15 Quirky, Fun DIY Garden Ideas

Best Of Hometalk
by Best Of Hometalk

These quirky, fun, colorful DIY garden ideas use recycled and upcycled finds to transform the average or blah yard into a blaze of color and creativity. An old ladder? Make it an herb garden or a flower garden focal point. Tires? Fill them with soil, hang them on the barn, and you’ve got flower garden ideas.

Garden Ideas (pixabay)

We’ve included garden décor ideas, small garden ideas, and herb garden ideas so that there’s something for everyone in this treasure trove of DIY garden ideas. Get your paint and sandpaper ready, set aside some time to go junking or treasure hunting, and let’s see what you can come up with, too!

1. Ten DIY Vertical Garden Ideas

If you’re looking for small garden ideas, look no further than these DIY garden ideas that grow UP – vertical gardening ideas, that is! Sow & Dipity provides us with love DIY garden ideas in this vertical gardening spotlight.

Vertical gardens, as the name implies, maximize the use of all space but especially the nearly limitless space heading up towards the sky. By utilizing trellises, wall space, towers, or hanging baskets, vertical gardens take up less ground space but still provide plenty of gardening fun.

Tips for vertical gardening

As this article demonstrates, you can grow many plants in a vertical garden. “Pocket” gardens, which use small pouches, planters, or pockets in wall spaces, are best for plants with low water requirements since they can be difficult to water. Succulents and cacti thrive in such environments. Tomatoes can be grown vertically along with naturally vining crops such as pole beans, peas, squashes, and similar plants. And of course, many pretty flowers love to climb up: morning glories, clematis, and more.

DIY Vertical Gardens (Sow and Dipity)

See post: Sow and Dipity|10 DIY Vertical Gardens

2. Make Your Neighbors Giggle With These 9 Halloween Fairy Garden Ideas

The team at Hometalk put together this link up of fun and fanciful Halloween fairy garden ideas. A fairy garden offers a tiny miniature landscape and often uses a pot or container to save space. These fairy gardens feature Halloween themes, spooky fun, and whimsical takes on traditional garden features (like a St. Francis statue with a pumpkin head instead of the saint’s traditional sweet look).

Tips for a fairy garden

If you’re looking for small garden ideas, look no further than these Halloween fairy gardens. They take up so little space and add such a fun touch to any front porch or balcony that they are a great little addition for Halloween. Among the DIY garden ideas, these are easy and can be made in a few hours on a weekend. 

Fairy Garden Ideas (Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center)

See post: Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center|Make Your Neighbors Giggle With These 9 Halloween Fairy Garden Ideas

3. Make a Wood Scrap Scarecrow ~ Our Fairfield Home & Garden

Isn’t she lovely? This scarecrow looks like she’s ready to take some tea with you. Hometalker Barb Rosen crafted this delighted wood scrap scarecrow from found and recycled materials. Both garden art and fall décor, this DIY garden idea creates a charming scene in the garden.

Scarecrow tips

An old flower pot, wooden pieces, and old clothes formed the scarecrow. You could easily change the look of it by changing its clothes to reflect the seasons. It’s a great conversation piece and fall garden art that adds a focal point to small gardens, front yards, and more. 

Garden Decor Ideas (Barb Rosen)

See post: Barb Rosen|Make a Wood Scrap Scarecrow ~ Our Fairfield Home & Garden


4. Cute Garden Ideas

Color, color and more color forms the basis for Hometalker Lorraine F’s “Cute Garden Ideas” piece. Lorraine’s daughter made dozens of colorful planters, some from recycled cans (see the picture) and others from painted pots and containers.

Tips to use recycled cans

The recycled cans painted for planters and hanging on the fence are adorable. A few tips, though, to make sure your plants stay healthy when using recycled metal containers: always punch some holes in the bottom of the containers to allow excess water to drip away. Otherwise, your plants may drown on a rainy day by sitting in water captured in the container. Too much water can be just as bad for plants as too little water.

Garden Fence Ideas (Lorraine F.)

See post: Lorraine F.|Cute Garden Ideas

5. Salvage Gardening

If you need some creative garden ideas, Adventures in Junking provides you with plenty of creative fodder for your own garden décor ideas. Colanders, candy tins, and kitschy kitchen items grouped by color, form, and feel make for beautiful flower garden ideas when the containers add to the whimsical look and feel.

Gardening tips

Bear in mind that using colorful antique tins in the garden will ruin the finish on the tins. They will rust, discolor, and lose any potential value, so be sure you use salvaged items you don’t mind discarding after a season or two.

