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Garden Art...from Trash?
by Jane Parr-Whitehead 
  April begs me to do something outdoors! How about you? The weather is about right all over the USA for gardening. Besides planning what to put into your garden as far as plants, you need to think of the special additions that make a garden unique.
Gardens need "bones" to ground them. No pun intended! Garden sculptures, hedges, specimen trees, and shrubs all help make good bones!
Now what about those extra touches that make your garden distinctively yours? Below is a list of ideas that you can use with your own twists to create all kinds of garden goodies for your own garden, or to give as gifts!
Broken plates-don't throw away those chipped plates, especially the pretty ones! Stick them into the garden with the chipped parts hidden by the dirt. Alone or grouped, they make a statement! Uneven numbers work best.
Mirrors and Cds-reflective surfaces attract birds and are fun in the sunlight. Make mobiles and hang from tree limbs! With a large mirror, one can place it against a fence, behind the plants and enjoy the reflections of your garden lighting. Our dog uses our big mirror to scope out squirrels without being seen. Funny to watch! She crawls into the greenery beneath the trees and watches in the mirror for any unsuspecting squirrel to enter the bed. She hasn't caught any yet but she sure likes to chase them!
More mirrors!-broken mirrors can be found in the trash and snatched for use in your garden. Glue with mirror adhesive to fences, garden sheds, and anywhere you want to make a space look larger. Use the pieces in a loose mosaic form and you have a one of a kind piece of art!
Rusted metal anything-the rusted look is very "in" now and metal can be found easily. Use your imagination and use large rusted metal car parts, old gates, iron grates from demolished old homes, and any metal you can get your hands on to create unique garden elements. If you cannot cut or weld these yourself, try finding someone who can and offer to trade a piece of garden art for their work.
Fabric-how about an old beach umbrella that you strip down to the bare spokes and cover with silk greenery and tiny Christmas lights? Inserted into the ground where light and a bit of fun are needed, the look is very "partyish"! Even better if you drape tulle, chiffon, netting, etc. over the umbrella! Swagged like you were draping a scarf over your shoulders. If it is to be a permanent fixture, use it as a trellis! Wonderful with lights!
More fabric-these same fabrics can be used to make "tent like" areas for the private enjoyment of your family. While not usually found in trash bins, the fabric can be had very inexpensively in close out bins at fabric stores. Bamboo poles make the structure. Even more dramatic beside a pool. An informal cabana!
Pottery-broken pottery is found at garden centers and nurseries. Sweet talk them into letting you have some! Large broken pots look great as is, or can be faux painted to look as though they are centuries old. Or try smaller pieces glued together to make a sculpture all your own. Paint, glue mirrors or tile pieces to make a mosaic, or leave as is. Make this large enough to make a "statue" in your garden! You can add the necessary "works" to make this a fountain!
Lamp stands-old lamps taken apart, tall stands of any kind, and anything that you can add that is tall and slender can be weatherproofed to make a grouping of candle stands for the garden. Again, three, five, or seven work best. With or without candles, these are attractive and catch the eye! Especially among low growing flowers. Or you can line your driveway with these for a luminary look!
Fence Posts-an old, tall, but sturdy fence post makes a great pole for use as a flag hanger. Just screw the hardware into the post. Mine has plant hangers and a small lantern hung from it also. A welcoming sight!
Potpourri of Ideas-Are we there yet? Are your creative juices flowing? Here are some off the wall ideas. Do you have a broken box fan? The square grates are wonderful for painting and hanging as faux gates, wall decor, or wherever your imagination takes you! Snip out a design from the grate for an even better look.
Have an old touchier lamp? It too is great for painting and "planting" in the garden, decked out with plants on the top. Bury the bottom to keep it from tipping, or you can add concrete to the base. Look around the house and garage and see with new eyes. Check out the dumpsters and the neighbors trash! Old TV tables can be cut out for plant pots to sit down in. How about window frames? Old pool balls, golf gear, fishing gear, boat parts and oars, wooden anything! Some of these things need to be painted with clear or colored outdoor spray paints to keep them looking good, whether the look is "old" or new.
A note: Always think about this...in some places, taking something from someone's trash or going through a dumpster, is illegal. Please check local ordinances before you take a chance. And, another thing to keep in mind...sometimes you may find people with "not so nice" intentions hanging around dumpsters. All I am saying is...always be careful! Happy Decorating!
About the Author:
Jane Parr-Whitehead has been a professional Home Decorator for over 15 years. She now offers "Home Decorating via the Internet" from her site. Editor of a Home Decorating Newsletter, once a month, enjoy reading about Home Decorating, Decorating Childrens rooms, Animal Print Decorating, and much more. Visit her site at

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Garden Room Decorating on a Dime
By Kathleen Wilson

Today when we talk about garden rooms, the line between inside and
outdoors can be blurred. After all, we are bringing more of the
outdoors in, and also decorating our outdoor spaces more like rooms.
So here are some great ideas for either space, to add the charm of the garden wherever your room might lie!

1. Create a focal point for the room that illustrates the garden theme, whether that be a view of your roses from the front porch, or just a great painting of them in your den. You want the first thing that people notice about your room to scream "garden"! Direct your furnishings and activites around that focal point to give it importance.

Some budget ideas for focal points?

  *A collection of painted pots, piled in a attractive way
  *Old garden tools hung on the wall in a grouping
  *A view through your window at the garden outdoors
  *Frame a large piece of floral fabric, and hang as art 
  *Paint your own landscape, Bob Ross books make it easy even for  the beginner, check your library
  *A fireplace mantel lined with bud vases and a single flower in each one

2. Use garden friendly colors in your room. Paint your room in colors you would find in a garden...daffodil yellows, cool greens, sky blues...you get the idea. Sometimes the easiest way to choose your colors is to pick them from a garden picture or fabric in the room.
Use one color through 60% of the room, the second through 30%, and the third accent through just 10% of the room. This gives a good balance to the room. Remember to spread the colors evenly throughout.

3. Plants! What would a garden room be without plants? Whether your room is outdoors or inside, some creative containers can make it possible to add color and life to your garden room. Planters can be expensive, so consider using some less obvious choices.

  *Plastic buckets can easily be painted with craft paints or the mew
  *Fusion" spary paint
  *Baskets can be lined with plastic and filled with plants
  *Old chiped soup tureens
  *Rusted wheelbarrows or wagons
  *Build simple boxes with scrap pile wood
  *Even your old teapot tucked full with a pretty fern can add garden charm!

4. Create natural accessories. Pretty things created from nature will only add to the richness of your garden tapestry.

  *Glue dried flowers to a straw wreath
  *Fill a dish with river rocks
  *Paint large stones with inspirational words, such as "Beauty" or "Faith"
  *Use twigs and a glue gun to create rustic "frames".
  *Buy dollar shop picture frames and fill with garden catalog photos
  *Fill a basket with nuts or pinecones, add a few seedpods and a shiny stone or two, and display on a table, next to a door, or on a
fireplace hearth.

5. Lastly, remember to keep the spirit of your garden room alive by touching on all the senses! The fresh fragrance of flowers you have tended, the taste of sweet fruit from Mother Nature, the sound of joyful children...now what can be more natural that that?

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--Beware of Snapdragons--

--Gardens are not made by sitting in the shade--
--My husband said if I buy any more perennials he would leave me...gosh, I'm going to miss that man!--