Traipsing through the tip shop

Your local tip shop or recycling centre is a rich source of useful and cheap items that you can re-use in your garden. And we’re all trying to re-use and recycle, aren’t we? Saving the planet, one garden at a time…

Second-hand wood for construction projects is easy to come by at the tip. Just be sure to check it for straightness and splits before you take it home, and take care of protruding nails. Also, remember that recycled hardwood is probably going to be like iron and will be very hard to work with!

Sheets of corrugated iron are ideal for making raised garden beds. Check that there aren’t too many large holes and that the corrugations are all consistent so the sheets can overlap neatly. You will need to be handy with an angle-grinder if you want to cut it.

Old aluminium Venetian blinds make great plant tags. You can cut them up with kitchen scissors and punch holes with an old ballpoint pen. Save the blind cords, too. They make good plant ties and are easy to undo when necessary.

Another useful plant tie can be cut from old wetsuits – the neoprene is perfect for tying up shrubs and trees to permanent stakes, as it is stretchy and won’t rub the bark.

Sometimes we need some short, light stakes for potted plants. Rather than buying bamboo, look for a pack of segmented tent poles and cut the elastic joining them. These ‘stakes’ are light but very strong and long lasting.

The tip shop has endless containers suitable for planting, as well as lots of plates and trays for plant saucers. If you like a quirky touch in your garden, you will find all the old kettles, iron barrows etc you could possibly need in one quick trip to the tip.


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