic, this is one of the best half barrel planters to choose. Given that it’s a real oak barrel, recycled from a Scottish whiskey cask, it doesn’t get much more traditional. It also has a large capacity, making it suitable for a lot of different plants in the garden.

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  • Authentic design - upcycled from a traditional wine barrel
  • Large size is suitable for planting bushes and trees
  • Very versatile - can be used as a rain barrel, mini pond or planter
  • Environmentally friendly choice - recycled construction instead of using raw materials

  • Very heavy at 30 kg - may prove difficult for some people to move around in the garden
  • Large size may be too big for smaller gardens and take up a lot of space

One of the best things about using recycled barrels as planters, like this Temesso Wine Barrel Planter, is that you can choose which type of barrel you prefer.

These wine barrels are larger and lighter in colour than the whiskey barrels also featured on this page, yet they’re still made of traditional solid oak. Recycled from barrels used to make red wine across Europe, they even have authentic staining on the inside, as proof of their heritage.

Measuring approximately 70 cm in diameter and 40 cm tall, this barrel has one of the largest capacities on this list at 100 L. As a result, it’s large enough to plant larger bushes in, such as hydrangeas and roses.

Furthermore, it’s watertight, and can be used as a pond or water feature as well as a planter. If the wood is too dry, the barrel will not be watertight until it has expanded – this can be the case when it first arrives.

If you choose to use the Temesso Wine Barrel as a planter, you will need to make drainage holes in the base.

Unsurprisingly, this large solid oak barrel is heavy, weighing approximately 30 kg. It’s therefore a lot harder to move around the garden than a plastic model, which may be a necessary consideration for some people.

Overall, with its traditional oak construction and upcycled design, this barrel retains its traditional charm and works well as a repurposed pond or planter. It’s one of the best half barrel planters if you’re looking for a large capacity, and is ideal for planting small trees and shrubs.

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  • Solid oak construction does not buckle or bend under weight of soil/water
  • Can be used as a mini pond, planter or rain barrel
  • Large planter with a 100 L capacity can fit shrubs and small trees as well as several plants
  • Watertight after a couple of weeks so no liners required and can be used as a pond/water feature

  • Can take several weeks for the wood to expand sufficiently to make the barrel completely watertight
  • Very heavy so difficult to move around the garden single handed

Temesso create several different type of barrel planter, and their Wine Barrel Planter – Rustic has a darker, more aged look than some of their other models.

Upcycled from an original solid oak barrel, in a previous life this planter held red wine for wineries in Europe. Now, it can be used as either a large planter or water feature in the garden.

What sets this style apart from the standard Temesso barrel planters are the rusting metal bands and darker, uneven tones of the wood; these features give the barrel an older, more traditional appearance.

Measuring approximately 70 cm in diameter and 38 cm high, this half barrel is a decent size for planting one medium-size shrub, or several smaller plants. There are no drainage holes, so these need to be made once it arrives (if you’re intending to use the barrel as a planter!), but this can be done relatively easily with a standard drill bit.

Alternatively, this Temesso Barrel can be used as a mini pond or rain barrel. It becomes watertight once the wood is sufficiently waterlogged – this causes it to expand and fill any gaps. Given that the barrel arrives relatively dry, it can take up to two weeks for it to be sufficiently watertight not to leak.

Due to the oak construction, this barrel is very sturdy; it’s one of the best half barrel planters if you want something that is strong and solid, but authentically rustic. For smaller gardens, it may be a little on the large side with its wide diameter, but it depends on the space you have available.

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Clive's Smart Buying Tips

  1. Half barrel planters are either made from wood or plastic. If you’re after authenticity, you’ll want to consider a genuine wooden barrel. These are created from real alcohol barrels, and often still hold onto a light smell of whiskey or wine.
  2. The downside of wooden barrels is that the wood will require treating annually and they can be susceptible to rot.
  3. Plastic barrels are a great, low-maintenance alternative. They can be left outside year round and are watertight. One of the best things about plastic planters is that they can even be used as small ponds and water features. Look for a plastic that is described as UV-resistant as this will stop the barrel’s colour fading in the sunlight.
  4. To avoid buying new plastic products, I recommend choosing a plastic barrel made from recycled materials. These offer a good compromise between respecting the environment and maintaining the practical qualities of plastic.
  5. Large barrels (around 70 cm in diameter) are best for planting shrubs and trees. Smaller barrels, with a diameter of around 50 cm, are better suited to small gardens. They’re a great option for planting herbs and flowers.

After comparing several half barrel planters, my top recommendation is the Strata Sankey Oakwood Barrel Planter. It looks like wood, but is in fact made entirely from recycled plastic. With a 49 cm diameter and 24 cm depth, this is the perfect barrel for small/medium gardens. Plus, it’s watertight, so it can be used as a pond, water feature or planter.

How to Choose the Best Half Barrel Planter

If you want to add some character to your garden, a half barrel planter is a great choice. Not only do these make the perfect home for shrubs, flowers and herbs, they’re also eye-catching features in their own right (and they can often be used as mini ponds too!).

