Rustic Herb Gardens for $0 (but a Lot of Sweat!)


I really wanted rustic herb gardens near the house. So, using things I'd found and saved, I came up with the following easy-to-make herb gardens. Enjoy!
This was a leaky horse trough--hence the owner said "take it away!" It sat in my barn until I came up with a use for it.
I took a sawzall to the bottom portion of the trough.
Then, I took a drill to the bottom of the smaller section which I had cut off. The holes allow for drainage.
Flipping over the trough, I filled it with a mix of composte and dirt (make sure to throw in a few small rocks, too, to help with drainage)
I gathered my rocks.
I placed my rocks in what's called a "dry stack" around the plastic tubs, covering them. This is the most time-intensive part, and some of the rocks are a bit heavy. After the mix was in the troughs, I planted herbs which I got for free from a local "Herb Festival." (You could buy them or buy some seeds and start them yourself...)
The large rock was already there on my lawn, and I'd just placed these in a way I found pleasing, up against the rock. Make sure to level the troughs before you place the rocks.

Suggested materials:

  • Leaky horse trough.  (At a local farm (FREE!))
  • Rocks  (From a local corn field (FREE!))
  • Herbs  (From a local "Herb Festival" (FREE!))

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 16 questions
  • Susan Brusco
    on Apr 2, 2017

    What plastic tubs?

  • Lori
    on Apr 6, 2017


    Ok I get that part about cutting the trough down. But in the finished picture you said that "The large rock was already there on my lawn, and I'd just placed these in a way I found pleasing, up against the rock."
    So you have two herb areas, did you cut the one in half??? Or did you have two troughs that you cut down in order to get two herb areas??????
  • Judy A Rodriguez-Chavez
    on Mar 20, 2019

    Can you tell me what is leaky horse through?

    • Lesley Owens
      on May 24, 2019

      Why thank you Dani! It really is easy. When you do something similar, please post some pictures here so we can see your "take" on it. And yes! Succulents would be a fantastic idea! Best, Lesley

Join the conversation

4 of 145 comments
  • Debbie Magdziarz
    on Mar 8, 2019

    I love this idea- wanted something like this for my yard. Making a kitchen garden that is decorative is lovely!

    • Lesley Owens
      on Mar 29, 2019

      Thank you so much! I really like inspiring other people, and I try to make things that are not only utilitarian and upcycled, but aesthetically pleasing as well. The BEST aspect though is when I make something that others can create using hardly anything for expenses (imo, free is best!)

  • Carlie
    on Apr 25, 2019

    I really like this. Other than lifting some rocks it looks pretty easy.

    • Lesley Owens
      on Apr 30, 2019

      It really is! And reading through previous comments you can see where other people put their own "spin" on it - some use kiddie pools instead of troughs, some use bashed up concrete blcoks rather than stones. It all depends on what you have available to you! Enjoy!

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