Recycling in the Garden

by Jacki
(Grand Forks, B.C. Canada)

Urbanite recycled concrete walls and steps

Urbanite recycled concrete walls and steps

Using recycled materials to make garden art has long been a fashion around here - twig arbors, gazebos and trellises, glass and ceramics glued together to make garden totems, old roots and stumps made into unique planters, metal objects rusted and aged and planted with Sempervivum, you name it.

Some of the most unusual uses of recycled objects and materials are retaining walls made of Urbanite. What on earth is that? you ask.

Urbanite is a word referring to that scourge of urban renewal - waste concrete.

Tearing up slabs of sidewalks to make way for pavers or other (nicer) types of paving materials makes for a great source of a really cool building material.

Stacking the chunks in a wall gives you lots of cracks and crannies to plant precious little hardy succulents, alpine plants and other gems into.

The protection of the concrete will help the plants to thrive, and it's pretty much indestructible.

You can spray it with yogurt and sheep manure to get moss to grow on it, and the little plants will tumble over the edges.

Other advantages are that it's usually free (see if you can get paid to dispose of it to save the contractor some money) and it also keeps this material out of the waste stream.

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