We recently launched our Amateur Gardener of the Year competition in conjunction with the Sunday Express. This competition celebrates all things green-fingered, and brings you six different categories to enter: Best Wildlife Garden, Best Hanging Basket, Best Garden Design, Best Junior Gardener, Best Allotment and Best Upcycled garden. Since the launch we’ve been sharing hints and tips for each category and this week we’re bringing inspiration for the Best Upcycled Garden category! There’s a £100 Wilko voucher up for grabs for the winner of each category, and if you’re lucky enough to be crowned Best Amateur Gardener of the Year overall, you’ll win an extra £250!

So, with the weather soon to take a turn for the better, what better way to spruce up your garden than the upcycled way? Here are some ideas to get you started:

garden planters

A pallet garden pathway

A pallet can be perfect for turning into a mini pathway in your garden.

If you manage to get your hands on any spare pallets, make sure you pick one that is in good condition without any rotting wood. Be careful of any nails sticking out.

Start by pulling out each nail to ease away each slat, being careful not to snap the wood. Sand down the individual pieces using a power-operated sander or individual sand sheets. Remember; always sand outdoors and use a dust mask for extra protection.

Start to think about how you want to lay each piece. If your lengths of wood are too thin to act as a piece of path or walkway, then simply nail two pieces on top of each other. Don’t worry if the pieces of wood are different lengths. It’ll add to the charm!  Just ensure they sit flush on top of each other.

Next think about what colour you’d like to stain your pallet wood. If you’re precious about what colour to use, then try a test patch first. Once you’ve achieved your desired stain, apply a top coat for added protection.

Lay your wood lengths on top of hard soil, ensuring you have an even surface. Your new walkway will look great!


The tyre planter

Have a spare tyre kicking around? It’ll work wonders for an alternative plant bed. If you want to add a bit of colour to your garden, spray paint the outside of your tyre with your desired colour and leave to dry. Don’t forget to place newspaper under your tyre to protect your grass from the paint. A dust mask is a good idea too.

Once your tyre has dried, simply place it on an area of open soil and fill with multi-purpose compost. Scatter with flower seeds of your choice. To really make your flowers flourish, apply fish, blood and bone plant food directly to your soil before or after planting. Sit back and watch your flowers grow!


Tin plant pots

Have empty food tins waiting to go in your recycling bin? Hold onto them! They’ll make perfect plant pots.

Clean the tins down, removing exterior labels. Next, use a hammer and a nail to make small holes in the base for drainage. In a ventilated or outdoor setting, spray paint each can with colours of your choice. The more colourful the better! Don’t forget the dust mask. To get a better finish spray a few light layers. It’ll last longer and the colour is less likely to run. Leave to dry.

If you’ll be hanging your pots on your garden wall, nail a hole into one side of the tins to act as a hook. Then hammer nails into your wall to hang the tins. Fill the tins with compost, followed by plants or flowers of your choice. How about dedicating your upcycled tin planters to becoming your very own herb garden? The choice is yours!

To show you how it’s done, here’s a handy video:

So there are three great ideas to get you started, but we’re sure there are plenty more to get stuck into! We look forward to seeing your photos!

For full details on our competition, including how to enter, click here.

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