How To Hollow Out A Log For A Planter [Definitive Guide]

How to hollow out a log for a planter? First off, why should you have a log as a planter? I have a very particular way I want my garden to look.

For example, I like my planters to be all-natural, which brings upon many upsides. I liked plastic as planters. So, now, the big question is how to hollow out a log for a planter?

First off, why should you trust me? I have been growing plants all my life, and I have picked up a lot of useful information that I would like to share with you. I also have very close friends who are farmers and homesteaders.

You can decide to hollow out a log for a planter, a drum, a birdhouse, or anything, really. The question is if you want to hollow it vertically or horizontally.

In this article, I will cover exactly how to hollow out a log vertically and horizontally.

Let’s jump right in.

There are a few materials that are required before starting. If you don’t have them, you should really have them, not only for this project.

Gloves and glasses

how to hollow out a log for a planter

Work gloves and safety glasses are needed. You will be using your hands a lot. Thus it is best to protect it from splinters and cuts. Bark can be very rough. Safety glasses are also necessary because you never want sawdust or debris in your eye.


how to hollow out a log for a planter

This is obvious – a log when purchasing or cutting down some log, keep in mind that you want it 6-12 inches longer than you intend it to be

You don’t want any of the tree stump.

Heavy objects

Heavy objects are needed. You will need two heavy objects to steady the log as you hollow it out. I personally use bricks, but you can choose to use whatever you think will fit the task.

Measuring tape

You will also need measuring tape. This will ensure that your cutting is even. You can use any measuring device, this doesn’t have to be measuring tape, but this is what I like to use.

Cleaning equipment

how to hollow out a log for a planter

A wet cloth and necessary cleaning equipment are also needed to wipe away all the sawdust. This will keep your job as clean as possible, and you should wipe the sawdust when cutting the opening continually.


A drill is a power tool that is needed. Preferably a 1-inch spade drill and a 1/2-inch drill bit. This is needed to drain any excess water in the log. This is required.

Hammer and chisel

how to hollow out a log for a planter

You will need a hammer and chisel to take out the center’s remaining wood when finishing up.

You plant

Your plant (or succulents), soil, and charcoal(optional). I’m assuming you already have your plants. Perhaps you have seeds, and the charcoal is just nutritious.

Wood sealers

Wood sealers and a paintbrush are necessary to keep the wood from decaying fast. This is completely optional and if you do decide to do this, do a thorough job.


There are a couple of methods involving an ax or chainsaw, so if you have one, I would definitely recommend it.

How to Hollow Out a Log For a Planter

Okay, now that you have all your necessary equipment, you may start building your log planter. We are first going to cover how to hollow out a log vertically and then horizontally, both using different methods. Below are going to be video in case you want more visuals.

Vertical Log Planter

This is the first log planter we are going to cover. This is for a skinny.

how to hollow out a log for a planter

1. Measure your planter

Draw the outer rim on the log with a marker.

Using a measuring tape to trace the depth of the planter. Use a marker to mark the size of a planter on your log.

2. Start drilling

how to hollow out a log for a planter

Before you do this, put on your protective gear. Place a drill with a 1-inch spade drill bit at about 1.5 inches inside the planter surface. Drill in intervals until you reach the depth needed.

By the way, here’s our complete guide to gardening for preppers

3. Start chiseling

how to hollow out a log for a planter

Remove the excess wood remaining between holes and then define the depth of your planter. Place the long side of your chisel on the marked line, and on the other side, start using a hammer to strike the chisel.

4. Drill again

This is important, so follow closely. Use the 1.5 spade drill bit to drill holes in the planter’s bottom to allow water to escape. It would help if you kept each hole stays 4 inches apart to spare space between seeds. Now, clean up the sawdust with a wet cloth.

5. Finish up

Apply the wood seal around your log to prevent decay. Now, you can put this anywhere you want.

Horizontal Log Planter

how to hollow out a log for a planter

1. Set your objects

As stated in the materials, you will need two heavy objects. So, you will want to set those two objects on opposite sides of the logs to prevent rolling. You can also set the objects under the log.

2. Start measuring and marking

Now, get your measuring tape out and measure the sides of the log. Draw a horizontal line at the planter’s depths using your marker.

3. Start Drilling

Safety first, put on your safety glasses. After that, put the 1-inch spade bit inside your drill. About 1.5 inches inside the planter drawn, place the drill’s tip on top of your log. Then, start drilling in intervals until the flat top side enters the wood.

Continue drilling to the marker lines on the side of your log. Make sure you place some holes at 1.5 inches apart throughout the entire interior of the drawn lines.

4. Start Chiseling

Put your long side of your chisel on the top of the line.  Keep chiseling out the excess wood while minding the edges of the marker lines and the sides’ depth—chisel small amounts between the drilled holes.

5. Drill again and clean up

It would be best if you drilled drainage holes at the bottom of your log using your 1.5-inch drill bit. Make sure your drill holes are about 4 inches apart from each other. By now, you probably have a lot of sawdust just lying around.

If you’d like help with laying out your garden, this article will help you.

6. Finish up

This is optional, but this is what I did. Brush the surface of the logs opening with your wood seal. Coat the surface thoroughly. You also want to coat the bottom by flipping the log over. 

Finally, you can put your plants in there, and you have yourself a beautiful planter.

Final Thoughts

I hope you learned how to hollow a log and you make yourself a hollow log ASAP.

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2 thoughts on “How To Hollow Out A Log For A Planter [Definitive Guide]”

  1. I am not sure where you’re getting your info, but great topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more.
    Thanks for wonderful information I was looking for this information for my mission.

  2. This is a really useful guide on how to hollow out a log for a planter! I didn’t know there were so many methods.


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