If you are looking for a cheap source of materials for your home and garden, you might want to take a look at recycled auto parts -- in other words, go to a salvage company. When cars reach the end of their useful lives as cars, they're usually taken apart and the still-useful parts are sold to mechanics and car restorers. However, those aren't the only people allowed in the yards. Anyone can go, and you can find some parts that let you create your own household goods for a lot less money than you'd spend buying the items new. Here are three samples of what you can do with old car parts outside of putting them in another car.

Couches and Chairs

Scour the yard for seats, both bucket and bench. You can use these to create informal and eclectic seating in your home. Bucket seats can serve as floor seats, similar to those small pads with backs that you may have seen in school libraries; prop them up against a wall so they don't tip over backward, and you have a nice, cushioned reading spot for you or your children.

Bench seats from older cars can sit on garden and patio benches outside to provide quirky cushioning, or you could use them inside, too. Depending on the condition of the upholstery material, you may want to change that yourself or cover the whole contraption with a large slipcover.

Hubcap Dish Stand or Artificial Plant Base

Find a vintage hubcap with a cool pattern? If the hubcap is flat enough (or even better, has a depression or well in the center), turn the hubcap into a dish stand or plant base. Rest a glass dish in the well so you can still see the pattern. If you use it as a plant stand, get a small flower pot that fits in the well or on the center portion and fill the pot with floral foam from a craft store. Stick artificial flowers and foliage in the pot. Don't use real ones here as you don't want water dripping out of the pot and causing the hubcap to rust. Paint the hubcap if you want.

Garden Planters

For the outside of your home, you can always use tires as the bases and sides of raised beds for plants. The hollow center of a tire is just the right size to hold a plant you want to spotlight or isolate, and you can paint the tire to cover up the grayish-black treads.

Take a look around scrap yards for more inspiration. If you have questions about the safety of using certain parts or need to trim parts down, see if the yard can offer that service or if the staff can recommend someone who can do it.