Having stylish decor and design in your garden doesn’t have to break the bank or harm the environment. Try these design and upcycling ideas in your garden this season.

Paint Pots with Chalk Paint

Chalk paint is a no-fuss paint that can be painted on just about any surface including wood, metal, melamine, glass, and can even be used to dye fabric – an ideal material for upcycling old and worn-out garden objects.

It also rarely requires any preparation except for a clean. Whether you like subtle or bold colours, Annie Sloan chalk paint will upcycle a group of potted plants with very little effort. It’s an instant way to enhance your garden design, from old ceramic and terracotta to even cheap plastic pots.

Invest in Leaves

A budget trip to the nursery means having to choose which plants to leave behind. The way to fix the problem is to buy one plant that will make a statement and give long-lasting style, while being easy to propagate to expand your collection for free. The latest houseplant trends focus on foliage and in particular variegated foliage.

Brownfield Garden Inspiration

This year’s Chelsea Flower Show identified some interesting sustainability concepts, including highlighting brownfield land for repurpose into beautiful gardens. Brownfield land is a site that has been abandoned, typically industrial or commercial, that is overgrown and neglected.

Garden designers have taken up the challenge of transforming these sites into beautiful diverse gardens that are not only productive (in the case of unpolluted land, the use of edibles), but provide green spaces for communities and an increase in pollinators and clean air for the environment. This has become a source of design inspiration too, encouraging gardeners to reuse old building materials in their gardens for a low-maintenance and natural look.

Vertical Value

In smaller gardens, the value of gardening vertically is immense. With space at a premium, going up is the only way to pack it all in. Vertical gardening is also gaining traction on social media platforms like TikTok with #verticalgarden at 85 million views. And there are so many upcycling ideas that can transform a bare wall in a few hours. Take old bamboo poles tied together in a grid pattern to suspend potted plants from and simply lean it against a wall for an instant herb garden, or just use the one side of an old ladder and use the rungs to display potted flowers and even grow edibles without spending a cent on complex vertical systems.

Macramé Magic

It seems that the macramé revival is not going away anytime soon, so we should all embrace it and make use of its versatility. It doesn’t even need to be string – old bits of fabric such as lycra cut into strips does a great job too. It’s also good fun to tie a few knots to make your own upcycled decor with no machinery or special skills needed.

Decorate a corner with a hanging macramé and a pot plant and you have an instant hanging garden.


Ideas for up-cycling wooden pallets

A version of this article was published in the Garden&Home August 2023 print magazine.

Feature image: Pexels