Metal also gets hot, so if your containers are in full sun, consider moving them to a shadier location if possible. If the pot gets too hot, the plants will suffer and may not thrive. They may also need more water.

Flower Garden Ideas (Adventures in Junking)

See post: Adventures in Junking|Salvage Gardening

6. Apartment Patio Garden on a Budget

Who doesn’t love a bargain? This clever Hometalker created a beautiful apartment patio garden from items sourced from Dollar Tree! And it offers herb garden ideas that anyone can create.

Small garden ideas include pretty markers made from slate markers and permanent chalk paint, flower pots, seeds, and soil – all purchased from the dollar store. It’s a garden lover’s dream and a wonderful little apartment garden to enjoy.

Herbs make this an especially practical garden patch. Not only are they beautiful, but they can be used for cooking, too.

Tips for an herb garden

Choose easy to grow from seed culinary herbs for this project. Parsley, basil, and oregano add lots of flavor to your meals and are especially easy to grow from seed.

DIY Garden Ideas (Lauren@Penny for Your Dreams)

See post: Lauren@Penny for Your Dreams|Apartment Patio Gardening

7. Vintage Water Pump Idea in the Garden

It’s funny how something found in the garden can be transformed into garden décor ideas with a bit of ingenuity and elbow grease. Hometalk contributor Karen Nichols found this old water pump in her yard. It no longer functioned, and Karen had a spot in the corner without color. What to do? Sand and paint the pump, add a little butterfly garden basin, and voila – instant color. Among the small garden ideas, this one is both clever and practical and uses found objects in creative ways to add color and interest to a corner of the garden.

Project tips

If you see an old water pump in your yard, be sure it’s not connected to an underground water source. Many old water pumps like this one are still used to water the garden. 

Vintage Water Pump Idea in the Garden (Karen Nichols)

See post: Karen Nichols|Vintage Water Pump Idea in the Garden

8. Ladder Herb Garden

Looking for herb garden ideas? Small garden ideas? This clever Hometalk project addresses both needs in one DIY garden project. It’s also a vertical garden. How’s that for clever?

Karla uses an old ladder painted a bright sky blue for her vertical garden. It doesn’t take up much space and builds steps for a functional composting container, a water/rain gauge, and several herb plants. The result is a complete garden that takes up less than four feet square of floor space but packs an entire herb garden into this small garden idea.

Composting tip

Karla’s compost pail looks is a great idea, but do you know what else makes a great composting bin for small gardens? Worms! Hometalk has a complete list of worm composting bins and tutorials. Worms aren’t slimy or smelly. They eat kitchen scraps and poop out lovely compost that is great for houseplants and garden plants. A worm composting bin takes up very little space, so it’s great for small garden ideas. It would take up just as much space as the composting pail in the picture below and create compost faster for the garden. 

Herb Garden Ideas (Karla@Small Town Rambler)

See post: Karla@Small Town Rambler|Ladder Herb Garden

9. Old Ladders Reach New Heights in the Garden

Continuing our ladder theme for small garden ideas, this ladder-style display proves that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. A flea market find transforms a blah garden corner into a lovely little display feature garden statuary, repurposed tools, flowers and more.

Garden décor tip

If you’re creating a project like this, keep the ladder from looking cluttered or haphazard by grouping items according to a theme. This ladder features a rooster and farm implements, giving it a barnyard feel. Other elements could be used in the garden décor ideas but the way to keep it from looking like a random pile and more like a display is to group by color, theme, and size/scale.

Ladder Garden (Jean Morrow)

See post: Jean Morrow|Old Ladders Reach New Heights in the Garden

10. Narrow Side Yard

City dwellers know the challenge of the narrow side yard, that strip of ground that separates your property from your neighbor’s but is so shaded by both your house and theirs that even the weeds won’t grow there. What to do?

Tina Lambert of Las Vegas transformed her narrow side yard with these small garden ideas. She used trellises against the wall to allow vines to grow up. She added flagstones and a pathway with decorative gravel as well as ornamental grasses planted in boxes to liven the alley up. The result? A pretty area where bare dirt and concrete once reigned.

Gardening tip

Choose appropriate plants for your climate to minimize your gardening chores. In this example, Tina chose warm-weather grasses that thrive on low water and high heat for her Nevada garden. 

