Written by Victoria Purcell

7 gardening upcycling hacks to help save money

Looking for cheap ways to do up your garden ready for summer? The cost-of-living crisis has many of us looking for ways to make our money go further, and these upcycled garden ideas are a great place to start.

Upcycling is already popular among crafters and those looking for sustainable interior design ideas, but it’s also a great way to save money. The penny-pinching pros at netvouchercodes.co.uk have put together a list of things homeowners can upcycle to give their gardens a bargain new look.

‘With the current cost of living crisis, now is a great time to start looking at what you can upcycle and when it comes to the outdoors, the possibilities are endless,’ said a spokesperson for netvouchercodes.co.uk. ‘Upcycling is basically giving a second lease of life to something that you may have now outgrown or no longer need.

‘When it comes to your garden, you can upcycle a lot of household items – for example, any pots and pans you’re looking to replace in your kitchen can make stylish and quirky plant pots. Or, if you have extra decking, you could lay these planks of wood down to create a garden path. You don’t always have to buy new things to get your garden looking summer-ready.’

7 upcycled garden ideas

1. Use old pots and pans as plant pots

Add a quirky look to your garden by repurposing old pots and pans as plant pots. Teapots are great for this, but you can also use drawers, buckets, bathtubs, even shoes! Plant pots need holes for water drainage, so you can even drill a few holes in, or get around it by filling the pot with a layer of pebbles at the bottom so the water can drain from the soil.

upcycled garden ideas - use old drawers as planters

Use old pots and pans as plant pots and drawers as planters. Photo: macrossphoto / Adobe

2. Turn an old ladder into a plant display

If you’ve got an old wooden ladder, why not lean it against a wall and place some plant pots on there. If it has narrow rungs you could dangle hanging plants from it, or weave ivy through it. You could even paint it to co-ordinate with your scheme or add a pop of colour to your garden.

ladder with plants - garden upcycling ideas

Old wooden ladders look great draped with plants indoors and out. Photo: Pixel-Shot / Adobe

3. Upcycle a wooden palett

The king of upcycled garden ideas is the repurposed wooden palett. If you don’t have a wooden palett laying around, they’re super cheap to get your hands on. You could stack a couple and paint them to create a coffee table, or assemble lots of them together in whatever configuration takes your fancy and pile with cushions to create a bargain sofa set.

4. Create lights with jam jars

Next time you finish off your favourite jar of jam, consider washing out the jar and setting it aside. In the summer evenings, light a candle and pop it into your jam jars to create an ambience. You can even hang these from trees to create a festoon light effect.

jam jar lights

Jam jar lights are so simple and surprisingly effective. Photo: marie kazalia / EyeEm /Adobe

5. Turn old curtains into a hammock

If you have some old, heavy curtains lying around, why not turn them into a cosy hammock for the summer? There are plenty of online tutorials to help with this and it’s pretty straightforward. Just make sure the hammock is secure before climbing in!


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6. Repurpose a mirror

Instead of throwing out an old mirror, find a suitable place in your garden to hang it. This will add another element to your outdoor space and the reflection will give the illusion that your garden is bigger. It’s also a clever way to bounce light into a darker corner of the garden.

hang an old mirror in the garden

Hang an old mirror in the garden to make the space look bigger. Photo: Lauren Parker / EyeEm / Adobe

7. Get creative with your plant pots

If you’re looking to spruce up your garden, simply transforming the plant pots you already have can create a spectacular effect. Paint them with bright colours and different patterns to instantly breathe new life into your garden. Why not try the below video tutorial on plant pot marbling?


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