Recycled materials – everything from leftover construction stone to an old door or wheelbarrow – make your garden beautiful and reduce your carbon footprint a size or two. So many items that end up in landfills can find a second life in your landscaping project. If you’ve recently finished construction or just have some unused items sitting in your garage, you’re ready to make your landscape more interesting and functional with recycled materials.
Found materials give your space a clever, creative look while saving old, seemingly useless items from the dump. Old wheelbarrows, bathtubs, shipping crates or fishtanks have a discrete space you can dump soil into and fill with your favorite plants. Imagine a row of fishtanks with tall, gently waving greenery or brightly colored wheelbarrows filled with flowers. Your landscape won’t look just like the neighbor’s and you’ll have rescued items destined for the dumpster.
If you’d rather have a traditional flower bed, create a border with leftover brick. Just bury the first inch of each brick in the ground and line them up right next to each other until you have a row. Use wood from old doors, windows or shipping palates in construction projects, whether it’s a raised bed for vegetables, a birdhouse, a children’s picnic table or an outdoor chess set (with a touch of paint, of course.)
Section off a part of your garden with an old door or tall window. It will work like a privacy screen without the hefty price tag. Attach wood – preferably from an old building project – to the back to prop them up if you don’t want to bury parts of them in the ground. If you put it near a vintage table and chairs, it will seem like you’re inviting guests in to a secluded, intimate dinner.
Once you’ve finished a building project, you might think the leftover stone is useless. Think again. Create a path through your landscape with the stone; just crush it into small pieces and spread it on the ground in an even line from one place to another. It doesn’t have to be straight. A looping path from your rain chains to your planter gives you the perfect route to gather water the morning after a summer shower and feed your flowers as they open to the sun.
Try using recycled materials in your next landscaping project. Use your imagination to get rid of all the clutter around your home – or find things on sites like Craigslist and Freecycle to supplement your project. An unused sink can become the perfect birdbath; an old ceramic bowl turns into a compost keeper where you can store your old vegetable peels and fruit skins. Your space will be original and planet-friendly when you use recycled materials in your landscaping projects.