To recycle your outdoor garden planters, you just have to use a little bit of creativity, and your imagination, and possibly some stencils, and lots of annual flowers!.

With everyone trying to do the right thing now for the environment, we are also watching our habits in the garden. Every year, it would be quite common to see leftover garden waste in the garbage, or the shrub and tree plastic pots and the end of the driveway, or patio chairs that have lost their luster would be there too. But if you just stop and think, and get out of the habit of always throwing away or replacing to get a different look, there is a lot you can do to keep these things out of the dump.

Trying to set up your backyard, or a patio with purchased planters can be expensive, especially if this is your first place, or you have spent all your money for the move on the inside. But here is a way to create a nice patio without all that extra expense.

When you purchase any plants for your yard, the plants quite often come in a black plastic container. You normally plant your tree or shrub, and then recycle the container right?

Well with everyone thinking more on the 'green' side of things, many garden centers are now taking those plastic pots back and reusing them. This is an option for you as well, but if you are looking to have some nice plants on the porch or the patio, then keep a few and try this.

Many of the hardware stores, now carry the paint that can be used for plastic outdoor furniture. Many people purchase the spray cans, but you can also buy it in small bottles. Just make sure it says for "outdoor plastic furniture" Get yourself some brushes and some stencils, or go free hand!

Set up a spot in a sheltered area, this is best done outside, put down newspaper and then, clean the pot to get rid of dirt and debris, and then spray your plastic pots. You can just go for a rainbow of colors, or you can paint a scene on it, or you can use stencils and paint. This also works well on the white plastic pots This is a great craft for teens, they can personalize a garden planter pot for themselves.

Once you have created your painted garden planters, you can use them the way they are, but I find if you want to keep them looking great, get a can or outdoor varnish to give your planters extra protection.

This works on those thinner plastic containers as well. Quite often the bigger the shrub the thicker the pot, but you can also use this idea on those smaller flower containers.

A friend of mine paints up the little plastic containers for her herb garden on your porch.

If you have a very plain yard, but don't want to get into the expense this year of digging up an area for a flowers and shrubs, then make yourself an instant garden, by making or finding a recycled bird bath, and sit it on a few patio stones, then take your recycled painted garden planters that you have filled with annuals (you can usually get 6 to a little pot for .99 cents) and place them close to the bird bath.

This creates interest and focus while you are sitting on you porch for very little money.

You can also create interest and focus in a established flower bed. It is nice to add some dimension. Especially if your flowers are all about the same height. Place a couple of your planters in the center of the flower bed. You could sit them on stacked flag stones to give extra height, this can add to your flower bed.

You don't have to be restricted to recycling garden planters either. You can create works of art for your garden by using broken outdoor furniture, or broken bicycles, or old wheelbarrows. Fill all of them with annual flowers (they grow the fastest and flower all season) With annuals, you can plant them very close together, and they make an instant difference.

Here is a another great craft for the garden. Take a old wicker chair that has seen better days, and cut the center of the seat out the best you can. Now staple some chicken wire for support across the base, but make sure that it droops in the middle. You are creating support for flowers. Now line your chicken wire with weed control blanket, or those moss blankets and then fill will some soil. You should have an indent in the middle of this chair.

Now plant it full of petunias, or any annual that has lots of flowers, and put this chair in your present garden, or add it to a boring corner. You now have instant garden planters! This will give your garden lots of interest. You can also spray paint the chair with outdoor spray paints.

There are so many great products on the market now, for sprucing up your outdoor things. No need to spend hundreds or thousands on replacing items if you can renew them for a lot less.

I personally had a few flower beds that were pretty flat to the ground and boring. I had added some shrubs, but these were going to take a few seasons to grow to any height. So, while I was in the reuse center actually get rid of some of my own stuff, I came across these older wicker chairs, where the seat part was worn. Basically if you sat in it, you would have fallen through it! But the rest of the chair was fine. So, I took them home to the horror of my hubby!

Here we were cleaning out the yard, and I was bringing stuff back! But once I set up these wicker chairs as garden planters, everyone really liked it! I just leave them out there all year round, and repaint the wicker in the spring and plant new annuals.