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Let's Grow! Upcycled Gardening Ideas

Updated on April 22, 2014

Let's Grow! Upcycled Gardening Ideas

Interested in learning some fun, fast, easy ideas for upcycled gardening ideas? You are in the right place!

Discover how even the smallest space in your home can be transformed into a hotbed of garden planning, prep, planting and propagation to help you grow whatever you need to nourish your body and soul.

As you read this article, you will find out how you can use every square inch of the space you have available to become and remain motivated and inspired to get growing.

Spring is a time of optimism, hope and new beginnings; so take advantage of the images and information found in this article to encourage you to try something new and different in upcycled gardening ideas.

Ready? Let's GROW!


Grow The Upcycled Gardening Look Yourself

How to duplicate the visual inspiration, seen above? You can use your own materials or opt for the products listed below:

1. Cut wide burlap garland, narrow wire ribbon, and fusible webbing to the length desired.

2. Fuse the narrow wire ribbon to the wide burlap garland, following the directions on the fusible webbing

3. Decide on letter font and size for your inspirational word. The letters in the picture, above, are roughly 3" wide X 3" tall. Print letters, cut them out of the paper, trace onto the self-adhesive felt and cut them out.

4. Fuse the letters to the narrow ribbon, following the directions for the self-adhesive felt.

5. Attach the finished product using the best means for your furniture piece, whether it's with adhesive, stitching, upholstery tacks, etc.

14" Moss Green Jute Garland - 10 Yards
14" Moss Green Jute Garland - 10 Yards

Moss green wide burlap garland


Repetition is Your Friend - It is a design principle that works every time!

In the picture, above, you will see a trio of orchids, each enclosed in a glass terrarium, found on top of the radiator in the dining room of the Bachman's Spring 2012 Ideas House in Minneapolis, MN. A single orchid would have looked alone and out of place, but massing three together really makes a statement! Oftentimes using an odd number of an item is the perfect design answer; however, symmetry has its own beauty and sometimes is the only way to complete a room, so keep an open mind to both options.

If you look back to the first picture at the top of the page, notice the bird houses and large flower buckets on the window ledge, behind the encouragement to 'grow'.

These accessories serve to draw your eye to the vintage theater seats with their inspiring message and the idea to 'grow' is reinforced through the repetition of the old time-y birdhouses and flower buckets. Rather than using the popular high-to-low, left-to-right height theory for accessorizing, curly willow twigs are used in the two large flower tins to bring your eye to the middle of the display.

When thinking about your own space, remember to use accessories to draw the observer's eye to what you want them to see. It is a home staging trick I use all the time with great success.

Another tip I always suggest to my clients is to use what you have, especially in situations where your budget is limited. Sometimes it is as simple as moving an item from one room to another or pairing it with a totally different accessory than you have used it with in the past.

If you absolutely must have something new, consider offering to organize and host a "trade" show with your friends, where everyone can bring and trade accessories they no longer use or like. You will be amazed at the great new (to you) pieces you will find to incorporate into your decor, without having to incur a huge outlay of cash.


Indoor Garden Inspiration - Easy how-to DIY instructions found in these great gardening books!

Tabletop Gardens: 40 Stylish Plantscapes for Counters and Shelves, Desktops and Windowsills
Tabletop Gardens: 40 Stylish Plantscapes for Counters and Shelves, Desktops and Windowsills

Stunning photography and simple directions make this book a perfect volume for novice and avid indoor gardeners alike.

Tiny World Terrariums: A Step-by-Step Guide
Tiny World Terrariums: A Step-by-Step Guide

Recipe for success: Start small and keep it simple! Written in an easy-to-understand way, this book takes much of the mystery out of putting together a terrific terrarium.

Live Sheet Moss for Vivarium, Terrarium, Bonsai
Live Sheet Moss for Vivarium, Terrarium, Bonsai

Use this live sheet moss in your covered garden as a base for your plantings

Super Moss 21552 Preserved Sheet Moss,Color enhanced, 8-Ounce
Super Moss 21552 Preserved Sheet Moss,Color enhanced, 8-Ounce

An easy alternative to live sheet moss, use this preserved sheet moss in your garden under glass.


More of a Visual Learner? - Take a look...

Potting in Style

Here we see an old stainless steel sink which has been dropped into a wood base. The primitive, almost crudely-built base is painted gray to match the sink's color. Both sides of the double-bowl sink have been pressed into service as a potting bench, one for soil and the other for moss. The side drain board provides ample work space for planting and watering each newly-potted finished product. The sink's non-porous composition makes clean up easy. A galvanized window box liner is used below the bench as a handy storage spot for potting and gardening supplies.

Building your own potting bench is a perfect opportunity to use found objects, such as discarded sinks and lumber. When planning the construction of your potting bench, bear in mind your height and take advantage of the opportunity to make it to suit your particular needs. Use leftover lumber to fashion a below-bench storage box, if a galvanized storage container is beyond the budget.

