Ideas for Garden Art From Junk

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Junk is only junk if you call it by that name; instead, use those unwanted, damaged or castoff materials to create art for the garden. From old funnels to funky flea market finds, objects that have outlived their original purposes, tweaked and tailored to your liking, become decorative embellishments for your garden.

Rain Chains

  • Small metal funnels or containers from the kitchen or garage transform into decorative rain chains that offer both visual and audible effects to the garden. Thin chain runs through the entire structure and jump rings hold each funnel in place along the chain. Alternatively, use small clay or plastic pots in place of the funnels and reuse old key rings instead of jump rings. Hang a rain chain from a downspout near the garden, or hang a chain from a shepherd's hook plant stand with a wide funnel near the top of the chain, guiding rainwater downward. Collect the rainwater at the bottom of the chain into an old watering can or any vessel that holds water to reuse it elsewhere in the garden.

Bordering Balls

  • Croquet balls or old bowling balls serve as decorative borders or colorful pathways through a garden. Arrange croquet or billiard balls around the perimeter of a garden, or use them as markers to indicate what plants grow nearby by labeling them with a permanent marker or nail polish. Glue the balls to garden tees to ensure they stay put. Paint bowling balls to look like ladybugs or smiley faces as borders or surprise elements in a children's garden, or glue five or six golf balls together with construction adhesive for a makeshift centipede or inchworm, painting it green after the adhesive dries.

Cutlery Chimes

  • Turn old flatware into handmade windchimes for an audible embellishment for the garden. Drill small holes through the flatware handles and hammer fork tines and spoon bowls flat to create the chimes. Secure them to an upturned colander by tying fishing line through the holes in each item. Add colorful translucent beads salvaged from old jewelry for a play on light. Flattened garden spades or pieces cut from colorful imported food cans, folded over and filed to remove sharp edges, may be used instead of cutlery.

Illuminated Landforms

  • Turn old glass jars into luminarias to add ambient light to the garden at night. Decoupage the outsides of the jars with colored tissue paper to make seasonal lighting such as jack-o'-lanterns or to give them a stained-glass look. Use battery-operated tea lights to illuminate the jars. Attach an old porcelain or tin pot to the top of a birdbath base with construction adhesive; place an LED candle or solar light inside the pot; then top it with a decorative ceiling light fixture cover for a sculptural light. Use glass decor only in a garden without pets or young children.

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