After an exhaustive visit to all of my local garden centres and DIY stores, I decided that for the amount of hanging baskets that I’m planning for this year, buying liners just wasn’t within budget. I have 15 baskets to line and at a cost of ¬£2 per liner, this is far too expensive a project for a frugal gardener like myself.

The ultimate eco liner

I remembered a conversation I had with a gardener friend about using alternative¬† methods to keeping the compost in the basket. She suggested packing the sides out with plenty of straw, pressing it firmly into place before loading the composts. This got me thinking…why should I spend lots of money on liner, when inexpensive and eco-friendly alternatives are all around me. After a little digging, I have discovered that there are many ways to these ends, including using grass clippings, leaves, twigs…this list goes on.

Unfortunately, I’m currently fresh out of straw and twigs, and I’ll have to wait another month or so before I can cut my lawn and produce enough clippings. I have 30 sweet pea ‘Sugar n Spice’ plugs in my new greenhouse to plant up as I want to get a head start on for this summer. So, what have I got plenty of in my garden…well, I have just cut my pampas back and have a huge pile of sharp grassy leaves to deal with.

I know what you are thinking, pampas is hardly the easiest grass to handle, but armed with a pair of gloves and scissors in hand I have just created several experimental baskets.

Lining hanging baskets example

Eco hanging basket liner made from Pampas grass

How to

  • Pack clippings: The key is to pack plenty of your clippings into the empty basket. Once is it full to the brim, with both hands to divide a hollow area in the centre of the basket, pushing and firming to the outer edges. Don’t worry about the baskets appearance at this point.
  • Polythene: Get a square of perforated polyethene, large enough to fill the basket and press it into the hollow. I used old rubble sack for my polyethene.
  • Compost: Now pack in the compost. You might want to place a few stones or a small saucer at the bottom of the basket to help with drainage.
  • Trim: Try off excess polyethene and clippings until the basket looks neat and tidy.
  • The fun bit: Plant up your basket.

If you have any cheap/free and eco methods for lining hanging baskets, I’d love to hear about them.