11 Ways to Use Recycled Glass Around the Garden
Recycled glass can be practical, decorative or both when incorporated into an outdoor living space. It adds unexpected texture and a pop of color to any style of yard and homeowners use it as lighting, pool tiles and even upcycled irrigation. Should you wish to add some glass to an outdoor living space, check out the following ideas.
1. Colorful Container Mulch
A perfect way to integrate recycled glass into an outdoor living space is to use it as a topping for container plants in lieu of rock or wood mulch. A layer of glass tumbled glass usually doesn’t have sharp edges and can last much longer than wood mulch which tends to biodegrade or blow away. Glass looks particularly stunning when placed around succulents of contrasting color.
2. Pool and Other Tiles
The red tiles on this infinity pool are made with recycled glass and laid with unusual red grout. Recycled glass tile is incredibly durable, resists stains and doesn’t need sealing unlike slate or natural stone. Note that larger tiles can be more prone to cracking during installation or use though any glass tile can crack or scratch if it comes into contact with something hard. Transparent glass of any color also adds interesting depth and light reflection that is not common with ceramic tiles.
3. Unique Groundcover
Recycled blue glass pebbles are the focal point of this space as one might expect gravel or other pebbles in a natural color to be used instead. Glass, when purchased for an outdoor application like this, is perfectly safe for even kids and pets to walk on.
Also, check out the striking color contrast between this blue recycled glass and the green-yellow ground cover in this contemporary landscape. A home in La Jolla has similar sea blue glass in the front yard. The homeowner even went as far as to toss a handful of small glass fish and starfish on top of the glass. Neighborhood kids just love it.
4. Accessories for Outdoor Tables
The glass bottles inside the wooden crate have been repurposed into vases holding whimsical flowers in order to make a magazine-worthy centerpiece for an outdoor dining table. The rustic look balances the clean lines of the chairs and sleek grey table cover.
5. DIY Lighting
The bottoms of these bottles have been sawed off at various heights for decorative purposes and also to allow a lightbulb to be slipped into the bottom. Hang them all at the same level for a more formal look, but the staggered heights and bulbs suit a casual dining space like the one above. While these lights are indoors, it could very easily be hung from a pergola or other outdoor shade structure. A San Diego company called Bottles and Wood makes smaller scale recycled bottle pendants out of Skyy Vodka bottles and similar.
This particular succulent planter was designed specifically for a restaurant. Landscape lights are run into upside-down, empty wine bottles to create a glow at eye level–a festive touch, seeing as the restaurant probably serves wine.
7. Fire Pit Topping
Small pieces of glass or recycled glass make a contemporary topping for an outdoor fire pit (or an indoor fire place). If the fire pit is gas, the glass does an excellent job of dispersing the flame as air pockets between glass pebbles allow gas to seep around it. Use a fun color to enhance the space, but be sure that the glass is safe for use in a fire pit.
8. Garden Art
While this eclectic bottle tree isn’t to everyone’s taste, it does showcase how recycled glass can be incorporated into a garden as a sculpture or other piece of art. You can DIY a piece or search on Etsy for similar glass art that can serve as a focal point in the yard.
9. Unique Decorative Walls
This homeowner neatly stacked wine bottles on to a stuccoed wall to create an interesting privacy screen that doubles as art. When light shines on the bottles, the glass showcases an interesting range of blue and green colors. The blue container planting ties the color scheme together brilliantly, too.
This wall would be the ideal backdrop for an outdoor bar or entertaining area. The homeowner created this wall using a glass drill bit to make the holes in the bottles (noting that many will break along the way). You’ll need to use washers or something similar to prevent water from seeping into the bottles through the holes and openings in order to avoid causing unnecessary weight or mess.
10. An Outdoor Countertop
Beautiful recycled glass countertops are far more durable than natural stone and require less maintenance. Depending on the manufacturer, if the countertop has big chunks of glass, you can even sometimes see writing on the bottle shards which adds a ton of character. These days, recycled glass countertops come in a variety of price ranges and colors.
11. Container Plant Irrigation
It’s possible to upcycle a wine bottle into a surprisingly efficient irrigation system for container plants that is perfect for the busy or traveling gardener. Fill the wine bottle with water all the way to the brim, quickly turn it upside-down and shove it into the container planting at least 6-8″ away from the base of the plant as not to damage the root system. As dirt dries, water will seep into it to keep the plants hydrated. Refill the bottle as necessary.
How do you use recycled glass in the garden?