Life After Death (New Uses for Old Wood)

I am always trying to find new uses for old things. To a some extent I’m a recycler, to an even greater extent I’m a pack-rat. It is just a hard thing for me to throw something away that I might want to use someday. Knowing this, it should come as no great surprise that I tried to find some new uses for the trees we cut down over last weekend (Timber!). I’ve always thought that if you take the time to think about what you have you might find some really interesting ways to re-use your old stuff. One example of that would be the makeshift hoe I mentioned earlier in the week.

Now what could I do with the old wood? Nancy was able to guess one idea, a planter! One of the trees that had to be removed had a cavity where a bird had made its nest. Most of the surrounding area on the tree was also hollow which made it the perfect spot to stick some dirt in to plant a plant! Now in the lower hole there is a caladium. At the top of the log there is another hole where we’ll stick in another caladium or something else for the shade garden. I was hoping that when the tree came down the hole could be salvaged to make a birdhouse, but the log was hollow along too much of the trunk which would have made hanging such a large chunk of log on a post or tree impractical.

We also put together a rustic bench to put next to the shade garden (Chey suggested using the stumps for seats, that was pretty close). This was a very easy project to accomplish. First we found two logs that were roughly the same size. We put landscape fabric underneath the area so that no weeds will grow up from underneath the bench area. Then we placed and leveled the logs. A perfect level was not absolutely necessary since we want the water to run off the bench. That will help the bench last a little longer.

We brought a leftover 2″ x 12″ scrap piece of lumber from the construction of the house, measured it to four feet long, then cut it down to size. We attached the 2″ x 12″ to the logs and used the chips from the chipped branches as a layer of mulch underneath the bench.

We also used some of the logs as plant stands (Chey was on the ball with this idea too!). This large log from an old fallen cedar tree looks great when you put a large Boston fern on top!

Those are just a couple of the things you can do to give an old tree new life in the garden. In my last post, A Weekend’s Work (Logs and their Lives), many people offered some great suggestions on using wood for different uses. Make sure you go back and read those comments!

10 Replies to “Life After Death (New Uses for Old Wood)”

  1. It all looks great. Packrat too? Must be a requirement to be a gardener;)

  2. Love the planter!
    I should have guessed the bench since I have two of those by my patio! Duh…We used treated lumber so they will last a long time. We have replaced the stumps once as they rot in time…

    We have two stumps in the ground from tree removal that I put ferns on but never thought of using cut up logs as planters! Great idea’s…

  3. I really like the bench

  4. The log planter is brilliant! And that caladium suits it perfectly. I also like the bench very much.

  5. Tina,

    Must be! You should see my garage…


    The treated wood was a good idea. We just used what we had on hand. Everything there was re-used from something else. The logs can be moved anywhere and all you need to do to make them look like they were in place originally is cover the base with dirt or mulch.

    Thanks PG!

    I brought home two for us to use here. These I plan on stripping the bark and staining. I’ll get to it eventually for now they sit in my garage (see above comment ;))

    Thanks Nancy!

    I like caladiums too bad they don’t overwinter here. That log was very suited toward turning into a planter. Mother nature can provide some of the best materials.

  6. What great ideas! I love the planter.

  7. How cool and creative of you! I love the bench too. Seems very rustic!

  8. The bench is very nice.

  9. That wooden planter and the bench look fantastic!
    I wish that I could have something like that at my house, yet I fear that if I do it will attract a nest of termites and bring them closer to my house.
    Keep up the great work!

  10. I felt as if I was reading one of my mum’s tree escapades. She is constantly coming up with new uses for tree stumps. I will have to tell her that your bench is just like one she made for the cottage. She also likes edging flowerbeds with tree stumps in such a way that it looks as if the stumps had fallen gracefully and were just overgrown with plants.

    You’ve come up with some great ideas!

Comments are closed.