Get creative with crates!

Wooden crates of all shapes and sizes add rustic style to your garden and have lots of uses, whether for planting, storage or as attractive garden features.

An upturned deep crate becomes a simple patio table with drinks chiller

by Melissa Mabbitt |

Make a simple table

As well as making effective rustic features, crates have practical uses in the garden. An upturned deep crate becomes a simple patio table. Take out the middle section and, voila; there’s space for a drinks chiller!

Get stacked

Try combining a number of crates in creative ways to show off plants that are at their peak. Stack them on their sides to make shelves. In a sunny spot, you could keep all your herbs in one place for accessible harvesting, or it could be an holiday-home for houseplants - a sheltered place to keep them outside in summer.

Attach a crate on its side to a garden fence or wall with screws or strong adhesive to create a ‘theatre’ to show off seasonal cut flowers, succulents or auriculas. It also provides you with a handy shelf to house seeds, tools and labels while you’re pottering in the garden.

Hang it up

Or try elevating your crate. A light crate makes for a quirky twist on the traditional hanging basket with hooks inserted into each corner to clip the chain onto. Choose drought-tolerant plants because the compost will dry out quickly in the shallow depth.

Easy container crate

To turn a crate into a planter, simply line it with hessian, then a layer of plastic, stapled into place and punched with a few holes for drainage. Fill with compost and push in a some twiggy branches for supports. Plant up some edibles such as herbs, cut-and-come-again salad leaves and a couple of pea plants to twine up the sticks for a wonderfully rustic display of edibles.

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