Everyday Gardeners

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No Drill Bench and Vertical Wall Garden

One of my awesome-sauce neighbors came over a few weeks ago and said, “Wanna buncha old cement blocks?” When I saw the blocks I jumped up and down and clapped my hands, “Dude – I have the best idea for these – A GARDEN BENCH!” He stared numbly at me, blinked his eyes, and said, “I just wanna get rid of’em. Take them.” Well alrighty then. I took the blocks, painted, stacked, and fed cedar 4X4’s through the holes. Topped with bench cushions and KERPOW I have super garden bench power.

Bench painting cement blocksSupplies Needed:

12 cement blocks

4 cedar 4X4’s

2 cans of one coat paint

Cushions that will fit

 

How To:

1. Paint cement blocks your feature color

2. Make two towers of six blocks each [see photo] placed on a level surface

3. Feed cedar 4X4’s through the top holes

4. Top with cushions to make it a comfortable sit or lay.

Bench no saw no drill assembled

This is a super-easy solution to your summertime garden bench troubles. No drilling, no sawing, and the bench is sturdy and secure. Create a perfect place to relax and spend an afternoon reading in the garden or place it along a sidewalk or near the entrance to your garden and use it as a tool and watering can rest stop. Get yourself  garden bench power today and build a bench!


I love how this relaxing patio packs in so many containers – I see a plethora of succulents, a couple of boxwoods, a tall yucca plant, and even an orange tree tucked away in there! My dream patio would definitely have containers galore, just like this. With plenty of places to sit, the red cushions and lanterns lend an inviting, relaxed look.

To recreate this look, feel free to combine different colors and shapes in your patio furniture. A sleek black chair from Pottery Barn or Ikea looks great paired with the traditional teak furniture pictured above. I love the addition of mismatched, colorful lanterns too. A couple of modern strawberry pots, a succulent bowl and an orange tree complete the look for this container-covered patio! Enjoy!

 

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Weatherproof outdoor snap frame photo wall with chandelier fireplace and insulators

Garden rooms offer up a unique twist to the traditional garden. Every garden room needs garden art, of course, and I have the perfect solution for you to hang your favorite photos and posters into your garden haven. Recently a garden writer and photographer friend of mine, Christopher Tidrick, gifted me with a few of his gorgeous black and white photos. I came up with a solution to display them in a special way by installing the art in a unique weatherproof outdoor picture frame as part of a larger garden room wall.

Weatherproof outdoor snap frames can be ordered online at standard sizes or custom ordered to specific sizes via Snapframesdirect.com. Frames cannot support any additional matting as it leaves a space that water can leak into. In fact, weatherproof does not mean completely waterproof, but I have had tremendous success with the frames this season with no leaks whatsoever.

Below you can see how we put together the main garden room wall design using the weatherproof photo frames, old Formica, a non-working chandelier, and a fireplace surround.

How To Put Together My Garden Room Wall Design

First we need to find the best spot to hang an attractive grouping. Below you see my blank slate, the side of my deck, which will be the center of attention when you sit in my garden room.

Weatherproof picture Frame Wall

Weatherproof outdoor picture base formica counter top

My awesome carpenter helper buddy, Ricky Rolon, is helping me reuse a bright blue Formica countertop from the 1960’s [above]. He cut it into a large rectangle using a power saw. We hung that as the base for the trio of photos [below].

Weatherproof outdoor snap frame with formica counter top base

Weatherproof outdoor snap photo frame screws

Screwing the picture frames into the base is super-easy and then we just snap in the beautiful black and white photos [above]. After that we painted a white frame to go around the entire ensemble [below].

Weatherproof outdoor snap frame outer trim

Weatherproof outdoor snap frame chandelier support

Ricky nailed the white frame up around the Formica and installed a special support for the chandelier. Earlier this season I found the old brass chandelier for free. I cut out the old wiring, removed and cleaned the crystals, spray painted the chandelier white, and replaced the crystals. The white fireplace surround has been in my garden for years – I painted it white to better show off the garden wall and placed a mirror behind it to have it look more finished.

Below you see a close photo of the chandelier and snap frames with the Formica background. As an added touch I set out a collection of glass insulators on the fireplace because they remind me of my grandmother. With the addition of snap on weatherproof outdoor photo frames, a chandelier, and the fireplace surround, we were able to create a sweet little outdoor room garden wall filled with memories of friends and family.

Weatherproof outdoor snap fram photo with chandelier and fireplace

According the FTC, I need to let you know that I received products in this story at no cost in exchange for reviewing them.