Backyard Garden Ideas (Tina Lambert)

See post: Tina Lambert|Narrow Side Yard

11. DIY Vertical Herb Garden ~ Part 2

More herb garden ideas for small spaces! Becky W. uses an old dresser with new inserts to create a vertical herb garden. A screened door allows light and air to circulate, while the slanted shelves hold pots at an angle to catch some rays. It’s a neat repurposing of an old dresser, and an herb garden idea you won’t find anywhere else.

Garden tip

Make sure to insert a screen instead of glass in the door to allow for good air circulation. Good air circulation prevents mildew on your plants. 

DIY Vertical Herb Garden (Becky W.)

See post: Becky W.|DIY Vertical Herb Garden – Part 2

12. Thirteen Plastic Bottle Vertical Garden Ideas | Soda Bottle Garden

DIY garden ideas that use what most of us consider to be junk is a favorite theme for Hometalk readers. When we came across this plastic bottle vertical garden, we fell in love. There are thirteen ideas to create vertical gardens out of old soda bottles. Some require a bit more skill, such as running water hoses up to the plants, but all transform small gardens into towers of delight.

Garden tip

Like metal containers, plastic soda bottles need drainage holes cut into the bottom to allow extra water to run out. 

Container Gardening Ideas | Soda Bottle Garden (Balcony Garden Web)

See post: Balcony Garden Web|13 Plastic Bottle Vertical Garden Ideas | Soda Bottle Garden

13. From Old Tires to Upcycled Tire Planters; DIY Trash to Treasure

Looking for flower garden ideas that use recycled items? This ‘trash to treasure’ masterpiece uses old tires as planters. Hung on an old barn wall, it’s an adorable DIY garden idea that makes an old tire into a beautiful garden focal point.

A word of advice on using old tires as planters

It’s fine to use old tires as planters for flowers. However, NEVER use old tires as planters for edibles – vegetables, fruit, or herbs. The chemicals inside the tire material can leach into the soil and into the plants. Oils, road salts, and other debris on the tires can also add unwanted chemicals to your food. Save the recycled tires for cute flower garden ideas like this one.

Small Garden (The Pink Hammer Blog)

See post: The Pink Hammer Blog|From Old Tires to Upcycled Tire Planters; DIY Trash to Treasure

14. Small Garden Makeover Ideas

Much of what makes small garden ideas work well is the proportion of the garden elements to the space available. This homeowner removed a garden pond that provided a safety hazard for a young toddler and transformed the plain backyard into a relaxing area complete with seating area, new flower garden and more. Thrift store finds including candles and lanterns make the area look upscale designer-worthy.

Flower garden tip

The repetition of colors and patterns in this small space makes it look larger. Purple, pink and white flowers, repeated throughout, add harmony to the small area and bring it together visually. 

Small Garden Ideas (Happy Home in Holland)

See post: Happy Home in Holland|Small Garden Makeover Ideas

15. Upcycled Wheelbarrow for the Garden

This DIY garden idea and flower garden idea uses an old wheelbarrow, something which many gardeners may have laying around the shed or garage. Instead of relegating it to the scrap heap, Hometalker Kimberly Noelle painted the wheelbarrow bright yellow. She used sandpaper to rough up the surface and give it an aged look, then painted color sprays of flowers on the sides. Soil placed in the center of the wheelbarrow and a lovely arrangement of annuals make this one of our favorite flower garden ideas.

Tips for wheelbarrow gardens

Like other metal container gardeners, a few caveats apply. Drill holes in the bottom of the wheelbarrow to allow excess rainwater to escape so the plants don’t get too much water. Metal also gets hot in the sun, which can hurt plants or dry up the soil faster. You may want to insert plants in plastic pots into the soil in the wheelbarrow, which allows the soil near the plants’ roots to drain and enables you to change them out seasonally for fresh displays.

Upcycle Garden Wheelbarrow for the Garden (Quirky Cool Living)

See post: Quirky Cool Living|Upcycle Garden Wheelbarrow for the Garden

Gorgeous Gardens in a Weekend

Now that you’ve seen what the creative minds at Hometalk have dreamed up, it’s time to pull out the paints, the drill, and the hammer, and see what you can build. A visit to the local thrift shop or a weekend at the flea market may yield trash you can turn into garden treasures. We can’t wait to see your next DIY garden ideas. Post them to Hometalk and share these ideas with your friends on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. 

Written for the Hometalk community by: Jeanne Grunert

Frequently asked questions
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  1 question
  • Terry Terry on Mar 28, 2024

    Where is the tutorial for the vertical garden using plastic bottles? The link provided is just a continuation of the first vertical garden and how she finished her project. I have many plastic bottles that I would like to use in the garden but need the proper link.

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