How to use old kitchen pots and pans in the garden – 5 clever ways to repurpose them

Don't get rid of your old pots as they're full of gardening potential

A rustic kitchen with hanging copper pots
(Image credit: Future PLC/David Brittain)

Once our kitchen pots and pans get worn out beyond repair - whether it’s a pot that’s been burnt one too many times or a non-stick pan that’s lost its coating - we tend to get rid of them, heading straight for the bin. But if you have an outdoor space, there are ways to reuse old kitchen pots in the garden to prolong their life and service.

Even the best saucepans get battered with time and often burned. And if your know-how of cleaning a burnt pan doesn't do the trick to save it, then there are other ways in which you can repurpose it. And the garden is the best place for it. 

So if you’ve got some old pots and pans lying around that you don’t know what to do with, then here are 5 ideas how you can give them a new lease of life.

A rustic kitchen with hanging copper pots

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

How to use old kitchen pots and pans in the garden

We love an upcycling idea for the garden. And repurposing old kitchen pots in the garden is a great way to get upcycling as a beginner since it’s so easy.

‘Old pots and pans from the kitchen could come in handy for use in the garden,’ starts Steve Chilton, garden expert at LeisureBench.

And just like the ways in which you can use old towels in the garden, there are more ways than one to make the most of pots when gardening – we put together five of them here.

Steve Chilton portrait
Steve Chilton

Steve is a passionate and knowledgeable garden expert with several years of experience within the field. As the director of LeisureBench, an industry-leading garden furniture company, Steve has developed strong expertise for all things nature and plants. 

A colander used as a hanging planter in the garden

(Image credit: Future PLC)

1. Use old kitchen pots as garden planters

‘Add a rustic look to your garden by making them into pots for the plants,’ suggests Petar Ivanov, Fantastic Gardeners' gardening expert. ‘Before you use them, drill holes in the bottom of any old stock pot or saucepan to help the water drain.’

But if you have an old colander, then that’s even better as no drilling is needed. ‘Repurposing old colanders into plant pots is a great idea, especially because the drainage holes will prevent waterlogging in plants and allow for proper drainage,’ Steve explains.

Petar Ivanov portrait
Petar Ivanov

Petar Ivanov is one of the company's top-performing experts and manages over six teams of gardeners, delivering stunning landscape results and fostering a deep connection with nature through his work.

Garden planters with plants growing in them

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

2. Use old kitchen pans as drip trays

‘You can also make drip trays from old frying pans,’ Petar says.

If you have any sheet pans or larger frying pans to spare, then those can be easily made into drip trays to put underneath plant pots in the garden to collect excess water.

3. Use old kitchen pans as seedling starters

Similarly to using saucepans as plant pots, you can also use them as seedling starters if they’re shallow enough.

‘You could use shallow pans or trays as seed-starting containers, which are generally smaller than normal plant pots,’ Steve notes. ‘Just fill them with a decent potting mix and plant your seeds directly into the pans/trays. Once the seedlings have grown large enough, you can transplant them into larger pots or directly into the garden, where you will need to ensure adequate drainage.’

A planter with sand and gardening gloves

(Image credit: Future PLC)

4. Use old kitchen pots as bird baths

Having wildlife in your garden can both boost the value of your property and maintain a well-developed ecosystem. And having bird baths in the garden is one way to achieve this. So why not make an old kitchen pot into one?

‘You could turn your more shallow old pans into bird baths. This is a great way to attract wildlife to your garden,’ Steve suggests.

5. Use old kitchen pots for garden decor

With a little bit of a creative spirit, old pots can easily be turned into decorative objects for the garden. The possibilities are endless here.

‘If you have a bit of DIY knowledge, you could always turn your old pots and pans into decorations, whether that be using them as reflective mirrors or using to paint in and create a wall decoration,’ Steve concludes.

Now you won’t ever have to throw away an old kitchen pot again.

Content Editor

Sara Hesikova has been a Content Editor at Ideal Home since June 2024, starting at the title as a News Writer in July 2023. Sara brings the Ideal Home’s readership features and news stories from the world of homes and interiors, as well as trend-led pieces, shopping round-ups and more, focusing on all things room decor, specialising in living rooms, bedrooms, hallways, home offices and dining rooms. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors, working with the likes of 91 Magazine and copywriting for luxury bed linen brand Yves Delorme among others. She feels that fashion and interiors are intrinsically connected – if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.