Nancy Mwangi had just moved into her new home in Nairobi's Ruai and was overwhelmed by the mess left behind by the construction workers in her compound.
But over the sawdust and debris, what caught her eye was a distressed, paint-spotched wooden stepladder abandoned at the backyard.
Being an avid ‘dumpster driver’, it was not long before she figured what to do with the ladder to add some aesthetics into the scenery.
“I placed my planters and pots on the ladder where I grow my kitchen herbs,” says the mother-of-three.
It has been a year since she moved to her home and her backyard is a haven of lush green foliage of basil, mint and coriander.
The beauty with using an old ladder is that there is no need to paint it.
However, you can apply anti-termite paint to avoid it from rotting.
For most city dwellers, whose main worry is the little outdoor space they get even in homes located in upmarket areas, old ladder or wooden chairs can be repurposed.
Pius Mwambingu, a landscape architect in Nairobi says there are various ways one can use an old ladder to add to the aesthetics.
“An old ladder can be used in many ways as a decoration in your garden and it is up to you to decide which one suits you most,” he said.
He says the best way to multiply your container gardening space is by growing plants vertically on a ladder. He shares tips and ideas;
-Tiered ladder garden
This can be made out of an old ladder and a few wooden planks.
All you have to do is to place the ladder on a firm surface and then evenly position the boards to sit securely on the ladder rungs.
The next step is to place your planters containing compost and the plants you want to grow.
For best results, plant upright plants on the topmost rectangle then the shorter or mid-sized ones in the middle rows.
Vines and large plants are best planted at the bottom layers. These could include tomatoes, cucumbers and melons.
-Vertical step ladder garden
This can make for an amazing focal point for your front pouch. To add creativity into the whole thing, opt for unconventional flower planters such as old boots and shoes.
So if you have footwear that you no longer wear but still feel attached to, why not put them into good use?
All you need is a pair of boots, potting soil, a drill and some flowers to plant. The holes made at the bottom will ensure that water does not clog in the soil and is let out.
-Outdoor garden décor
Instead of placing your birdhouse on a tree, you could opt to sit it on top of an old ladder or on one of its steps.
It becomes a sight to behold when you let creepers grow and cover the bird house and birds come in and out at their pleasure.
Aside from having a birdhouse on the ladder, you could place planters on it, a beehive or any other decorative garden items.
Figuring out how to match climbing plants with the right kind of support can be quite baffling.
An old ladder makes a perfect pick for sturdy support for climbing plants including those that wrap, those that adhere and those that curl.
The horizontal rungs and vertical sides of simple ladder allow plants to grab on and climb to the top.
The trick here is to plant a climbing plant at the base of the ladder and push its ends around the ladder rungs as it grows until it trains itself to the ladder.
-Rustic hanging chandelier
You can transform your old ladder into an impressive chandelier by suspending it with hooks and screws on the ceiling.
Then put LED lights or candles and add variety by having some creeping plants up there.
This is ideal if you have a farmhouse.