Reuse ideas to add art to your backyard / garden

Filed in Reuse by on May 21, 2018 0 Comments
FavoriteLoadingAdd article to favourites

piano upcycled into a water fountainHiring a professional decorator to style your backyard can be quite expensive and doing all the fancy stuff on your own requires lots of motivation and spare time.

If you still want to bring that wow factor to your yard though, you’ll be surprised to know that there is plenty that can be done through simply reusing old stuff that you’ve got lying around:

Piano flower bed

If you’ve got an old piano lying around that is too expensive to have collected and disposed of properly, you could try moving it to your backyard, and filling its interior with soil and planting some tulips or narcissus in it. The whole idea is to lend the backyard a shabby chic appeal, so no maintenance work on the piano is necessary (not even a paint job!).

If you’re good with tools, you could set up a small water fountain wherein the water flows through the piano keys for a poignant effect – all that’s needed is for a bird to make its nest in a nook and the combined picture will be pleasantly surreal!

piano upcycled into a water fountain

Piano aquarium

A stand-up piano can be retrofitted with a simple glass aquarium to achieve a truly quirky look and is an especially good idea if you want to add a slightly psychedelic tinge to your decor. A white piano will look great with an aquarium filled with colorful rocks, plants, and fish, and is sure to draw the eyes of any guest who sets foot in your backyard.

The only thing that you’ll need to be careful about is a stray cat taking an interest in the aquarium’s residents, for which you may want to install some type of semi-breathable cover that does not allow their paws to poke through!

Computer case mailbox

This idea manages to create a stylish combination of retro and geeky themes, and doesn’t require a lot of hard work, especially if you’ve got a CPU case with a door-like side (then it just becomes a matter of cleaning out the insides and firmly hoisting it on a pole or your boundary wall).

However, even if you’ve got a truly ancient case with screwed sides that cannot swivel like a door, you can still make it work by installing hinges manually. Sure it requires some handiwork, but the result is still cheaper and definitely more interesting than a run-of-the-mill mailbox purchased from the local hardware store.

mac computer recycled into mailbox

Tire vegetable beds

If you live close to a vehicle scrapyard or have somehow come upon a sizeable collection of old car tires, you can use them to create vertical vegetable beds by strategically piling them one atop the other, and closing the gaps in their middles using sheets of hard plastic (again readily acquirable from a junkyard).

Why would you go through this exercise you might wonder: Well, if you fancy yourself as something of a survivalist (or are simply inspired by post-apocalyptic settings presented through media like The Walking Dead and Fallout), what can evoke the feeling of survival in you better than growing vegetables in your backyard in makeshift containers crafted from the components of vehicles that can no longer be driven on the roads again?

Of course, if you only have one or two such tires to work with, perhaps a simpler project such as a tire swing could be undertaken.


Got a broken down wooden table lying around? Even some thick wooden sheets or timber beams from a leftover construction project will do: if you’ve got a knack for wood carving, you can whittle patterns and figurines out of them that can be placed at various spots in your garden to give it a rustic charm.

If you want to take this to the next level, get a sturdy chainsaw (such as the ones described here) and do some serious wooden sculpting – a swooping owl, a bear standing on its hind legs – even a solemn miniature totem pole. Regardless of what you sculpt, you’ll be lending your backyard a serious mountain man edge.

Wellington boot hanging flower pots

From the personal trial, it seems that Wellington boots (the tough long boots that are worn in the rainy season when there are lots of puddles) can make for aesthetically appealing (in a fairytale manner) yet practical hanging flower pots. You can easily hang them against the wooden boundaries of your backyard and grow tiny flowers in them that brighten up the backdrop of the yard in conjunction with the vividly colorful boots themselves.

If you want an even more magical look, I would advise planting climbing plants – once they’ve grown long enough, their green tendrils hanging down from the boots will be a sight to behold.

wellington boot flower pot

Rain gutter gardens

If you’ve got limited lateral space in your garden, you can instead utilize verticality by recycling any old/spare aluminum or plastic rain gutters that you have got lying around in your garage. Simply cut them to the desired length (remember to seal off the edges though), and you’ve got a long shallow trough that can hold your plants.

To ensure that the plants don’t get waterlogged, drill holes in the bottom of the trough every six inches and use a standard potting mix similar to what you would for ordinary potted plants. This gutter can be attached to a wall and irrigated by the rainwater that would ordinarily be lost as it drained into the ground.

You can grow salad plants as well as edible herbs in your rain gutter garden, and the overall result is a neat and efficient utilization of limited space and natural precipitation.


The ideas that I have discussed above should have driven home the fact that making your backyard look beautiful need not be expensive or time-consuming, all you need is a dash of creativity (and some old, unused junk lying around), and you’re all set for the job!


About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Leave a Reply