7 Ideas For Upcycling Furniture To Use In Your Garden

There's a garden furniture shortage due to supply issues coming into the UK. Here's how to reuse what you already have.
Oksana Aksenova via Getty Images/iStockphoto

If you have high hopes of inviting people over for Easter but haven’t got any garden furniture sorted, upcycling could be the answer to your woes.

The UK is in the midst of a garden furniture shortage, largely down to supply issues between China and the UK, but also because of increased demand as the easing of lockdown restrictions means people can socialise outdoors.

If you’re struggling to get hold of last-minute furniture – or simply want to make your garden look a little more exciting – it’s worth trying your hand at upcycling.

The premise is simple: find old furniture, pallets or home accessories (people are always giving stuff away for free on sites like Nextdoor, Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree) and give them a new lease of life. Not sure where to begin? Here are some ideas to jazz up that garden or balcony of yours.

1. Repurpose an old step ladder into a home for your potted plants and herbs

Sand it down, give it a lick of (outdoor) paint – the brighter, the better – and fill with your favourite plants. It’s a great way to keep herbs higher up, away from spraying cats.

2. Fashion new furniture out of pallets

From corner sofas to coffee tables, there’s a wealth of inspiration – and tutorials – for DIY pallet projects on Instagram and Pinterest. We recommend using sites such as Nextdoor and Gumtree to ask if anyone locally has pallets they want to get rid of. Failing that, ask your local garden centre if they’ve any going spare.

3. Repurpose old tins as plant pots

Chances are, you’ve got some decent-sized tins lying around that could be repurposed into pots for your herbs and smaller outdoor plants. Clean them out, remove any labels (unless said labels are waterproof) and you’re good to go. Just make sure you pop some holes in the bottom so that water can escape.

4. Turn an old wheelbarrow into a rustic planter

If you’ve got a rusty old wheelbarrow sitting in the corner of your garage – or you know someone getting rid of one – take it off their hands and transform it into a flowerbed or herb garden. If it’s looking a little worse for wear, a lick of paint won’t do it any harm.

5. Transform old tyres into a rainbow garden bed

Like wheelbarrows, old tyres can be painted to create a beautiful flowerbed. The bolder the colours, the better – especially when filled with vibrant flowers.

6. Give old chairs a new lease of life

Mismatched wooden chairs can not only be jazzed up with a lick of paint, they can also be used as planters if they’re beyond repair. People are often giving away old chairs online so keep an eye out for some you can repurpose. Some have even fashioned multiple old chairs into one garden bench.

7. Build a pond from an old bathtub

This is definitely a little more niche, as not everyone has an old bathtub lying around – but if you do, dig a bathtub-sized hole in your garden and fill it with your old bath to create a shabby chic garden pond.

You can find plenty more upcycling inspiration on Pinterest.