5 Steps: Prep a Half Wine Barrel for Planting

Half wine barrels are a popular choice for instant planter boxes. They're low maintenance, long-lasting, and large enough for roots to flourish. Plus, their traditional rustic oak adds character to any garden space! Here's your 5 step guide to properly prepare a half wine barrel for planting.


Turn upside down and drill 6 or 7 one-inch holes into the bottom. When you purchase one of our half wine barrels, we can do this on your behalf.


To avoid the bases rotting, lift the barrel up off the ground using bricks or wood blocks. They can become extremely heavy once the soil has been added, so it’s a good idea to place them in the desired spot before the next step.


One of the  Half Wine Barrels  outside our office acting as an instant planter.

One of the Half Wine Barrels outside our office acting as an instant planter.

You’ll need to add mesh to stop any mix from falling through. If using fabric mesh, cut a circle and staple to the bottom. If using a wire mesh, cut big enough to just cover each individual hole and staple in place. A cheaper option is to place a stone over each hole, small enough to release water but big enough to stop soil dropping through the hole

4. ADD A LINER (if using)

There’s some debate over whether lining extends the barrel’s life or not. Its up to you whether you’d like to add lining. It can be a beneficial way to hold the soil’s moisture and reduce the amount of watering needed. If you decide to use a liner, remember to cut holes in the bottom and align them with the barrel’s drainage holes.


You’ll need a 100L or approximately four bags of high quality Garden Mix to fill one barrel. Leave 2 inches at the top. The most important step in this process is adding a high-quality garden mix. A premium mix should contain a slow release fertilizer, such as this Living Earth Garden Mix, to nurture the plants for up to 8 months. Since the roots are confined to the barrel, they rely on the garden mix for nutrients so it’s crucial to use high-grade soil. If using a low-grade mix or just soil, you’ll need to also add an organic compost and fertilizer like Osmocote.