With the ever-increasing sweltering heat serving as a reminder that accelerated climate change is a real thing, and in view of the prolific rate at which we throw things away, we thought it prudent to take stock of the things some creative homeowners have been doing with recycled materials to furnish outdoor spaces in vintage style without breaking the bank.
A commonly seen use of recycled materials occurs in planter boxes. Rubber tires, glass bottles, tea tins, old furniture, discarded cookware, and even bathroom fixtures can be easily used to shore up the sides of planters, or to individually hold soil and plants within themselves.
Discarded glassware is also ideal for use in homemade lighting fixtures thanks to their translucence. Glass containers keep candles that have been placed inside them lit, and can be used to keep exposed bulbs of lighting fixtures dry. Bottles with narrow necks can be repurposed as candle holders, while mason jars with wider mouths can be used to shield a flame from wind or to fully enclose a lightbulb.
Furnishing outdoor spaces does not necessarily entail significant expenditure, especially when one considers making their own furniture out of reclaimed wood. Old railway sleepers, warehouse pallets, or even those immense cable spools can be modified and cobbled together to make for some truly bespoke furnishings capable of enduring years of sun and rain. As an added bonus, screw on some caster wheels to make your furniture arrangements more versatile.
Perhaps the most ubiquitous example of using recycled materials is the archetypal tire swing, prevalently used in rural settings since that bygone era when children had no choice other than to go outdoors for entertainment. The tire swing can be achieved by simply combining a discarded car tire with a length of rope thrown over a sturdy branch.
Recycling metallic items is inherently problematic as most industrial applications require metals of the highest purities, but discarded metal objects often make for unique barbeque sets espcially when composed of stainless or carbon-coated steel. The homemade barbeque set is typically just an industrial-grade steel drum which has been cut open, but with a dose of creativity almost any metal object can be converted into a container for hot coals. Take the road less travelled by considering the use of an old car wheel as a fire pit by welding a perforated steel plate to the bottom and placing a grill over the top.
Article by Kevin Eichenberger