How to Hollow Out a Tree Stump (Step by Step Guide)

There are several methods to hollow out a tree stump, and the one you choose depends on the tools you have, your skill level, and what you want to achieve.

You’ll be amazed how you can bring tree stumps to life and change your landscaping or gardening.

You can design a simple birdbath, a planter, or any other piece of décor that will make your outdoor space more inviting and vibrant.

In this post, I’ll show you how to hollow out a tree stump… Here is how to make the best out of a tree stump.

Related: How to Remove a Tree Stump and Roots

How to Hollow Out a Tree Stump

What next if you’ve decided to create impressive structures using your tree stumps? Most eye-catching ideas for stump repurposing require to be hollowed out.

Tools to hollow out a tree stump:

If you want to hollow out a tree stump, there are several tools you can use. Here are some of the most common tools for hollowing out a tree stump: chainsaw, power drill, chisel, hammer


  • Soften the wood of the stump and wait for a rainstorm to soften the wood.
  • Drill holes throughout the stump you want to make hollow. The holes should be spaced throughout the entire section.
  • Use a chisel and hammer to hollow out the stump. Remove the wood at the beginning of one of the holes and keep your chisel at a 45° angle. Eliminate the wood and place it in a recycle pile, compost pile or use it as mulch.
  • Smoothen the hollowed part and clean the hollow by chiseling the jagged parts of the wood. Smooth the bottom and edges of the hollow using coarse-grain sandpaper.
  • Wipe away any dust and debris from your piece.

How to Hollow Out a Stump with a Chainsaw

  • Ensure that the log is dry in the middle and search for a baseboard that can be drilled into the log.
  • Use a chainsaw to carve out the stump’s center to make holes and carve out the edges using a chisel. Once the top layer of holes is carved out, use a saw to make a second pass until the tree stump is open at about 3” deep. 
  • Eliminate the wood pieces using a chisel and hammer. Smooth the edges to make the planter look perfect.
  • For better air filtration, add a layer of activated charcoal on the stump’s base. Add a drainage layer to ensure that water doesn’t clog inside the planter leading to root growth and rotting.

How to Hollow Out a Tree Stump with Fire

To burn a tree stump, follow the following steps”

  • Get rid of any flammable object like sticks, dried leaves, or other wooden structures near the tree stump. This reduces the risk of fire erupting as you continue working. It’s advisable to keep water nearby in case of an emergency. You can also use chicken wire for extra safety.
  • Using a 2.5 cm spade bit in the power drill, bore a hole at the center of the stump at a 30° angle. Ensure that the holes are 20-25 cm deep or far enough to access the deep roots. Remove any debris after drilling. Create other holes on top of the stump and leave 2-5 cm of space between them.
  • Fill the holes with Potassium nitrate and clean your hands after handling the chemicals. You can also use kerosene or charcoal to make your stump more flammable. If you opt for Potassium nitrate, use hot water to dissolve it.
  • Create a teepee or pyramid over the stump using scrap wood and light it. Don’t use gas to light the scrap wood. Always keep all the burned pieces in a safe place to avoid accidental fire.
  • Cover the hole with fresh soil and place a plant in the new stump planter.

Tree Stump Ideas

When a beautiful tree dies or gets cut down, it doesn’t necessarily mean the end of its useful life. Turning tree stumps into landscape decorations is a popular concept you should adopt.

  • Gnome Home. A tree stump turned into a gnome home adds a fancy décor to your backyard. Any gnome would be lucky to call this structure home.
  • Fairy Land. The fairy garden has natural elements with fanciful childhood treasures that offer hours of entertainment to your kids.
  • Subtle Spa. A strong stump can make a great pedestal for a birdbath. Use any heavy bowl or basin to design a water retreat for your feathered visitors. You can add a small solar or stone fountain to attract birds in your yard.
  • Farm table. Create a breath-taking table for open-air dining. Ensure that the stump’s surface is flat, and choose a tabletop that gives your backyard the right ambiance.
  • Stump Garden. Nothing can match the beauty of creating a flower bed out of a tree stump. If the center of the stump is rotten and hollowed, you’re in luck! If not, use a basin and fill it with garden soil.

NB: Using a tree stump killer helps stop sprouts from tree stump

How to Hollow Out a Tree Stump (Steps)


Hollowing out a stump does not have to consume all your energy and time. The steps above will help you create impressive garden décor.

Always take safety precautions regardless of the technique you choose hollow out a tree stump.