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Scrap Metal — An Unconventional and Untapped Source of Garden Art and Structures

Perhaps you've thought about adding a new dimension to your garden with sculpture or garden art or even structures for your climbers, but been put off by the prices you've seen in ads from traditional sources. If so, you might be interested in a rather unconventional way to add whimsy, beauty or functionality for climbers (or all of the above) without breaking the bank. Check your local phone book for welding companies and make a few calls or just stop by if there are one or more nearby, and ask to speak with the owner. I've found that welding companies usually have odd pieces sitting around that have minor flaws or were rejected by the purchaser for whatever reason, and the owner will more often than not be delighted to get pieces that have basically become scrap metal out of the way at prices that are a fraction of what they'd normally cost. Take them home and apply a few coats of spray paint and you'll likely end up with gems that add enormously to the overall impact of your garden.

I first stumbled upon this source of hidden treasure a few years ago while inspecting gates that I was having made, and since then have made return trips to that welder and to others in the area, almost always returning home with some exciting find.

Not sure how you'd use scrap metal in the garden? Only your imagination limits the number of potential uses for these materials, and I hope that by sharing the types of pieces I've found and how I've used them, you'll be inspired to think of your own needs and interests and explore local sources near you.

Structures for Climbers

Starting with a functional need that most rose growers face at one time or another, scrap metal can be used as structures on which climbers can be trained.

These photos show how scrap metal can be used as structures for individual climbers (or tall non-climbers). The structure for 'Zigeunerblut' somehow missed the spray paint step and I'd strongly recommend that you paint before installing the structures for obvious reasons! And speaking of installation, most scrap metal that you find at welding companies will be quite heavy. Even if you live in an area that isn't known to be particularly windy, it's a good idea to anchor the structure into the ground with cement to minimize the chances of serious damage to the roses during high winds or rainstorms.

This next shot shows the impact where multiple structures are used in fairly close proximity to one another:

Gates to Areas of the Garden

Gates are among the types of scrap metal often found, and can be used in a variety of ways. You can use them as entrances to "garden rooms" or as a way to separate one area from another.

Pairs of gates can be particularly effective in the garden, with or without the addition of your favorite little guys for a whimsical effect:

And speaking of whimsy, you can add an instructional signs to a gate or two:

Structures for Safety

Another use for scrap metal is to minimize the chances of accidents occurring in potentially dangerous areas:

Structures Purely as Garden Art

Last, but certainly not least, use your imagination to transform pieces of scrap metal into handsome and very inexpensive garden art:

Before closing, let me add that a few spot lights strategically placed to light up some of your structures at night can add dramatic impact both for you and for passersby.

Go ahead and make a few calls to local welding companies; you'll be amazed at the treasures just waiting to be discovered!

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