I love the vintage vibe of this covered porch, what a great place to relax during the summer with a book and a tall glass of lemonade. It’s a neat combination to create this vintage feel with the antique birdcage, traditional shapes, floral pillows and striped cushion.

get the look vintage inspired porch

To recreate this look, I’ve rounded up a few items that will have you enjoying a lemonade on your porch in no time! I love the mixture of colors and patterns in pillows and throws from Lacefield Designs and Dwell Studio. The addition of pretty blue containers and plant life will really make your space feel cozy and refreshing. Enjoy! vintage inspired porch

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Shove and Rake Trellis

When walking through most suburban gardens I notice an alarming pattern; flatness. My eye is forced to stay firmly on the ground with no upward interest for the vertical. It feels like my eyeballs are in a straitjacket. No movement allowed and whatever you do, do not look up! Vertical gardening and upward placement of garden accessories allows your eye that rest and movement it needs while building more appealing interest for the garden visitor. Better yet, it enables you to save planting space and is suitable to an urban environment.

Want to learn how to build some upward interest? Below are three quick tips that will help inspire you to move-it-on-up in the garden.

Shawna Coronado's Vertical Side Garden

3 Quick Tips

Trellis Creativity – Trellis’s and vines are the easiest ways to grow your way up an unattractive wall. Have a tight budget? No problem. Try something beautifully unique like painting your old shovels and rakes and drilling them on to a fence (photo above). Plant beans, morning glories, or clematis and you have a gorgeous vertical solution.

Balcony Love – Do you have a balcony on your house? Why not attach the ground with the balcony by building upward interest? Below you see containers sitting on top of the balcony, small containers drilled into the bottom edge of the balcony, and several types of clematis climbing up the wall. Your eye is instantly lifted to new heights.

Hang It From A Tree – Trees are an active part of our garden and hanging a mass of matching garden accessories from one tree creates a focal point in the garden. In the bottom photo you see the creative idea one gardener came up with – hanging a birdhouse collection all in the same tree. Most people walking by this urban display are captivated for long minutes and stop to enjoy the uppity view.

Vertical Whimsy In The Garden Birdhouse Tree

Want to take the vertical garden idea even farther? Vertical Vegetable Gardening by Chris McLaughlinTry thinking outside the box and grow a vertical vegetable garden to help feed your family or community. A great book to reference is Vertical Vegetable Gardening by Chris McLaughlin. It teaches you how to discover the benefits of growing your fruit and vegetables up instead of out in order to save space.

Think creatively and build your own garden focused on different views and vertical opportunities which saves planting space and adds interest and whimsy to your garden plan.

According the FTC, I need to let you know that I received the book in this story at no cost in exchange for reviewing it.


Lady Fern and Halcyon Hosta

When I was young I loved visiting my grandmother’s shady perennial beds in central Indiana. They were filled with every leafy shape the mind could imagine, yet rarely a flower could be found. My grandmother taught me that there are other beautiful options that can bring just as much joy to your gardening heart. Both foliage and decorative glass offer colorful alternatives to the traditional blooming beds and I use them as much as I can in my own garden.

Foliage

Planning your foliage garden well means your garden can stay beautiful year round without flowers. Mixing leaf structures and plant heights adds interest. At the top you see Fern ‘lady fern’ mixed with Hosta ‘halcyon’ in my side garden at home. I love the blue of the hosta because it contrasts marvelously with the bright green of the soft, feathery-leaved ferns.

A favorite combination is to mix some coleus love into my shade vegetable containers. Lacinto Kale from Bonnie Plants and Coleus from Hort Couture’s ‘Under the Sea’ line make a fabulous color splash together. No flowers can be seen, but the foliage color is astounding and really adds to a shade patio container arrangement (see below).

Lacinto Kale with Coleus

Heuchera and Hosta

Mixing Heuchera and Hosta together can be a brilliant foliage combination. In the garden bed above you see a random bed plan of Heuchera ‘snow angel’ and Heuchera ‘beaujolais’ mixed with Hosta ‘krossa regal’, Hosta ‘gold standard’, and Hosta ‘half and half’.

wine bottle border

Glass

Bottle Tree along pathWant to keep your perennials in place while adding color and interest with glass? Bring whimsical glass accessories in to the garden beds. I have endless wine bottle paths (photo above) draped with ground cover and a fantastic bottle tree (photo right) I found at Carolee’s Herb Farm, a favorite stop whenever I am in central Indiana.

Bottle trees are a remarkably cool folk art brought from Africa and the Middle East centuries ago and were originally used to capture bad spirits. Now they capture color and light and bring a bit of joy to my suburban shade garden.

Below are two books I recommend to help you study up on filling your garden with color not found in a flower; Fine Foliage by Karen Chapman and Christina Salwitz is a delightful full color book which brings wonderful ideas for foliage color combinations, and Bottle trees.. and the Whimsical Art of Garden Glass by Felder Rushing is an outstanding full color celebration of creative glass-in-the-garden creations.

Bottle Trees Book and Fine Foliage Book

According the FTC, I need to let you know that I received products in this story at no cost in exchange for reviewing them.


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