In this blog post offers some expert advice on using reclaimed and up-cycled items for common use in the garden.

Where is the best place to find reclaimed and up-cycled items?

Some of the best places to find reclaimed and up-cycled items are direct from reclamation yards, small, independent up-cycling businesses and timber yards. However, this can easily mean that you a trawling the whole of the UK for exactly what you are looking for, so do your research first.

The Pro & Cons

There are many pros to giving your garden a good makeover using reclaimed goods, especially when you can re-purpose them to your own needs. One major factor is the positive effect it has on the environment. You aren’t going out and buying ‘new’ items but rather recycling what is already available. What a lot of people forget is that up-cycling and recycling is a really old-fashioned way of doing things up on a budget. Look back to the ‘Make Do And Mend’ pamphlets issued by the British Ministry of Information in WW2, providing housewives with tips on how to be frugal, yet still ‘on-trend’ in times of rationing. Not too different from the up-cycling/recycling trend that was re-born when the UK recession hit in 2009.


If you don’t fancy doing the up-cycling yourself, there are a range of great items to be found for the garden that range from wagon wheels and troughs to pretty ornaments made from recycled items that have had the hard work done for you! 


The only downside to setting your heart on ‘reclaimed’ garden design is that you can get bogged down in the details. You can spend a lifetime looking for a specific width, weight, style, or age of tractor tyre for your flowerbed masterpiece and never find it. You need to be able to remain flexible, and know that it can still be uniquely yours, even if it happens you can only find one with the tread still on it, even if you wanted it to be bald! 

Our top 5 reclaimed products for the garden

  • Glass - it adds a sparkle, a glitz, a bit of fun to the garden and hints that you love to entertain outdoors!

  • Metal - with and without rust! It's sturdy and its look changes with the weather.  The Reclamation Shop is an online marketplace for reclaimed, upcycled and antique items. The site allows you to browse through a vast amount of items and hidden treasures of yesteryear, from some of the UK and Irelands most renowned collectors and craftsmen. 

  • Mirrors -  think ‘the Secret Garden’ and you are halfway there! Surrounded by ivy, or a climbing rose, they add detail, magic and mystery to an otherwise forgotten area of your garden.

  • Tyres - these are versatile and incredibly handy if you have a variety of plants that require different soil conditions! Big whopping tyres are great used as planters, and slimmer, lightweight tyres are fantastic for hanging - think about planting your herb garden vertically!

  • Interior Items - fun, quirky and in the right setting, perfectly picturesque. Forget taking the outdoors in, take the indoors out! 

      Our favourite items have to be the unusual ones. From old pianos turned water features to hanging swings made from old rocking toys - the possibilities really are endless. If it can withstand the UK weather - use it! We love seeing borders made from wine bottles and baths filled to the brim with gorgeous flowers - they make a real statement.

      Ideas on decorating a garden using reclaimed items in a small space If your garden seems a bit too small to be adding bathtubs and tractor tyres, don’t worry - you can achieve a magical, upcycled getaway even in the tiniest garden! The trick is to start using the space vertically, rather than on the ground. Find yourself some pallets and stand it upright - add some pots and lining and you’ve got yourself a slim, vertical planter with plenty of space for planting. Lightweight motorcycle tyres are great for this too because you can create a feature that only takes up inches of space! There are no rules stating you can’t have shelves in your garden - perfect for potting (or resting your glass of wine) and can be as long, short, thick or thin as you like. Get your timber supplier to cut it to size for you and save yourself the work. 


      How do I keep my items safe? 

      Always check your garden for signs of wear. We all know how unpredictable the British weather is, so ensuring all of your hard work isn’t destroyed in an instant only takes a little check every month.

      With regards to keeping your garden safe from intruders, a good quality tall gate, with a lock on only the interior side, is one of the best ways to keep your garden safe. Ensuring your gate and surrounding fencing is free from rot, weather proofed etc will also ensure that you aren’t leaving anything to chance. If you have any out-buildings or sheds, ensure they are also secure.  

      The last point is to have a security light fitted. They really are a good deterrent - no thief wants to be put in the spotlight whilst raiding your precious tool collection or ornate garden features!
      This blog post was written by Adele Flint from The Reclamation Shop.