DIY Simple & Inexpensive Tiered Flower Garden with Upcycled Pots

Upcycling old, broken, and even cheap pots can be fun!  Try this simply inexpensive way to add some color this season with this DIY tiered flower garden! 

If there’s any evidence to the fact I definitely don’t have a green thumb, it would be the various empty pots with dead plants inside found scattered in various areas of my backyard.  I decided it was time to add some color in my backyard and landscaping project from my previous post here:  Our DIY Backyard Renovation & Landscaping Experience Part 1.  I didn’t want to spend any more money on new flower pots since my backyard project has taken a good chunk of money to do.  Therefore I had to figure out how to re-use (upcycle) these cheap, and sometimes broken, flower pots.  With this simple project, you can also buy cheap terra cotta pots ranging from $2 to $20 for the larger flower pots.

DIY Simple & Inexpensive Tiered Flower Gardens with Upcycled Pots
DIY Simple & Inexpensive Tiered Flower Garden with Upcycled Pots

The following is what I had around my house to used to create three beautifully tiered flower garden upcycled flower pots.

Pots Used:DIY Simple & Inexpensive Tiered Flower Gardens with Upcycled Pots

  • 2 Small Terra Cotta Pots $2/each
  • 2 Medium Terra Cotta Pots $4/each
  • 2 Large Terra Cotta Pots $9/each
  • 1 Large Green Plastic Self-draining pot $7/each
  • 1 Medium Wide Black Plastic Hanging pot (broken and hanging unit removed)
  • 3 Small Plastic Pots (used to stabilize tiered pots)


  • 2 Small Annual grasses $4/each
  • 4 Small Annual creeping vines (use two different color variety) $4/each
  • 8 6-pack annuals (various colors with similar tolerance)

Other Material:

  • Gardening gloves
  • Small Garden Hand ShovelDIY Simple & Inexpensive Tiered Flower Gardens with Upcycled Pots
  • 1 32lb bag of Potting Soil


  • Hot Glue Gun (to stabilize tiered pots)

Things to note:  I used the plastic flower pots that my shrubs came in from the store to:

  1. Save on potting mix by taking up available space inside the flower pots with plastic pots.
  2. Stabilized tiered flower pots by stacking the subsequent tiered pots on the plastic pots to remain level and help prevent against sinking.

Tip:  You can use a hot glue gun to connect the pots together but I found that wetting and compacting the potting mix well helps reduce the chance of undesired sinking of the flower pots above. Also, by not gluing them I’m free to change up my design if I want to next season.  

Design your tiered flower garden

For this project I used three different designs to create my tiered flower garden:

  1. Circular Cascading Design: This is great if you have many different sizes of pots.  These pots are aligned in a circular alignment.
  2. Linear Tower Design:  Similar to a cascading effect design except these pots are linear alignment rather than circular.
  3. Spilled over” Design:  Great to use for broken pots where one put looks as if its’ pouring its’ content into another pot.

Getting Started

No matter the design, begin with the largest pots first followed by subsequently smaller pots.  Fill each pot about three-fourths full with potting mix.  Place an upside down plastic pot where the next pot will be and fill the surrounding area with potting soil.  Repeat for subsequent tiers.  Water the pot prior to planting so you can adjust for the sinking tiers from the potting soil beginning to compress and become compact.  Add loose potting soil where need to level each tier to three-fourths full again.

Planting Your Flowers

I bought ornamental/decorative grasses and creeping vines for some added elegant flow but it isn’t necessary.  If you choose to do grasses and vines, plant these first.

  • For grasses:  Plant on any level tier towards the back of the pots.
  • For creeping vines:  Plant off any edge of the pot to allow it to creep over and not onto the rest of your flowers.

Below are pots with and without the grass and vines and both are equally beautiful.

How to use Color Theory to design your tiered flower garden

If you haven’t heard of color theory, that’s okay I can give you the crash course right here to Art History 101.

Basically color theory is the study of colors on the color wheel that derive Harmonious Color schemes with these two main color schemes:

  1. Complementary Colors:  These colors pairs when used together make vibrant color schemes.  It’s easy to determine which ones are complementary because they are found across each other on the color wheel.  If you want something to really “pop,” use complementary colors.  Example: Blue & Orange, Purple & Yellow, and Red & Green. 
  2. Analogous Colors:  These are three colors that blend together well.  They are found next to each other on the color wheel.  If you want an overall color theme with a little variety, use analogous colors.  Example:  Green, Yellow, Orange and Purple, Blue Green. 

