With remote working more prevalent than before, venturing into residents’ own personal wildernesses to reclaim those tired looking patios and yards has become increasingly popular. However, turning a backyard or a patch of concrete into a dreamy oasis or even a well-stocked vegetable patch can take some creativity.
The good news is using that creativity and a little circular thinking, you can build a beautiful garden without spending too much money. There are plenty of recycled garden ideas just waiting to be discovered by green innovators. Plus, you can do your part for the environment by ensuring resources stay in the loop for as long as possible. Read on to discover how to get recycling in the garden and turn your waste into wildflowers.
Recycling organic waste in your garden
It’s probably fair to credit gardeners with the first forms of recycling. Composting has been around for millennia, and you can create high-grade compost and fertilizer at home—whatever the size of your garden space! It’s the perfect gateway to your recycled garden, and it relies entirely on natural processes.
Either through conventional compost piles for those with plenty of room, or using vermicomposting or Bokashi techniques where space is at a premium, you can turn your organic and food waste into fertile top soil. When done properly, there are little to no smells and no issues with health and safety, and as a bonus, you‘ll minimize waste going to landfill and eliminate all those plastic bags used for store-bought compost.
Recycling tires in your garden
Tires have always posed a problem for the recycling industry, and hundreds of millions are disposed of each year. Often, they are burned for fuel or end up in landfill, with both methods of disposal damaging to the environment. However, turning your yard into a recycled tire garden is one small step towards reducing that staggering figure.
Tires can be used effectively as planters or for raised beds, and you can create solid retaining walls or even a pond using Earthship building methods. Tires can also be used to bring a little character to your space as a piece of DIY recycled garden art, and if you’ve got children, there’s nothing quite like the time-tested fun of a tire swing hanging from a tree.
Recycling construction & demolition waste in your garden
C&D waste is another waste stream that has no easy answers within the recycling industry, however, for use in your recycled garden it can be a gold mine! In fact, you can find all kinds of uses for C&D waste, from pallets for recycled garden furniture to old window frame planters, as well as plant pots from old paint buckets and even old tools used as hooks, supports, frames, or simply as idiosyncratic recycled garden décor.
However, if you can get your hands on some old bricks or stone, or even a few old beams used in timber construction, you’ll have an instant source of landscaping material that you can use to bring a little dynamism to your space. In fact, even if you have a small piece of concrete behind your house, adding a layer of old wooden paneling or bricks to your existing walls will give you the space to place plants in the gaps—creating a charming little vertical garden.
Recycling plastic bottles in your garden
The issues surrounding single-use plastics are well known around the world, but there are plenty of ways to keep those materials in use, rather than in the garbage.
Recycling plastic bottles in your garden is a good place to start, and they are highly versatile. Planters, automatic watering stations, and of course, traps for those gardens pests are all great ideas. Like tires too, plastic bottles can also be implemented in more permanent ways and using earthship building techniques you can build solid structures or walls for recycled plastic raised garden beds with little more than dirt and plastic. Finally, take a look at these greenhouses made from plastic bottles, a little wood, and twine—pure green-fingered genius!
Recycling other packaging in your garden
There’s literally no end to the uses for packaging in your recycled garden. For instance, egg cartons can be used to sprout your seedlings, tin cans are great as recycled garden pots, used kitchen cleaner spray-bottles and a little neem oil make perfect pest control devices, while plastic fruit crates and even shopping baskets can be used as highly efficient garden riddles to remove the lumps from your compost.
Cardboard can be used as a weed suppressor when placed carefully around your saplings and delicate plants, eventually decomposing right into the ground. And, don’t forget about those difficult-to-recycle Tetrapaks—they make for ideal little bird shelters or bug hotels, helping you to encourage diversity in your recycled garden.
In truth, there are infinite recycled garden ideas out there, and with just a little imagination you can build, landscape, and grow everything you need while still contributing to a more circular model of consumption. Remember, with a little creativity, what’s considered waste can be the next piece of spectacular recycled garden furniture or useful garden tool!