Upcycling Old Ladders Into Stylish Home And Garden Accessories

Upcycling Old Ladders Into Stylish Home And Garden Accessories

27th March 2014

Back in January, we posted an article on this blog about repurposing old ladders to save throwing them away when they are no longer fit for their original intended use.  Whatever the ladders are made from, once they are no longer safe for purpose, it’s a shame to just throw them away, adding to the amount of rubbish we have in our landfill sites in the UK.  Although the ladder is no longer useful as a means of accessing high areas, it may still have a whole new lifetime performing some other function around the home or garden and upcycling your ladder will not only save the ladder, it will probably save you some money that you would have spent on an accessory or piece of equipment.  Since then, we’ve come across some more uses for old ladders that are well past their use by dates.

So, to begin with, what is ‘upcycling’?  According to Wikipedia, upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for increased environmental value.  Unlike recycling, upcycling is actually more environment friendly as there are no industrial reprocessing issues involved.  The material or object being upcycled doesn’t have to go through the recycling process in order to re use it – it just needs to be repurposed in some way.

A great upcycling idea for old ladders is as garden trellis or arbours.  It’s perfectly possible to build a fabulous garden arbour from an old extension ladder that comes apart in two pieces.  Just cut one of the pieces in half to make the base pieces of the arbour and then use the whole length of the second piece to span the bases and join them together.  The top of the arbour can be attached to the uprights using adjustable ring clamps from the local hardware shop or B&Q.  The base pieces will need to be secured into the garden somehow, whether by digging holes or concreting them in.

Once the arbour is safely in place, it can be used as a support to grow a variety of climbing plants.  If you want to plant something impressive like climbing roses or clematis, these are likely to take a couple of years to cover the arbour so it’s work planting some quicker growing species (like Morning Glory or Nasturtium) alongside them to cover the arbour for the first couple of years.

Old ladders also make great trellis to attach to walls and fences as a support for climbing plants of all types.  They are much more stable than shop bought trellis and the thickness of the rungs and stiles mean that they are able to bear more weight.  If the plant you grow onto the ladder trellis is not particularly heavy (such as jasmine or Morning Glory), then wrapping the growing shoots around the ladder parts may be enough to help it get a grip.  If you’re growing a heavier plant like Wisteria or a climbing rose, then tie it in with string or purpose designed plant ties.