Gardens are often the parts of our home that we take the most pride in, especially the green-fingered among us. There’s nothing like getting outdoors when the sun is shining, tending to your flowers, pruning and watering or mowing the lawn to the sounds of birdsong. Unfortunately, not everyone has the skill, patience or interest in gardening and some gardens can become overrun and untidy which leaves plants and furniture that might have cost significant sums of money to die or weather beyond repair.
During the cold, wet winter months wooden garden furniture in particular can age almost before your eyes to a point where you’re wary of ever sitting on it again in case it just splits and you end up surrounded by a pile of wood on the ground. Sheds, greenhouses, conservatories and other outbuildings like those you can buy from the likes of Garden Buildings Direct or those you build from scratch can help to prolong the life of your garden furniture by providing protection from the harsh weather conditions, but just because certain items have felt the full force of nature over a period of time doesn’t mean that they’re only good for the bonfire.
One of the most recent trends in DIY is ‘upcycling’, the process of turning what would be thrown on the recycling pile into something useful – or even better than it was originally in some cases depending on your skill and creativity. Let’s take a few examples just to show you how diverse the range of what you can use really can be.
Around the home you often find old bricks or breeze blocks from projects you’ve started and never finished or maybe you’ve just ordered too many for your new outbuilding or haven’t got rid of them from the building you’ve removed from your garden. These blocks can provide useful and sturdy ‘plant pots’ as shown here, and you can build them up as high as you like in just about any pattern for a truly unique garden feature.
Wooden pallets are another item that tends to be useful once and then you keep it “just in case”. It might have come originally when you had some bricks or soil delivered and now you just find that it’s cluttering up the garden and going soft so it can just go on the next bonfire. However, you can sand it down, treat it and build your own furniture from the wood, just like this – depending on how much you have of course (it may prove to be enough for a family dining set or kids’ tea party!)
Then, of course, you have wooden sleepers. Many gardeners choose to use these to hold back soil or to build raised flower beds but when the time comes to have a bit of a garden overhaul, what else can you do with them? One idea is to turn them into benches by sanding them down, treating and bolting them to new ‘legs’ in your favourite part of the garden, just like this example.
It’s not just garden furniture that can be ‘upcycled’ though. Plastic buckets can be turned into the seat of a new swing, old wellies can be turned into plant pots and you can even turn your empty drinks cans and bottles into innovative wind charms! The possibilities are genuinely endless and all you need to get into upcycling is a little bit of creativity and the drive to transform your garden into something you can be genuinely proud of, whether you’re a green-fingered garden guru or an absolute horticultural novice. What’s more, it’s the kind of thing the whole family can get involved in.