Use broken tile pieces to create a mosaic stepping stone or table.

How to Use Old Tiles in Gardens

by Amelia Allonsy

Old tiles left over from a kitchen renovation or similar project don't have to waste space in your house. Instead, you can use them for numerous projects around your garden, including tile mosaics, stepping stones and plant markers. Use the tiles to infuse your garden with color in unexpected ways, rather than relying on plants to provide all the color. While you can find uses for whole tiles, even small pieces of broken tile can be put to use in a garden project.

Paint the name of flowers or vegetable plants on tiles and place them on the ground as plant markers. Spray the tiles with clear acrylic sealer to protect the paint. Alternatively, you can cut out plant images from garden catalogs and use decoupage medium, which is basically watered-down glue, to adhere the pictures to the tiles before you seal them.

Lay large tiles on level soil to create a small walking path through plants in a flowerbed. This works best with large, thick, natural stone tiles that are less likely to break than thin, ceramic or glass tiles.

Place broken tile pieces in the bottom of plant pots to provide drainage. Cover the drainage hole with a large tile shard so water can pass through, but soil doesn't fall out of the drainage hole.

Set potted plants on large tiles to make a container garden more decorative. If you have poorly drained soil, tiles work well so the base of containers doesn't stand in wet soil on the ground.

Remove turf along garden bed edges and spread the soil evenly. Lay tiles side by side to create a colorful border for flowerbeds. Alternatively, you can dig a narrow trench with a depth equal to half the height of the tiles and stand the tiles up in the trench to create weed barrier edging.

Fill an old, round cake pan or a cardboard box mold with wet cement mix and push broken tile pieces into the cement to create a tile mosaic stepping stone for your garden. Cover the mold with plastic and allow it to cure in a warm, dry location for about one week before removing the stepping stone from the mold.

Cut a piece of 3/4-inch plywood to fit the top of a patio table; this works well if you've chipped or broken the glass in a glass-top patio table and want a sturdier replacement. Set the plywood piece onto the patio table frame. Mix mortar to a consistency similar to pancake batter, spread it across the plywood and press tile pieces into the mortar to create a tile mosaic patio tabletop. Mix tile mosaic grout to a pancake batter consistency and spread it over the tile to fill in the gaps between tiles. Use a damp sponge to wipe the grout off the tiles.

Items you will need

  • Acrylic paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Clear acrylic sealer spray
  • Garden catalog pictures
  • Decoupage medium
  • Spade
  • Shovel
  • Round cake pan
  • Cardboard box
  • Cement
  • Plastic wrap
  • 3/4-inch plywood
  • Circular saw
  • Mortar
  • Mason's trowel
  • Mosaic grout
  • Sponge


  • In addition to broken tile pieces, you can use pottery shards, small pebbles, marbles, shells and other small items to decorate stepping stones.

About the Author

A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images