This post was created with input from our partners at STIHL and a national spokesperson for STIHL, licensed contractor and designer, Sara Bendrick.
What is upcycling? Upcycling is the process of reusing discarded objects or materials to create a product of higher quality or value than the original.
Not only is upcycling sustainable and great for the environment – but it can also save you money! With many materials like lumber in high demand but with limited availability, building things like fences, planters or raised planter boxes has become more costly than ever. Consider upcycling materials you already have, or look for castoffs from friends, family, and neighbors to create new focal points in your yard -- adding color and creating interest while being environmentally responsible.
Upcycling is easy with PHS and STIHL! Find out how to transform wood logs into beautiful and natural planters in five easy steps -- bringing vibrancy and vitality to your garden or patio area for the warm seasons ahead.
Cut logs to the desired size, but be sure to cut sections long enough to allow room to drill a 4” section for space to place plants or even solar-powered lights. Consider using a battery-powered chainsaw when cutting your logs. It’s lightweight, easy to use, and has zero exhaust emissions.
Drill a hole about 4” wide and 4” deep to create a pocket for your favorite annual plant or solar-powered light.
If planting annuals, you can place landscape fabric in the hole to create a barrier between the wood and the soil to help prevent decomposition of the wood and keep your planter looking fabulous for seasons to come.
Place an annual in the hole and fill the remaining space with additional soil as needed.
Display in your outdoor space and enjoy! The beauty of these planters is you can create as many as you want with as many available wood logs you can find in your travels. Being able to take something that has been cluttering your yard and make it into something useful and colorful is just one of the high points of upcycling. Whether you upcycle tree logs, fallen fence boards, or old ladders, the possibilities are endless!
A chainsaw cut will give log-centered projects a rough-hewn look. A battery-powered chainsaw can be a great option if you prefer a more lightweight feel, however, the battery-powered chainsaw requires the same safety measures as any other chainsaw on the market. Follow Sara’s basic chainsaw safety tips:
• Read and follow your chainsaw’s instruction manual so you understand how to properly use and maintain the tool. Always make sure you prep your saw chain using bar and chain oil to ensure it is sharp and ready to use. Authorized local STIHL Dealers can demonstrate how to properly maintain and use a chainsaw.
• Wear the appropriate protective gear, including protective glasses, noise-reducing hearing protection (you should still be able to hear how your tool is operating), heavy-duty work gloves, durable and snug clothing you can freely move in, and sturdy boots with nonslip soles. A helmet and sturdy chainsaw protective work pants or chaps are required and will help protect you. Lastly, make sure to secure your hair so it is above shoulder height.
• Setup your logs either in a sawhorse with X-shape supports that will hold the logs firmly in place as you cut, or simply on level ground where the log is firmly secured so it doesn’t roll or shift in any way.
• Always make sure you have stable footing and keep your body away from the plane of the cut.
• Pay attention as you use the chainsaw. Listen to how the tool sounds and how it feels as you’re cutting. If something feels like it’s getting tougher to cut, instead of forcing it, stop and take a step back. Ask yourself why you are getting resistance here and see what the problem is before proceeding.
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