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Creative Gardening Ideas – 20+ Recycled Garden Decor Ideas

Creative gardening ideas really appeal to the whimsical side of me.

I love to recycle existing items from around the house for my garden decor ideas. Not only will you save money but you’ll help to save the earth, too.

I must admit that I am not a normal gardener.  I don’t enjoy conventional landscape plans. I don’t invest in fancy garden structures or planters.

To me, garden decor ideas should show the style of the person who lives near it. 

In my gardens that means using cast off items in new an unusual ways.  Some call it junk gardening. I just find this type of gardening fun, whimsical and inspiring.

From bicycles in the garden to bird cages filled with succulents, there is a DIY project below for all tastes. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the show!

Bicycle with basket planted with flowers.

One benefit of junk gardening is that it is a small step that we can take to protect the environment at home by recycling. This makes this type a gardening a win win project!

Whimsical garden decor ideas

Thinking Outside the Box with These Creative Gardening Ideas

If you love garden ideas on a budget, check out these creative ideas.  I would love to try any and all of them out in my garden.

Bird cage Succulent planter

An old white bird cage has been transformed into a succulent planter in just a few steps. See the step by step project here

And check out this post for more birdcage planter ideas.

Green mailbox on a white post in a garden setting.

Do you have an old mailbox that you no longer use? Don’t throw it away! Transform the mailbox into a garden tool storage area.

The mailbox storage project is easy to do and keeps your most often used garden tools in one handy spot.

Galvanized hose holder

This is one of my favorite creative ideas for gardening.  I hated always having my hose on the lawn getting in the way of everything but didn’t want to pay over $100 for a hose pot.

Instead, I recycled an old galvanized bucket by cutting a hole in the back and threading the hose through it from the pipe.  It took a few hours but I save mega bucks with this project.  See the tutorial here.

Large metal frog yard art near some plants on a patio.

Frogs can be used in all sorts of ways in a garden setting.

From topiary frogs, to statues and planter ornaments, these frog decor ideas will delight both young and young at heart.

Broken terra cotta pot with dirt.

Even though terra cotta pots will break, you can actually use the pieces. Keep the soil in your other pots from washing out by using pieces of the broken pot to cover the drainage hole.

terra cotta wind chime

Old terra cotta pots have been painted in bright colors with craft paint and strung on cord at various levels to make a wind chime effect. Fun!

See another project using large terracotta pots for a Christmas jingle bell.

musical instruments used as planters

My husband came home one day with some old, worn out musical instruments and proudly offered them to me for one of my creative landscaping ideas.

Some spray paint and a bit of time and I turned them into these fun and whimsical musical planters.  See the project here.  And check out more musical planters in this post.

RAised garden bed hear a lawn with a forsythia shrub.

Do you have a few hours and some recycled wood? In just two hours, my husband and I made two of these easy raised garden beds.

The cost was just $40! Click though to find out what kept the cost so low for us.

DIY Wooden Spoon Herb Plant Markers

Wooden spoons painted a bright red color and then painted with names of various herbs make it easy to tell my herb plants apart now.

See the tutorial for this project here.

Creative gardening ideas - red bicycle planter

Bicycles have long been used as garden decor ideas. All you need is one that has a basket on the front or back (or both!) that can be filled with soil and planted.

See many more bicycle planters here.

DIY Hose Guides - A decorative recycled garden project

One of the most frustrating parts of vegetable gardening is the mess that your hose can make when it is dragged over the vegetables.

Hose guards can be quite expensive, but I made a set of them for $3.96 using rusty rebar and some Dollar store plastic golf balls. See the project for these hose guides here.

rusty pail with acrylic tear dropThis is one of my all time favorite creative ideas for gardens. A rusty pail with an acrylic tear drop purchased from any Michael’s store makes this faucet very special. 

The only source I can find for this project is Pinterest.  (If you are the originator of the idea, please provide a link and I’ll update the source link.)

Creative Gardening DIY projects on a budgetMore fun ideas to decorate outside

From file boxes, to wagons, so many household items can be turned into interesting garden decor ideas.

Make your own succulent planter

In this fun project, an old shallow file drawer has been re-purposed into a fun succulent container.

To make it even more budget friendly, the succulents are mainly those that were propagated from cuttings. Just two hours and a total cost of $4.00 and my patio table has a lovely succulent display.  See the tutorial here.

 Creative gardening ideas: tree stump planted with annualsIn this photo, a cut down remainder of a tree is hollowed out and planted with colorful annuals. I’ve also seen old tree stumps made into checker tables. 

