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Now reading: Upcycling


Six Ways to Get Started with Upcycling in your Garden

Many of us begin our sustainable lifestyles by recycling more. Recycling is an effective way to preserve resources, but it can sometimes be energy intensive and decrease the quality of certain materials.

Upcycling, on the other hand, turns materials into something of a higher value – taking something that might end up trashed and making it useful or beautiful. It’s becoming increasingly popular too. You only have to browse Pinterest or Instagram to see all sorts of amazing projects.

You can be as original and creative as you like when upcycling, but for those of you who are short on ideas or a complete beginner, there are simple ways to start too. Here are some ideas to get you started with upcycling in the garden:

Shoe planters

Imagine you have a pair of wellies or boots with holes in them. Perhaps the local cobbler can’t do anything to help you, or the kids have outgrown them. Wellies and boots can make interesting planters for your strawberries or herbs.

Feed the birds

A simple project to do with children is to make a bird feeder from an old plastic bottle. You’ll find easy-to-follow tutorials on YouTube or instructions on Pinterest.


Old piping, such as an offcut of guttering is perfect for growing shallow rooted plants such as lettuces. You can attach the pipe to a wall or fence, so even if you have very little space, you can still benefit from growing your own food vertically!

Make a pond

Every garden benefits from a pond. Having a pond aids biodiversity and encourages different insects and wildlife to your garden. A pond can be as simple as an old bucket or Belfast sink filled with water and a few pebbles in it.

B&B for bugs

Talking of biodiversity, a bug hotel is an enticing way to welcome different insects into your garden. Make a bug hotel from an old wooden crate, terracotta pots or roofing tiles and inset with broken bamboo canes, straw and moss.

Make use of pallets

Wooden pallets are a must-have for upcycling in the garden. You can make anything from a windowbox to a compost bin to planters to a table and chairs with old pallets.

Upcycling not only has a positive impact on the environment, but it’s an enjoyable way for you to experiment with your creativity. As you’ll be using things you might otherwise have thrown away, there is little to lose and everything to gain. You are only limited by your imagination!