Sunday, November 16, 2014

Reusing Glass Bottles For Landscaping

For as long as I can remember I have tried to creatively reuse materials,
especially recycled lumber.
In this post let's look at four ideas for reusing glass bottles.

Thus it was with much interest that I took note of using old bottles for a garden border 
when we ran across a beautiful example of it at the Tucson Botanical Gardens some years ago.

Then years later we had the privilege of meeting the glass mosaic artist Maria Eggleston 
at her home and studio in Mulege, Baja California Sur, ...

…where she had creatively mixed stepping stones with her mosaic designs
 in a walkway made of old bottles.

So we started saving our bottles to make a walkway.

The only problem was we needed a retaining wall in an out of the way place,
so that is how we used our bottles instead.

It is a work in progress,
and as we get more bottles we just lay them on the wall until we get enough we set them in place.

To get started just lay the bottle in the dirt sloping down from the bottom of the bottle to the neck.
And start stacking them up making sure you give the wall plenty of batter,
or put another way make sure the wall slopes into the dirt bank.
Fill around the neck of the bottle firmly with dirt as you go.

In the photo above the bottles that are out of position 
are waiting to be set into the wall so that they are all flush together.

For the wine bottles we decided to use them as borders between garden beds and the pathways.

Just dig down and carefully set the bottles in and pack the dirt back in around the them.

If I did anything different it would be to leave the wine bottles up a bit higher.

It may be obvious that glass breaks so be careful where you use bottles 
and avoid situations where they would be subject to impact.

And one last tip is to rinse the bottles out after using whatever is in them,
otherwise they can get pretty stinky and attract rodents and bugs.
Also when you store them outside keep them upside down 
so rain water does not get in them and attract mosquitoes.

By the way, here are links to the series of posts I did on the home and work of Maria Eggleston:

And remember reduce, reuse, recycle- emphasizing the first two.


  1. I like the ideas. Never seen whole bottles put in a walkway. wonder how often they break?

  2. The bottoms of the bottles are quite strong. In my limited experience with them I have never heard of a problem with breaking. I have seen a blog post where they filled the bottles with sand before using them but that seems very labor intensive. Certainly they would not be appropriate where there is heavy traffic. And that is one reason I like them in walls. Thanks for commenting.

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  4. This summer I noticed some broken bottle bottoms in the walkway of a public park in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Either the bottles had been filled with dirt or silt had fallen in the cavity left by the missing bottom. It was not clear whether the damage was caused by uneven installation, vandalism, weather, or something heavy dropping on the bottle bottom. - Allison

  5. Can you use wine bottles for the wall?

  6. We are currently using wine bottles in a wall that is a work in progress. They seem to work fine.

    1. Thanks for the reply. Do you fill them with sand or leave them empty. Also is the opening pointing downward? Any pics?

    2. And are you just using dirt? No cement? I'd prefer to use dirt if possible.

  7. We do not fill them, too much work for us and they are just set in the soil. Important to tip the bottles rather radically so that the opening (the part that is towards and into the embankment) slopes down and slope the surface of the bottle wall towards the bank. Do not use in any area where the bottles could break, of course. A concrete cap on the top could be a nice feature. We have our bottle wall along the side of a shed that gets very little traffic. Thanks for your interest.