Now that I am an old, old retired person, I am going to give you a bit of advice. Never say, 'never'. If you had told me anytime in the past, even the recent past, that I would make a garden edge using tin cans I would have laughed.
In the vegetable garden I usually just spade the edges like this.
The soil in the beds ends up higher than the surrounding path as the next photo taken at ground level shows.
I can't plant on the slope because the water runs off, so about 30 centimetres (12 inches) of each bed is wasted around all sides. An edge would fix this problem.
I did an internet search yesterday for 'recycled garden edges' and of course found the predictable range of plastic garden edging made from recycled printer cartridges etc. The recycling of plastics is a noble pursuit. However, I wanted something without a third party producing something...and I wanted something cheap, if not free.
I found one comment in a discussion forum from someone who sprays their tin cans and uses them for garden edges. Sounded a bit bodgy and dodgy but I decided to give it a go and here are the results.
They are very shiny in the sun at the moment but I assume they will rust and blend in a bit more. Clearly I didn't paint them. In fact I didn't even take the labels off.
I will be able to plant right up to the cans and the plants will soften the look too.
I don't think I would do this is a flower garden but in the vegetable garden I think practicality is more important than aesthetics.
These cans have taken weeks to amass and they are almost entirely pet food. Seeing them all laid out like this has strengthened my resolve to begin cooking for the carnivorous and omnivorous animals in the house. Rhonda Jean had a great recipe on her blog the other day and I am going to have a go. It is even a lot cheaper. Win, win!
Of course that will leave me with the dilemma of what to edge the rest of the gardens with, but I am sure I can deal with that.
Do you have any environmentally friendly ideas? They have to be cheap.