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One-of-a-kind garden art graces an untraditional backyard. Homeowner, Dave, who has a self-professed black thumb, turned to plastic cast-offs, such as Hula hoops, cheap toys, and pot scrubbers, to add color and life to the yard he shares with his wife and three children.
Mini mirrored disco balls create sparkly centers for the shiny red, yellow, and orange plastic petals.
Dave worked by moonlight, after his children were in bed, breaking up tile and positioning it on a leftover redwood pillar. He confessed that half the time, he'd later realize he'd laid the tile wrong side down because he couldn't see well in the dark.
This serpent-esque creation is decorated with yellow tiles and grey and white pebbles and slithers along a short rock wall.
Dave recommends experimentation. Because there is no set of rules or instructions, you can let your creativity guide you. Also, using cheap materials makes it much less heartbreaking when something doesn't turn out how you'd hoped.
Dave finds fun and quirky materials at dollar stores, toy sections of box stores, and through surprising sources, such as road maintenance suppliers. Because he doesn't have any formal art training, Dave finds it works best to let the materials inspire his work.
Over time, Dave has created a colorful studio filled with items he's collected: colorful tubing, bits of cheap bits plastic and glass, marbles, sheets of plastic, and anything that Dave might one day reinvent or reuse in one of his creations.
"This is all trial and error," Dave says. When melting plastics with a blowtorch didn't work, he turned to an atypical art tool: his barbeque. Some may have raised their eyebrows at his choice, but Dave was much happier with his results.
Dave suggests letting criticism from others roll off your back. In the end, if you feel happy when you step into your backyard, that's what matters. "Believe me," Dave says, "no one has ever said to me, 'Could you come and do this in my yard?'"
A collection of orange, lime green, and blue foam noodles pop against a dull wooden fence. Grouping similar pieces together is the key to making a bold impact.
It's also smart to make garden art of various sizes and heights to create layers of visual depth and levels.
There are a few places in Dave's backyard where plastic meets nature. Trees are surrounded by giant mounds of royal blue and green aquarium gravel. Black PVC tubing works as an untraditional border.
Around a tree, grasses shoot from twisted blue, yellow, and lime green hoses topped with bright pot scrubbers.
A mosaic circle around the base of a tree provides a cool and shady place to sit. Jagged white tiles surround cute and colorful flowers: teal with orange centers, red with purple centers, and green with yellow centers. A red and yellow border encircles the design.
Overall, Dave is amused by the interest he's received for his unique garden art, "My wife is the one with the fine arts degree," he laughs, "She's the talented one. She's the one with the taste!"
Many marvel at Dave's imagination, originality, and resourcefulness, but, at the end of the day, he still refuses to call it art. "This is not art. This is just goofiness-- a great big, fun experiment."
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