COLUMN: Repurposing old materials great way to decorate garden

Reusing stone, wood and metal can complement the beauty of low-maintenance, hardy perennials

Welcome to this week’s “Crown of Flowers,” where we celebrate the resilience and beauty of  low-maintenance, hardy perennials.

Our featured blooms include the delicate viburnum snow mound and the elegant trio of Siberian, Japanese, and yellow flag irises. Adding a unique touch are the  towering rhubarb flowers, the fragrant late lilac, and the charming perennial geranium.

The bright lemon day lilies bring a splash of sunshine, while the stately foxgloves, my personal favourite, stand tall with their enchanting spires. Apart from some occasional dividing, these perennials are the perfect low-effort addition to any garden.


Love to garden but looking for something to do other than planting? Or, maybe you are looking for some ways to add unique touches to your garden to show off your personality? A fresh replacement to garden gnomes.

These are ideas that can customize to add a lot of unique touches and whimsy to your garden.



Trash the plastic and embrace stone, metal and wood!

Stone represents permanence and stability, symbolizing endurance and strength. Stone pathways guide visitors and define spaces, while stone sculptures and water features bring natural beauty and tranquility to the garden.

Choose locally sourced stone or concrete for pathways, retaining walls, and garden sculptures. These materials have a long lifespan and blend seamlessly with the natural environment.

Create stacked stone cairns by balancing stones of various sizes and shapes. These simple yet elegant sculptures can be placed throughout your garden to mark paths, decorate beds, or serve as focal points.

Construct gabion walls or sculptures by filling wire cages with stones. These structures can be used as  retaining walls, benches, or decorative features. The combination of metal and stone creates a striking,  industrial look that contrasts beautifully with lush greenery.



Metal signifies strength and resilience, embodying durability and the ability to withstand challenges. Metal structures like pergolas and trellises provide support and a sleek, modern touch while metal sculptures serve as striking focal points, adding a contemporary edge to the garden.

Large flowers made from scrap metal.There are so many things that we throw away that can be  repurposed into something special. 

As a designer, I’m fortunate to have friends with diverse talents, including a carpenter, metal worker,  and stone mason—all in one. With their craftsman skills and my creative vision, I’m able to see my  garden projects through from concept to completion.


Here are some pics of my grandmothers old 69 Corvair left on our acreage by my father who was rather possessive about it. It  was labelled the “worst car ever taking your life into your own hands”. I’ve linked Ralph Nader’s deadliest report if you’re curious.  A local metal artist, nicknamed “spook baby” transformed this  scrap metal into beautiful art forms. We wanted the car to remain on the property in an artistic form.


Orbs can act as striking focal points, drawing the eye and creating a visual anchor within the  garden. Their smooth, curved lines contrast beautifully with the irregular shapes of plants and  natural features.Whether used as focal points, lighting accents, water features, or unique  planters, orbs can transform your outdoor space into a serene and visually captivating haven. Here is a metal orb made from bands from old whiskey barrels sitting on a slab of wood, anchored with two large stones.


Wood symbolizes growth and vitality, reflecting the life cycle and constant renewal of nature. Its warmth  and organic qualities evoke comfort and relaxation. Wooden structures such as pergolas and fences  blend with the natural environment, while wooden benches and decorative elements create a welcoming,  earthy feel.

There are many ways to camouflage imperfections such as transforming an ugly plastic rain barrel with  cedar bark and using natural fibres like jute, hemp, or sisal for garden ropes, twine, and woven structures. They are biodegradable and have minimal environmental impact.


(Dressing up a bare concrete wall with a beautiful wooden trellis/Monika Rekola photo)

I just love these directional signs and this is so easy to do! All you need is some scrap wood and a little bit of  paint. It’s a great project to involve the kids in, too.  

Think about what you need from the garden and put your imagination to work!


(All photos by Monika Rekola unless indicated otherwise.)

A certified landscape designer and horticulturalist, Monika Rekola brings landscapes to life with her passion for gardening and CAD designs, guided by a profound love for all living beings. As a budding homesteader and garden writer, she shares her passion for sustainable living. With a knack for recycling and repurposing, Monika finds beauty in simplicity, while her love for birds makes her a keen observer of nature. Committed to forest management and gardening with an ecological focus, she strives to create balance in our delicate ecosystem. She can be reached at [email protected].