Create Recycled Garden Art
We've all heard the phrase that one man's trash is another man's treasure. In this section I think you'll find this to be very true. Hi, my name is Doug and I want to show you how you can create art for your garden using ordinary objects that have been discarded. Below are some examples of how I took objects that were either given to me, bought cheap, or were being tossed out, and then I recycled them into art for my garden. Maybe you're like me, you hate to see anything thrown away, especially if it can be turned into something useful. Besides the low to no cost, another one of the benefits is you will have very unique art. You don't have to buy expensive art for your garden. You can create it yourself using found objects that you have rescued from a fatal date with your local landfill.
If you do decide to purchase new art for your office or personal space, doesn't it make sense to buy objects that have been recycled from something else? There are many artists who like working with reclaimed materials. You benefit by having very unique sculptures with a history. The earth benefits by reducing the trash sent to the landfills. It also reduces the need for mining the earth for brand new raw materials that are necessary to manufacture new products.
Click on photos for larger size.
L et's start with a very simple project.
B owling for art. Another simple idea is this sculpture made using colorful bowling balls purchased at local thrift stores. I bought them over a period of time because I like to scatter them around my garden for added color, and I like the shape. The balls were placed on top of copper pipes by shoving the pipe into one of the finger holes, then the other end of the rod was pushed into the ground. It doesn't get much simpler than this to create a unique garden feature. The rods can be whatever you can find. I just happened to have some old copper pipes left from a remodel job. If you don't have anything handy, you can buy some inexpensive pieces of re-bar at your local big box hardware store in the cement department.
A nyone up for a game of cards? I saw a round folding card table that my neighbors had put at the
W ho said you can't hang a painting outside This photo was taken in my previous garden in Atlanta. A good friend and neighbor made this painting using plaster and paint on masonite. He decided to toss it and asked if I wanted it, so I hung it on my fence. By the time this photo was taken, it had been there a few years and was beginning to deteriorate. I didn't mind that because it fit right in with the theme of the ancient architectural element in the painting. To me there is great natural beauty in things that are decaying. Water seal can be applied to prolong the process.
Y ikes, snakes in the garden. I borrowed this idea from artist Georgia O'Keefe. Simple smooth
S tumped for an idea? Try this one. I found this rotted stump from a giant oak tree curbside after someone pulled it from it's home of perhaps a century or more in the earth. I talked a friend into helping me get it home. I'm sure he thought I'd lost my mind, but I saw a beautiful sculpture that had been discarded. I turned it upside
down in my garden where it added character and interest, as well as beauty for many years. Keep your eyes open and alert as you travel the streets. You never know what you might find to enhance your garden, while at the same helping the environment by keeping it out of the landfill.
S tacked ceramic tiles make a terrific garden pedestal. One day I went to a local flooring store
looking for discarded carpet to use as a weed block. There were several cherry laurel trees out front that were relentless in their attempts to create new trees, so I wanted to block the many runners from sprouting upwards. While I was there the owner asked if I knew of anyone who would want her old sample tiles. I immediately said I'd take them. I didn't have any idea what I'd do with them, but I knew I'd think of something. After selecting some for a bathroom mosaic broken tile project, I sorted the rest and stacked them by size to create this garden pedestal. One very important warning. Make sure you put down a solid level base first to make sure the stack stays perfectly perpendicular to the earth, otherwise it could end up leaning as the ground underneath it settles. I used a large square concrete patio block and a level after tamping the earth. By the way, that carpet idea didn't work. The cherry laurel sprouts forced their way right through the carpet, even with its heavy backing. I eventually cut the trees down because they were entirely too invasive for this small property. They're better suited where they have lots of room to spread.
M arilyn Monroe is what the artist titled this one of a kind wall sculpture made from 2 oil drum lids, to give it extra depth. If you're handy with a cutting torch and welder, you too can come up with your own creative wall sculptures made from old oil drum lids. Check your yellow pages for scrap metal dealers in your area. They can be a terrific source for raw materials. Or just keep your eyes open along the curb right before trash day. Raw materials are everywhere if you're aware enough to spot them. Just make sure they are being willingly discarded
A Georgia artist made this graceful garden fish from recycled steel. with a post that allows it to be
B irdhouses are a great way to use recycled materials. They can be made from old worn out cedar or
treated pine fence boards, rusted metal roofing, or anything else you can come up with. Go to your garage and see what you can find to work with. Get creative. Think of a way to recycle something that would never normally be used to make a birdhouse such as an old computer housing.
This one was made many years ago by a good friend who is no longer with us. She used fence boards and wood trim that she found along the curb left for garbage pick up. Whenever she would see someone removing a fence or old shed, she would talk to the owner to ask for the materials that she could use. She made birdhouses for a living so the style was often dictated by the available materials. She added her own distinct touches with paint and things like the little wreath that she bought at a crafts store. Some of the early ones even had tiny porch chairs.
N eon can make a bold statement in your garden. especially at night. I used to collect old neon