Before you put your garden and landscaping waste in the compost bin, rethink what you’re tossing away. There are lots of creative ways that you can bring bits of your outdoor garden inside.
Here are just a few suggestions for inexpensive and easy projects that use leftover herbs, flowers, twigs, and more to refresh your space with items crafted from nature.
You can use an assortment of plants and herbs from your garden to make potpourri, a decorative and fragrant staple in many homes. Use an assortment of flower petals, roots, bark, herbs, and spices in your DIY potpourri mixture.
- Some plants will work better than others, so it is a good idea to research the best ones to use. Or, you may just want to experiment with different varieties and choose the ones that yield the best results.
- The plant material must be dried before use. You can dry plants in the sun, or if you’re not having sunny weather, lay the plants out on a tray in a warm, dry area of your house to dry.
- You will need a fixative, such as orris root, as well as an essential oil to make the scent stronger.
- Mix the dried plants from your garden with the fixative and essential oil. Then put the mixture in a sealed container and store it in a dry, dark place for four to eight weeks.
- Once this time is up, place your handcrafted potpourri in a small bowl, saucer, or jar and place it where you can enjoy it! You may want to decorate it with small pine cones, acorns, seed pods or other items from your outdoor garden.
There are many creative and crafty ways to display plants around your house or garden. Inspiration is everywhere; you just have to know where to dig.
- Dry out leaves, flowers, herbs, and even small branches for use as decorations all around your house.
- Press flowers and display them in pictures frames or between two sheets of glass for a simple, natural decoration for the home.
- Upcycle the glass of an old light bulb into a vase that you can hang filled with small clippings or a tall flower that peeks out of the top.
- It’s likely you have a variety of containers in your house that you can repurpose as vases for your DIY plant decorations. Glass jars, old teacups, painted cans, an extra saucer — just look around.
- If you’d rather have living plants, get some houseplants; some plants are particularly helpful for improving indoor air quality, in addition to decorating your home.
Did you know that it is possible to grow new produce from your kitchen scraps? This is a great way enjoy fresh produce during the winter season, and a fun project for kids, too.
- A variety of vegetables and herbs are well suited to regrow from kitchen cuttings so you can have an ongoing supply right in your kitchen. Green onions work well for this. If you save the roots and a small part of the onion in a small glass of water, the vegetable will grow back in a matter of days.
- You can employ a similar method with basil. Take clippings from the herb and set them in water. Change the water daily and when roots have grown, the herb is ready to plant. Check out some unconventional suggestions for upcycled herb gardens.
Have you ever tried creating your very own homemade perfume? You may initially find it a bit tricky to get the desired results, but if you stick at it, you’ll soon master the art of mixing up a your signature scent, tailored to your taste.
- Pick the best smelling flowers from your garden early in the morning, cut them off at the stems so you are left with the sweet smelling petals.
- Next, put the petals into a jar that seals tightly, along with an odorless oil. Leave the jar sealed for a few weeks or until the scent is at the strength you would like, then transfer the mixture to a perfume bottle.
- Using a similar technique, you can also make perfume with herbs from your garden.
About the Author
With a love for all things outdoorsy, Gemma Perkins finds great enjoyment in experimenting with different ideas on how to create things from nature. From walks in the park she can pick up flowers for her decorating ideas, and from walking around the countryside with her family she can come up with ways to transform old shed buildings into fun, but useful, areas of space. Finding inspiration in the smallest of things, Gemma is definitely an opportunist at heart.
Editor’s note: Originally published on October 23, 2014, this article was updated in September 2019.