Interior & Exterior Solutions That Fit!

The Progressive Garden - Designing Obstructions (Part 2 of Series)

It's almost unbelievable, but hidden under this jungle is a large stump that is still growing its branches.  Now we all remember from "The Origins" post of this series that this area was cleaned up.  (Refer to part 1 of "The Progressive Garden" if you missed it.) Fortunately for me, this is just a rental property, and I don't plan on spending a lot of money on my design; however, want it to look the best it can, that I decided the stump must stay.  At first, it appeared as an obstruction, but soon enough it turned into a highlight of my garden - showcasing some amazing inspiration that was built around it. (please continue - you'll understand why.)

As you can see below, the garden is well underway.  I have cleaned up the space, and added more of that "color pop", and even an inexpensive, (temporary), border to hold in the mound of dirt I added to the top of the rocks, which creates great drainage - especially for a region that is prone to rain, such as Florida.  I have also added some benches at just under $30 for material, and afforded the cushions through a dear friend of mine that was in the need of a new patio set - free of charge, as long as I haul them all away. If I told you that my coffee table, as unique as it is, was a telephone pole and an ottoman, would you believe me?  Well, it is - This is just me working with what I have. LOL :)

The stump still presented a problem however.  It was continuously sprouting up branches and disorienting my vision.  I turned to at this point.  I needed to find a way to stunt its growth, but was now falling in love with this feature.  I did not want to rid of it, but work around it.  I was informed from this great website that if I was to take copper nails and pound them into the edge of the stump in a circular pattern; approximately 1/2" apart, they would oxidize and stop the growth.  I must say it worked.  I am happy to tell you, I have a stunted stump, that I love! :)

Now that the stump was no longer an issue, I was facing another problem, my plants were displaced, and lacking texture against this concrete wall.  I needed height.  I decided on this lovely fence design that would create flow and height without disrupting the space, at around $20.  As you can see the low end of this fence guides you to the higher end and around the corner of the structure.  Who said fences were only for division?!   I knew the plants would blossom nicely and hide the higher ends openness, so that was never a concern.  It has a nice flow, but needed a color to contrast against this plain beige wall.  I had the perfect solution in stock!

If you know me, you know I love my deep mahogany stain.  It added nice contrast to this little patch, and the plants began to pop from the dismal, boring, blending colors to show true life.  Now a note, places like Home Depot, Lowe's and True Value have clearance racks in their gardening section that you can find these wonderful vibrant plants for just $2 - $5.  Just know that they do not have any green on them, or very little when you purchase them.  I call it their "T.L.C. Rack".  Sometimes the plants do not survive a few days after purchase, but you can always take them back.  I was lucky and they blossomed nicely along with some loners from friends like the Elephant Ears shown here.  Elephant Ears are natives and favorite in this region.  Asking your friends for plants that they may have an abundance of is sometimes best, and a simple free solution.  Some plants continue to spread, and without proper maintenance, they will overcome your space. So be careful, and make sure you have the time for proper care.

Its always a good idea to add some potted plants to your garden, as you can see in this image.  It creates an inverted contrast to the ground planted and helps maintain a slow growth for plants that are subject to spread and overwhelm your garden. I've now added caps to my fence that allowed me to display my trinket items providing character to the space.  As you can see, I planted some bamboo rods in a fashion that represents an interior space - again character! Space planning is very important, but sometimes we just do not have all the necessities available to add these little features that make our space cohesive, and have to create them on our own making it a custom fit.  Never let an empty space discourage you, turn to online, magazines and your local neighbors. It's always a great solution to visit your local thrift shops for inspiration.  Thrift Shop items are inexpensive; although, not always replaceable, but can provide nice fillers when needed.  They may also help you develop new ideas that are waiting to come out!  I know all my local thrift shop owners by first name, and receive many discounts at the register during checkout.  Some great local thrift shops are AJ's Beds and Mattress warehouse, Kimberly Home and Thrift Station Too.  These are local to Largo, Clearwater and Dunedin, but I encourage you to get to know your local owners.  They will take care of you, and appreciate your business!

Now that we have reviewed and showcased this area, lets take a step back and see a collective unit.BEFORE  AFTER

Nicely done, I must add.  "But Wait There Is More!" :) You can see a small sneak peak of our next posting here to the right.  We are going to explore the "Urban Living Technique" and how to live off the land, especially when when that land is limited to its space.  you'll learn how to maximize your space in an upward fashion!  I developed a great solution for creating barriers without obstructing your space, but adding to it.

Please stay tuned to this series, as I am sure your are going to enjoy our next few posts! Regards,


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