Amazing Reclaimed & Upcycled Garden Ideas

By   | Last Updated :   June 20, 2021 | Filed In :   Garden Style Ideas

A beautiful garden doesn’t have to be a huge financial investment. In fact, we’re here today to show you the complete opposite: how a little bit of creativity and vision can help you curate an incredible, unique garden for next-to-nothing.

Check out these gorgeous upcycled garden ideas made using pre-loved and reclaimed materials, and prepare to be inspired to roll up your sleeves and start scouting for treasures!

Upcycled Garden Ideas: Furniture

Furniture can be one of the biggest costs associated with a garden upgrade, especially if you’re aiming to get a matching set of seating and tables for dining and lounging.

The best way to save money on garden furniture is often to build it yourself with salvaged materials, like wooden pallets, reclaimed crates and/or salvaged masonry like paving stones or breeze blocks.

1. Bright Boho Style

For example, this stunning, spicy patio, that uses painted pallets as a base for seating. The outdoor rug is bang on trend, and the garden mural looks like scorching sun rays. Love it.

Palettes can be used in so many ways, either in their natural, rugged state, or given a lick of paint for a more elegant appearance.

Plus, using pallets is a great way to get custom-sized furniture, like the bench at the end of this pretty balcony seating area. Take a look at more garden furniture using pallets.

2. Get Creative with Crates

Like pallets, crates are an excellent way to get sturdy side tables and surfaces, without forking out for conventional garden furniture.

Paint or stain them to match the rest of your salvaged furniture, or leave the wood exposed for a trendy, industrial look.

Crates are also a quick way to create raised garden beds, making it easier to look after flowers and vegetables. They’re also easy to stack, reposition, and move into the shed in cold weather.

Breeze blocks and concrete can look edgy and urban, particularly in contrast to organic garden shapes.

However, concrete and cement also makes an excellent backdrop for paint, chalk and other kinds of customisation.

Concrete is such an inexpensive material that you can often find planters and blocks at salvage yards for a very low price.

You can even self-pour concrete into moulds to create your own unique garden structures. We’ve got lots more concrete garden ideas to inspire you.

Upcycled Garden Ideas: Pots & Planters

An eclectic collection of pots, planters and flower bed edging is a great way to bring a unique personality into your garden.

It’s easy to find second-hand pots from charity shops, flea markets and car boot sales or, with a little imagination, you can transform all kinds of old homewares into innovative plant holders.

3. Kooky containers

Having literally just returned from the garden centre, I can confirm: garden pots can get expensive! If you’re trying to find upcycled garden ideas, using innovative alternatives to planters is the way to go.

Colanders – or anything that provides healthy water drainage – are fantastic for housing small clusters of plants, and can even be hung u pas makeshift hanging baskets.

With a little bit of vision and eclectic taste, nothing needs to end up at the skip ever again.

The trick with any collection of unusual, vintage garden ideas is to use really wacky pieces sparingly – that way the overall effect is curated, rather than chaotic.

4. Salvaged sleepers

Depending on where you live, your local salvage yards might have an abundance of old railway sleepers (I’m not sure why they seem to be really common in some areas but non-existent in others)!

If you can get hold of some, they are great for garden edging or raised beds, or as sturdy bench or shelving.

a raised planter made from reclaimed railway sleepers filled with edible plants

5. Tired transport

I really love the way old bicycles look when they’re covered in flowers – there’s something very romantic about it!

Using one as focal point a in a flower bed, or leaning one against a wall in your front garden, is the perfect, whimsical way to show off your seasonal blooms.

An old bicycle with baskets of flowers on the front, rear and seat

Upcycled Garden Ideas: Decor

Sometimes a garden design just needs a striking focal point to capture interest and attention. A water feature or sculpture makes for a beautiful garden centrepiece, but these can often be prohibitively expensive.

Why not scout out an unusual piece from a vintage market or salvage yard? Here are some amazing ways to decorate your garden using upcycled or reclaimed items…

6. Reclaimed vases

Old milk cans and similar metal items are very easy to repaint, giving them a new lease of life. If you love showcasing your garden successes by creating arrangements with cut flowers, you can’t go wrong with a beautiful display like this.

Vintage milk cans painted in pink and green with floral details

7. Framing your surroundings

Buying large mirrors or picture frames can be expensive if they’re brand-new but, as long as you’re open-minded about style, you can typically find them for much, much less at second-hand stockists (I’m talking, at least half the original price).

Using mirrors to make your space look bigger is a great trick for smaller gardens, and frames can be used creatively to draw the eye towards specific views within your space.

white patio furniture against a vine-covered wall with a mirror

Here’s another example of how a little creativity can go a long way.

Repainting an old fireplace surround is a fun way to make an outdoor living room feel more welcoming – and shows that, when it comes to upcycled garden ideas – bigger often means better. Of course, you might even want to use it as a backdrop for an actual garden fire pit!

8. Flotsam and Jetsam

Reusing, reclaiming and upcycling comes hand-in-hand with accepting that one person’s trash is another’s treasure.

Old industrial and commercial bric-a-brac isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but can really bring life and imagination to certain garden themes.

For example, this old fishing paraphernalia for a beach style garden.

a life buoy and reclaimed fishing net used as decor for beach themed garden ideas

The secret to pulling off some truly amazing upcycled garden ideas is to curate carefully, but to also try and have a little bit of vision when it comes to finding unusual items.

Remember, half the joy is taking something old and unloved, and transforming it into something beautiful and amazing for your flower beds. Enjoy!


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By Kirsteen Mackay

Kirsteen is a professional writer who traded a tiny garden for an even smaller balcony when she moved to Brighton in 2015. Her interest in gardening stems from a keen desire to turn her simple slab of concrete into a lush urban oasis, complete with cosy-but-practical garden furniture and delicious edible plants.

View All Posts By Kirsteen Mackay »

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