How to Reuse Glass Bottles in the Garden

From walls and bed edging to paths and planters, there are plenty of ways to give new life to old bottles.

person in straw hat crouches in grass with a cardboard box of used brown glass bottles

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

There are a great many cost-effective and sustainable ways to enhance your garden. Often, these revolve around ecological design and plant choices. They involve working with nature rather than fighting it, and choosing gardening methods that allow you to care for people and planet. But in addition to thinking about methods and plants, we can also make sure our gardens are as sustainable as possible when considering the built elements of the system.

hands remove label from used wine bottle for DIY project

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Making full use of natural and reclaimed materials is a wonderful way to create a beautiful, sustainable garden without it costing the earth. With that in mind, I thought I would highlight the potential of reclaimed materials by outlining some of the ways you can reuse glass bottles in the garden.

Make Glass Bottle Bed Edging or Walls

woman crouches down in garden and wedges glass bottles top-down to create edging

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Glass bottles in bulk can be used for a number of eco-friendly projects in your garden. The first idea is to use them to create bed edging or walls on your property. Glass bottles can be placed neck down in the soil to create attractive edging around beds and borders.

One thing to note is that bottles placed upside down in the soil can also be filled with water and have holes pricked in the lids. They will then add thermal mass to keep temperatures stable in a growing area, and can slowly release water for plants in the same way as watering globes bought for this function.

Glass bottles can also be used like bricks in walls constructed from cob, or other natural building materials. A low cob or adobe wall with glass bottles placed front to back within it can look truly stunning and be a great design feature for a garden.

Make Glass Bottle Paths

upcycled brown bottles pushed into ground create a DIY garden path

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Another interesting idea involves embedding glass bottles in the ground, with their bases upwards, to create unique paths through your garden. Though care should be taken and these paths may become slippery, they can look really beautiful for lower traffic areas, especially if you use bottles in a range of different colors in the design. Planting spreading ground cover plants like creeping thyme, for example, between the bottles can suppress weeds, and create a stunning effect.

Use Glass Bottles in Greenhouse Construction

lush green tropical plants in glass and white edging greenhouse with sunlight pouring in

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Glass bottles can not only be used in low bed edging or walls. They can also be incorporated into eco-build garden structures. For example, glass bottles might be built into the north facing, thermal mass structure of a greenhouse. Or even be used as an alternative to greenhouse glazing in certain areas. There are a range of ingenious ways to build a greenhouse which involve the use of only natural and reclaimed materials.

Or in Another DIY Structure for Your Garden

cardboard box of glass bottles, used wine bottles, gloves, and garden tools to create DIY project

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

A greenhouse is not the only DIY garden building you could construct using glass bottles along with cob, straw bales, or other natural or reclaimed materials. People have also made glass bottle sheds, glass bottle summer houses/sheds, glass bottle domes, glass bottle cold frames, glass bottle chicken coops, and more. If you are looking for ideas for a glass bottle outdoors kitchen, you could create a glass bottle bar. And you can also use glass bottles to fill the floor of a cob outdoor pizza oven, where, surrounded by sand, they are used for insulation in such structures.

If you have the tools and ability to cut glass bottles, you can also consider other projects, such as glass bottle fences/privacy screens, glass bottle water features, and more.

Reuse Single Glass Bottles For Useful Craft Projects

upcycled glass bottle turned into outdoor vase on brick wall

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Even single bottles can come in handy in a garden – you do not necessarily need to have lots of them to make use of them in your garden. A few glass bottles can be used as upright structures in DIY shelving or used as the legs for a lightweight outdoor coffee table, for example.

Single bottles can also be used as candle holders or lanterns in areas with low fire risk, or for flower vases, planters, or bird feeders, for example. There is a range of craft projects you can take on – some much simpler than others, and not all involve having to cut the glass (though investing in a bottle cutter is not a bad idea).

brown glass bottle upcycled into candle holder dripping wax in outside garden

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Even broken glass might be useful in your garden. It might be used, for example, in mosaics, and a range of other artistic projects. If you can grind or tumble glass, you can create glass pebbles that, like natural sea glass, also have a range of interesting uses inside and outside your home.

The ideas mentioned above are just a few of the many to consider. So before you head out to buy anything new for your garden, or send bottles for recycling, think about how you could give them a second life in your garden.