As a rule, gardens are FULL of purpose from the flowers that bring joy to our life to the vegetables that bring us nutrients and the different plants that bring us health through medicinal properties. Why are we so quick to turn such a natural and green experience and environment into such a unnatural, new and shiny focus point?
Repurposing natural products is my favorite way of bringing the garden back its natural state of beauty.
If you live in a place with good soil, then this isn’t an issue, but most of the places I’ve lived had terrible clay like soil, making it impossible to grow anything, so we’ve had to get creative. If you have raised beds, you can find reclaimed lumber or privacy fence, like the pictures below, use pallets, canoes or cinder blocks.
I live in an apartment, so I can’t do anything to permanently alter my yard, like a put a raised bed in it, but I still have options so I used containers. Some are used feed containers that my uncle gave me and some are trash cans that I found in the university dumpsters, but you can also use burlap sacks, whiskey or wine barrels as a more natural, cohesive looking solution.
Tires are also a great solution and most tire shops would probably give them to you free because they have to pay to get rid of them. The big tractor tires are especially hard to get rid of because most recycling options do not accept that big of a tire, so if you have a farm friend, you might just hit the planter jackpot!
Old ladders are probably the easiest and most readily available repurposed trellis.
But I also have seen some bed springs used as a beautiful trellis, also these stacked bicycle wheels trellis (Which I would love to have someday) and these most creatively used crutches I’ve ever seen.
Furniture is essential if you plan to relax in your garden. Big electrical spools are popular, they have all sizes, big enough for a table and you can even find some small enough to sit on.
This by far is my favorite category. Literally, there is nothing you can’t make into a gardening decoration. As you will see, our family is a big fan of upcycling and repurposing.
From bird houses and bird feeders:
To a patio made from broken glass pieces and other natural decorations
Wind chimes made from bottle caps and pop tabs:
And just other assorted goodies, such as chair planters, glass mulch, garden signs from old tin and a repurposed hose made into a wreath.
One of my favorite ways of repurposing in my garden is through composting. There are many ways to do it, for small spaces like mine I went with a vermicomposter that uses stackable kitty litter containers. As my worm populations grow, then I can just continue to add more containers.
My mom has more space in her yard, so she has this 55 gallon composting barrel that she turns every so often and then there are some people that just have a big pile in their yard they turn. It’s all up to you and your spacial limitations, but look at this beautiful compost!
Food waste is a huge problem in the US and instead of spending money on compost, fertilizer and other nutrients to amend the soil, we can just make our own. It’s a win-win!
If you’re interested in learning in repurposing wood chips, leaves, sticks and other natural things from the yard to make mulch, please check out Little Sprouts Learning Garden to learn how!