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DIY Recycled Garden Art

Updated April 17, 2017

Do-it-yourself recycled garden art is decor using items that many people would call junk. Some artists build a career around creating recycled art from household items, clothing, salvaged metal and old machinery. Even if you are not a professional artist, you can copy some basic types of recycled art to display in your garden. These may spark your imagination to come up with ideas of your own.

Household Items

Sculptural artists tend to look at an item and imagine new possibilities. This is especially true for household items. Before throwing anything out, think about giving it a twist and adding it to your garden. For example, you can place an old fruit bowl on a pedestal for an artistic-looking bird bath or fill it with dirt and use it as a planter. Plant forks as creative garden row markers by weaving the labels through the tines. Even old coffee cans can be cut and punched with decorative patterns to be made into bird feeders.

Recycled Clothing

The most typical form of clothing art for gardens is scarecrows. A good way to jazz up this idea is to use children and babies' clothing to make pint-sized scarecrows that can peek out from bushes and shrubs. To find clothes for your tiny scarecrows, ask friends and family to give you clothing their children have outgrown or visit your local thrift stores. Tie the arms, legs and trunks of the clothing and stuff it with biodegradable items such as leaves or straw.

Shoe Art

The simplest form of DIY recycled garden art is shoe art. Shoe art is taking an old shoe and making it into something else. You really don't need any artistic skills or a lot of money to produce it, but it adds an unexpected touch to your garden. The best places to find old shoes are your local thrift stores. Look for unusual shapes and vibrant colours. When you get them home, paint them, glue odds and ends onto them or bedazzle them. Let your imagination go wild. The world-renowned Tizer Botanical Gardens uses all kinds of shoes as planters in their fantasy garden beds.

Salvaged Metal and Machinery

If you have skills in the welding arts or know someone that does, salvaged metal and machinery art may appeal to you. You'll find materials in junkyards, backyards, dumpsters and sheds. Just about any metal material can be used. The trick is making the pieces fit together to form a sculpture. Lay out your treasures and try to forget what the piece was originally for and imagine what it could be. For example, an old gear lever from a tractor may make the perfect arm for your garden creature.

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About the Author

Since 1998 Alina McKee has written for dozens of traditional and online beauty, fashion, health and parenting publications including Pregnancy.org, Mama Health and Real Beauty. As a professional artist, her articles about these subjects have been used in magazines and websites around the globe. McKee has a diploma in fine art from Stratford Art School.