Since the bench will probably stand a good chance of getting wet as you water your new plantings, I would suggest you paint your bench with an exterior paint. Check with your paint or reuse store for free or greatly reduced mis-mixed exterior paints; use a low-luster or satin finish paint for easy care. A project similarly sized to the example here should easily be covered with just one quart of paint.


Miltassia Charles M Fitch orchid
Miltassia Charles M Fitch orchid

Never raised an orchid? Try this easy to grow orchid

Hoffman 10804 Organic Special Orchid Mix, 4 Quarts
Hoffman 10804 Organic Special Orchid Mix, 4 Quarts

Potting soil specifically designed for orchids - a must-have in order for these delicate tropical beauties to thrive!

Reindeer Moss, Preserved - Spring Green (Chartreuse), 20-Ounce (1.25 Pounds) in a Designer Series Clear Case. (Reico Art 108055 - Soft and Colored Reindeer Moss)
Reindeer Moss, Preserved - Spring Green (Chartreuse), 20-Ounce (1.25 Pounds) in a Designer Series Clear Case. (Reico Art 108055 - Soft and Colored Reindeer Moss)

Add a covering of this vividly green reindeer moss to cover the top of your freshly-planted pots to help keep the soil moist longer.

Woodworking Project Paper Plan to Build Potting Table
Woodworking Project Paper Plan to Build Potting Table

Itching to make your own potting table but need some direction? Check out this DIY project!


Waste Not, Want Not

Talk about the ultimate in upcycling! Start your seedlings in these mini eggshell 'pots'. Keep everything straight by adding flags identifying each plant.

What a fun project to do with your kids! Keep the pots in their protective egg carton for safekeeping until planting time. Use a needle to poke a couple of drain holes in each shell.


Keep Things Where You Can See Them - The eyes have it

A simple display is made by hanging a pair of galvanized drip pans, on the porch's window frame, one above either side of the potting bench. Decorative magnets keep seed packets and planting instructions are kept from getting lost in the shuffle.

The use here of the galvanized drip pan is another example of the design principle of repetition, this time expressed in a repetition of material and color.

If you do not have access to the drip pans, you could paint boards with several coats of magnetic paint, thus making your own magnetized surface. Magnetic paint is available online or at big-box hardware stores.

Follow the directions on the can; it is quite possible that several coats will be necessary to achieve the degree of magnetic strength required to keep your hanging items in place. Once you are satisfied with the magnetic quality of your surface, you have the option to paint a different final color coat OR brush on chalkboard paint without impairing the magnetization.


Island Hopping - Islands are not just for kitchens

Need more work and storage space for your potting projects? Bring in a portable kitchen island or work table best sized for the job. Give your garden trowels and tools a permanent home by hanging them from hooks on the piece's side. Use every inch of space to store extra pots or supplies

Add a splash of color and a bit of softening underfoot with an indoor/outdoor rug Just bring it outside and spray it off with a garden hose for easy upkeep.


Use What You Have - You probably already have almost everything needed to make this project...

This large piece of artwork is made using scrap lumber and split branches for the frame and features interesting, empty seed packets displayed on burlap. Each row of seed packets are held in place with springs.

Adjust the size and number of artwork pieces depending on your particular space. Scavenge your yard and garage for branches and lumber for the frames. If using springs to keep your seed packets in place is not to your taste, line the frame's interior with cork and use decorative pins or tacks to keep things neat.

The idea is to get your creative juices flowing and start thinking about things differently. Start simple and keep costs down by using what you already have.


Helpful Hints for DIY Picture Frames - A picture is worth a thousand words

Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Storage?! - I think not...

Below the seed-packet artwork is an upcycled barrister's bookcase, re-purposed as garden storage. No doubt this piece began life as a sober, staid lawyer's bookcase, but a coat of creamy paint inside and out opened the door to possibilities heretofore unimagined. One of the best things about this bookcase, in addition to the massive amount of storage, is that you can clearly see where everything is.

The downside? You can clearly see where everything is!

The solution? Keep like with like and try to create a still life with the contents of each shelf.

Notice, again, how repetition has been used with the three mossy planters filled with seed packets on top of the case. This causes the observer's eye to be drawn from the framed art to the top of the bookcase, continuing down shelf by shelf.

The terra-cotta pots, directly below the mossy planters, are arranged with some containers facing up and some down, providing texture and creating visual interest and movement.

The bottom two shelves house more pedestrian items, all neatly stacked.


No Sew Window Treatment - Weather proof, too!

Use vintage metal drip pans as a 'cornice' for a no-sew window treatment.

Embellish as shown, above, with permanent fern-leaf picks and different lengths of knotted rope with colored marbles inserted as sun catchers.


A Knotty Situation - Master knotting and check it off your bucket list!

The Ashley Book of Knots
The Ashley Book of Knots

The definitive book on all things knotty.

The Complete Book of Knots
The Complete Book of Knots

Easy knots for beginners to master


Another No-Sew Window Treatment, Power-Tool Style - Break out the flat spade drill bits!

