Category Archives: Garden craft

Eight Ideas with Tin Cans

How often do you find yourself recycling tin cans? Likely quite often, as so many foods are supplied this way. Luckily, they are very versatile and handy, and can be used to create all kinds of home and garden projects. Why not store up a supply of tin cans and get crafty? Here are a few easy ideas.

1. Lanterns

Lit tin can lanterns hanging in a tree - © GAP Photos

Lit tin can lanterns hanging in a tree – © GAP Photos

It is easy to safely make a hole in the side of a tin can with a nail and hammer. You can create all sorts of patterns, which will glow through the dark when a t-light candle is lit inside. Create a wire hook and hang your lanterns from tree branches, or place them on the corners of steps to light the way.

2. Unusual Borders and Surfaces

Hundreds of tin cans stacked and built to edge borders. All filled with plants and herbs. Tin bottoms and black pebbles combined as a decorated surface - © GAP Photos/Hanneke Reijbroek

Hundreds of tin cans stacked and built to edge borders. All filled with plants and herbs. Tin bottoms and black pebbles combined as a decorated surface – © GAP Photos/Hanneke Reijbroek

Here, large tin cans have been creatively used to create both the edge of a border, and decorative surface below it. They add a contrasting texture and colour to the garden. You can also use them to create multi-tiered planting.

3. Flower Vases

Aquilegia, Geranium, Alchemilla and Nepeta displayed in tin cans - © GAP Photos/Friedrich Strauss

Aquilegia, Geranium, Alchemilla and Nepeta displayed in tin cans – © GAP Photos/Friedrich Strauss

The silver metal of these tin cans really complements the soft florals displayed in them and keeps the style casual, low-key and rustic. Tie them to fence posts or display them as centrepieces.

4. A Hanging Salad bar

Variety of lettuces hanging in alluminium cans on the side of a shed - © GAP Photos

Variety of lettuces hanging in alluminium cans on the side of a shed – © GAP Photos

Tin cans make quick and economical containers, especially as drainage holes can be so easily hammered into the bottom. Create a hanging salad bar and plant an assortment of lettuces in tin cans, hung up with jute string. This is suitable if you don’t have much space. You can even create a multi-story hanging salad bar but suspending the tin cans from each other.

5. Protective Caps on Stakes

Empty tin of Branston Baked Beans used as an eye protector on the top of a cane - © GAP Photos/Pat Tuson

Empty tin of Branston Baked Beans used as an eye protector on the top of a cane – © GAP Photos/Pat Tuson

It is important to think about health and safety in the garden. With their exposed, spikey ends, stakes can be hazardous. While you can buy plastic caps to safely cover the tops of stakes, empty tin cans make a far more economical and environmentally friendly option. They also add a quirky and decorative touch too.

6. Wildlife Shelters

The Great Chelsea Garden Challenge Garden. Rusted alluminium cans used for insect hotels. Designer - Sean Murray. Sponsor - Royal Horticultural Society - © GAP Photos

The Great Chelsea Garden Challenge Garden. Rusted alluminium cans used for insect hotels. Designer – Sean Murray. Sponsor – Royal Horticultural Society – © GAP Photos

Rusted tin cans look fantastic when stacked on top of each other. Here they serve as both a functional and decorative element. Filled with bamboo canes, they provide shelter for wildlife, as well as adding textual interest. This is an easy and fun way to repurpose tin cans and take care of the wildlife in your garden.

7. Containerised Herb Garden

Woman cutting Oreganum 'Country Cream' with scissors - © GAP Photos

Woman cutting Oreganum ‘Country Cream’ with scissors – © GAP Photos

Here a simple wooden trellis holds tin cans of herbs for harvesting. Using tin cans for all the herbs keeps the style uniform, and the trellis can be moved to the most suitable location.

8. Tin Can Sculpture

The Great Chelsea Garden Challenge. Circular sculpture made from rusted old steel cans - © GAP Photos/Andrea Jones

The Great Chelsea Garden Challenge. Circular sculpture made from rusted old steel cans – © GAP Photos/Andrea Jones

Sculptures can really add interest to a garden and provide form and structure all year round. Here, tin cans have been squashed and threaded into a loop to make this sculptural, contemporary piece.

Simple Ways to Incorporate Nature into your Easter Decorations:


While some years we may celebrate Easter before it feels as though the spring has truly arrived, common themes to the celebrations include new life, colour and light. After dark and gloomy winters, the sight of fresh leaves on branches and flower buds in our gardens are a welcome sight.

If you are having family and friends round for Easter celebrations, why not lift everyone’s spirits with simple and decorative centrepieces that embrace what nature currently has on offer. Save egg shells and gather moss, cut spring flowers and the budding branches of deciduous trees and shrubs, and bring them all together for pretty and vibrant displays.

Five Reasons Why You Should Build a Wildlife Shelter

Closing top of insect hotel and wiring top edge -  © GAP Photos

Closing top of insect hotel and wiring top edge -
© GAP Photos

From humble abodes to grand imposing hotels, here are five reasons to get crafty, and make a shelter for the insects in your garden.

1. Wildlife is good for gardens

Bumble bees on Allium fistulosum - Welsh onion or bunching onions - © GAP Photos/Gary Smith

Bumble bees on Allium fistulosum – Welsh onion or bunching onions – © GAP Photos/Gary Smith

Gardens full of wildlife are happy gardens. The animals and insects in our gardens work hard to keep everything in balance – from pollinating our flowers and crops to preying on pesky aphids, to working the soil for us. Creating shelters for them to lay eggs or overwinter will help sustain the populations of these little helpers.

2. They make a fun garden activity for kids to get involved in

Child adding woodlouse into insect hotel - © GAP Photos

Child adding woodlouse into insect hotel – © GAP Photos

Children love wildlife, and creating insect houses together makes a great weekend activity. Have fun collecting the materials and assembling them together, and give your child the opportunity to take an interest in garden wildlife.

3. They can be as simple or complicated as you like

Woman arranging recycled christmas tree branches within bark stakes to create a wildlife shelter - © GAP Photos

Woman arranging recycled christmas tree branches within bark stakes to create a wildlife shelter – © GAP Photos

Insects will shelter happily under simple piles of cut foliage or stacks of wooden logs. Or you can build a multi-storey masterpiece. Ultimately, if you build it, they will come – the level of detail is up to you.

4. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on it

Woman adding roof tiles in a stack to insect hotel - © GAP Photos

Woman adding roof tiles in a stack to insect hotel – © GAP Photos

One of the most fun aspects to building wildlife shelters is that you get to be creative with the materials you use. If you have spare roof tiles, why not use them as a roof on your hotel to keep the materials below dry? Do you have an old tea pot that is no longer useful? Sink it under the soil with its sprout protruding from the surface and give solitary bees and wasps a safe place to nest for the winter. So many materials can be repurposed to give insects a home.

5. They add further interest to a garden

Insect hotel created in wire gabion with a variety of building materials and dried plant material - © GAP Photos

Insect hotel created in wire gabion with a variety of building materials and dried plant material – © GAP Photos

In the winter, when borders may look slightly drab, a multi-storey insect hotel can really add some much-needed interest and texture to the garden. And you can keep an eye on who has moved in.