I love the way the flowers on top and around the base are coordinated.  Makes an eyesore just lovely.  Source:  Moteris. It

Looking for a focal point in your garden? Try using an obelisk. Not only does this structure have lots of visual appeal, it is functional, as well. 

Plants that love to climb will find themselves at the top with a beautiful surrounding view. This obelisk gives my mandevilla vine a wonderful place to roam!

bathtub planter

In this inventive gardening idea, an old claw foot bathtub has been painted bright blue and re-fashioned into a large raised bed garden planter. So creative!

Old concrete blocks do double duty in this raised bed vegetable garden.  Two of them, surrounded by other planters gives me a whole season of vegetable in one small space.

For another raised garden bed, made from old cement blocks, check out this post.

teapot recycled into a water fountainIn this project, an old rusty tea post was recycled and turned into the top part of a home made water fountain that looks decorative and is functional, as well.

I love the way the tea pot drips water into the simple planter arrangement. No wonder the plants look so healthy!  Source Julie S on Hometalk.

wagon recycled into a garden planter

A rustic old planter does double duty now as a charming garden decor idea.  I would love to find one of these to re-purpose in my garden bed!

See more wagons and wheelbarrows used as planters here.

Old rake makes a great tool holder.Need a place to store your garden tools so that they are handy but out of the elements?  Try this project.

An old rake head is removed from the handle and re-fashioned into a rustic tool holder. Great addition to my list of creative garden ideas on a budget!  Source Better Homes and Gardens.

Coffee pot carafe turned into a terrarium

Terrariums can be expensive to buy, but you can make use of a common kitchen item and have it do double duty with plants.

Do you have an old coffee pot carafe?  Don’t throw it out!  Turn it into a coffee pot terrarium. It is simple to do and saves on time watering plants.

child's boots repurposed into planters

This is such a whimsical and fun idea.  A pair of colorful child’s rubber boots are doing extra duty as a planter for some begonia plants. Such and easy to do project, just make sure to drill some drainage holes first!

See more boot and shoe planter ideas here.

Creative gardening ideas: herbs labels made from old bricksDon’t throw those old bricks away. Get out the craft paints and turn them into garden markers.

These are so easy to do an yet so effective.  Will need try make some herb labels like this for my garden this year.  Source:  Simple Details.

Creative gardening ideas - Pink teapot use as a planter

The opening on the top of teapots and coffee pots makes them idea garden containers.  In this pretty scene The planter is paired up with a pail painted the same color. It holds a pumpkin but could also be planted up.

Watering cans are also used in the garden this way.  See some creative watering can ideas here.

Galvanized bucket used as a planter

This pretty planter started out life as a galvanized bucket.  Stencils and some craft paint adds a row of daisies around the rim to dress it up.

See more ideas for using galvanized containers in the garden.

Creative gardening ideas - car planter

It’s impressive to use this car as a planter, but what is more impressive to me is the wonderful artwork on the side of the car. Someone is being very creative!

See more car planters in this post.

Do you have other creative garden decor ideas you would like to share?  Please add your ideas in the comment section below.  I would love to hear your suggestions.

Admin note: This post first appeared on the blog in February of 2013. I have updated the post to add many more ideas and a video for you to enjoy.

Pin these creative decor ideas

Would you like a reminder of these recycled creative gardening ideas? Pin this image to one of your gardening boards on Pinterest.Over 20 creative gardening ideas for those on a budget

More creative garden decorations

Are you still in need of some inspiration for your garden decor? These wonderful DIY garden decorations all use words and numbers in some creative way in garden decor.

They are easy to do and yet very effective.  I love cottage gardening and they would all fit into my garden scheme nicely. 

Garden sign

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Thursday 16th of July 2020

This residential landscape architecture flows really well. I love it!

Alice Carroll

Thursday 25th of June 2020

You made a good point that a terrarium would be a good choice for a whimsical garden decor. I've been thinking about beautifying my garden after much contemplation during my mom's first death anniversary last week. She has always loved taking care of plants so I think I should at least try to follow in her footsteps by making some improvements in my garden this year.

Ruth Jones

Thursday 5th of September 2019

Fab Article !!

Even just suggest to install Indian Sandstone which are ideal for both contemporary and traditional setting.


Monday 5th of August 2019

Carol, I agree with you about the garden showing the style of the Gardner. I love to pick up junk. I picked up a old bubble gum machine and painted it. I planted mint in the glass part where the bubble gum would be.


Monday 5th of August 2019

that sounds lovely Ruth. I'd love to see a picture of your garden art!


Sunday 10th of March 2019

I’m looking for a quilt pattern for You Are My Sunshine. All I’ve found so far are sites selling quilts. Do you know where to get the patterns?


Sunday 10th of March 2019

I have no idea where to find them.

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