How To Hollow Out A Log For A Planter – The Easy Way

There's something special about using natural found elements in your garden and around your home. Tree logs are plentiful in almost any area. Most of the time people see them as a problem or as firewood. But turning a log into a planter can be a rewarding experience and can bring a natural charm to your home.

What is a log planter

A log planter is a planter that can be made by hollowing out one or several logs. Log planters can be made from any hardwood tree and typically have a hole in them so that the potting soil can be easily filled. The hole can go part way through the log or the log can be hollowed out completely.

How to hollow out a log for a planter

The first step in hollowing out a log for a planter is to cut off any branches that are sticking up. Next, use your chainsaw or ax to start carving into the bark on the outside of the log and cutting away at it until you can break it off with your hands. The next step is going to be more difficult: using an ax or saw blade, try to make cuts through the wood inside of the bark from top to bottom. You will need lots of strength and energy for this part; if you don't have much experience doing something like this before, expect it will take quite awhile!

At this point, as your cuts continue downward toward the bottom of the log, you will start to see sunlight shining through. Break off more bark until you reach daylight and can see into the inside of your log. You should be able to poke a screwdriver or drill bit in from one side and make a hole all the way through without difficulty.

Go back outside and carefully start picking off pieces of the surrounding bark all around the outside opening, so that there will be no wood for you to whittle through.  

You should now be able to stick your shovel into the side of it and push it all the way through with little trouble. You've hollowed out a log for a planter!

Now, you can either fill the inside of the log with soil and plant your flowers or trees, or use it as a great place for storage. Either way, you now have a lovely addition to your home that took some work but was worth every bit of it in the end.

A story about hollowing out a small log to make a planter

Hollowing out a log for a planter is an idea that has been around for a long time. Last fall, I finally felt it was time to try it. I had worked with some kids on a tree-planting project and we'd drilled holes in the logs they'd turned into planters to keep them from becoming water-logged. It didn't seem difficult, so I thought I should give it a go myself.

I went to my natural foods store and found old berry baskets that are no longer usable because they're cracked or too full of holes. The price was right--ten cents each! I headed home with several baskets and set to work cutting off the bottoms of the baskets so they would fit into the log. I used the bandsaw, in case you're wondering how that worked out for me.

Next, I'd noticed that a log will often split down the middle and I want to plant three different plants in this one so I set out to carve in the middle. What would be better than my trusty screwdriver?

I used the screwdriver to carve out one of the halves and it came together easily enough. Then I flipped it over so I could work from both sides, carving down through half the log at a time. It was working well enough on its own, but I also found a chisel that worked particularly well for helping bust up big pieces of hardened bark.

The top part is the first half I hollowed out and then I turned it over to work on the other side. I wasn't sure how well it would work out and if the hole might get too large or even collapse on me. So you can imagine how much I'm enjoying this surprise, there was plenty of room for my three plants. (in fact, I think I could probably have planted four or five) They're all doing well so far.

I'm glad I went ahead and did this because it was easy, inexpensive and turned out well. It has been a fun addition to my yard. What types of plants have you grown in your log planters? Have you ever tried hollowing out a log for a planter? Was it as easy or hard as you thought it would be?

The benefits of having your own log planter

There are many benefits to log planters. A log planter can be used as a garden decoration, or they can be used to grow plants and flowers in. Log planters are very easy to make, and they are not expensive.

Where you can find logs that are perfect for this project

You can find logs for your planter in your local area. Sometimes you will see piles of logs laying by the street when someone has cut down a tree. You also can go into the woods near your home and look for fallen trees.

You could also call a local tree cutting company and ask them to save some for you. Usually they will give you few for free. Another place to try is an arts and crafts store. They will sometimes have some logs or be able to order some for you.

Finally, you can get some logs out of your own yard. If you have a fallen tree or are thinking of cutting a tree down, you can get some excellent logs for hollowing out to make a planter.

What log should I get for my log planter?

Logs ideally need to be fresh. The log needs to be a minimum of 8" wide and 12" long. A log needs to be seasoned for at least three months before you hollow it out for planting. This will allow it to dry out and also kill any bugs living inside of it.


Wood log planters are a great way to add natural beauty and elegance to your home. They also provide an attractive backdrop for flowers in the warmer months, or greenery when winter rolls around. But if you've never made one before, making log planter can seem daunting! Thankfully, there is a straightforward process that will help ensure success. We hope this article has given you some helpful tips on how to make log planters and where to find logs.