Repurposed and Recycled - Creative Ideas for Garden Design

Nothing like piano keys to liven up a garden space....(above photo from Stone Art Blog)

Recycling can be many things to many people...

or, in other words,  "One man's trash is another's man treasure"

This piano was placed here in the garden. Here is what Sunny Wieler of Stone Art Blog wrote about this:

"Besides being a passionate gardener, my dad is also a passionate piano player, so a few years back we got him a new piano for his birthday. So the old piano spent a while in the shed before he had the great idea to put it out in the garden..."

Little did Sunny's dad know that he was at the forefront of the conceptual art movement:...they would say something like this is a testament to the natural decomposing processes, a statement of the fragility of life, the impermanence of existence...

his dad would say, 'Hey, why not put it in the garden?"

photos of broken concrete from Bourget Bros website

Recycling nowadays has a much classier name in the design lexicon - Repurposing.... I guess Sunny's dad was repurposing his piano.

So with the aim of being 'green' and relevant, here are some creative ways people have dressed up their gardens with recycled items...this is a fun topic and I hope others will share photos of similar endeavors!

Recycled Broken Concrete

Using old concrete from sidewalks is a great way to recycle a common building material in the landscape. The aged look of broken concrete can add character and it doesn't even look like concrete when used in a mortared wall or upside down...

According to a designer interviewed in Sunset Magazine, "If concrete is used well, it looks rich. People respond to it, often without knowing what it is..."

Wall of Broken up Concrete Pieces

from everythinggardens website

So next time they are removing old sidewalks tell them they can deliver the dumpster of broken up concrete to your place. Here is what I found in the-artistic-garden website:

Using large chunks of concrete upside down - with the rough side showing - this paved driveway is one of a kind! and they got the concrete for free.....this could also be a great walk. What a wonderful example of 'green' landscaping.

Recycled Glass

Recycled glass has come a long way from bringing in the old coke bottles for a nickel...Glass chunks or slag can be used in a real knock out way and don't forget tumbled 'glass mulch'.

Hocker Design in Dallas, Texas used stainless steel mesh to contain recycled glass and made an amazing privacy wall / pool fence for a client. Illuminated from within, the glass wall glows at night! how cool.

photos from contemporist.con

glowing wall at bight (from garden beet)

Tumbled glass mulch can be bought in bags of varying can make colored glass squares, 'rivers', channels and more...

from enviroglass

and imagine what you can do with bottles:

fiber-optics-lit wine bottles light up a concrete countertop -

And look at this! Wine bottle edging - hey why not? impervious...and you could put fiber optics in each one....what an effect.

Recycled Fencing

So imagine if you have a broken up concrete walk with glass bottle edging, an old piano off to the side and now maybe get some wire fencing to act as a table base like Jason Horvath did here...
 Fenced Modern Coffee Table by Jason Horvath

This fenced-in modern coffee table was made from repurposed cast-iron fence pieces. Designed by Jason Horvath, he stumbled upon a pile of discarded fencing in Red Hook, Brooklyn. A 1/2″ glass top sits on the blackened or powder coated base.

You may do the same thing but use a broken concrete slab on top!

There are so many ideas for recycling materials in a garden....I hope this got your creative juices flowing....

Go to this post at Planted Well: 


  1. Outstanding. I have no words after going through this blog. Making your landscape is not an easy task. Designing your garden is no doubt a very big task. Well planned garden make unique impression and give attractive look. Thanks for this fabulous post.
    garden design sydney

  2. Thank you! no easy task for sure but a giant labor of love and appreciation to our mother earth...

  3. I like this post. I love the recycled glass wall. Think its probably the coolest contemporary wall Ive ever seen. I also love the glass bottle window in the counter top, must try make one someday.

  4. my gosh! another jaw-dropping post, filled with such relevant and timely information! and such creative ideas!! love the little border made of old bottles. i'm on the look-out for this type of inspiration in my blog as well.

  5. Jan, I too placed an old piano in the garden, after two Northern MI winters it was reduced to just the harp, which I now have suspended as a trellis for my climbing plants. thanks for your pictures of inspiration.

