Repurpose Those Pool Noodles With These Amazing Garden Ideas

Pool noodles are a warm-weather essential, but they can be used for more than just having fun in the sun. There are tons of pool noodle hacks for around the house that take advantage of the toy's buoyancy, slender shape, lightweightness, and soft feel. Additionally, they can easily be cut with a utility knife or scissors. What's even better — you can also repurpose these foam rods in your garden. Pool noodles help with propagation, watering, weather protection, and support. 

It is best to use PVC-free pool noodles for any garden hack to avoid unwanted chemicals leaching into the soil or water. The pool toys made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) contain toxic plasticizers that are added to give the foam its elasticity and flexibility. However, those made from ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) don't pose such a risk and are considered safe. So gather your EVA noodles and see how you can have a backyard filled with these tubes without needing a swimming pool, all while helping your plants. If your garden is indoors, some of these tips could also be beneficial for indoor produce or houseplants.

Save potting soil in large planters

Large planters are gorgeous statement pots that can be used to decorate around your home and backyard. However, they require lots of soil to fill. You can cut costs by stuffing the bottom of the planters with pool noodles before layering the dirt. Simply cut the noodles into 2-inch pieces and pack your flower pot halfway with the floaties. Then, load the container with soil and plant your flowers as usual. The added foam won't disrupt water drainage or growing roots. It will also lighten the load, making your planter easier to move around.

Start a pool noodle plant nursery

Hydroponic gardening forgoes soil for nutrient-rich water and is a great method for indoor gardens or small yards. Pool noodles are an inexpensive tool to hold sprouts in place when growing seedlings in a hydroponic plant nursery. First, slice the noodles into 1-inch disks and insert the seedlings into the centers. The foam should envelop the stems while the roots hang below. Then, place the noodle-wrapped plants into the water rail system and leave them to grow.

Fashion a garden sprinkler

Watering your plants is crucial for healthy growth, and a pool noodle can make the process easier. You can transform your regular garden hose into a sprinkler to deliver a gentle stream directly to the soil and avoid wetting the foliage. First, poke holes in the pool noodle with a skewer to create the jets. Then, plug one end of the noodle with foam pieces and secure it with duct tape. When your plants need a drink, attach the sprinkler accessory to your hose and place it at the base of the greenery.

DIY a row cover

Row covers are fabric tents that are used to protect garden beds from extreme weather like frost, heat, and high winds. They're also an organic pest-control method. You can make a row cover with pool noodles, landscape stakes, clips, and garden fabric. To start, plant the stakes 1 foot apart along both sides of the garden bed. Then, attach the pool noodle from one stake to the other, creating an arch. Next, drape the fabric on the foam frame and secure the fabric ends with your clips. You can also add sandbags or soil along the fabric's siding for extra security.

Soften your planter's hard edges

Plants that grow produce like zucchini and pumpkins have thick vines that grow outside of planters. As they bend over the container's edge, they risk breaking. However, you can soften your garden box's frame to prevent the stems from damage. Just cut the pool noodle large enough to cushion the vine and slice along the long end to create a slit. Then, slide the foam onto the edge where the stem leans. You'll have a plant pillow for your foliage to grow comfortably.

Keep propagated plant water fresh

Propagating leaves creates new life from meager clippings — it's incredible. However, your propagation system requires the proper setup to keep the water bacteria-free and the leaves from drowning. That is where a pool noodle comes in. Cut the floaty into 1-inch disks, then make a slit in the round. Wrap the foam slice around your clippings, leaving the nodes or roots to hang from the bottom. Next, insert the disk into the mouth of your propagation container and ensure it's a snug fit. The pool noodle will keep the leaves afloat, therefore preventing rot and creating an air-tight seal to keep the water fresh.

Craft a faux stone planter

Using pots in the garden is one of the best ways to make the space more beautiful. Stone planters are a popular decorative choice, but they're expensive. Fortunately, you can DIY a faux stone pot with pool noodles and spray paint. First, slice the noodles in half lengthwise. Then, glue the cut foam around a regular plastic flower pot. Next, prime the pot with spray paint. Once it dries, finish the project with a coat of textured stone paint. If you're going to place this outside, you may also want to apply a clear sealant and keep it out of direct rain or sun. 

Create a moss pole

Adding a moss pole to your plants, especially tropical species, helps aerial roots to climb instead of spilling out from the planter. This is another garden accessory you can DIY with a pool noodle. First, cut your noodle to your desired size and make a lengthwise slit. Next, pack the interior with moss, leaving 2 inches at the bottom for soil. Then, secure the moss with zip ties or twine around the pole. You can also add moss to the outside of the noodle before tying everything together. Place the mossy stake in the garden bed or planter and watch your plants climb.

Add support for your plants

From towering sunflowers with long stems to pepper plants with large fruit, your crops need support. Pool noodles provide just that when wrapped around the plant's base. The flexible foam will move with the crop's growth, unlike traditional garden stakes. In addition to adding support to your greenery, the pool noodle protects the plant's base from harsh weather and pests. Plus, the colorful floaties can add vibrant hues to your garden.

Use it to train plants

Another way pool noodles come in handy is by training branches to grow in a specific direction. To stop tree branches from growing into each other, first cut the noodles lengthwise and then into 2-inch pieces. Slice short slits into the foam cushions and slide the branch into the opening. The pool noodle provides a buffer so branches don't compete for space or spread into each other.