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Full Instructions on How to Make a Wheelbarrow Planter For Your Garden.

Garden wheelbarrow

For those of use
making this in the UK I would suggest you check out the User
Comments at the foot of the page before proceeding and it could
save you a lot of time, money and frustration!

Step by step instructions on how to build a rustic garden wheelbarrow. This particular wheelbarrow is an ornamental, decorative planter box and is also fully functional and can be wheeled from place to place.

In this page

  • Making the wheel
  • Cutting the pieces
  • Fitting the tray base
  • Fitting the tray side panels
  • Fitting the wheel and legs
  • The finished wheelbarrow
  • Notes and tips
  • The material list and cost

NOTE: All pieces used in this project are cut from standard 150x19x1800 sawn h3 fence palings – excepting the handle and legs which are cut from 100×40 pine decking. (see material list below).


Making the wheel.

Cut 1 standard fence paling (150x19x1800) into six pieces 300mm long. Lay two pieces side by side, then glue (with sturdi bond or similar exterior glue) another two pieces on top of the first two, running at right angles to the ones on the bottom. Then glue another layer on top of the first two layers, again at right angles to the layer below. Place a weight on top and leave for the glue to dry. (24 hrs or longer).

When the glue is dry, draw a circle with a 130mm radius (see diagram) and cut with a jigsaw. Drill a 25mm hole (or slightly larger than the dowel axle) through the middle of the wheel.


Cutting the pieces.

Refer to the diagram for cutting sizes. The grid lines in the diagram are 100mm apart. Cut the 2 support rail and handle pieces (1180mm long x 50mm wide x 40mm thick) out 100×40 pine decking. Shape the ends for the axle and handle (optional) as shown in the diagram. Cut the two legs out of 100×40 pine decking and cut to the shape as shown in the diagram with a jigsaw.

All the tray pieces (tray base, side panels and end panels) are cut from standard 150x19x1800 fence palings.

Fitting the tray base.

Place the two handles on flat ground so that the axle ends are 60mm apart (or slightly more than the thickness of the wheel) and the handle ends are 400mm apart.

Lay the tray base (3 boards 150x19x400) on the two handles in the position as shown in the accompanied diagram and fix with 50mm galvanised flathead nails.

Fitting the tray side panels.

All the tray side and end panels have been cut at 15 degrees. Screw the end panels to the side panels with 8g x 50mm csk stainless steel screws. Drill the holes first with a 2.5mm drill bit.

The side tray panels will sit on the tray base, but the end tray panels will sit against the tray base. See accompanied diagram.

Fitting the wheel and legs.

Turn the barrow upside down.

Cut a piece of dowel 200mm long (the axle) and put it through the hole of the wheel. Place the wheel and axle on top of the two support rails so that the wheel is central and straight. Fix the wheel in place by securing the axle with metal pipe sadles screwed to the support rails.

Screw the legs to both the handles and the tray end panel as shown in the accompanied diagram.

Notes and tips.

The wheel in this project is made up of three layers of timber glued together. Two layers would also suffice. It is just personal taste. A thick wheel or a thin wheel.

The rounding and shaping of the tray panels can be changed to suit your taste and artistic flair.

Make the hole in the wheel slightly bigger than the dowel axel. (The dowel used in this project is only 200mm long. piece off an old broom perhaps).

The timbers used in this project are h3 treated (except for the dowel axle, which probably isn’t). The dowel will need a preservative, so might as well do the whole wheelbarrow for longer life.

Apply light coats of boiled linseed oil thinned with mineral turpentine. Both can be purchased from most hardware stores and are inexpensive.




100×40 radiata deckinghandles and legs3.6m
150x19x1800 fence palingswheelbarrow tray and wheel3 of
8g x 50mm stainless steel screwstray and legs40 of
Sturdi bond glueglueing wheel1 tube
pipe sadlesfixing axle to support rail2 of
linseed oilcoat the wheelbarrow500ml bottle
TurpsTo thin linseed oil1L bottle