- MARK KINTZEL
Old Garden Hoses
Holey hose? Give it another useful purpose.
- Set four wooden posts in a square and weave the hose around them to make a simple compost bin.
- Craft a basket out of a hose and zip ties. We found this project by artist Chase DeForest on Pinterest. It’s genius!
- Shape your hose into a loose circle; add embellishments, like gardening gloves or a few tools, for a fun wreath to hang on your shed or near a potting area.
- Make a doormat by cutting your hose into lengths, putting corks in the cut ends and gluing the pieces to a worn out mat. For step-by-step instructions, visit markkintzel.com.
- Place hose segments around swing-set chains to protect tiny fingers. Or put small lengths of hose around bucket handles for a more comfortable grip.
Bonus Tip: Solicit for deals! Ask friends if they’ve got any of these items they’d like to offload. If you’re willing to spend a few dollars, check rummage sales and thrift stores for deals.
- Gardener’s Supply/Gardeners.com
Enjoy your favorite wine even after the last sip.
- Make a bottle tree in your backyard and train colorful flowering vines to climb it. Clematis, trumpet vine or morning glory will give you a simple, sweet look.
- Plant bottles upside down around a garden bed or path for a whimsical edging.
- Fill bottles with water, flip them upside down in your planters, and they’ll slowly water your plants, in case you forget or are going out of town.
- Write plant names on wine corks; stick them on skewers and use them as garden markers.
Bonus Tip: Take it up a notch! When upcycling for the backyard, nothing is off limits. Be creative, think outside the box and don’t be afraid to experiment.
- Stacy Risenmay/Notjustahousewife.net
Look around your storage shelves—you’ll likely find many of these handy jars.
- For your next picnic, fill jars with cut lemons and water and add fresh flowers for a simple, elegant centerpiece. Or put Christmas lights inside a few jars as luminarias for an evening party.
- Plant an indoor kitchen garden with your favorite herbs in jars attached to scraps of wood with plumber’s clamps. Mount them in a sunny spot for fresh herbs at your fingertips. Water with care as there are no drainage holes.
- Attach hooks on either side of your kitchen window and use wire to hang a jar from each. You’ll never have to hunt for a place to put freshly cut garden flowers again.
- Paint the inside of the jars with fun colors (you probably have some left over from a project) to make pretty vases.
- Alison Auth (Project) & Heidi Hess (Photo)
Home decor need a little freshening up? Take old household accessories to the garden.
- Use old lamp bases as pedestals for birdbaths or planters.
- Give old mirrors a new life in the garden. Hang them on a fence or the side of your shed to create dimension in the backyard.
- Rugs a little shabby for indoors? Take them outside to warm up your patio.
- Have a bunch of old keys or metal trinkets in your junk drawer? Hang them with string from an old colander for a fun wind chime.
Bonus Tip: Time to define! The definition of upcycling: reusing old materials to create objects of higher quality or value than the originals.
- Jim Wieland
Got a run? Don’t toss torn pantyhose—they’re great garden helpers.
- When planting containers, place pantyhose on the bottom of the pots so water can pass through, but not soil.
- Store out-of-season flower bulbs in a pantyhose leg and hang in a cool, dry place.
- Cut pantyhose in strips and use to tie up and stake plants.
- Push growing melons into pantyhose legs and tie them to a support off the ground to eliminate rot, mold and insect invasion.
- Slip pantyhose over flower heads and secure with twist ties to collect their seeds.
Frugal Fun for Kids & Baby Gear
Little ones quickly outgrow their baby things, but gardeners give baby stuff a second chance.
- Paint the sides of a crib a bright color, such as coral or aqua, and lean it up against your house as a trellis. Colorful cribs can also conceal an unsightly protrusion, like an air conditioner or electrical box.
- With a few simple tweaks, an old changing table works wonders as a potting bench.
- No need for that old diaper bag? Hang it on your potting bench for a handy place to stash gloves, tools or other small items.
- Protect plants from frost with a crib sheet. These mini sheets are perfect for planters, raised beds or other smaller garden spots.
- Have your kids outgrown their sandbox? Add drainage holes to the bottom, and you’ve got a new herb planter.
- Going on a firefly or bug hunt? Keep critters in a mason jar with a piece of pantyhose held with a rubber band on the top so the insects can breathe.
- Chase Deforest
Dollar Store Deals
Colorful spray bottles:Use them to mist tender seedlings or to hold homemade pest or weed killers or organic fertilizers. Be sure to label them.
Glass vases, plates and small decorative stones: When stacked and glued together, these make attractive birdbaths or feeders.
Kids’ outdoor toys: Keep your kids busy (and helpful) by giving them garden tasks. They’ll love having their own garden tools.
Craft sticks: Mark these with a waterproof pen and use them as plant identifiers.
Sponges: Keep moisture in and dirt out by placing sponges in the bottom of planters.
Bubble wrap: Use it as insulation for plants threatened by frost.
- More From Birds & Blooms