Choosing the best half barrel planter will depend on the size of your garden, the size of your plants, how concerned you are with authenticity, and your budget. The following information will help you make an informed decision.

READ NEXT: Whiskey Barrel Planter Ideas

Construction Material

When choosing a barrel planter there are two types you can go for: plastic, or wood. Wooden half barrel planters tend to be upcycled from real storage barrels used for holding alcohol (such as wine or whiskey) in stockrooms.

Plastic barrel planters are generally designed to mimic the appearance of a wooden barrel.

Here’s a more in depth look at each type of planter, to get a feel for their pros and cons as well as whether they’d be the right choice for your garden:

Authentic, Upcycled Wooden Barrels

As mentioned, planters made from wooden barrels have often had a previous life storing wine, whiskey or some other liqueur. They tend to be made from oak, although could be constructed from other types of wood as well.

Depending on the age of the wooden barrel, the rusticity of its appearance can vary. Some look relatively new, whilst others have been darkened by age or show signs of rust on the metal rings holding them together. To some, this is aesthetically desirable, but others may prefer the structural reassurance of no visible rust.

If you want an authentically rustic barrel planter, with history and charm, you may be swayed towards a wooden option.

Most wooden barrels are watertight, although they may not be instantly watertight on arrival. If the wood is very dry (as is often the case when the barrel planter arrives), it will have shrunk and there will be gaps for water to leak through. After a couple of weeks of holding water, the wood should expand and seal any gaps. This is worth remembering if you’re aiming to use the half barrel planter as a mini pond or water feature.

They tend to be more expensive than plastic barrels, so might not be as suitable for those on a tight budget. Some maintenance is required as well, such as treating the wood against rot, which should be done yearly. Most people find their wooden barrel planters can last at least 20 – 30 years if looked after well.

READ NEXT: How to Line a Wooden Planter

Replica Plastic Barrels

Plastic barrels can look surprisingly like the real thing, especially from a distance. They are often made from resin, or another type of plastic, and are moulded to look like wooden barrels with metal belts.

These barrels are watertight and can be used as small ponds and water features, or they can be used as planters. Much like with wooden barrels, if using as a planter you will likely need to drill holes in the base for drainage – they don’t tend to come pre-drilled.

They are very lightweight (generally weighing around 1 – 2 kg) and require no maintenance. Plus, if the plastic used is UV-resistant then the barrel should not fade in the sunlight and will maintain its colour over the years.

Plastic barrels tend to be cheaper than wooden ones, but naturally they don’t have the history or charm of being a real storage barrel. They are, however, very durable and won’t rot. Also, it’s possible to find plastic half barrel planters made from recycled plastic, which is something to look out for.

Planter Size

Half barrel planters are usually very large, often with a volume of up to 100L. The depth and diameter are the main indicators of the size.

Larger barrels, with a diameter of approximately 70 cm, are perfect for shrubs and small trees. Smaller barrels, with a diameter of approximately 50 cm, can be used for herb gardens and flower beds.

Keep in mind that the larger the barrel, the heavier it will be. This is particularly true for wooden barrels. Plastic barrels are significantly lighter than wooden barrels, no matter their size.

If you have a small garden, or want to use the planter inside, you should carefully measure how much space you have available. It seems that particularly wooden planters, that are upcycled from real barrels, are often larger than customers expect.

READ NEXT: The Best Bulb Planter Tools

Drainage Holes

If you’re looking to use your half barrel as a planter, you’ll need to make sure it has drainage holes. Most half barrel planters don’t come with pre-drilled drainage holes, regardless of whether they are made from wood or plastic.

Of course, if you want to use the planter as a watertight pond or water feature, you must double check that the holes definitely aren’t pre-drilled!

It’s straight forward to drill holes in either wooden or plastic planters. This is usually possible using a cordless drill and a drill bit.

Drainage holes are important for growing plants as they stop water stagnating at the bottom of the barrel. If water pools at the bottom of a pot with no escape it can cause the plant’s roots to rot. It can also become a playground for bacteria which can transmit disease to the plant via the roots.

READ NEXT: How to Build a Wooden Planter Out of Decking

Half Barrel Planter FAQs

This depends on the barrel, but the volume is usually not larger than 100 L. Small barrels are perfect for herbs, whilst large barrels (with a diameter of around 70 cm) can be used for shrubs and even small trees.

The lifespan of your half barrel will depend what it’s made from (as well as how well you look after it).

Plastic barrels are lightweight and tend to look very realistic. They are long lasting and fully weather resistant. There’s no need to treat plastic, and it can be left outside in all weathers.

Wooden barrels are more high maintenance. However, provided they are looked after properly, they can also last for several decades. Wooden barrels will need to be treated approximately once a year, and they should ideally be covered up in very bad weather.

For the most part, the answer is yes. Some barrel planters come with holes already drilled, but this isn’t the norm – regardless of whether they’re made from plastic or wood. Although it might not sound like it, this is actually a good thing. If a barrel planter doesn’t already have holes drilled before arrival, you’ll be able to use it as either a water feature/pond or a plant pot.

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