Today’s garden furniture is redefining the limits of outdoor design. No longer confined by shape or raw materials, designers have embraced upcycling and are using their sheer creative prowess to radically transform our outdoor spaces. TV personalities like Kirsty Allsopp, upmarket lifestyle magazines and trailblazing gardeners have all contributed to our passion for the re-used, the recycled and the repurposed. Whether you’re looking to buy the perfect piece of upcycled garden furniture or create it yourself using a little ingenuity and some hard work, here are a few inspiring ideas to get you started.
The humble garden bench has enjoyed a total reinvention of late. No longer restricted to its classic dimensions and dark wood stain, you can now sit on garden benches made from disused fencing and nautical rope, ornate bedsteads, wrought iron gates and old bathtubs, amongst other fantastic creations.
The deckchair might be a classic piece of furniture but there’s no reason why you can’t stamp it with your own personal aesthetic. The wooden frame can be transformed with a simple lick of pastel chalk paint, and you can customise almost any hard-wearing fabric to form the seat. Decorate to suit your taste with colours, patterns, names or whatever embellishments may appeal.
Essentially, anything that will persuade plants to grow on the vertical, with or without the support of a wall, can be turned into trellis. Old bike wheels’ spokes make them perfect for a quirky industrial look, while reclaimed window frames no longer fit for purpose but with life in them yet can create a pretty, rustic air.
Flower pots and planters
Perhaps more than any other garden accessory, flower pots and planters can be fashioned from almost anything. Hanging tyres and out-of-commission rowing boats, old lampshades and large decorative cake tins, vintage loos and old chimney pots – they all look fantastic when flowing abundantly with colourful florals.
Depending on the dimensions of the space you want to fill and the look that you’d like to achieve, there are some items that lend themselves well to becoming your new sun lounger. For example, a futon sealed with outdoor paint and scattered with cushions makes a laidback lounger for two. Or, a few old pallets can be fashioned into a chilled-out lounger perfect for relaxed sun seekers.
There are some excellent, free tools available online to help you make key decisions about the layout and overall plan of your garden. Marshall’s Garden Visualiser lets you plot your garden in 3D and even place your own home in the design. Then, once the grand plan is in place, you can enjoy getting creative and furnishing your outdoor space in your own unique and upcycled way.