Copper and Cedar Trellises 

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In my previous post, I mentioned that the contractor building my new retaining wall made several changes to the wall design. One of these changes involved the integrated stairs. The original design, which had been approved by the city, included a landing level with the planting beds.

 

 

 

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Unfortunately, because of the change made by the contractor, the stairs were considered unsafe. I needed some type of railing or wall to keep small children from falling off the side of the stairs. The idea of putting in an ugly wooden wall or boring metal railing was not very appealing.

After thinking about this problem, I came up with an idea for a trellis to be placed on either side of the stairs. These trellises would be made of cedar and copper to match one I had made two years ago for my backyard.

 

A couple of solar caps for each side and a clematis to vine up the copper and my problem stairway was no longer a problem.

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Front Yard Redo

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Sadly, things just don’t last forever.  With our house being nearly thirty years old, many of the existing features are wearing out and needing to be replaced.  Last fall, the carpet in the living room and dining room was replaced with maple hardwood flooring, making a big change to front part of the house.  A big improvement!

The next big project on my list was to replace the retaining wall and landscaping in our front yard. Interlocking retaining wall blocks, when originally designed, were meant to last about 20 years.  Our wall was built in 1989 and was definitely showing its age.  Over the past five years, several of the blocks had deteriorated.  When a block in the center of the wall would break down, I would remove it and transfer a block from the ends of the wall, covering the gap in the exposed ends with landscape rock.  This strategy worked for a while.  But ultimately, I could no longer postpone replacing the wall.  Too many of the blocks were now crumbling.

So, over the winter I designed my new wall, sought estimates from contractors for removing and replacing the old wall, and had everything set to go when spring arrived.  On May 2nd, I started working on prepping the yard for the contractor to come.  This involved relocated as much of the landscaping rock as I could dig out, and moving my perennials to our back yard in an attempt to save them for replanting in the new landscaping.

The contractor started on May 11th, with the removal of four large trees and the existing retaining wall.  The following Monday, he started to dig out for the new wall. Unfortunately, it started to rain mid-afternoon. . . and continued to rain for the next ten days.  Every day, the contractor would come and pump out the water hoping that he could start working on building the wall.  But, ever day the rain continued to fall.

Finally, when he was able to start, it was just before Memorial Day.  So, our wall, which was supposed to be completed by May 20th, wasn’t done until June 2nd.  And, to top off my frustration, the contractor kept making changes to the shape of the wall. Some of the changes I accepted, because to redo them would have set the project back several more days.  So, every change in the wall meant a change in the plant design that I had been planning.

After the contractor was done, I was able to take over.  Shrubs were planted, perennials transplanted from the back yard to the new front  yard, mulch spread, brick edging placed around all of the planting areas, and black dirt spread over the yard areas. A large maple tree was planted by Arbor Hills Tree Farm (glad I was home the day that they came as it was amazing to watch them dig and plant the tree in less than thirty minutes). After having part of our front sidewalk replaced and new sod installed, the project was done.

After adding some decorative elements, my front yard is now complete.  So, here are some before and after pictures as well as a short video of the project.

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Garden Art – Fused glass flowers and butterflies. 

I’ve recently shared some of my art projects for my gardens. Over the years I have enjoyed making several other projects. This year, having to  redo a worn out front yard (retaining walls and plantings), I am relocating some of my older pieces of art.

So, I decided to post a few pictures of some flowers and butterflies that I made in the past.

Enjoy the images!

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Perpetual Watering Can

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I’m not sure where I originally saw this idea, but at the time, I really liked it.  So,  when I noticed a tin watering can on clearance at a local craft store, I thought that I would try to make one for my yard.IMG_2273

Supplies:  Watering Can, Beads, Fishing Line, button and hot glue.  Total cost was about $15.

The beads were strung on fishing line that was then threaded through the holes in the watering can spout.  To secure the beaded strands the the watering can, the fishing line was tied to a button that was larger than the hole inside the can.  The button was then hot glued to the inside of the can.IMG_2327

I was originally thinking of planting a flower inside the can, but when handing the watering can in nearly sideways, so I’m not sure that a plant would stay.  I may try to change how the watering can hangs, but haven’t come up with a good way to hang it at an angle.  Any suggestions?

 

Fused Glass Mushroom

I have accumulated a long list of ideas for glass projects that I want to try.  Having recently replaced the landscaping in my front yard, I decided to try one of these ideas and add some new “art” to my perennial garden.

Fused glass mushrooms are one of the fun ideas that was on my list.  The ones that I have seen, the caps were created using pre-made patterned glass that is cut into a circle and then slumped into the shape of a mushroom.  For the stems, some were made with blown glass, others with PVC pipe.  But, the ones that I really liked were made with the top half of recycled bottles.

After completing a few pot melts, I decided that these would make great mushrooms. Also, by using scrap glass and recycled bottles, this would be an inexpensive craft.

I thought it would be fun to add some spots to the mushroom caps.  To make these, I first made some glass pebbles. The nice thing about glass is that it naturally settles to a quarter inch in thickness and prefers a round shape.  So, small pieces of glass were stacked and full fused.

These pebbles were then placed on top of one of my pot melt discs and full fused again.

After cooling the disc was placed on a slumping form.  For some of my mushrooms, I used a stainless steel form.

For others, I used a clay form.  I prefer the shape of the mushroom made with the clay mold, but the others turned out very nice as well.

To make the stems, I used a Kinkajou bottle cutter to cut the bottom off of wine bottles and sparkling cider bottles.

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As you can see below, both types of bottles look nice. However, I prefer the sparkling cider bottles because the nice green color is more visible in the mulch of my flower garden.

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