5 Creative DIY Garden Ideas: How to Recycle Household Items
Old car tyres, bathtubs, umbrellas – a few of the receptacles that can be used as planters. Wooden pallets, old floorboards and broken shelves – a cheap way to build your own compost bin. If you are on a budget and have a creative mind, read on.
1. Creating a compost bin out of wooden pallets
Compost heaps recycle your unwanted food scraps and garden cuttings by turning them into nutrient rich compost to feed your plants with nutrients.
But how do you get started?
- First of all designate an area for the compost heap. It needs to be somewhere that gets at least 4 hours sun a day. The heat of the sun is a catalyst for the breaking down of the scraps into compost.
- Readymade compost bins can be pricey, so make your own using wooden pallets and a few potato sacks. Wooden pallets can be found at warehouses, ask nicely and you may get them for free. You could also use some old floorboards or shelves. You then need to hammer together these pieces of wood into a box shape which has a bottom but no lid. Once the box has been built, sew a few potato sacks together to line the box.
- Start adding your scraps in layers. If you add a layer of household scraps then the next layer should be something different like grass cuttings or leaves. If you can stomach it, add some live worms. They will wiggle their way through the scraps creating the compost quicker. Add a lid out of a piece of wood, an old metal corrugated roof sheet or anything flat. It traps the heat and helps the process.
2. Use old car tyres as perfect planters
Try to get hold of a few used car tyres; many automobile repair shops have to pay a recycling company to take away the used tyres, so ask nicely and you may be able to get some for free.
Tyres make the perfect insulated planters. The tyres warm under the midday sun and keep the soil warm well into the evening. You need to pile them up one on top of each other, 2 tyres make a great flower bed and 3 tyres for vegetable crops.
Place an old potato sack into the tyre hole, fill with compost and use for either potatoes or alternatively stick a few cane supports in and grow your beans and peas.
The great thing about used tyres is that they are easy to move to other parts of the garden, you just need to roll them along and as they use just a circular space they are great for yard corners.
3. Making a trellis for vegetable climbers
Beans and peas need something to climb up. You need a trellis. Shop bought ones made of wood or metal can be costly, so have a look at making your own out of old bike wheels (spokes and tires intact), cheap wooden canes, string and some nails.
Using the image above as a guide, hammer together canes and wheels in a secure manner. If you aren’t feeling this creative, a simple wigwam style of wooden canes tied at the top with string or tape will suffice.
As long as the beans and peas and even tomatoes have something to climb up, I am sure they won’t be too bothered as to how DIY it looks.
4. Turning household junk into planters and raised beds
All of these can and have been used as smart planters for the garden.
- Bathtubs: Do you have an old bathtub? With a splash of paint, think of the amount of plants that can be fitted into the space. Plus it has its own drainage hole. You could half bury the bathtub into the soil, for a more aesthetic effect or have the bathtub freestanding in your garden. Remember to slightly angle the bathtub so that excess water can drain through the plughole. If you are feeling adventurous, drill another hole into the tub for even better drainage.
- Umbrellas: Umbrellas aren’t much use once their spokes break but don’t throw them away, an upside down Umbrella, filled with soil is great for plants that need to be angled at the sun or moved around. Do remember to angle it though for water runoff.
- Old doors & shelves: Did your cupboard door fall off or shelving fall down? These can both be used to build huge planters and compost bins. See the next tip for how to create a compost bin DIY style.
5. What should I use as a water butt?
Plants need water. Not all states have a constant supply of rain (unless you live in Seattle).
A water butt would catch the rain and store it until needed and reduces the need of traipsing back and forwards from your kitchen faucet to the garden.
A water butt can be made out of anything that hasn’t got a hole in it. Plastic butts are best but an old oil drum painted with waterproof paint would provide a high capacity water butt.
As the image above shows, you can connect water butts to your roof drainage system to collect water runoff from roofs and drains. You would need to bore a hole into your down pipe so only do this if you own your property.
You then fix a smaller drainpipe into the hole, seal around it with waterproof bathroom sealer and angle the pipe into a hole in the water butts lid.
Save some money: recycle
Buying brand new planters and garden storage can be expensive. The plants are not that bothered if they are planted in an old bath tub or a creation made of retro cupboard doors.
Before you splash out on a water butt or dig deep for a new planter, check your household junk and invest in a DIY project. After all it’s fun to make your own planters and they will give your garden a unique style, you can’t buy anywhere.