Finding a second life for things you might otherwise throw away

Repurposing Items for Your Garden and Outdoor Living Space

by Veronica Bowman

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Buying garden art, outdoor furniture, and other outdoor decorative accessories can be expensive. You can add beauty and intrigue to your outdoor space by repurposing some of the hidden treasures you find while doing your spring/summer cleaning. The following DIY projects are just a few of the many creative ways to repurpose items that might otherwise be disposed of without their new potential being realized.

Container gardening is now more popular than ever. This is due in part to the fact that those who rent, those with limited outdoor space, those with a shortage of time to devote to gardening, and those with physical limitations find container gardening the ideal way to join in with the increasingly popular healthy living trend that includes growing your own fruits, vegetables, herbs, and berries.

Related: French Intensive Container Gardening

As you proceed with your spring cleaning projects, you may find numerous items that could be transformed into planters or containers. A fresh coat of paint or a diligent scrubbing may be all that's needed to revive unattractive containers or empty vessels. It may be that you'll need to drill some drainage holes in some of the objects you want to transform into containers or add a layer of rocks in the bottom of the container before putting plants in. On Pinterest, you can find a good example of a decorative and beneficial way to use some of the empty glass jars you may find as you do your spring cleaning.

Another gardening trend is casual gardens. Garden designs are going to be more reflective of personal design styles and casual living than perfectly planned and meticulously manicured spaces. This is the perfect design concept for anyone who is closely monitoring their budget while striving to create a garden area and a relaxing outdoor retreat. A casual garden and informal outdoor decor opens up a multitude of ways to use repurposed items. Vintage and rustic are keywords to keep in mind when reinventing items. Once again, paint can be the perfect way to revive wood and wrought iron items.

Related: Creating a Dream Garden on $100 Per Year

Rather than spend lots of money on garden art or outdoor accessories, let your creative mind run free and reinvent some of the items you find while cleaning the basement, workshop, garage, or other area. Items that would otherwise end up being thrown away can be used in your casual garden and relaxed landscape design. One excellent example of an item you can repurpose is an old ladder. Obviously, you don't want to risk climbing on a ladder that is shaky, unstable, or missing one or more rungs. However, you could place that ladder in your garden and use it as a tiered plant display.

A step stool that you no longer use can easily be transformed into a table. You can simply attach a board to the top of the stool to create a table. You can take this repurposing idea a step farther by painting a tic-tac-toe pattern on the tabletop and reviving and enjoying a favorite vintage pastime. Painted stones can be used as game pieces to make this ideal for outdoor use.

There are numerous online sites such as Dishfunctional Designs and that provide ideas and instructions for ways to make decorative and functional items for your garden and outdoor living area using old plates, cups, light fixtures, and other glass items. Projects such as these fit ideally into an eco-friendly lifestyle that focuses on repurposing items rather than hastily disposing of them.

Don't overlook the fact that you are not the only person using warm days as an incentive to do some spring cleaning and to clear the clutter from various areas of their home. A lot of people have a yard sale in hopes of making some money off of the things they no longer want or can use. You can often find some great bargains at yard sales and thrift stores on items that you can repurpose to use in your landscape, garden, or outdoor living area.

Reviewed February 2018

Take the Next Step:

  • Discover more repurposing and recycling projects by visiting the Dollar Stretcher Library.
  • Learn how you can make money upcycling.
  • Gardening on the cheap is simple. Just visit the TDS Frugal Gardening Guide and we'll show you the many ways frugal gardeners maintain beautiful, bountiful gardens for less.
  • You tend your garden with care. Do the same for your finances. Start weeding out that debt and pruning that budget with the TDS ebook How to Conquer Your Debt No Matter How Much You Have so you can begin to grow your money.
  • Join those who 'live better...for less' - Subscribe to The Dollar Stretcher newsletter, a weekly look at how to stretch both your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE!

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