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Recycled Projects for the Garden
by Debbie Clark - posted 04/23/14

When you say “recycling,” most people think of plastic, paper and metals items. They clean and separate these items each week for trash pickup or take them to a recycling center. But what do you do with those items that you need to discard that you cannot easily recycle or may be too big for trash pickup? Why not get creative and give those items a new life in the garden? You can reuse or repurpose them. Here are four easy to make projects for your garden that can be made from those unwanted items.


A garden door can become a wonderful focal point in any garden.

A Garden Door

A garden door can become a wonderful focal point in any garden. This whimsical garden door marks the entrance to a “secret garden.” It invites garden visitors to open it and explore what lies beyond. It was created out of cut tree branches, an old garden trowel, a used clay flower pot, wood and lots of imagination. I made a garden door similar to this one for my garden. The cedar wood for my door was recycled from a house that was being remodeled.

This door marks the entrance into Cathy Plump’s secret garden. The door was made by her husband, Steve.

A Vertical Garden Form

One of the newest trends is reusing wood shipping pallets in the garden. Take a used shipping pallet and stain or paint it. Cover the bottom and back of the pallet with several layers of weed barrier. The weed barrier on the pallet in the picture was made from recycled pop bottles. You will need to use heavy-duty staples to attach the weed barrier to the pallet. Make sure that you use lots of staples to attach the weed barrier firmly on the pallet. After the pallet is covered with weed barrier, lie it flat on the ground and fill it full of a good commercial potting soil. Stuff that dirt into the pallet and behind the slats tightly.

Now all you need to do is plant your pallet and water it. You can use sedums, flowering annuals or other types of plants for your pallet garden. Make sure that you keep the pallet flat or upright and slightly tilted back for a period of time to allow the plants to establish and root into the pallet before you sit it upright.

An old wooden pallet makes a great vertical garden for growing plants. This pallet garden has been planted with sun-loving sedums.


An old wooden pallet makes a great vertical garden for growing plants.

A solar light planter is a great way to light up the garden after dark.

An old table, cabinet doors and scrap wood becomes a great potting table for the garden.

A Solar Light Planter

A solar light planter is a great way to light up the garden after dark. If you have a sunny location in your garden and you need some light after dark, this is the project for you. The container is a black plastic nursery pot that had been used for a tree. The 4-by-4-foot posts were leftover pieces from a deck project and one piece is a recycled fence post. The pieces were placed into the container and then the soil was added. A hole was drilled into the top of each post about 2 inches deep and a solar light was inserted into each of the holes. Use a bit of silicone caulk to hold the lights in place. Add some colorful plants in your container and place it in a sunny location. Now you have a great planter that lights up that dark garden path at night, saves money on electricity and keeps those black nursery pots out of the landfills.

This solar light planter is made to light up the night.

A Potting Table

Here is a great idea for creating a potting table for the garden. The bottom of this potting table was an old wood table that a neighbor was putting out for trash pickup. Some scrap wood was added under the table to form a large shelf for storing flower pots. The top of the potting table was made from leftover scrap wood and hardware found in and about the garage. The two panels on both sides of the upper part are old kitchen cabinet doors. Leftover ceramic tiles were added to the top for a little decoration. After everything was assembled, the completed potting table was painted and placed into the garden. 

An old table, cabinet doors and scrap wood becomes a great potting table for the garden.

Reusing and repurposing items can be fun and a great way to create some wonderful projects for your garden. The next time you see that wood pallet, old flower pot, table, chair or other household items, before you trash them, think about how you could repurpose them for your garden. Use your imagination, get creative and recycle!

From State-by-State Gardening January/February 2014. Photos by Debbie Clark.

 


Debbie Clark is a certified advanced master gardener, freelance garden writer and a member of the Garden Writers Association. Visit her blog at www.gardenthymewiththecreativegardener.blogspot.com.