Casual Gardener: Get down with upcycling
Get in touch with your creative side by turning unwanted items into garden features...
I NEVER cease to be amazed by the tat some people put in their gardens, from gnomes and plastic flowers to pre-cast concrete picket fences and fountains – not all of it cheap, I might add. Each to their own, you might say, after all my own tastes in garden ornaments would be regarded as a little unconventional. Weathered pieces of rusted metal are a particular favourite, as are seal and porpoise skulls – any dead mammal really. Elsewhere, my coastal garden features lobster creels, buoys, fish boxes and bits of driftwood, all salvaged from the shore and given a second life. Long before there was a word for it I was 'upcycling', turning mundane objects – or what some people may refer to as 'pruck' – into garden features.
It would appear that such repurposing is now trendy, prompting one company to offer tips on how to utilise unwanted items outside with a bit of DIY. The only thing I'd caution against here is stretching the bounds of taste. For example, despite having a suitable shape, an old toilet does not an attractive planter make. Less vulgar but equally incongruous is an old tyre transformed into a circular raised bed – it has all the class of discarded chewing gum.
The self-styled penny-pinching pros at NetVoucherCodes.co.uk have listed the most common items homeowners and gardeners can upcycle to give their outside space a new look.
“With the current cost of living crisis, now is a great time to start looking at what you can upcycle and when it comes to the outdoors, the possibilities are endless," a spokesperson for the company said.
“Upcycling is basically giving another purpose or a second lease of life to something that you may have now outgrown or no longer need."
NetVoucherCodes’ easy garden upcycling projects:
Use old kitchen pots as plant pots – Teapots are especially good for this great for this – and quirky too. But remember, plant pots need to have holes for water drainage, however, to get around this, you can fill the pot with a layer of pebbles before placing your plants in there. This will still give the pot a section for drainage to prevent your plants from becoming overwatered.
Turn an old ladder into a plant display – If you’ve got an old wooden ladder, why not cut it so you have around two or three steps, lean it against a wall and place some plant pots on there. You could even paint it to give a nice pop of colour to your garden.
Turn a pallet into garden furniture – If you can get your hands on a wooden pallet, why not paint this and repurpose it as a nice little coffee table? If you feel like you need extra height you could always prop this up onto some bricks or another pallet.
Create lights with jam jars – Next time you finish off your favourite jar of jam, consider washing out the jar and setting it aside. In the summer evenings, light a candle and pop it into your jam jars to create an ambience.
Repurpose a mirror – Instead of throwing out an old mirror, find a suitable place in your garden to hang it. This will add another element to your outdoor space and the reflection will give the illusion that your garden is bigger.