Gardening can be expensive. From planters and seed mix to seedlings and lights, there are all sorts of things you can buy to make your garden plot more successful.
But do you really have to spend the money?
In many cases no – you don’t. There are all kinds of items that you can reuse around the house to stretch your gardening budget a little further.
Don’t you believe us? Here are x things you can upcycled in the garden.
25 things you can upcycled in the garden
The palette is the number one tool that will help you expand your gardening budget. Pallets are often available free of charge in most department stores, warehouses, and other locations that typically ship large quantities of items in bulk.
Some ideas on what to do with these pallets when you bring them home?
You can grow a seating area, vertical planter, or even plants like green beans in pallets horizontally on the floor. Pallets can also be cut up and used for any project that requires lumber or similar materials. If you are using pallets for edible plants, make sure you are using pallets made from untreated wood. Check out these ideas for other interesting outdoor pallet projects.
2. Mason jars
Mason jars are also valuable in the garden. If you have a ton of cracked or broken glasses lying around, don’t throw them away yet. While you can’t exactly use them for canning anymore, you can use them to add some flair to the garden. Mason jars are attractive decorations that can trap the light, as shown in this tutorial.
You can also make a fun wind chimes out of mason jars. Mason jars can also be used to hold plants, act as seed starters, or even organize small tools and small pieces of garden supplies. Love glass craft? Find 50 more mason jar projects here.
If you have some old tires lying around there are a few ways you can use them in the garden. The best way is to make a planter. You can leave the tire unchanged or paint it – either way, any size tire is a valuable tool for a budget gardener. You can find more ideas in our old tire upcycling collection.
Even an old metal suitcase can serve a purpose in the garden. Instead of throwing it away when it gets rusty and won’t close, consider moving it to the garden. You can paint it if you really care about how it looks, but otherwise all you have to do is toss it in the ground, plant it, and repeat.
Spoons can be very helpful when it comes to digging up stubborn weeds. So when you’re cleaning the cutlery drawer, don’t throw it away just yet. You can also make a wind chime out of spoons, which will give your garden area a beautiful look and a charming boho vibe.
Another possible use for a set of spoons is for upcycling garden markings. You can etch into it or just write directly on it. Learn how to recycle old kitchen utensils in the garden (50 projects).
Don’t throw those popsicles away after your afternoon snack. Save them – they are great garden planters so you can mark the location of whatever you want to grow. Do you love popsicle crafts? We still have 50 here.
If there are leaky buckets lying around, don’t throw them away. They may no longer be able to carry water, but you can still use them in the garden. The leak will actually serve you well as it will act as built-in drainage when you use the buckets as planters! If you don’t like the look, you can always cover them with burlap.
If you see windows on the side of the road for free, don’t drive past – scoop them up! They make great cold frames. All you have to do is shape the window into a DIY cooling frame (which you can make out of scrap wood – see the pallet tip above!), And you have growing space that you can produce delicious veggies in even when there is snow on the ground.
9. Storage tanks
It can be difficult to source storage tanks if you live in an agricultural area where people tend to track them down quickly for their animals. However, if you are lucky enough to have one lying around and find that it no longer contains water like it used to, save it. It will make a great planter for your garden.
Do you have some old sawhorses lying around? Use them to carry a lightweight planter. They don’t have to look good to do their job!
A colander (along with any kind of pots and pans) works wonders when used as a planter. You can fill it with all kinds of flowers, herbs, and other plants. The nice thing about planting in a colander is that it also has a built-in drainage system.
12. Dresser drawers
One of the latest trends in gardening is upgrading old dressers and offices to garden stalls. You can also pull out the drawers and plant them right in them, as long as you have some sort of drainage system in place.
13. Shoe racks
Believe it or not, an over the door shoe or accessory organizer can make a great planter. All you need is some soil and your seeds!
14. Light bulbs
You can plant your seeds in lightbulbs indoors or use the same lightbulbs as vertical planters. Charming!
15. Milk jug
Not only can milk jugs be used as planters – when displayed side by side they actually have a fun artistic feel – but they can also be used for a more practical purpose. If an unexpected frost threatens your garden plants, simply cut off the top of the pitchers and turn them upside down over your plants. The pitchers act as cloches over your plants so you don’t have to worry about the plants being prone to the cold.
Even toys can be recycled in the garden! When your child is too old to play with their toy trucks, the Tonka can be turned into a planter. It’s charming and will keep you clinging to a piece of nostalgia even after your child has grown up and moved out of the house.
Another way to use toys in the garden? Let your kids make good use of all these Legos and build a planter!
17. Wooden spoon
Like normal spoons, wooden spoons should never be thrown away. Instead, you should save them and use them as markers in your yard. You can write or paint directly on it!
18. Coffee cans
Coffee cans are indispensable for the gardener! You can grow plants in it and thus also store compost ingredients. A detailed tutorial on how to build an insect hotel here.
19. Toilet paper tubes
Don’t throw away those empty toilet paper (or tissue) tubes. Instead, recycle them. You can fold them down and fill them with soil to use as plantable, biodegradable seed starters, or you can even turn them into a DIY bird feeder by covering them with peanut butter and bird seed. Genius! Check out our starters to discover 20 more upcycling projects.
Are there a few broken chairs lying around? You can safely use them to sit in the garden, but you can also use them as planters or plant shelves.
21. mattress springs
Are you planning to upgrade to a new mattress? Don’t throw away the old springs – use them in your garden to make a DIY trellis to support your wine vegetables and other plants.
22. Broken dishes
Do not throw away the broken dishes yet. Instead, take the pieces and use them to create a gorgeous mosaic stepping stone for the garden. You can also use the pieces to cover up cracks in a clay pot. Love these? Check out 20 more broken china glass projects.
23. Cupcake pans
Just because your favorite cupcake pan is worn out and rusty doesn’t mean it’s time to kick it over to the curb. Instead, add some soil and use it to start your seeds.
24. Trash can
An easy way to upgrade trash cans is to use them as rain barrels with spouts. You can also use them to make your own compost bins.
25. Hair clips
If you have plants that need a little more support in the garden, a hair clip is a great way to hold them up and prevent them from getting damaged. You can use these clips on almost anything, from grapevines to small trees.
When it comes to upcycling the garden, there really is no limit to what can be done. Not only can you reduce the amount of rubbish you send to the landfill, but you can also add a rustic and eclectic feel to your garden.
Be creative and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. What have you got to lose?