Recycled Gardening Ideas

When someone is talking about green gardening, they may not just be referring to the plants. Recycling is a popular way to save resources as well as money, and many tools and other garden items can be created using recycled materials. This pleases frugal gardeners and can create a personalized look in your garden that fits your taste and style.

Container Gardening

Container gardening can be totally done using recycled materials. Create unusual planters out of old attractive olive oil cans, used Wellingtons or other work boots, or painted #10 cans. Search thrift stores for old serving spoons and forks to use as small tools in containers. Purchase colorful buckets at dollar stores to turn into hanging planters or upside down tomato containers.


Keep weeds down in your garden while adding nutrients by using a mulch that will decompose into the soil. Strips of corrugated cardboard work well between garden rows. Newspaper is a classic choice to lay around plant stems after transplanting, while dried grass and leaves can be piled up around corn stalks and potato bushes to keep the roots cool and dark.

Save the Knees

Kneeling in the garden can be difficult on your legs, especially if you have a large plot of land to weed. Create a soft pad for gardening by doubling up floor mats, old carpet scraps or used yoga or camping mats. Use an old skateboard as a rolling low seat to reach the weeds between wide rows in raised beds.


Many gardeners like to add a decorative touch to their garden spaces, and recycled items are ideal for getting creative outdoors. Bury thrift shop saucers in floral designs standing upright, with the upper half of the circle showing. A row of these plates standing on edge make an attractive flower bed edging. Hang a large used platter or shallow bowl inside a braided plant hanger to create a one-of-a-kind bird bath. Use the slats from a broken window blind to mark garden rows with plant names. Simply write on the slats after you cut them apart and stick them in the soil. Tie strips of colorful fabric to posts to flutter attractively in the breeze.


Composting may be the ultimate garden recycling project. Make layers of green vegetable products and soil, turn the piles once a week and the ingredients will break down into rich compost in about six weeks. Use the compost as fertilizer in your soil, and you will grow more plants to put back in the compost pile. Most waste vegetable products can be composted, and compost piles can be as simple as a pile in a corner of the yard or as elaborate as rolling drums or screened bins.

Keywords: recycled garden ideas, frugal gardening, thrift shop garden

About this Author

Anne Baley is a writer and photographer living in Southeast Michigan. She has written dozens of articles about places she has discovered while traveling throughout the United States. Baley's work has appeared in a variety of online outlets, including EndlessSunday, GardenGuides and Travels.