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Five quick and easy 'hacks' to brighten any garden

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Fri 02 Sep 2016

Five quick and easy 'hacks' to brighten any garden

Whether you're looking for an outlet for your own creative skills or want a fun way to keep your little darlings entertained during the school holidays, you can't beat a good craft project! The result is a garden decorated with totally original works of art that are quick and easy to make and which can work out cheaper than buying ready-made. All you need is some inexpensive art materials (available at hobbycraft.co.uk) and a bit of imagination...

1. Stained glass tealight holders

As much as we love recycling, we love upcycling even more! Save glass jars, give them a thorough wash and allow to fully dry. Paint on your designs using specialist glass paint, allow to dry, then add a citronella tealight. Et voila - unique garden lighting that also keeps biting insects away!

2. DIY plant labels

Two options here: either use pebbles or small pieces of old broken slate roof tiles. Use acrylic paints to add your designs and the names of the plants you want to label. When the paint is dry, you can place the painted pebbles alongside the plants, or in the case of slate pieces 'plant' them into the ground.

3. Totally unique flower pots

Buy new (or recycle old) terracotta plant pots in a variety of sizes. Give the pots a few coats of plain white acrylic paint, allowing each coat to dry thoroughly before adding the next coat. Alternatively, you could use white spray paint, which goes on more evenly. Paint on your designs in coloured acrylic paint. You could finish with a coat of clear aerosol varnish to protect the painted surface from the weather.

4. DIY sun traps

Another great use for old jars! For this project you'll also need some neoprene self-adhesive rubber tape (available at Amazon), glass paint, and solar powered 'spike' lamps (these cost under a pound each from shops like Home Bargains and Poundstretcher). First, paint the design on your jar and allow it to dry. Next, remove the entire solar unit from the top of the lamp (these usually twist off easily so that you can switch the power on and off). Finally, wrap the rubber tape around the solar unit until it fits snugly into the neck of the jar. Leave the sun trap in sunlight for a few hours, and when darkness falls your jar will be full of 'trapped sunlight'.

5. Make a simple water feature

Buy a cheap, plastic waste paper bin or bucket (or upcycle one you were planning to throw away). Dig a hole in your garden large enough to accommodate the bin, and place the bin inside. Fill the bin with water and add a water pump (these can be bought quite inexpensively, though solar powered pumps tend to cost a little more). Run a hose upwards from the pump and start surrounding the edge of the bucket or bin with large flat slabs of stone, slate or driftwood. Build upwards and inwards with further layers of slate or stone, creating a 'pyramid' and allowing space for the pump's hose to fit between the stones at the top and for the water to trickle back through into the bin. Finally, surround the area with potted plants, switch the pump on and allow the sweet sound of running water to thoroughly relax you!