Copper Patina and Rust Container Gardens

2 Materials
What do you do when you love garden fresh tomatoes and herbs but you don't like to weed and you don't want to pull the water hose all through your back 40? You plant a container garden. And not just any container garden. A beautiful metal patina'd container garden.
We started with galvanized tubs from Tractor Supply that we purchased for $99 each. They were 2x4 ft. We installed casters on the bottom and drilled holes for drainage.
We started with basic galvanized tubs.
Next we primed with the Modern Masters Metal Effects primer.
Then we painted with Modern Masters Metal Effects Iron Paint and let dry overnight.
Primed and painted, waiting for paint to dry.
Next we sprayed them with the Modern Masters Rust Activator. This is a photo of the finish developing in the sun.
Then we brushed on some Modern Masters copper reactive paint and while that was still wet we sprayed on blue and green patina aging solution. Then we planted out container garden with fresh veggies and herbs.
Summer container garden with rusted finish
I decided I wanted more blue and green patina on the containers for fall so we painted on some Modern Masters Permacoat Xtreme and let that dry. Then we brushed on some more copper reactive paint and while that was wet we sprayed it again with the blue and green patina aging solution. This is the final result replanted for fall.
Copper Patina and Rust container gardens.
Bella Tucker Decorative Finishes
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 5 questions
  • Dpbeee2 Dpbeee2 on Feb 02, 2018

    Where do you get tanks that big? The link to amazon is for much smaller containers.

  • Sue Ann Clark Sue Ann Clark on Mar 21, 2018

    Yes......I love the finished product. What amount of did you spend on all the paint.

  • Clarkston RN Clarkston RN on May 22, 2019

    End results looked awesome. Even though the cost spent on your planters plus the painting products overall seems a bit costly, not really a drop in the bucket compared to have purchased cement or porcelain nursery pots. Beside the fact of needing 4 to 6 times the number of containers you used averaging the same total square feet of planting space.

    My question is if these treated planters are not placed on either grass or garden dirt spaces what stains will sun, rain and environmental elements over time leave on cement, black top or wood/wood composite decking materials? Just a maintenance concern as time goes on? Nobody likes adding additional upkeep unnecessarily and thought you may offer your professional input.

Join the conversation
2 of 32 comments
  • Debbie Debbie on May 20, 2021

    I just love galvanized containers. Reminds me of growing up on the farm. Those look great. Good job

  • Payrachoti Payrachoti on Oct 06, 2023

    I know this thread is 5 years old, but WOW, what a fantastic idea with the metal patina'd container gardens! The use of galvanized tubs as containers is both stylish and functional. It's also great to hear you tackled the drainage issue and even installed casters for easy movement.

    It's clear you're already doing innovative things with your gardening space, but have you ever considered other eco-friendly lawn alternatives? For example, thyme lawns are becoming increasingly popular. According to, they're a sustainable option that requires less water and maintenance compared to traditional lawns.