3 Get-Ready-for-the-Garden Recycling Crafts

With the unseasonably warm weather across much of the nation, I’m guessing many of you are in the same mindset I am: Spring is coming! I’m itching to get ready for outdoor activities, which includes outdoor get-togethers in the fragrant spring evening air and garden preparation. We’ve included tons of fun crafts that repurpose common items in Natural Home & Garden over the years. Get ready for the spring season with these fun, useful crafts that will be perfect for your garden this year.

These crafts were all created by former Natural Home & Garden designer Susan Wasinger. You can find many more of her inspirational crafts in her book Eco-Craft: Recycle, Recraft, Restyle.

rubber bench assembly

Tiny Garden Bench

This little garden bench uses a few pieces of recycled plastic lumber (which you can find at hardware stores) and an old inner tube (look for one that’s landfill-bound from a tire or bike store). These materials are both recycled and weatherproof, and the rubber will look better and better as it ages. It’s also quite comfortable if you’re using it for time-consuming garden tasks.

To make it, you’ll need at least 132 inches of plastic lumber, which you’ll assemble into a simple square with legs and supports. Then you cut strips of rubber and weave them to create the seat. You’ll need a carpenter’s square, an electric screwdriver and screws to assemble the frame, and a staple gun to attach the rubber strips.

Get the full instructions here.

pot lights

Terra Cotta Pot Lights

Light pathways or steps in your backyard or garden with these charming terra cotta pot lights. Terra cotta pots are inexpensive and easy to come by at secondhand stores (or in your own basement, perhaps!). By painting the insides soft, pale shades, you can create a romantic atmosphere for a very low cost!

pot lights 2

Here are a few tips:

  • To give off maximum light, apply pale-colored paintto the inside surface. Try gloss for maximum reflection, flat for a warmer, subtler glow.
  • Use a low-VOC latex exterior grade paint if you plan to leave them outside all the time.
  • To get a range of tones, use white paint as your base and add small amounts of different pigments. Alternatively, most paint retailers now sell tiny containers of sample paint in a vast array of colors. Buy a few, then mix them to extend your palette.
  • When dry, cover the hole with tape or a pebble, add a bit of sand, and a votive candle.

Learn more: http://www.naturalhomeandgarden.com/diy-projects/try-this-pot-lights.aspx

inner tube tote

Inner Tube Tote

You can prepare for lugging garden tools, wood or other items by making your own tough tote out of a recycled inner tube. Check tire stores for a virtually indestructible truck inner tube destined for the landfill, attach a few grommets and a carrying dowel, and you’re good to go. The only tools required to make this tough tote are a pair of scissors and a grommet kit from your local hardware store. You could add a detachable strap if you think it might come in handy.

installing grommets

Get the full instructions here.


Magdalena J.
Past Member 3 years ago

Thank you!

Val M.
Val M4 years ago


Winn Adams
Winn A4 years ago


aj E.
aj E4 years ago

nice ideas.

Marie W.
Marie W4 years ago

Nice bench.

Sheri P.
Sheri P5 years ago

cool ideas....thanks!

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe5 years ago

I really like the Garden Bench idea. I guess I'll be going to Lowes or Home Depot to find the plastic lumber.

I already have some Terre Cotta pots, so I will try the lights in them. They look so cool.

Thanks for the ideas!!

Jessica D.
Jessica D.5 years ago

plastic wood, is just a mixture of plastic and wood scraps molded together, they are using this mixture for the porches you see in some areas, they do not splinter and are better in weather

Jane R.
Jane R5 years ago

I never heard of plastic lumber. I'd use real wood lumber and paint it. I like the pot lights!!

Joan Mcallister
6 years ago

Interesting article with some good ideas Thanks for posting