I have this sickness. Or a super power. Some days I'm not sure. It's the ability to see a piece of junk on the side of the road or in a neighbors trash pile and imagine it as something funky, fun, and useful for the garden. My husband loves this ability when I'm not buying sixty-dollar trellises at Lowe's but not so much when I drag something home and he doesn't know what I'm thinking. What I'm thinking is how lucky he is.
When a friend and I were cleaning up from her yard sale her husband tried to put this 8 foot wooden ladder in the trash but she had him wrangle it into my SUV instead. My husband used it for several years to pick blueberries but this year a rung cracked so it's been reassigned as a trellis for beans. I have some other cute ideas for it too.
My son inherited this super power. He recently moved out and needed a box spring for the new mattress he bought on Amazon. He dragged one home from the side of the road and I had to explain the boundaries about reusing other people's stuff. We draw the line at bedding. Of any kind. So the big ugly thing sat in my carport for a week while we were waiting to put it out for the trash. One day I was bringing in groceries and suddenly realized that it was the sturdiest trellis ever if I just removed the fabric covering. I had originally envisioned taking it apart and having the metal trellis for this Carolina Jessamine and staining the wooden part to use to create a screen in my woodland garden. Y'all, this thing was made to withstand a nuclear holocaust! So the whole thing went next to the honey shed and when it fills in it will be beautiful. The look has already improved since the metal rusted almost immediately. You know about my love affair with rust, right?
I'm guessing that you already know to never ever throw out a broken pot. This fern is supremely happy in this one near the rain barrel.
One day I saw this mail box post with finial out for the trash up the street from me. Um, no. I mean what is wrong with people! I combined it with a window my son rescued from a dumpster because he's my child. He brought home nine of them! It reminds me of some saying about apples and trees or something.
You have to keep your eyes open and be ready to put your flashers on. I found these shutter doors with the door frame attached one day and couldn't wait to get them home and find a use. I put a piece of metal fence across the top and placed it at the gate to the chicken pen for a charming entrance. It will soon be covered with Confederate Jasmine. By the way, the gate here is also a road side pickup.
For some reason someone was throwing away this sidelight. I was a little disappointed that there wasn't a pair. It added a bit of charm to the potting shed.
Sometimes you find things that can be taken apart and used separately. The pedestal for this statue started life as a table base. The top of the table became a piece of art for the porch. You can read about that project here: Makeover Time Table
My neighbor across the street asked if I wanted some tomato cages she was discarding. I used several for my tomatoes but turned two of them upside down to use as topiary forms for a couple of rosemary plants I have in pots at the beginning of a path. The loose wires are then on top and dangerous that way so I took a pair of needlenose pliers and curved them under. Free and easy topiaries.
It's not uncommon to find shutters of various sizes. I painted these turquoise and used them to lend a bit of charm to the window of the workshop. I am secretly thinking what a darling greenhouse I could turn this into. The copper color trellis hanging there is actually the faux pane panel I took out of the back door of the cottage to clean it and I liked the cleaner window look so much I never put it back. I gave it a coat of copper colored spray paint to give it a metal feel.
Did I mention you can't have too many windows? I was at a yard sale last year buying some shutters--FOR A DOLLAR-- and I heard the lady say they'd be replacing their windows soon. I gave her my number and a few month later...jackpot. Can you imagine the wall above torn out and replaced with a bunch of vintage windows.