28 Recycled Garden Ideas
Everyone loves a bargain, but gardeners are an especially resourceful bunch. Reuse odds and ends (you may already have around the house) with these recycled garden ideas!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.