Wood Recycling: From Wheelchair Ramp to Garden Bed

It’s not often (maybe never?) that I build something, and this home reuse project seemed the perfect thing to highlight on this blog.

We bought our house five years ago, and the previous owner used a wheelchair – hence, the ramp off the back door. I said it would be the first thing to go when we moved in. It wasn’t. The ramp came in useful for large appliance delivery and as a place to lock Mike’s bike. Needless to say, it fell way down on the list of priorities in shaping our new home.


Last year when some of the balusters started falling off, the ramp became dangerous for little kids, so we decided to finally take it down.

So far, it has been a girls’ project: me and Sofie using mallets, hammers and crowbars to remove each piece of wood and simultaneously release pent-up frustration. It’s stacking up to be a lot of wood. Removing the rusty nails is the not-so-fun part of the job.


I had been thinking of ways to reuse the wood instead of just tossing it to the curb. My first idea was a spontaneous one undertaken in a few hours one Sunday — I needed another raised garden bed for my veggies.

My husband helped with this one, although neither of us is the type anyone would label “handy.” Still, the wheelchair ramp’s handrails and a few hand-sawed balusters became this 18″ x 10.5′ garden bed. Pretty cool, huh? (Don’t look too closely at the definitely-not-90-degree-angled corners.)




The weekend after we built the bed found Sofie working in the garden, sowing peas next to my Brussels sprouts.




I love the continuous cycle of this old wood, from wheelchair ramp to garden bed, even if it only lasts another few years. I still have plenty more to recycle, and am considering flower boxes this time. I also love that Sofie participated in the project, seeing firsthand how to give new life to old things.


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2 Responses to Wood Recycling: From Wheelchair Ramp to Garden Bed

  1. Martina says:

    Dear Donna, I really like your website and the fact that we have something in common. I have been trying a lot to become a greener mum since the birth of my daughters and we encounter small and big challenges here in Bavaria.
    Please have a look and tell me what you think…

    • Donna DeForbes says:

      Thanks, Martina. I like what you’re doing with Green Behind the Ears. It’s always the kids that motivate us, isn’t it? Keep up the blog writing!

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