Uses for old barrels include turning them into planters or mini-gardens, outdoor coolers, tables or old-fashioned water pumps. Other ways to use old barrels are to convert them into outdoor fire pits or outdoor swings.
To turn an old barrel into a mini-garden, cut three sections out of the barrel in a way that creates three ascending levels. Use wooden planks to complete and shape these levels, and then fill them with soil and plant seeds or transplanted plants to create a three-tiered miniature garden. Place this anywhere inside or outside the home.
Turning an old barrel into a cooler is a matter of cutting a barrel to size and fashioning a folding top to keep the drinks cold. Fill the barrel with ice and place the drinks on top, and then fold the lid closed. Another way to turn a barrel into a cooler is to turn it on its side and cut a hole in it, installing a hinged door over the hole. Fill the barrel with ice and place the drinks in the barrel underneath the hinged door.
Turn an old barrel into an outdoor fire pit by attaching a store-bought fire pit or bowl over the top of an upright barrel. Use firewood or a combination of charcoal and lava rocks with a barrel fire pit.