Wheelbarrow as a flowerbed

Why not reuse and upgrade an old wheelbarrow? I’ll explain how you can turn an old wheelbarrow into a bed.

Upcycling: From the old wheelbarrow to the bed
© D. Ott – Fotolia.com

The fact that our environment suffers because of the high content of waste of all kinds, which cannot or only with difficulty be removed, is nothing new for many. Therefore many people try to use less packaging material, to do without plastic or to reduce their garbage in general by buying more sensibly. But upcycling also plays an important role in protecting the environment: something new is to be created from old. For example, old boots are turned into a kind of flowerpot, old plastic cups into a breeding ground for seedlings and much more. What you can do with an old wheelbarrow and what upcycling means and constitutes, I’ll explain to you now.

Upcycling – what is it anyway?

In contrast to recycling, upcycling means that old items are upgraded and reused elsewhere. While in recycling, care is taken to reuse certain things in order to give them added value. This usually results in inferior products than at the beginning. Upcycling, on the other hand, creates something new from old with higher added value for the environment and users. However, both variants have in common that things are used several times and therefore do not end up in the garbage immediately, which in turn avoids more garbage and protects the environment.

Purpose of Upcycling

With upcycling, it is above all possible to encourage one’s own environment to think and imitate, so that many more people consume fewer resources and pollute the environment. But even your own purse can be protected by upcycling: Because many things that one actually should buy can be replaced by the method quite simply by old. The savings can then be put aside for important things, such as a nice time with your loved ones – or for a bicycle that can save even more resources because it can be used instead of a car or local and long-distance public transport.

What are the advantages of upcycling? Are there any disadvantages at all?
  • less waste has to be discharged
  • to develop a more conscious way of life in terms of environmental protection in order to better leave the world to young people
  • People are made aware of the topic
  • you get new things from old, which can be used in many different ways
  • even decorations can be made from old materials
  • you get something unique that you can’t buy like this
  • the own purse is very spared, so that one can save better on own desires or important things
  • Upcycling can be associated with some effort
  • Suitable ideas must first be developed before the added value can be created through further uses and the conversion can begin.

Which things are suitable for upcycling?

Basically, with a bit of imagination, skill, desire and mood, you can turn everything into something new that offers added value and protects the environment as well as your wallet. For example, old bread boxes and plastic elements that you no longer want to use are suitable for growing seedlings until they are big enough for your own flower pot. The seeds for those can be purchased from purchased fruits and vegetables, so that one can continue to use both purchases sensibly and after some time and with some success may even harvest his own vegetables or fruit. Old paving stones that are no longer needed can be used, for example, to build a border around a bed in the garden. Even a wheelbarrow can easily become a value-added product and offer plenty of space, for example for a mini bed for herbs or the like.

Upcycling the wheelbarrow as a bed

Your own wheelbarrow no longer runs due to a damaged tyre and it is more expensive or time-consuming to replace it than to buy a new wheelbarrow? Or the old wheelbarrow is completely bent and covered with dents, so that it no longer carries loads well when driving? In these cases, the idea of upcycling arises in many people and is often discarded immediately because one does not know what can or should become of the wheelbarrow.

Upcycling the wheelbarrow – Advantages

  • Wheelbarrows made of metal are very robust and durable, so that their loading area can be used for a very long time.
  • most wheelbarrows are weatherproof
  • with the right plants or some decoration wheelbarrows look decorative
  • Wheelbarrows offer plenty of space for use
  • the cumbersome throwing away is prevented during upcycling, because otherwise one would have to go to the recycling yard
  • Wheelbarrows can be upcycled in many ways

Upcycling ideas for wheelbarrows

There are many ways to use an old wheelbarrow with real added value and save money, but also resources.

1. wheelbarrow as sandpit

It can not only be used to make a small bed, but also a small sandbox for children, for example. If you dig the lower part of the wheelbarrow a little into the ground so that the upper edge appears almost level with the ground, the loading area can be filled with sand. The nice thing for children is that they can dig deep and can even do a lot with the small sandy area. Alternatively, the wheelbarrow for older children can be turned into a transportable sandbox, which can be played on while standing. If the children want to cool off in summer, they can of course also play with water instead of sand.

2. wheelbarrow as spreading trolley

A very good idea is also to convert an old wheelbarrow into a spreader if the tyres are still intact. Because an inclined loading area or dents do not matter when spreading. If holes are drilled evenly in the old loading area, seeds such as lawn seeds or vegetable seeds to be planted, for example, can be filled in, which then falls evenly to the ground when the wheelbarrow is moved.

3. wheelbarrow as scarifier

If you attach small metal hooks to their front underside again, you can use them – slightly angled – as scarifiers for the lawn instead. For upcycling, the possibilities with a wheelbarrow that is no longer in use seem almost endless.

How to turn an old wheelbarrow into a bed

Wheelbarrow with herbs
© Mira Drozdowski – Fotolia.com

Step 1 – Cleaning the wheelbarrow

Creating a bed from the old wheelbarrow is not a difficult task. Basically, the first step is to make sure that the loading area is well cleaned and rinse it with hot water to kill any bacteria. Otherwise these later plantings could “nip in the bud” in the bud” in the truest sense of the proverb. Seedlings could thus be damaged, so that the planting does not show any real success or soon dies off.

Step 2 – Preparing the wheelbarrow floor

Then drill small holes in the loading area to ensure that water can drain off and that no waterlogging occurs. This is because most plants and seedlings do not tolerate them well at all. A thin layer of gravel is ideal to avoid too much moisture and also to ventilate easily, which makes mould at the roots less likely to develop.

Step 3 – Plant the wheelbarrow

Once you have chosen your planting – which, by the way, should match your needs – you can place a suitable substrate in the loading area of the wheelbarrow, for example growing soil or plant soil. Depending on whether you want to use young plants or seeds for a herb bed, for example, the different planting processes will now be started. For seeds, small holes are made in the soil with your finger, into which the seeds are then filled at regular intervals. The whole thing is covered with a little soil and poured. Young plants naturally depend on their needs, but in general they can be planted side by side in the soil, filled with more soil and watered as well.

Our tip:

The wheelbarrow can be used particularly well as a herb garden, because its loading area is completely sufficient for several different types of herbs and it can be placed anywhere near the kitchen, so that when cooking, for example, you only have to reach out of the window. Whether with rosemary, thyme, parsley or basil – fresh herbs round off every dish and can also be super at the next barbecue party in scene.

Don Burke

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide.  I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

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