CAPTION: Bowling balls and other items can be reused in gardens. ATTRIBUTION: Bev Wagar (Flickr)

Reusing old items like used cans, cooking pots, and wire scraps is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than just throwing them away. Many items can be repaired or repainted to have a second life as a creative yard decoration. You can also turn old objects into containers for plants or as support for climbing vines. Learn how to repurpose common everyday items that can be cleverly used in your garden.

Bowling Balls

Old bowling balls are heavy and can be expensive to discard at the dump. Consider reusing your old bowling balls in your garden by transforming them into whimsical gazing balls. Marbled bowling balls resemble the glass gazing balls commonly sold in garden centers. Plainer bowling balls can be painted to resemble frogs, bumblebees, ladybugs, and other outdoor critters.

Wire Scraps

Scrap pieces of chicken wire can have many uses in a garden. Use pieces of wire to secure posts or climbing vines. Also add chicken wire to flower beds and vegetable gardens to deter animals. Plants are able to grow around the wire, but animals will not be able to steal your veggies. Old scrap metal pieces can even be welded together to form magnificent garden ornaments.

Cans and Containers

Used cans and containers can be reused in your garden in a wide variety of ways. Shallow cans, such as chicken or tuna cans, can be sunk into the soil in your garden and filled with beer. These small pools of beer are excellent at trapping slugs and other garden pests. Fill containers with shaker tops with cayenne pepper to deter rabbits, squirrels, and other varmints who try to nibble on your garden plants.


Reuse old framed windows in your garden by turning them into homemade cold frames to protect your sensitive plants from late fall until spring. Don’t use window frames that have broken glass or sharp edges to avoid injury. Double-glazed windows offer the best protection for your plants against cold winds and frost. Ensure that the windows shut securely to prevent snow and other elements from affecting your plants during winter.


Old ladders add a whimsical presence to your garden, especially when you paint them vibrant colors. Rest a stepladder vertically against a garden shed or other structure and secure it with pieces of old wire. Decorate the stepladder by placing a different container on each step. Stepladders can also be used as a base for plant vines to grow on and wrap around the rungs.

Beds and Cribs

If you have old wooden or metal beds lying around, incorporate them into your garden décor. Headboards and footboards can easily serve as decorative trellises. Spring frames and side rails from old baby cribs can also be used as trellises or to support climbing vines. Best of all, it doesn’t matter if these items are outdated or broken, as they can be used “as is” or repainted in eye-catching colors to better suit your colorful garden.