The Best Items to Upcycle for Your Summer Garden

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The Best Items to Upcycle for Summer

Summer is the perfect season for upcycled projects that enhance a beautiful outdoor space. Your patio, porch, garden, and yard are an extension of your living space that can be as cozy as your living room and bedroom with the right pieces. With the official start of the summer season only days away, this is the perfect time to make sure your outdoor space is ready for enjoyment. We are sharing a few inspired ideas for the best items to upcycle for the coming season.


Warm sunny weather is perfect for updating chairs with a new coat of paint or design. Wood, metal and plastic chairs are each great for upcycling and using in your outdoor space. Chairs can be given a second life to add extra seating or turned into a creative planter.

Refinishing and Repairing a Chair

When refinishing and repairing a chair, consider borrowing expertise from the pros at They suggest spray painting or using a decoupage technique on plastic, metal, or wood chairs.

Creating a Chair Planter

If you want to add height or depth to a garden, creating a chair planter is can be an exciting way to infuse more color and texture. You start by cutting a hole in the chair you choose to upcycle or removing the seat of the chair and replacing it with a porous garden-friendly material. Next measure how big the empty space is and trim the container to fill it.

Whether spray painting or hand painting, Upcycle My Stuff expert Kristen suggests using “a proper outdoor sealant afterward so your piece of art doesn’t deteriorate over time.”


Be it baskets, buckets, cans, tins or jars, there may be a new life for your old containers before you decide to throw them away. Containers can often become the perfect planter, outdoor centerpiece, candleholder or other creatively useful upcycled item.

Container Planter or Centerpiece

To add a burst of brightness to your outdoor tablescape, design experts at HGTV recommend using vintage tins, cans, baskets or jars. Before putting fresh flowers or other décor in the container you want to showcase, preserve the vintage item by placing “the arrangement in a plastic or glass container that's just a bit smaller” to “eliminate any possibility of leaks” or damage. Give metal centerpieces extended life after it’s showcased by adding magnets to the tin (or can) to create a planter perfect for indoor and outdoor use.

Upcycled Citronella Candles

A soiree in the sun can go downhill quickly if your guests must battle bugs for food or dodge pests on your deck. You can create your own citronella candles to keep your space free of uninvited small guests. Start by filling a glass jar or old tin with water. Next add lemon, lime, rosemary sprigs and essential oils. HGTV Managing Editor, H. Camille Smith, recommends adding a trio of oils like “citronella, lemon or lavender. [Then] top with a floating candle and enjoy a bug-free fête.”


Adding the magic of mirrors to your outdoor décor can give small garden spaces the illusion of extra space and reflect the beauty of flowers and foliage. Upcycling mirrors into serving trays or tables are great ways to reflect light on a patio or deck.


Attaching handles to a framed mirror and painting the frame can create a new purpose for an old mirror as a serving or decorative tray perfect for outdoor use. After choosing the right handles to accent the mirror shape or size, drill holes in the frame to add the new handles. If you decide to paint the mirror, remember to cover the reflective surface well before painting and add the handles afterward.


Whether it holds potted plants, candles, or appetizers for guests, a side or coffee table is one of the handiest pieces you can add to your garden, patio, or deck. Using a repurposed mirror as the tabletop can add priceless pizzazz. You can upcycle an existing table or create a base for your mirror. Then center the mirror on the tabletop, mark its location, and use a caulk gun or a drill and tile and glass bit to connect the mirror to the base.

However you incorporate mirrors into your outdoor space, weatherproofing the mirror and frame will help your new piece withstand damage from rain or other harsh outdoor conditions.


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