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Old timber ladders can be put to a number of new uses around the home, shed or garden.
Among the ideas you could explore are potplant or storage stands, climber frames, storage racks and potplant hanger racks. It does not even matter if the old thing is missing a rung or two, this can either add height to one shelf or just add to the charm of the finished product.
But before you deck your old ladder out for its new job, inspect it carefully. Repair and/or strengthen any weak or cracked areas. Smooth or cut back any dangerous edges or exposed splinters, as this is for yours and other peoples safety.
To paint or not to paint is up to you, depending on the effect that you are trying to achieve. But bare unpainted timber will last longer if you soak or paint some form of preservative product or oil into the exposed timber, especially if it will have to survive the effects of weathering.
Also if you are going to use it around the garden or elsewhere outside the house, you will need to consider whether undesirable people might use it as a means to enter your home, so securing the ladder to the surrounding supports may well be an important issue.
Potplant or Storage Stands/Racks
A Frame Ladders
Stand one of these ladders in a spare corner of the home, patio, pergola or shed; add some planks of timber of whatever you have around the place, and you will either have a rustic display stand for your plants or for the gardening accessories out in the shed.
Or separate the two halves of an A Frame ladder, and make them the end supports of a set of rectangular shelves, the choice are up to you. Though this set of shelving will need more cross bracing to support the expected loads that it would carry.
Hung or fastened parallel to the shed floor well above your head, one ladder would make an ideal hanging storage rack for things like garden hoses, spare hanging pots, watering cans etc. Whereas, one fastened up outside your home, above head height would easily accommodate a fairly big collection of hanging pots.
Whereas if you hung or fastened one parallel to the shed floor at about knee height, one single ladder will make an ideal storage rack with dividers, for all your big garden tools to stand upright in; like spades, forks, rakes, hoes, garden stakes, spare lengths of timber, fishing rods, oars etc.
A Frame Ladders
Use a freestanding A Frame ladder out in the open garden as a climbing frame for a rose or something similar.
Or separate the two halves and mount them against a wall, either at an angle similar to the original freestanding model, or flat as in a stepladder, as a climbing frame.
Mount a ladder against a fence or shed/house wall, either vertically or horizontally and you have an effective trellis or climbing frame for your climbing plants. From as simple as using hanger hooks to actually screwing it to a supporting frame you can grow just about any plant over this sort of climbing frame.
So dont send that old ladder to the hardware store in the sky, as there are a number of new lives it could find around your home once it can no longer be used as a ladder.
© 2002 Ron Williams
Bare Bones Gardener - About the Author: The Bare Bones Gardener is a qualified Horticulturist and a qualified Disability Services Worker. He hates spending money on stuff which doesn’t live up to the promises given. So he looks for cheaper, easier, simpler or free ways of doing the same thing and then he passes these ideas on to others. Garden Blog - http://barebonesgardening.blogspot.com/