Without question the best yard art I see in gardens comes from recycling. Mention recycling and the first thing that comes to mind is waste materials like plastic and paper or cardboard. Each Saturday I make my trip to the recycle station not far from home. But what about weathered rusty old tin for the garden?
That is precisely what one gardener searched for, found and then used in making the roof of a rustic gazebo. This was in an extraordinary garden I had the pleasure of filming last summer for my TV garden news segment.
Admittedly, rusty tin is not something most consider and a hard to find treasure, but in the hot Mississippi Delta farmland it was picture perfect. There was a wall in the gazebo made of recycled shutters in combination with giant bamboo. The gazebo became the idyllic retreat for this artist to paint or to entertain guests as the long days came to an end.
The landscape also featured white columns from an historical old home. The columns set an imaginary if not appropriate boundary between the garden and the typical Delta landscape a huge sea of cotton nearing chest high. The columns certainly gave an almost archaeological feel to the garden.
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Somewhere near you, perhaps on the other side of town, there is an old house either being torn down or waiting for the next big wind or spark to bring it to its final demise. Whether it is some columns, an ornate front door, a stately fireplace mantle, windows or a pick-up load of bricks there is treasure waiting for you to use in creating the finishing touches to your garden.
Windows are great assets in the garden. Replace the glass with a mirror and then hang on an outdoor wall, fence or even on a tree trunk and you will add a wonderful illusion. You will get the feeling that you are looking through a window but in reality you will be looking at the garden behind you. You will also find that you are adding additional light to shady areas.
An old fireplace mantle of course can be used on an outdoor fireplace but even that is not necessary. Let the mantle serve as the focal point to your outdoor room or sitting area. You can place other artsy objects to the side or on the mantle just like you would do indoors in the great room.
My Delta gardener even pushed the comfort zone by retrieving an old vent-a-hood from a commercial kitchen, and again with her artistic mind and painted it blue it turning it into the focal point of a small courtyard like sitting area.
A great way to start your own recycling project is with a bottle tree. Your first thought might be, “how tacky,” but I assure you with a little thought and planning on your part you can turn these into picturesque objects of art.
The Delta garden had one of my favorite touches — several recycled bottles echoed the colors found on the trim of the house. Another garden featured bottles that were predominantly orange and yellow, complementing color for the nearby blue blooming vitex tree.
Recycling is good for your city and it can be a real show-stopping feature in your garden. Keep your eyes open and don’t be afraid to give it a try.