Recycled garden: Jugaad in action

Repurposing, swapping, bargain hunting can help you create a garden on the cheap

Garden.Indian Link
Old wheelbarrow makes a great flowering plant holder

Recycling is a new concept but a very old idea. Our parents and grandparents always did it but there was no separate word to describe this. You can call it thrift, resourcefulness or jugaad (frugal innovation, or making do with what is around). It all means the same – you make the best use of available materials and repurpose it instead of sending it to a landfill.

Garden.Indian Link
Neighbour’s old swing covered with old trampoline base. The edges are great to hang Spanish Moss from


Sources of materials are op shops such as Salvos and Vinnies, free stuff picked up from friends, kerbside clean-ups and listed on websites such as Gumtree, Freecycle and Zilch. As they say, one man’s trash is another’s treasure. You can also get unique pieces for your garden at bargain prices on ebay.

Garden.Indian Link
Vinyl record shaped into a planter

As for plants, don’t be shy to ask for cuttings from neighbours and friends. Swap plants with friends. You will find that most gardeners are generous with seeds and cuttings. I often get plants from listings on Freecycle from people who are clearing overgrown yards. Join your local Permaculture group. You can learn from other members at meetings, listen to interesting invited speakers and you can swap or buy organic seeds from members for much cheaper prices than stores.

Garden.Indian Link
A coat of paint makes this found wooden box as good as new


Here are some examples of this from our garden. Space is not a limitation, you are only limited by your imagination!  Let’s inspire each other. Send us pictures and ideas of what you have done in your own homes, yards and balconies.

Garden.Indian Link
This fish tank destined for the tip reborn as a terrarium
Garden.Indian Link
Old terracotta pipes, sandpit timbers and clay snails create a cactus display

(Jyoti Shankar is a freelance writer and sustainability professional, who is passionate about nature. Her home garden is the laboratory for all things sustainable – recycled furniture, a worm farm, compost bin, veggie beds, a bird bath, native bee-hive, worm towers and more)