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Garden wheelbarrow 

garden wheelbarrow planter

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 100x40 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.

how to cut the wheel from a block
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 100x40 pine decking. Shape the ends for the axle and handle (optional) as shown in the diagram. Cut the two legs out of 100x40 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.

plan for wheelbarrow pieces
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.

how to fit the wheelbarrow tray base
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.

wheelbarrow side plates
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.

how to fit wheelbarrow wheel and legs

The finished wheelbarrow.

More details and larger images of this project.

finished wheelbarrow
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.


100x40 radiata decking handles and legs 3.6m
150x19x1800 fence palings wheelbarrow tray and wheel 3 of
8g x 50mm stainless steel screws tray and legs 40 of
Sturdi bond glue glueing wheel 1 tube
pipe sadles fixing axle to support rail 2 of
linseed oil coat the wheelbarrow 500ml bottle
Turps To thin linseed oil 1L bottle

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User comments

I had been searching for just such a project and was glad when I discovered your site. One or things need to be ironed out if this is being made in the UK.

Fence palings are what the Brits call Gravel boards and are available from Wickes. Just make sure when you buy them they are perfectly dry, they are stored outside because they are used for outside projects - logical really.

I printed all the details and started work with a couple of small modifications due the available timber size available in the UK.

The Wheel was cut and stuck using what we call "No more nails" - do not use this for this project it don't stick. Use waterproof PVA or Evostick and make sure that the garage is warm ( do not try to do this in the winter because the wheel still falls apart after 3 days of being glued and clamped).

Eventually the wheel was complete and when cut out was tapered toward one side because the blade in the jigsaw had flexed on the way in. Either drill a pilot hole before starting to cut the wheel out or use a table scroll saw.

All the other bits went together well, just make sure that when you lay up the bottom tray you leave approximately 5mm between each plank to ensure that the tray fits snugly along the lower section of the side panel.

Also pipe saddles are called saddle clips in the UK and you get them from Homebase in the plumbing section.

I look forward to my next project.

regards Clive   UK

We made your wheelbarrow. we're not what you call handy people but we were up to the task. Marvellous.

Adam and Eve   Auckland






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