Sprucing up the garden/homestead

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by HilltopDaisy, May 8, 2006.

  1. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm interested in ways that you have "prettied up" your land and gardens. I went visiting a few of my neighbors yesterday, giving away fresh eggs, and I was struck by the cute ideas some folks have come up with.

    One lady uses the white plastic trellis-type stuff that you can get at Home Depot (it comes in sheets). She used it as borders, in a circle on the ground, around several big, flowering bushes. They are about 18" tall and it looks so sharp, but "country". I guess they just slide them out of the way when they mow the grass. And all the lawns are beautiful (except mine! I usually let the sheep keep it cut). Some folks have benches in scenic spots, some have crystals hanging from tree branches, and/or cute little statues throughout the garden. I'm tired of my place looking so "functional". Do you have any decorative spots or perhaps a theme you'd share with us? TIA
     
  2. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Guest

    A well mulched garden with some flowers sprinkled throughout does it for me. I shrunk my garden size this year so I didn't plant any flowers in it, but last year I had marigolds and nasturtiums scattered throughout the tomatoes and peppers.

    .....Alan.
     

  3. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    I like simple and functional stuff with clean lines more than ornate or chaotic look about things, even though sometimes it is difficult to keep 'order'.

    Generally 'sprucing' up around here means keeping the grass areas cut. It shows off the trees and shrubs growing nicer also. Prune low dead branches is going to be the ongoing task for 'sprucing' up this spring, burning old brances and keeping the view clear.

    I like to use my wild landscape by having trails. Along these trails are natural landmarks such as large 'sitting boulders'. If I clear the pasture or woodlot areas around these places, they make nice sitting areas along the way. So many bugs here that outdoor 'sitting' isn't the best practical thing, so mostly that is indoors.
    I don't have it yet, but next year is a plan to develop a moon garden off the new deck. This year the main sprucing job is dead tree removal and probably lots of weeding and pruning. The row of 50 lilac bushes in a straight line curve down the hill making a nice depth for one area whether for strolling along or viewing at a distance. Also, the small pond keeps spruced up with some long cedar poles along one edge to make it interesting and fun for the dogs to balance and fool around on top of.
    Love to watch the barn swallows swoop in for their nest building and dragonflies are awesome in the pond. A good camera positioning area or 'platform' is a keen idea for that area I like to use. Nothing earthshattering, but also I cut a couple of circular areas in the overgrown pasture away from power lines that are ideal kite flying areas.
     
  4. MomOf4

    MomOf4 Well-Known Member

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    We are in the process of doing this, but here's the plan...

    1) clean up the junk left from renters over the years, and "stuff" we have accumulated
    2) get the buildings painted and looking nice, tear down the old, delapidated (sp?) ones
    3) make everything look as clean as possible (ie, get weedeater fixed and cut tall grass around trees, remove vines/poison ivy from all trees)

    We have used field stones to border the trees and flower beds. Our front porch is decorated with mismatched furniture with quilt throws, pillows with pretty fabrics, candles, and fresh cut flowers (when I have the time to pick them).

    In the back yard, we are working on "decorating" a nice area to have friends over, or sit and watch the kids swim in the pool (one of those above ground freestanding kinds). We are placing an old wood burning stove (that is not safe for interior use) out back to use as a chiminea, we found a large piece of wood that will make a great bench, walking paths made with carpet remnants covered with stone, or brick pavers, or free pieces of granite from the warehouse where they cut granite, etc.

    I am in the process of making hanging candle holders for all around the yard from jelly jars or chipped ball jars. I'll hang them with wire, put sand in them, and place a candle inside.

    We are going to disassemble the old outhouse, and rearrange and reassemble at the end of the driveway for the kids to use as a bus stop house to protect them from weather. I plan to paint it, and add window boxes with flowers, and make it look cute.

    Anything we do is usually free, or very cheap, it just takes time. All of my furniture on the front porch was given to us, or from my curbside shopping ventures. We got a table and umbrella while curbside shopping for our back "deck" which was built out of pallets and 1x4 boards as decking, and painted. A friend gave us the patio chairs we use on the back deck. Field stones came from our fields, we have bricks lying around, etc. I get all my paint as mis-tints (or oops paint) from the paint stores for $1/gallon.

    It's all a matter of creativity...
     
  5. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    I have a few pink flamingos, a garden gnome and one concrete indian chief guy. I didn't choose any of this stuff, my kids have brought them home, but I've sort of gotten attached to them all.

    Jena
     
  6. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Guest

    That's where all the plastic whirly gigs, bees, flowers, etc in my drive way flower bed have come from - humoring my oldest daughter.

    Probably only gonna get worse when the youngest is able to say, "Daddy, can we get that for the garden?"

    But they'll only be at an age to ask for such things for a little while so I'll humor them.

    .....Alan.
     
  7. Lynne

    Lynne Well-Known Member

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    Lets see - two pin oaks that were a pain to mow around = Day lilies and daffodils 2/3 of a way around base about 2 foot deep and a wrought iron bench and table. Then I could sit in the shade and watch the girls in the pool or just a place to sit after I jumped in the pool to cool off from working in the garden. The other tree has lilies and bulbs all the way around. Plus if you get to close when mowing it's not really hurting anything, what's a few daylilies. Then there the home made wooden swing set they out grew - got tired of mowing around that, too. So now it is a bird garden, bird bath, hanging feeders, planters and houses. Plants that the hummers will like and shrubs so the birds can hide from the cats. The back joins to the now gone pool, no weed eating or mowing. Now, what to do with that big flat, sandy, 24 foot round area, with a four foot retaining wall at the back by the bird garden? Raised beds for veggies! We have the beds done all around the wall and plan on building two more beds in the center this winter, once done I'll fill the walk way with deep mulch.
    LynnE
     
  8. gilberte

    gilberte Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I thought we only had those in Maine :D Two or three pink flamingos and a tripod made out of trees with a car engine suspended from it really complete the look :)
     
  9. CraftyDiva

    CraftyDiva Is anybody here?