Related Posts

Our DIY Backyard Renovation & Landscaping Project Experience Part 1

DIY Upcycling Creative & Elegant Photo Tree Tutorial

I love using vibrant colors that pop so for this project I would recommend finding annuals with these tips:

  • Are complementary colors
  • Have the same tolerance to sun and water (I prefer part to full sun so I don’t have to move these pots everyday)
  • Take note on how they grow: Do they form a mound? Are they tall? Do they creep like ground cover?

This will help you decide on what to buy and where to place the plants in your flower garden.

Final steps to your tiered flower garden

When transplanting your plants to the pot, remove the plant from the container and gently loosen roots before firmly placing into your pot.  Continue this step until all desired plants are in.  Once you’ve finished potting your plants, make sure to back fill any holes and fill the remaining area with potting mix to about 2 inches from the top of the pot.  This is to ensure no roots are exposed.  Place in your desired location before watering the pots thoroughly because once watered, they become quite heavy.  Add potting mix if necessary.

Here is how my tiered flower garden turned out

Thoughts to Consider

Have you ever made your own tiered flower garden with upcycled pots?  What design did you like best?  Have you used Color Theory with home improvement or interior design?

Thanks so much for visiting Mommy Engineering! I hope you enjoyed this post! Please share this post with your friends! Thanks!

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Wife, Stay at Home Mom of two boys, and blogger. Friends and family call me Kaye but my personal favorite is "Mom." I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to be at home with my two baby boys. As an engineer by career, and stay-at-home mom by choice, I write about how to “Invent. Innovate. Design. Mommyhood” and what that entails.

  • Robin Rue

    I am head over heels in love with this idea. I totally want to make one for myself after seeing how cute yours came out.

    • Mommy Engineering

      Thank you! It’s so easy to do and you’ll love how it turns out!

  • Jane Davidson

    Pinned for later! I love this idea! It’s so simple but really makes an impact. And, it would be so easy to paint them and then you have a totally different look!

    • Mommy Engineering

      I definitely wanted to paint them or head over to dollar store and put on some added flair! It would be so easy! Thanks for pinning and sharing this with your friends!

  • Jessica Lynn Martin

    Beautiful DIY project! I don’t have much of a green thumb but this looks very easy and simple to do on a nice day. I do need a decoration for outside my front door. This would be perfect!

    • Mommy Engineering

      I want to make another for my front porch too! Definitely worth trying!

  • Kit Stanwood

    These are gorgeous!!! I don’t have a green thumb at all so I’d use fake flowers but I like the tiering!!!

    • Mommy Engineering

      Fake flowers would work out great! Thanks for visiting!

  • Shannon Patterson

    This is a really great tutorial and it looks beautiful! Your shopping list and in-depth instructions with pictures makes it look easy to make.

    • Mommy Engineering

      Thank you! 💕

  • Kristina Paché

    Very cute idea and simple to do too! I’d love to do this for my front porch and have a few pots outside! Gorgeous!

    • Mommy Engineering

      Thank you! It’s not very hard and you will love how it turns out!

  • maria @ close to home

    these turned out to be absolutely adorable. Now I need to find a place for something like this at my house.

    • Mommy Engineering

      You can easily make mini ones for indoor plants 🙂

  • Karen Yannacio Morse

    Do you know that I have seen these tiered potted plants on Pinterest, admired them, yet never pinned one because I thought they were too complicated to do myself? Welp, you changed my mind and I am so trying to make my own this weekend! Yay!

    • Mommy Engineering

      I’m so glad you’ve found this then! let me know how it goes! Thanks for visiting!

  • Michele

    What a great idea! Better to reuse those old pots then to throw them away. I do love the tiered arrangement you made!

    • Mommy Engineering

      Thank you!

  • Jessica Hughes

    This tiered arrangement is so adorable! It really is much less complicated than it would seem to make this. I love the idea of using old pots you already have, great upcycling idea!

    • Mommy Engineering

      thank you!

  • LeahSay’s Views

    Very cute and you make it look so easy. I salvaged an old broken down wheel barrel one summer and tired it on its side and had the flowers coming out of the rusted wheel barrel spilling into the flower bed. It was so cute.

    • Mommy Engineering

      We have an old wheelbarrow i want to do something with! I’m working on a post for it now 🙂 Come back and check it out

  • Marcie Wirtz Cheung

    What a cute idea! I’ve heard of people doing tiered arrangements for veggies, too. We have failed miserably at the whole gardening thing, but I bet I could stuff some silk flowers in there!

    • Mommy Engineering

      lol you could get those hard to kill indoor plants and make and indoor flower garden 🙂

  • OvenStruck

    I have be dying to make one of these and I think seeing this post is fate! I just found our stash of terracotta pots and I think it’s time to go to work! So pretty.

    • Mommy Engineering

      You will be so glad you did!