  6. Now-a-days people decorate the gardens with different different things to make it attractive and I find above pictures the best of all......thanks for sharing!!!!!

    Creative Ideas

  7. Some really great ideas for creating really impressive features from old waste material. The two highlights for me are:

    1. The wall made from recycled concrete
    2. The Hocker Design wall from recycled glass

    I think the use of old concrete slabs is something most people can use at some point in their garden.

  8. This is great information! I have been looking for some inspiration for outdoor landscaping design for my backyard because my husband and I want to redo it. This has been very helpful, thanks for sharing!

  9. Constraction is a difficult and time conuming work while destruction is easy one to do,but the recycling is a good way to make the use of the things which are no longer useful so I like your thinking and I also want to make my surrouding gorgeous with the recaycling the things as you have said the trash is another's man treasure" .
    Landscape designs

  10. This is some great gardening you have done here. Speaking of which, do you happen to know of a good wire fencing company in Calgary?

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Nice post and Glassfencing-kwikfynd provides glass fences & all glass fences installation offers the best quality with your satisfaction guaranteed! We offer FREE estimates!.

  13. capricious is in the eye of the beholder....

  14. Thanks for the post, and my wife and I are looking at getting new fencing in our backyard. But we want to try and use all recycled materials for our fence. Now we just have to start looking, because I don't know how easy it's going to be to find everything.

    1. tyleragent - Thanks! I always wanted to make a fence out of old skis....add that to your fence list. :-)

  15. Really love the design together with the blending of colors it makes the surroundings more livelier!

    Terrific ideas you've got here!

  16. These ideas are so creative! I especially love the piano keys. That is so innovative! I love taking recycling and making it into something I can use to decorate or that can help me with tasks. Your blogs was so fun to read through.

  17. Truly amazing ideas! You are such a crafty person. I've been wondering what I can do with all of my junk if I just recycled everything like you.

  18. I love the recycled concrete. I always see piles of it ready to go to a landfill and I tell my husband we should get it. He says it's junk. I say it can be made into garden art. Glad someone else shares my opinion. Thanks. Love the wall!

  19. Good grief, that place is stunning! I wish I had been able to get to Seattle early enough to see that place. I just love that style of house and garden.

    Garden designer Norwich & Timber Decking Norwich

  20. HI I just bought a house and the entire garden is edged with very dated 80's cement edging that is flat on one side and half mooned on the other...the are painted a pale sage...most of them faded. Any suggestions??? It sort of kills the whole look of the house. I'd like to repurpose them as opposed to getting rid of them. Thanks so much and your blog is incredible!

  21. it's very great idea to recycle waste material

  22. very nice idea i like the way your have explained

  23. Good unique ideas for garden design & thank for the share the information. Craigieburn Lawn Care Service

  24. I too, love recycled stuff in my garden. I use it in my indoor and outdoor art and paintings. I have used fence slats, cut down to five feet, which turned out great and is so much better than the chain-link it replaced. I am currently doing the bottle border idea. I have some recycled concrete I am planning to use but have not fully decided on the plan for it yet. I collect rusted oddities and stack or weld them into sculptural art pieces that double as bird feeder stations and I have recycled brick pathways with embedded items and buried bottles, that make for a fantastically fun place to sit and relax, have a drink or meal and watch the birds and butterflies. I also get free plant starts from other people. Two years into my backyard/garden oasis, I learned that I can have an outstanding and interesting one of kind garden, at a fraction of the cost by using everything recycled. There are so many resources for doing so. I love my garden and I inspire others to do the same. In a world of waste, this is a great thing. Thanks for sharing your information!

  25. All I want is the wind in my hair
    To face my fear, but not feel scared

  26. Your blog is attention-grabbing! Keep up the good work! I really love this.

  27. Great article! These are really cool ideas to recycle different things. Keep sharing work like this. Thank you.

    1. Thank you Rodney - I love to share ideas with like-minded people. Fun to share.


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