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Wednesday, April 10, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lisa Burns, Outdoors Living Specialist
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Buying things made from recycled material is a great way to recycle, but there is an easy way for you to become sustainable without even spending any money. You would be surprised at the many items you use on a daily basis, which, instead of discarding, are useable in your garden.



Recycled household items:

  • Pantyhose: use to tie branches to trellis or cut into bands use as a ponytail holder
  • Old CDs and DVDs: hang these reflective items from trees to keep animals out of your garden or pond
  • Plastic milk jug: Cut out bottom and use as a scoop. Poke holes in the lid and it becomes a watering can.repurposed tire
  • Milk jug: cut out bottom, hang upside down on a horizontal pole to create a vertical garden
  • Coffee filters: place in the bottom of a pot with holes to keep dirt in
  • Plastic water bottle: cut out bottom, poke holes in sides, place upside down in potted plants for easy watering
  • Stryofoam peanuts: place in bottom of pots to help with drainage
  • Banana peels: another great natural fertilizer for rose bushes
  • Egg carton: for planting starter seeds
  • Styrofoam mushroom trays: also good for starter seeds
  • Glass wine or beer bottles: plant upside down in the ground as a border
  • Wine corks: place on the end of a stick or fork as plant markers
  • Toilet paper rolls: use for planting seedlings or filled with dryer lint as starters for your campfire
  • Newspaper or paperbags: as biodegradable weedbarrier under mulch
  • Kitchen scraps, leaves: start a composting pile
  • Plastic storage bins, whiskey barrels & old trash cans: without holes can be used to collect rain water
  • Used coffee grinds: natural fertilizer for your rose bushes

Re-purposed kitchen staples:

  • Vinegar: natural weed killer
  • Listerine: spray on your lawn to kill mosquitoes and gnats
  • Epson salt: use as fertilizer
  • Uncooked grits: to kill fire ant

Of course, we cannot forget some of the larger repurposed items for your garden, most of which I have used in my own garden.

  • Bedroom furniture: bed frame, dresser drawers, desks are used as planters
  • Patio furniture: worn out wicker or metal furniture are all the rage as small succulent gardens
  • Old tires: perfect for planters or as swings or climbing play areas for the kids
  • ŸOutdoor items: wagons, wheel barrows, coolers, birdbaths, mailboxes, gutters, pvc pipe, boats, bike tires, truck beds and old car parts have all been used as planters or converted into fire pits and grills
  • ŸBathroom: yes, you can use that old bathtub or toilet as a planter or better yet a water garden
  • Ÿ Kitchen: teapots, teacups, baking pans, coffee cans make cute planters for small gardens
  • Ÿ Personal items: Boots, shoes, jeans and even bras can be hung on a fence and filled with pretty plants.

My all time favorite repurpose item is an ordinary pallet, which may be used to create a compost bins vertical garden, garden table and too many other items to mention here. If you are looking for new and fun ways to recycle, re-use and repurpose items for your garden and home be sure to check out our Pinterest board at or one that I enjoy visiting at Re-scape.

Outdoors Living Specialist Lisa Burns is co-founder of Backyard Getaway and Re-Scape. She can be reached at




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