We are all familiar with the importance of recycling, but the concept of upcycling is less well known. Rather than turning waste into something else, upcycling repurposes an item you would otherwise throw away, giving it a new lease of life in a different way. There’s nowhere this works better than in the garden, where opportunities for upcycling are endless! Upcycling is great for the environment, reducing landfill waste and saving you money. Here are some of our favourite upcycling ideas for the garden.
If you have a vegetable patch with young plants, plastic bottles make ideal cloches to protect your shoots from pests and birds, acting like individual greenhouses. You can also place them as cuffs around the bottom of plants to deter slugs. We love using them as sprinklers - simply pierce the bottle with plenty of holes, secure in the ground and attach your hose pipe.
With a bit of creative flair, there’s no limit to what old wooden pallets can be turned into. Very popular amongst gardeners, pallets can often be picked up for free from companies or tradesmen who need to get rid of them. They make great raised beds and planters and can be used as herb gardens or even strawberry pots. If you’ve got good DIY skills, they can also be turned into tables and fences. Take a look at our guide on how to build an outdoor sofa with pallets for an easy project to get you started.
Old or chipped teaware can make a great DIY bird feeder for your garden. This works particularly well with cups and saucers, where you can glue the cup to the saucer base. Turn the teacup on its side and hang from a hook, or keep upright and glue the saucer to a tall pole. They add a sense of country charm to your garden and your birds will definitely thank you for it!
Old tyres are large and bulky and often sit at the end of the garden getting damp and mouldy. We think old tyres are one of the most fun things to upcycle! Wrap the tyre in heavy-duty twine and cover one side with a wooden panel for a casual garden seat - perfect if you have more than one tyre lying around. If you’re lucky enough to have a sturdy tree in your garden, then old tyres make the perfect swing - great for big and little kids!
Want to really get creative by throwing yourself into upcycling? Read through our general tips on upcycling and take a look through our decorating lister to pick up all you need to sand down, fix up, repaint and more!