These window treatments are simply thin plywood panels, with holes drilled using a flat spade drill bit to accommodate more colored marbles, then painted and dry brushed to mimic the finish on the accompanying decorative resin wall plaques, featuring dragonflies, butterflies and bees. The paint-and-marble panels alternate with the resin wall plaques and are hung from a drapery rod with clip rings. The drapery rod has a fern-leaf garland loosely woven around its length to add an element of softness to the design.

As the two no-sew window treatments discussed are at right angles to each other, they share three design elements: the colored marbles, the fern-leaf botanicals and a similar gray color. By repeating these elements, continuity is established. Even though the treatments are completely different from each other, they live in harmony because of their commonalities.

To keep expenses to a minimum, eliminate the purchased wall plaques and just use more of the painted, marbled boards. Mix it up by using two different sizes of boards, or alternate hanging same-sized boards horizontally and vertically.


This Spade is Coming Up Aces!

Everything is easy, once you learn how to do it.


Do not let power tools intimidate you; jobs get done so much faster using them.

Learn how simple it is to master the spade drill bit and your life will suddenly be a (w)hole lot easier!!

Simple DIY Dry Brushing Techniques

Dry brushing is an aging technique used to create depth and visual interest on a piece of furniture or decorative item.

After you have mastered dry brushing, you will be amazed at how easy it really is to do.

The main idea to take away is to put just a little paint on your brush, remove most of that small amount by brushing it a couple of times on a towel, then apply light strokes in the direction of the wood grain to put just a thin, sheer coat of paint on your piece.

Because the dry brush paint is so thin, it dries very quickly, allowing you to add another coat, if desired. Continually refer back to the item you are trying to mimic, until you achieve a similar look as your original.

Do You Have a Favorite?


Which Upcycled Garden Idea Would You Most Likely Use?

See results

Take a Moment to say 'Hi!'

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    • KateHonebrink profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @suepogson: Thanks so much for your comment! Regarding the jiffy pots: my research indicats that some (not all) enviromentalists feel peat is being harvested faster than it can be replenished and that peat pots wick moisture quickly, requiring more watering than items sown in plastic pots. Another characteristic of peat pots is that they can crumble easily, which may or may not be a benefit, depending on your circumstances. Since budgets and time spent gardening vary from person to person, each gardener should evaluate their individual situation and choose pots according to their needs.

    • suepogson profile image


      5 years ago

      Some really good idea, my only reservation is the jiffy pots which, (I believe) use peat which I prefer to avoid. But I think everything looks beautiful and your use of materials (such as picture frames) is great!

    • ismeedee profile image


      5 years ago

      Really cool ideas... I like the eggshell planters! But eggs are much bigger in America, our eggs are a bit small to use as planters!

    • GardenIdeasHub LM profile image

      GardenIdeasHub LM 

      5 years ago

      Thanks for the ideas about upcycled gardening I think it will really help me.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Very nice lens, great job!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Fantastic lens, well done!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      I like repurposing things for the garden. Take the plastic lid from a can of coffee, cut it in a spiral from the outer edge to the center. Hang it to deter birds around blueberry bushes or other fruits.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love the eggshell for seeding...plant the whole thing when ready!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Love the tips you have shared, particularly with the kitchen utility cart ... that can be multipurposed to wheel around. And, eggs in an egg carton!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi there, your lens has some very interesting things to do.I love to try to re root everything.Thanks for the creative information.

    • AcornOakForest profile image

      Monica Lobenstein 

      6 years ago from Western Wisconsin

      Beautiful & creative ideas here. And I will remember about repetition. Thanks

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      6 years ago from Colorado

      I total agree with your philosophy about homes. My home is my inner sanctum. These are fabulous upcycling ideas. I like the idea about the butcher block a lot. Thanks!

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      6 years ago from USA

      Lots of good ideas here and on your blog page. Thanks.

    • kimbesa2 profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      You have a great, fresh approach to lens making, and it's no wonder this one is **angel blessed**! WTG!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Some good ideas on how to re-use things but make them look more classy at the same time

    • IMKZRNU2 profile image


      6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Some fantastic information here! Well done lens and thanks for sharing.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      6 years ago from Land of Aloha

      Another fantastic lens. You have a wonderful way of getting your message across in the most interesting manner. :)

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 

      6 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi great stuff here,I love gardening, thank for sharing.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      These ideas are all so cute! You put together a wonderful lens here!

    • HealthfulMD profile image

      Kirsti A. Dyer 

      6 years ago from Northern California

      Lots of fun upcycling ideas.

    • bikerministry profile image


      6 years ago

      This lens really rocks. Thank you for the great ideas. I love the trio of flowers idea and the egg shells for peat pots. Blessings.

    • Jadelynx-HP profile image

      Tracey Boyer 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      Very unique ideas ! Nicely done,

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Nice post, creative ideas , well written


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