  • Janella Panchamsingh

    you did a good job on this layered plant project its a nice little touch to a garden

    • Mommy Engineering

      thank you! I’m so glad you like it!

  • Miss VeraJeanae

    I have never made my own flower garden with eucalyptus pots but it sure looks pretty. I may consider this!

    • Mommy Engineering

      Definitely give it a try! Any pot: old, new, broken, will totally work for this project!

  • Elizabeth Brico

    This is my favorite gardening post because I don’t have a green thumb either, and now I trust your advice more 🙂

    • Mommy Engineering

      Haha, hence why I bought annuals. If they die… I’m okay with it haha

  • Amanda Love

    That looks lovely and it’s a nice addition to any garden. I like that it’s not that difficult to make either.

    • Mommy Engineering

      Thanks! We love it so much!

  • Mai C.

    I love the idea! I have never done anything to improve our garden at all. It would be nice to start with potted plants and this is a lovely way to do that.

    • Mommy Engineering

      You won’t regret it, it’s so simple and cheap!

  • Jessi Joachim

    how cute! I have been looking for something to do for my front porch area, so this might just have to be tried here soon! It looks pretty simple so I think even I an do it!

    • Mommy Engineering

      It’s so easy and if I can do it, anyone can lol

  • thinkmaghq

    I love reusing anything I can so this post really appeals to my lifestyle and my content on my blog. This was so easy to do and it looks lovely!

    • Mommy Engineering

      I’m so glad you love it! Thanks for visiting !

  • Belema Ronabere

    I’m not the most visual person sometimes and when you said tiered, I kept wondering how that was possible. Maybe because I’m a total newbie to gardening. It turned out so beautiful. Like way more than I imagined. Really nice work. The result was worth the work

    • Mommy Engineering

      I totally agree, the results were so beautiful! You definitely have to try it. It’s a very easy gardening project anyone can do 🙂

  • militaryfamof8

    Oh this is an amazing idea! I just started doing gardening last month and it’s so much fun.

    • Mommy Engineering

      We love it too! <3 Such a great family event!

  • Melissa Chapman

    Your garden and designs look so good I am jealous what great use of those pots. I have a backyard that is going to waste, but my husband does a lot of lawn work so I have to give him a break.

    • Mommy Engineering

      LOL you got a good husband there! It will come in time I’m sure!

  • Dani

    I have always wanted to do one of these ideas with the tiered flower pots or put plants in it… but I am scared that it won’t work out. You make it look so easy!

    • Mommy Engineering

      You should try it! You will love it!

  • Corinne & Kirsty

    I love DIY! They are so amazing! you can do so much! and transform your home is something fabulous! this is such a great idea! i’ll remember it! xx corinne

    • Mommy Engineering

      Thanks! So glad you liked it!

  • PrimeBeauty

    This is a great idea, especially if you don’t have a lot of space to create a full garden. I love the tiered look. It adds a lot of detail and curb appeal.

    • Mommy Engineering

      I agree, this would be such a great idea for small spaces! Great suggestion, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • Blythe A.

    This is such a smart way to recycle pots you already have. I really like the tiered flower garden idea. I know it would look so nice next to my front door.

    • Mommy Engineering

      You will love it! Thanks for visiting!

  • mommadjane

    I love how beautiful these turned out and how simple it is to do. We just started a new flower garden this past weekend. I’ll need to try this with some of our old pots.

    • Mommy Engineering

      Definitely !You will love how it turns out 🙂

  • Reesa Lewandowski

    I have always wanted to make one of these! I love how they look, they’re so pretty and whimsical!

    • Mommy Engineering

      I agree! You should try it! I’ve seen your blog, You would do an amazing job!

  • Brittany Muddamalle

    I would love to try the tiered thing on my own. I’m not the best when it comes to keeping plants alive but hey! There’s a first time for everything!

    • Mommy Engineering

      No worries! I bought annuals in case I failed at keeping them alive i have an excuse now lol

  • Tereza Cityscape Bliss

    I absolutely love these – I’ve been seeing them all over Pinterest lately and totally want to make my own! Such a fun Sunday project! X

    • Mommy Engineering

      it’s an awesome project to kick off spring and roll into summer!

  • Roxanne Ferber

    This is super cute! I have so many empty left over pots I should give this a try. I’m sure my kids will love helping!

    • Mommy Engineering

      my kids loved helping! Of course I had more potting mix end up outside of the pots but it was the effort that mattered lol!

  • Fatima Torres

    We’re adding more to our garden next month, and this would definitely come in handy for our front yard, right by the door.

    • Mommy Engineering

      They are so cute and add some curb appeal!

