$7 Kiddie Pool Raised Garden Bed (& Other Cheap Container Garden Ideas)

Flower pots and containers add so much beauty to an area and can create garden space where there wasn’t any before, but they can be cost-prohibitive. Check out how to build an inexpensive garden bed using a kiddie pool!

A woman sitting next to a kiddie pool turned garden bed.

When you find yourself with limited space, this cheap, cute, large container garden bed can be used to grow vegetables, flowers, fruits and herbs!

Plus, I’m sharing more creative and inexpensive container ideas so that you can get your hands in the dirt and grow something on any budget.

Why I Love Sharing Cost-Saving Gardening Tips

My life has not always been where it is now – where I get to have this big beautiful garden. There was a time when I felt absolutely stuck living in a suburban neighborhood with very few skills and very few resources.

I desperately wanted to garden, but I believed the untruth that, because I didn’t have adequate space, I couldn’t do anything about it. Unfortunately, I missed out on a lot of time that I could have spent learning and growing my gardening skills by just being more resourceful.

Since starting my garden, I have been able to encourage a lot of people to start gardening right where they are. Turn your waiting room into a classroom!

Part of doing that is being determined and thinking outside of the box. It is for that reason I am sharing some of my inexpensive, creative ideas to get you gardening.

Supplies Needed for a Kiddie Pool Raised Garden

  • Portable Kiddie Pool – Kiddie pools are cheap and easy to find. If you are patient, you can probably even get one for free. In the summer, a post on Facebook saying you’ll take unwanted or broken kiddie pools should yield good results. Or a neighbor might even throw one out on garbage day. It doesn’t have to be in great condition. You are going to drill holes in it anyway. 
  • Potting Soil – Three 50-pound bags to be exact. I purchased an organic potting mix so that I could give you an idea of how much you would need and how much it would cost before you begin. I spent $10 a bag. Unless you have your own, the soil will be the most expensive part of this project.
  • DrillYou can cut holes if you don’t have a drill, but a drill is definitely going to be easier.

Woman drilling holes into a pink kiddie pool.

How to Make a Raised Container Garden with a Kiddie Pool

I bought the smallest kiddie pool at our local Walmart for $7. The hot pink appealed to me (and it didn’t have any dolphins on it).

  1. When you get it home, place the kiddie pool where you want it before you fill it. You’re about to add 150 pounds of soil to it. You won’t want to move it later!  
  2. Drainage holes will need to be added next. They allow the soil to drain well so your plants don’t drown. Cut 40- 50 drainage holes (depending on the size of the kiddie pool you choose) in the bottom of your pool. You can cut holes if you don’t have a drill, but a drill is definitely going to be easier. The holes need to be evenly spaced throughout the bottom of the pool, but it’s not an exact science, so don’t feel like you need to measure exact spacing.
  3. Now it’s time to add the soil. I used three 50-pound bags to fill a small-sized pool. If your pool is larger, you will need to fill it with soil until it is about 10 inches deep.

More Cheap DIY Container Garden Ideas

There are so many more options for planters beyond the standard terra-cotta pot. Here are some more creative, inexpensive pots and containers that you might not have thought of.

Repurposed Items

I found this IKEA bag on the side of the road and cleaned it up. These bags work well when used as grow bags because they are breathable.

They have sturdy handles and really can hold a good bit of weight. You might even have a few laying around that you’re not using. Put a few holes in the bottom of the bag for drainage, add your soil, and there you have it.

Get creative; you might have some items that can be repurposed already.

A large grow bag garden bed filled with flowers.
Image courtesy of gardeners.com

Grow Bags

If you don’t have any old bags to recycle, or if you are looking for something that looks more uniform, consider these affordable grow bags from Amazon.

These sturdy, breathable bags are specifically made for gardening, are very inexpensive, and are not as conspicuous as some repurposed options.

Grow bags are great for lining a porch or deck. I like the 7-gallon size and use them for growing dwarf tomatoes, but you can get them in all sizes.

A woman piercing a bag of potting soil with a screw driver.

Clear Plastic Tubs

I grow salad greens all winter long for less than $20 using a clear plastic tub. In that post I show you how to use a bag of soil and a clear tub to make a little greenhouse for growing salad greens.

The same tub I used in that project can be used in this project to make a container garden. You will need to drill holes in the bottom so that the soil can drain.

This is an affordable alternative to plastic planters and it works just as well. 


What Do You Put in the Bottom of a Container Without Drainage Holes?

All of the container ideas I listed above are suitable to add drainage holes if they don’t already have them.

A container with drainage holes is going to be the best choice, but sometimes you may have a container that you can’t resist using because it’s so charming or is simply all you have.

In this case, the bottom of the planter or small pot can be filled with a layer of gravel or small pebbles. When you choose plants to grow, keep in mind that the root system will need enough depth to grow into the soil without touching the rocks.

So make sure you have enough drainage space in the rocks, but not so much that it takes away from the growth room for the root system.

A pink kiddie pool filled with soil and planted with plants.

What Plants are Good for Container Gardening?

Let’s get to the fun part, adding the plants!

Containers are good for growing plants like broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, kale, salad greens, and herbs.

Peppers will do fine in a container because, if you do need to give them support, one stake down the middle should be sufficient. The only thing I would worry about trying to grow is big indeterminate tomatoes because you don’t have the depth you need and it would be difficult to get adequate trellises or cages.

You can learn more about growing determinate and indeterminate tomatoes here.

How Do You Layout a Container Garden?

No matter what you plant in your container garden, always follow proper spacing suggestions for your plants so they have plenty of room to grow and fill up the space.

Keep in mind how tall a plant will grow, and mix and match strategically with sun exposure to ensure that, as your plants grow, they won’t block the needed sun to other plants. If a plant prefers shade, use the tall plants to your advantage to create shade for your shade-loving plants.

There are many “garden recipes” for a layout, and I encourage you to grow something beautiful, be creative and make your own!

In my kiddie pool planter, I planted zinnias for a pop of bright color, Habanada peppers, determinate dwarf tomatoes, basil, Nasturtium, and mini bell peppers.

All of the extra space I filled in with radishes. Because radishes are ready to harvest in just a few weeks, they were not in competition with my larger plants.

I thought it would be fun to have this established little garden that my kids can come down and eat out of any time.

This inexpensive garden bed was full of food and full of life, and there was nothing in this little garden that they couldn’t munch on freely.

I hope you enjoy your little container garden. Thank you so much friend, for reading. I bless you, until next time.

Basil growing in raised beds in a garden.

More Gardening Ideas and Tips

I want to share this beautiful life with others and teach them the lessons we've learned along the way. Welcome to Roots and Refuge, friend. I am so glad you're here.

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