Satellite dishes come in many shapes and sizes and capture signals beamed to earth from orbiting satellites so you can catch your favorite TV shows or get online. They're as commonplace today as stop signs and mailboxes, but occasionally we find ourselves with a satellite dish—small or large—no longer serving its purpose.
Here's a look at some great ways you can incorporate unused and spare satellite dishes as part of your landscape architecture.
Any accurate description of a satellite dish would have to include the word "concave." Satellite dishes, by design, curve inward, which lends to capturing a better signal from above. Turned on its back and pointed straight up, however, the concave design turns the dish into the perfect collector of precipitation.
Birds love little ponds of shallow water, giving you the perfect repurposing of an unused satellite dish. Not too big to be a hassle; a standard 18- or 24-inch dish will hold the right amount of water to attract birds. Keep the water fresh with regular changes and you'll find yourself with many happy birds for years to come.
Before smaller rooftop satellite dishes became widely accessible to homeowners, they used to be huge. It was not unusual to see six- to eight-foot dishes mounted on the ground in someone's backyard. These dishes are still functional, but by and large are extinct as a species.
Their continued existence, however, doesn't have to be blights on the landscape. They're size and concave design makes them the perfect roof for a new gazebo in your backyard. Turn the dish upside down so it doesn't collect moisture and attract large birds, and there you have it. It's the perfect weatherproof roof for a structure that you and your family will get to enjoy.
Smaller satellite dishes are the perfect design for hanging planters. Their inward curve makes them the right shape to hold soil, which means shallow-rooted succulents like aloe, agave, echeveria, and haworthia will do exceptionally well in this type of planter. Drill three or four holes spaces equidistance around the dish for hanging purposes, and perhaps a few very small holes in the middle to allow for drainage of excess moisture. This will keep your plants healthy and strong for years to come!
Potted Plant Hanger
Similar in design to the shallow planter, satellite dishes no longer in use for their primary purpose make excellent hangers for potted plants. Rather than filling the concave dish with soil, simply hang the dish level and set any potted plant of your choice inside. Remember, dishes can be painted in any color or style, which gives you many great options to take the focus away from the fact you're actually repurposing an unused satellite dish.
If you happen to have several unused satellite dishes, or feel like you can get some for this purpose, a cascading pool could serve as a stunning landscaping masterpiece right in your back yard.
With the use of a recirculating pump, three or more dishes can be turned into an offset, staggered cascading pool that with bring soothing sounds of moving water to your yard, and as a conversation piece whenever anyone visits. A little exterior paint on the dishes will make them blend easily into your existing landscaping and color schemes.
Let your imagination run wild. There are no limits to what can result from repurposing unused satellite dishes as part of your landscape architecture. You can even turn them upside down, paint them red and black, and insist we're being invaded by massive lady bugs.
Andy Johnson is a do-it-yourself enthusiast, and content creator for a local satellite tv company.