Copper Garden Art

Owning a house in the suburbs, we have a few utility boxes visible in the corners of our front yard. In one corner of our property, adjacent to the driveway, is the large electrical utility box. This box is mostly on our neighbor’s property, so I have not done anything to block the view of it.

However, in the other corner of our yard are the cable and telephone utility boxes. Since these are mostly on our property, a few years ago, I made some decorative screens to help them visually blend with the landscaping. Around the telephone box, I made a mini fence by attaching cedar pickets to several pieces of metal strapping that can be lifted up for easy access to the box.

Around the cable box, I placed a trellis that I made out of copper piping. To help camouflage the box, each spring I would plant morning glories to grow on the trellis.

This worked really well the first two years after I made it. However, when the cable company would need to access their utility box, they would uproot the morning glories. Unfortunately, this has happened each of the past three years, and this year it was only a few weeks after planting the morning glories. Instead of replacing the plants, I decided to try something different to make the trellis more appealing.

A while ago, I had made a piece of decorative art for the side wall of my garden shed. This wall sculpture was made out of pieces of copper pipe soldered together. Leaves were cut out of copper sheeting and soldered to heavy copper wire that was then twisted and soldered to the main copper framing.

Using this earlier project as inspiration, I decided to add some leaves and butterflies to the trellis surrounding the cable box. The leaves were cut out of left over pieces of heavy copper sheeting from my original project. The butterflies were cut out of a slightly lighter weight copper that I recently purchased.

To speed up the aging process, I sprayed these new pieces of copper with ammonium sulfate (Miracle Grow) and set them in bright sunlight for a day.

The butterflies turned a lovely shade of green. Unfortunately, the older copper used for the leaves did not patina very well. I guess I will need to wait and see what happens over time. These copper leaves and butterflies were attached with wire to the original trellis and placed back around the utility box (see photo at beginning of this post).

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