10 Things in Your Yard You Can Get Rid of Right Now

Why is it that your yard never looks pulled together, despite your efforts to trim and maintain the garden and keep the deck and patio area clean? Take a good, hard look: is there clutter out there? Chances are, you have at least a couple of the items on this list that could probably make their way to a recycling  or garbage bin in no time.

When we say “get rid of,” we aren’t necessarily suggesting that you throw it out in your garbage bin. This is the time to practice reusing, recycling and disposing of hazardous materials in the appropriate place.

1.  Old Patio Furniture

Vintage Porch Glider - © Lisa Hallett Taylor

Before you start hauling the old garden furniture off to the dumpster, inspect it carefully and ask yourself:

  • Is it repairable?
  • If so, do you have the DIY skills and enthusiasm to refurbish it?
  • If not, is it vintage and possibly collectible or desirable to someone else?

Now that we’ve got your mind swirling with all of this new information, you can either repair it, have it repaired, donate it to a charitable thrift organization or store, or sell it yourself, on a site like Craigslist.

If, say, a chair has completely fallen apart, at the very least, please dispose of it in the recyclable bin.

2.  Broken Garden Statues or Accessories

Roger's Gardens Halloween Display 2008 Statues - © Lisa Hallett Taylor

Artistically placed in a well-kept garden, a broken garden statue can sometimes look charming, in an unaffected, eclectic way. However, if the angel statue with the missing head is in a yard that also has old paint cans and rusty yard toys strewn about, it will look like just another object in an unkempt backyard.

So, either clean up and maintain your yard, or donate the broken statue to a crafty friend, charity, or put it in the recycling bin.

3.  Old Paint

old paint cans - Dustin Eli Brunson/Getty Images

First off, don’t toss it in the garbage. There might be a special recycling center for paint in your area.

4.  Scrap Wood

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Those pieces of wood you’ve been saving for some unknown outdoor project or for an impromptu bonfire have been cluttering the yard for awhile now. Put on a pair of gloves to avoid getting splinters and put the wood in the recyclable bin or take it to a local recycling center.

As for the bonfire – check local laws regarding wood-burning, which may have been changed or updated recently in your area.

5.  Garden Pots and Container

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Let’s face it: you just aren’t going to get around to repairing that ceramic flower pot that you’ve been tripping over when you exit the kitchen door for – oh, four years now. Give yourself a break and discard it, along with other garden containers that you no longer use or that may be cracked or broken.

Remember: if it’s in decent shape, clean it and donate it. If it’s cracked or broken, discard the pieces in the recyclable bin.

6.  Broken Garden Tools

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A few years ago, the handle fell off of your garden spade. So why, exactly, have you been hanging onto it? For a 2 a.m. repair project? Get rid of broken garden tools, but be sure and put them in the recycling bin if they are metal or have wooden handles.

7.  The Lawn

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If you live in a region affected by drought, seriously consider getting rid of that water-guzzling patch of lawn in your front or back yard – or both. You’d have to be living in a bubble not to understand how something so simple as replacing a lawn with hardscaping materials or drought tolerant plants can greatly reduce the amount of water your household consumes. You owe it to your community and the planet. Set a good example for your neighbors – make plans now!

8.  Old Hot Tub

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You can try selling your spa on a site like Craigslist or giving it away, but don’t think that interested parties will be busting down your door once the ad posts or the offer is made.Hot tubs are big and bulky. Not everyone wants a used hot tub – would you?

If you’ve had the spa for 10 years or so, it’s stopped working or is irrepairable, you might just want to have it hauled away. Consult a local business that specializes in spa demolition and removal – sometimes a crane is needed to unearth it from your backyard.

9.  Plant Trimmings

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Hmmm…what to do with all those plant trimmings and that garden waste? If you want to get ambitious and environmental, start a backyard compost bin – an easy way to recycle once you get started. In addition to leaves, grass and other plant matter, you can add vegetable and fruit scraps, tea bags and leaves, coffee grounds and filters, egg shells and nut shells. The finished compost can be added to your garden to improve the soil or used as mulch.

10.  Charcoal

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Have you switched from a charcoal barbecue to a gas grill but still have briquettes or charcoal left over? Don’t toss it in the trash; use the charcoal in the yard:

  • Add a few pieces to the compost pile to increase its carbon content, which helps break down organic matter.
  • Use it in a toolbox to absorb moisture.
  • Crushed charcoal can suppress weed growth in the garden.
  • Orchid lovers: add crushed charcoal to the soil. Many enthusiasts believe it absorbs toxins and increases soil alkalinity.

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