Make your own birdbath from a plant tray or shallow bowl.

How to Make Homemade Things to Decorate the Yard Outside

by Kathy Adams

Why settle for store-bought yard decorations that either look silly, cheap or otherwise don't suit your tastes when you can make your own, styled just as you'd like? Unneeded items such as old headboards, silverware or serving trays can be turned into decorative and sometimes functional pieces to give your yard that homemade touch. Yard sales are one place to score inexpensive pieces for your homemade works of art.

1. Wind Chimes

Create your own wind chimes from extra items you may have lying around the house, or from things easily acquired from thrift stores and yard sales. Metal forks and spoons, tied from fishing line and hung from an old colander, strainer or pot, create a kitchen-themed chime set. Drill small holes through the handles of the forks and spoons for a place to tie the fishing line. A colander or strainer already have the holes you'll need to tie the string onto, or you can drill holes around the perimeter of a pot for a tying point. Attach a large washer or a jar lid through the inside of the colander or pot, strung through a hole and on a sturdy fishing line or small chain, as a means to hang the entire device. Rings cut from glass bottle necks can be used for a more colorful chime, using an inexpensive bottle cutter to cut the glass shapes. Antique keys can also be used as wind chimes, with a larger key or an antique metal keyhole cover plate as the chimes' knocker.

2. Benches

Create a sitting bench or potting bench from unneeded bed hardware or old doors. A headboard and footboard set create a backrest and seat for a bench, with other cut-off parts of the wood used for side rails or armrests. An old door cut down can be formed into a bench in the same fashion, or even a storage bench to stash away hoses or garden equipment. Create a potting bench much the same way, but with hooks added to hang small trowels and garden tools. Circles cut out within the bench offer places to set plant pots sturdily while potting or repotting plants. Scrap wood from shipping pallets can also be used to create potting benches. Paint wooden outdoor creations with exterior paint for protection from the elements.

3. Birdbaths and Feeders

Turn a shallow, large bowl or a large plant pot drip tray into a birdbath by attaching it to a pedestal base with epoxy, or by sitting it atop a sturdy metal plant stand. Stacks of plant pots can be used as a base instead, adhered together with construction adhesive. Create a mosaic bird bath basin by covering a shallow bowl or plant pot tray with bits of broken china, held in place with construction adhesive. Sanded grout fills the cracks between bits of china. Store a homemade mosaic birdbath bowl indoors in the winter if you live in an area that freezes, otherwise it may crack. Turn a serving tray or a plastic plant pot drip tray into a hanging bird feeder by securing chain or rope through the handles of a serving tray, or through holes drilled around the perimeter of a drip tray.

4. Orb Art

Turn old bowling balls into ladybugs by painting them red and black and setting them partially in the ground as edging around a flowerbed, or randomly around the yard. Paint yellow smiley faces if that's more your idea of yard whimsy. Set a bowling ball atop a stack of plant pots held together with construction adhesive for a gazing ball; cover it with mirrored tiles or broken china for a mosaic gazing ball. Mount several painted bowling balls to the tops of a broom handles, set in the ground like posts, for a lollipop-style path or yard border.

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