Live Green and Earn Points


Top 4 Beautiful and Recycled Garden Borders

By Sebrina Zerkus Smith |
Found and recycled materials can give a wonderful personal touch to your landscape, and create a nice story to share with friends and family.
reuse green garden tips

As I’ve mentioned before in this blog, I am not, by tradition, a “yard” person. But I’m trying to be. Throughout this summer, I’ve learned the joys of planting, composting and tending my little slice of yard heaven. But I still have a lot to do to make my yard the picture of landscape perfection I prefer. (Don’t you love a little alliteration?)

There’s one area in particular that I’ve felt a little apprehensive about. Yup, you guessed it, flower bed borders. How can I keep within my own eco-goals and have knockout borders around all my beds?

An attractive border is the finishing touch to your landscape. In fact, according to, it adds to the overall look and theme of your yard, helps stop erosion, and gives clearly defined paths for mowing. All good things.

Your local garden center has many choices for bed borders, most of them non-biodegradable and non-recyclable, even if they are pretty. But why not use something you already have on hand to build your dream flower bed border? Found and recycled materials can give a wonderful personal touch to your landscape, and create a nice story to share with friends and family.

Try these ideas:

Glass Bottles

Turned upside down along an edge, just about any glass bottle will look striking. Choose a favorite vintage wine bottle for continuity or use many different types of wine bottles for a whimsical look. Just imagine the fun you’ll have collecting them. Or how about mason jars for a more country look. Even glass water bottles look great. Try beautiful green Pellegrino or Perrier bottles or the unique and chic blue Ty Nant bottle. If you want to try this but don’t want to waste a precious resource like water just to beautify your yard, why not go to local restaurants and ask if you can have any bottles they’re throwing out? If you can’t get them for free, they might let you have them for the cost of the deposit. Still less expensive and less wasteful than buying and drinking them all yourself.


This project takes a day at the beach to a whole new level. If you’re like me you already have jars of collected seashells, so this is a no brainer. The shells look great stacked together along an edge, or crush them with a hammer or rolling pin and spread around the bed base for a different look. Either way, their reflective pastel colors will conjure fond memories of a day well spent.

Harvested Bricks

What better way to use bricks left over from your home construction project. This border gives a timeless, perfectly finished look to your landscape. No leftover bricks? You can find discarded bricks at demolition sites. (Ask permission before removing bricks or other materials. Chances are you can have them for free or for a small fee if you haul it away.) Also check salvage yards and resale shops like Habitat For Humanity’s ReStore shops in your area (Which we reported on recently).

Old Tires

Old tires are a practical border choice. Cut into lengths and buried to a depth of about 3 inches, they retain water and soil well and last pretty much forever. Rubber garden borders are nothing new. Go to any garden or home center, and you’ll find recycled rubber garden edging like Terrace Board Edging starting at about $16 for 3 feet. Go to any junkyard or salvage yard and you’ll find your fill of old tires - that you can cut yourself to make a border - about $3 each. Priceless.

Do you use any recycled materials as garden borders? Share your ideas below!
Share with Your Friends & Family
  • Dawn T. 2 years ago
    I never thought about using wine bottles for borders. I'm going to try this. One of my favorite things to recycle is newspaper I till up weeds grass in an are I want to put plants or flowers in. Then I plant them and put newspaper all around the place that I tilled. Also I will till an area put newspaper down then much then add pots with plants and no weeds. I've had it last for years!!!
  • Meg P. 2 years ago
    interesting this came up again. Years ago I gather used bricks to creat a four square garden. The bricks were the borders and pathways, meaning I didn't need to compact the dirt when I weeded, planted and harvested. The beds were designed so I could reach into the middle from any side. I put the bricks immediately on the dirt, but weedbarrier would have been even better. This is a good older form for a veg garden and allows easy rotation of crops. Some crops should not be planted in the same space year after year, so a 4 year rotation was possible. Happy gardening.
  • Meg P. 2 years ago
    I have some concerns about glass. Bricks, flagstones (broken ones too small for a walk), sea shells - all sound good. Tires - no thank you. Glass can be broken by the lawn mower, and if the glass is thrown, it is a very serious hazard. Personally, I like the old roof tiles and bricks options the best.
  • Dee A. 2 years ago
    I would love to see some pictures of bottles being used as a border..
  • Sharon B. 4 years ago
    Everyone in my area is replacing tile roofs and the old spare tiles go into bulk cube side pick up. Roof tiles are the perfect size to create raised beds. I have also used glass blocks from the curb side pick up collections.
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