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Old fence posts, from time to time, are inevitable. Fences get taken down. They get damaged in storms. A tree falls on the fence in a hurricane. They get damaged by animals. A post gets bent or broken when a scared deer misjudges its jump. However it may happen, fence owners sometimes find themselves with old fence posts.
By and large, these posts generally come in one of two forms, either metal or wooden. The metal ones may be round pipe-like posts, or they might be the t-posts found often with farm fences. The important thing to know with wooden posts are usually either treated lumber or naturally rot-resistant timber like cedar.
Be they wooden or metal, these old fence posts still have some usefulness for the motivated DIYer. Why not share a few ideas? Here are some that one particular author (Hey there!) has used regularly on his homestead.
Repurposing Wooden Posts from Your Fence
Knowing whether the wood is treated or not is important with wooden fence posts. Treated posts will have chemicals that one might not want to burn or grow food near. With that in mind, some of these ideas might not be safe options for all wooden posts.
Garden Bed Edges – Thick, wooden fence posts are great to use as garden edges for raised gardens. Cedar posts work well for either flower beds or veggie patches, but some growers are hesitant to use treated wood near food crops. The posts can be stacked to make higher-raised gardens.
Retaining Walls – Retaining walls can help to terrace an area of lawn or prevent damaging erosion, or even make steps if a space is stepped. Old fence posts are great lumber for making retaining walls. After all, they were likely chosen for fencing because they are rot-resistant. Hopefully, that means the retaining wall will last a while.
Arbors – Arbors are a wonderful addition to garden spaces. They can Support vining flowers or fruits. They can provide shade for a sitting area below. Old fence posts are great for making them. Even if the posts are a bit short, two can be spliced together to make a single, taller post.
Picnic Tables – This project is even better if there are some old fence boards to go along with the old posts. Get everything sanded up nicely. Use the thicker, stronger posts for legs and framing on the table, and use the thinner, wider fence boards for the tabletop and benches.
Firewood – Treated wood is not good for firewood as it has chemicals that we don’t want to breathe. However, old cedar posts, particularly if damaged or partially rotten, make awesome campfire wood. They smell terrific.
Repurposing Metal Posts from Your Fence
Metal fence posts last a long time, even rusty ones. That said, they are sometimes bent in accidents, or often they are used for temporarily fencing an area off. They are incredibly useful things to have hanging around.
Bean Trellises – T-posts make the best garden trellises for climbing beans and peas. They are sturdy enough to handle the weight of vigorous vines, and they are easy to move around the garden when those green beans are planted elsewhere next year. One word of advice: Use a good gauge of metal wire to be the top of the trellises. It can be used multiple times, too.
Leaf Bin – In the autumn, it’s great to gather up all those fallen leaves and save them to use as garden mulch in the spring. A few old metal fence posts and some scrap fencing are perfect for setting up temporary leaf bins to keep the pile from blowing everywhere in the wintertime.
Tomato Stakes – Old metal fence posts are great for tomato stakes. Again, they are strong enough to handle the weight of laden tomato plants, and they are easy to move year after year. If the posts aren’t quite tall enough, attach a taller bamboo stake to the posts so that you get both strength and height.
Sapling Support – When planting young trees, it’s good to provide them with a bit of Support and protection in the first year. Use three posts around the tree and tie each to the same point on the trunk to create Support against heavy winds. If deer or other animals are a problem in the area, wrap some old fencing around the three posts to protect the tree from animal damage.
Reuse as Posts – Keep those old metal fence posts for use as metal fence posts. If there is no chance you’ll want to use them again for that, then sell them or gift them to the next person.
Everyone Wins Again!
Not only is repurposing an awesome way to save money and make cool stuff but also it is a fantastic thing to do for the planet, making the most of the resources we have already extracted from it so as not to cause further damage. This way everyone wins!
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