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    Year before last I did a morning glory tree, just to see if I liked or could do it. Went so well, last year I did a row of them down the drive. What you do is take a broken or old umbrella remove the fabric so you just have the skeleton. Next remove the curved handle, shove that down a piece of pipe. I just pounded the pipe into the ground and then added the umbrella skeleton. Planted some morning glory seeds around the pipe and let nature take it's course. Morning glories vine up the pipe, fill out the open umbrella spokes and take on the appearence of a flowering tree. Had a nosey neighbor send her hubby over to find out where I got the morning glory tree. Told him I just bought the seeds and planted them. LOL........ week later he comes around again and asks where I got the seeds, his wife is on his back and he can't find them anywhere. Took pity on the poor guy (he's really nice, the wife's another story) and told him how to do it.

    Saw this done at a garden show and always wanted to try it.
     
  10. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    One of the trucks delivering fill backed into the mailbox...So far I have only put a deck rail against it to help hold it up. The plan is to plant morning glories to fill in around the mailbox base and climb up the rail...but I haven't got that far yet. I also throw flowered sheets over the rockers on the porch to unify them as they are way different types and colors. I cheated by hanging silk begonias and ferns in baskets on the porch. I killed the real ones early on by forgetting to water them. I use container plants to add color to the fern beds and hang a wreath on the front door.

    How can I make the firepit less utilitarian? It is just cement blocks with paver stones around the outside perimeter, but it is in a nice location by the pond.
     
  11. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I stayed here long enough to get paid back for transplanting this!!

    I put a clematis from a house being torn down (the one we were meant to move into) in here 4 years ago, a few dozen pink blooms total past 3 years. This year it's grown in earnest into the apple tree and already hundreds buds will be blooming next week as the apple reaches its peak. It's right out the front door and I dumped all my grease on it and a lot of old milk.

    The honeysuckle on the other side of the door (also transplanted before demolition) has been vigorous and fragrant since year two. Another rescue item was a wheelbarrowful of strawberries. Easy to birdnet too. I'll miss it- hope someone else treasures it as I have.
     
  12. Chris in PA

    Chris in PA Well-Known Member

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    I have a old large umbrella we used over the table on the deck. Wonder if I can talk my DH into using it like that. It would look really cool in the back yard! And give us a shady place to sit......
     
  13. Linda H

    Linda H Missouri Ozarks

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  14. Linda H

    Linda H Missouri Ozarks

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    Go to a tile store and smile nicely. Ask them if they have any tiles that are out dated or one of a kind. They usually give them to you or charge like 3.00 for a hug box of them. Buy yourself some glue like Goop or E6000. Glue your tile on the bricks. Its not winter proof, but who cares. You'll probably evolve and want different colors next year anyway.

    Also you can take scrap wood, and glue a few tiles on the front side. In order to make them stand up straight, I bought those huge metal spikes, painted them black and drove two in front. the dirt inside it holds it up on the inside. I'd ran out of scrap so I bought pressure treated 10''x 10ft. cut it in half. put a brick with a tile on the ends and I had a cheap flower bed for 7.00
     
  15. Dixielee

    Dixielee Well-Known Member

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    We had a neighbor who had a pink toilet in the front yard surrounded by plastic pink flamingos. One was posed with his beak in the toilet as if he were drinking. The others were just milling around the bowl. I just about cracked up everytime we passed by.

    I would not necessarily recommend this, but if you want to stop traffic...... :hobbyhors
     
  16. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    I like the flamingo toilet. How funny. I'll have to see what kind of junk I have that can be used as yard art.

    I want more flamingos. I have three and that is not enough. I am tackier than that!

    Jena
     
  17. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Personally, I don't think a few well-placed pink flamingos is tacky! Yard Art, that's what I was looking for! I have several outbuildings painted in the same boring shade of green, and I'd love to paint murals of overflowing cornucopias or paisleys or sunshine or something wild. I guess I'm just dipping my toe in the water here with a little plastic squirrel statue! I love hearing about what you all are doing, thanks!
     
  18. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I like to see height added to a garden. I'd like to make some rustic obelisks for clematis to grow up. In the future I want there to be lot's of trellises for roses, etc. on our home.
     
  19. SouthBoundGal

    SouthBoundGal Member

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    I pass by a house that has an old jon boat turned into a flower garden, looks really nice with trailing flowers spilling over the sides. I haven't done it yet, but I want to try the same thing with an old wheelbarrow I have.
    I have an old stump in my yard. I decided it was easier to 'decorate' it than to remove it. At first, I turned it into a birdbath by setting an extra large decorative bowl on the top. That didn't quite do it for me, so I set a planter full of petunias on it instead and hung a small bird feeder from a rod and set it in the middle of the planter. Eventually I want to hollow out the top of the stump and plant the flowers directly in there. I'm thinking of planting some flowers around the stump also, but it looks nice the way it is for now.
     
  20. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    I put a wire border around a rusty wheelbarrow, filled the wheelbarrow with dirt and planted herbs. I sneak small pots of marigolds in for color and hang a pretty plastic watering can over one of the handles. It's a small enough garden bed that I can maintain it easily. My kids sneak Happy Meal toys in regularly. I once found the cowboy from Toy Story, smiling wildly and pointing to a wooden cross. I'm not sure if he was happy to be born again or had just buried an enemy!