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Dig it

A little bit of TLC will transform your trash into garden treasure.

Anything can be turned into something useful.

Anything can be turned into something useful.

The consumer-driven nineties and noughties didn’t nurse a good opinion of second-hand items. It was the age of disposable everything – buy today, throw out tomorrow, and buy again the day after. It was a vicious circle set against the backdrop of a ringing till.

Since then, two things have changed in our retail habits. First, we now acknowledge the heavy burden that irresponsible consumerism places on the world. And secondly, we’ve come to appreciate quality: admittedly, quality costs more, but in the long run, it has a longer lifetime and therefore works out cheaper than low quality.

These acknowledgements have fuelled a whole effort based on the three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle. And we’re not ashamed to do it: we upcycle old furniture, repurpose sofas to give them a new lease of life, and turn useless things into useful ones.

Your outdoor space is an ideal showcase for your eco-friendly efforts. Anything, from old pallets and ladders to broken chairs and vintage finds, can be turned into something useful for your terrace, courtyard or garden. Not only do they save you money, but they also help you give your outdoor space a personal touch.

Save our soil

Almost any type of furniture can find a new use in your outdoor space. Take an old door, for instance: you can turn it into a hanging trellis for your climbers, or use it to section off a herb garden.

Wooden pallets are also very versatile. One of the most interesting projects you can do with a pallet is a garden on wheels. Having a mobile garden will allow you to change its position from shady to sunny during the day, to favour plant growth. Moreover, you can redesign the layout of your outdoor space whenever you want.

Start by getting hold of a pallet – this shouldn’t be too difficult. Any carpenter, warehouse or shipper will have one to spare. Then sand it, paint it and attach wheels in every corner. For the sides, screw or nail wood boards and paint them as well. Line the inside with landscape fabric and layer the bottom with stones. Top with compost and soil and plant. Old furniture can also be transformed into attractive mini-gardens. A chest of drawers, for instance, can be repurposed as a vertical garden: simply use the drawers as containers for your plants.

From pot to plant

For alternative pots, the second-hand world is your oyster. Anything, really, can be transformed into a container for your plants, flowers and herbs: the most important thing is that the container has drainage and that in its previous life, it didn’t contain any harmful substances such as cleaning products.

Household items, for instance, make for great pots. Juice cartons, ice cream tubs, and even tin cans only need a few minor adjustments to be transformed into pots. It’s also a good idea to hang containers on a rope and transform them into a vertical garden: this comes with the added benefit of keeping your precious plants out of reach of curious pets and nosy bugs. Old kettles, colanders and mismatched china are great for your herbs and also come with an original design element.

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