Gears and Gadgets as Garden Art
Tips and tricks for using scrap metal pieces in the garden!
We're showcasing 12 different ways to upcycle metal scraps into clever garden art. Metal is fabulous in the garden because it lasts and lasts. It also rusts charmingly, with what we like to call a patina of the crusty kind:-)
Flea Market Gardening
NoteStreams are readable online but they’re even better in the free App!
The NoteStream™ app is for learning about things that interest you: from music to history, to classic literature or cocktails. NoteStreams are truly easy to read on your smartphone—so you can learn more about the world around you and start a fresh conversation.
For a list of all authors on NoteStream, click here.
Read the NoteStream below, or download the app and read it on the go!
Nancy Carter’s drought tolerant sunflowers
Nancy Carter used farm cultivator blades to make ‘sunflowers’ mounted here on green painted electrical conduit and attached to the fence with hose brackets. She says, ‘These are my “new hybrid” sunflowers! They needed sprucing up so I decided to give them a little more color! The color brightens things up.”
Kirk Willis fantastically rusty finds
Kirk Willis found all these gears and rotors, at our very favorite price, absolutely free. He made the finished gear stack below with his 8 year old son. A fun project,…the gears are simply stacked, so heavy, they stay with the help of gravity.
Kirk’s finished gear stack
How to Find Junk Metal
These unique parts and pieces often go to the landfill or a metal recycling facility, but instead of tossing them , our garden crafters take these parts and recycle them into wonderful works of art. These amazingly beautiful ideas can be implemented just about anywhere in your garden using your creativity and imagination.
Speaking of metal recycling facilities, that’s right where you can go to especially find the pieces you want. Often metal parts are sold by the pound at very reasonable prices. Be sure to mention that you want to create an art pice as a hobby. When you happen upon an interesting piece of metal, it might just spark your imagination. It might just make the perfect piece of garden art.
Sue Langley’s brake rotor ‘planter’
The rusted brake rotor has a story of its own, told here:
I ‘Brake’ for Succulents
Rusted rotor contrasts with cool bluish succulents
Three saw blades used when building our house and set on a wall
More and more, I’m liking the circle shape or motif in my garden, whether it’s ‘garden art’ like this or circle shaped garden beds or seating areas.
More Places to Look
Yard sales- you know the ‘man boxes’ in the garage
Farm sales in the country
At car repair or auto body shops, ask your family and friends about this
By the side of the road
---Bogdan Dabrowski slugs and washers make a caterpillar
Both Bogdan and Andy, below are artistes extraordinaire when it comes to metal arts and crafts.
Andy Hamilton from Twisted Mind Rusty Metal is a fan of these blades
Debra Clark frosty farm cultivator blades simply leaned against a tree
Garden People of the Metal Kind
George Weaver‘s machinery man, Marty, made from wheels and hose reels
Marie and Randy Niemann‘s rusty Mr T, made from Model T parts only
Marie Niemann says, “Meet our scarecrow Mr. T., he’s created mostly from 1910 Model T parts. His legs are rear axles and differential gears, and his fingers are axle bearings and he even has a heart. Designed and created by my husband Randy Niemann.
He’s lookin` good for 101 years old. We had so much fun making him and he’s rusting nicely. He might need a wifey by next year! Tin Lizzie!”
Mary Olson’s son made these minions,…before minions were cool
Mary Olson says, “Meet Henry. This is one of my son’s minions. He stands over 8 feet, and is walking his dog.”
Lark Kulikowski’s unique collection of hand cultivators
Lark’s Wild Ways
Lark Kulikowski from Wisconsin says, “You may ask, “How did I get into using metal and glass in my garden art?” Some years back, I volunteered at our local recycling center. I worked in separating glass by color. Yes, you guessed it! That is where I started collecting blue bottles. Along with, aluminum and iron. Circles have always fascinated me…thus the birth of my rotating flower sculptures.”
Lark Kulikowski’ icy chrome sprockets and rusty gears
Lark combined delicately transparent blue and clear plates which make a dramatic and delightful contrast. The gears are hung from the trees with lengths of chain.
Lark Kulikowski’s blue tinged cart parts on rusty pipes
Lark’s rusty round ‘hardware’ here are harmonic balancers, devices connected to the crankshaft of an engine. Ask for those at a ‘Pull Your Part’ yard and see what looks you get! They’re mounted on rusty pipes. Looks like an old metal hose reel in back.
You Never Know
Next time you need to take the car to the shop or you’re passing by a junkyard or, heavens, would you go to a metal or car salvage yard?
Yes, do, because you never know what you’ll find to be art supplies for your garden. They may be as fun and spectacular as these.