21 DIY Salvage Makeovers

Transform castoffs into stylish accessories you'll really use.


Before: Salvaged planks, After: FenceBefore: Salvaged planks, After: Fence
Before: Salvaged planks, After: Fence
Boards salvaged from an old horse corral and railroad station become a warm Los Angeles fence. After sinking posts into concrete footings, both sets of boards were screwed to posts and finished with a sealer. Using old wood is not only Earth-friendly, but it adds personality to a garden of designer Eric Gomez (valledeverde.net).
Cost: Free--salvaged (with permission) from old horse corral and a railroad station


Before: Broken doorknobs, After: Patio flooringBefore: Broken doorknobs, After: Patio flooring
Before: Broken doorknobs, After: Patio flooring
Doorknobs, salvaged steel discs, and a stovetop burner make up this cobblestone-esque patio floor. The knobs' chrome and brass finishes brighten the shady patch of designer Matthew Levesque's (matthewlevesque.com) patio. And, set in soil, the knobs are surprisingly stable.
Cost: Free--salvaged (with permission)
> More: Find your perfect patio


Before: Salvaged pavement, After: Outdoor tabletopBefore: Salvaged pavement, After: Outdoor tabletop
Before: Salvaged pavement, After: Outdoor tabletop
This outdoor dining table was given an industrial upgrade with a tabletop made of solid concrete, salvaged from a garden remodel. The table required two car jacks in order to be built, but recycling the concrete was an inexpensive makeover for Los Angeles designer Steve Siegrist (stevesiegristdesign.com).
Cost: Free--salvaged during a garden remodel

Before: Salvaged sewer pipes, After: Plant containersBefore: Salvaged sewer pipes, After: Plant containers
Before: Salvaged sewer pipes, After: Plant containers
The inch-thick pipes help insulate plants from desert heat. Their soothingly retro color, faded over time, adds a paradoxically modern vibe to the Las Vegas yard of designer Amy Zeldenrust (702/435-7224).
Cost: Free-salvaged (with permission) from a construction site
> More: 39 container gardens


Before: Auto dealership sign, After: Poolside decorBefore: Auto dealership sign, After: Poolside decor
Before: Auto dealership sign, After: Poolside decor
Turning a business's discard into pop art, Los Angeles designer Greg Sanchez mounted the sign (recalling his favorite truck) to steel posts hidden in the shrubbery.
Cost: $100 at a swap meet

Before: Broken dishes, After: Patio flooringBefore: Broken dishes, After: Patio flooring
Before: Broken dishes, After: Patio flooring
Tumbled pottery bits with rounded edges are sturdy enough to walk on and settle nicely on the ground. Their vivid colors and patterns lend a playful note around a blue Concreteworks lounge chair (510/534-7141) in a San Francisco garden designed by Shirley Watts.
Cost: About $2 per pound at Red Shovel Glass Co. (415/285-7814)
> More: 5 patios in the round


Before: Boat paddles, After: Garden gateBefore: Boat paddles, After: Garden gate
Before: Boat paddles, After: Garden gate
Draped with rambling roses, this shapely structure keeps deer from grazing in Gail and Mark Dupar's kitchen garden in Washington's San Juan Islands.

Instead of using costly lumber, the couple nailed together old boat paddles, along with other pieces of driftwood and flotsam.
Cost: Free

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