  • Tami – This Mom’s Delight

    I am wanting to do something worthwhile with my time outside while the little one plays. This would be a perfect project to get me started.

    • Mommy Engineering

      Absolutely! My kids had a great time and i didn’t care if they broke something, I’d just add it to my design!

  • Amanda

    Such a pretty and easy DIY idea! I am the worst gardener so need to add some pretty touches like this !

    • Mommy Engineering

      You can always try succulents! They are pretty hard to kill.. although ive killed them before so.. 😂

  • Jeanine M

    These are cute! Beautiful DIY to do with the kids and perfect curb appeal and even the backyard.

    • Mommy Engineering

      Absolutely! a perfect project to do with the kids!

  • Rachel Catherine

    I love this! It’s so cute and I want to do it this summer. I’d love to make two of them and possibly put them in the front of our house.

    • Mommy Engineering

      Great idea! I want to make a few more for my porch too!

  • Katy Lyle Hood

    I love tiered flower gardens. Your’s all tuned out beautiful, especially the one you did on the left.

    • Mommy Engineering

      Yeah I think that one is my favorite! Thanks for visiting!

  • Elizabeth

    How cute are these! Such a great way to decorate the garden! 🙂

    • Mommy Engineering

      Thank you!

  • Nicole Cochingco Escat

    Wow! This is so creative. I want to have that kind of upcycled pots. This is really attract people.

    • Mommy Engineering

      Thanks! So glad you like it!

  • Claire Lee

    I see the tiered planting all the time in facebook videos, and now that I see your directions, I feel like it’s a fun way to keep the home decorated!

    • Mommy Engineering

      Thank you!

  • Heather

    So pretty! My mom does an amazing job with potted flowers (actually all flowers), I am much better with vegetables. I have peonies and irises that come up every year no matter what…those are my favorites 🙂

    • Mommy Engineering

      We have veggies and I’m horrid at it! Maybe we could exchange some tips lol

  • Keren Charles

    What a great idea! My mom is the only one in the family with a green thumb, so I will be sure to share this with her. You make it look so easy. I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing.

    • Mommy Engineering

      thanks for sharing!

  • The Crocheting Mom

    You had me at inexpensive! I have such a hard time keeping plants alive, but I love how these look!

    • Mommy Engineering

      give it a try, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to do! Thanks for visiting!

  • Tiffany Meiter

    I love those! Super cute.

  • Amber

    I love this! I need to keep this in mind for sure. So pretty.

  • Susan Croox

    Those look beautiful! I totally don’t have a green thumb 😩

  • interNATionalcaty

    I wish I had a green thumb. I can kill a cactus. The look beautiful

  • Andrea Warren

    I so need some height in my flowerbeds, Super cute idea and affordable too. My 2 favorite things

  • Amanda O’Brien

    wow these look fantastic – love all the complementary colours

  • Ellie Augustin

    I’ve always wanted to try this. This looks so beautiful! I love how it can be a way to welcome the amazing weather that is to come! Yay for Spring and Summer!

  • Tracy Chong

    I think I also don’t have a green thumb! Haha..can see there are few empty pots with dead plants on my balcony. 🙁 Just cleaned it up and planning to reuse it after buying some seeds later. Hope it grows this time. I want to add some colors to my house, too!

  • Elena

    I’m going to share this post with my mother. She loves flowers a lot and I think it will make her happy 🙂

  • Amanda Nicole Hughes

    I have been eyeing up this idea for awhile; I just need to bite the bullet and do it! SOOOO CUTE.

  • Jennifer Panehal-Pelayo

    This is super cute! We bought a historic home that has several hundred old clay pots underneath in the crawl space, so I am always looking for fun ways to use them! Thanks!

  • Naomi Andrews

    This is such a cute idea! I don’t know why I’ve never thought to stack pots this way before. I really love the layered look.

  • Babies to Bookworms

    This is so pretty! I did something similar a few years ago, but didn’t get these results! We will have to try again.

  • Melissa Clifton

    Love this idea! Yours turned out amazing and so pretty!

  • Amanda Kanashiro

    I love this look. I’m sure I have enough empty pots around here to do something like this! Thank you for the inspiration.

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  • Julie Estrella

    Wow, I never thought to tier the pots?! Fantastic idea!

  • Krissie Aguilar

    Great idea! I never would have thought to do that to pots. Definitely going to do this soon!

  • Lauren

    Love this idea !

  • Aireona93

    This is so perfect for me! I wanted to add some pots to the outside of my house, but I didn’t think I could get pretty ones without spending alot. These look great!

  • Kendel @ Little Misadventures

    Oh my, this is such a neat idea! It sounds like something even I could pull off…and I’m a bit of a gardening noob! It looks so, so, so good!