Thursday, May 27, 2010

Outdoor living a la mode - inexpensive ways to add interest to your garden

Last week, in my OM post, I talked about a little outdoor vignette on my front porch.  I get excited each spring when it's time to pull out my garden decorations and furniture. Every year, I switch things around and begin anew looking forward to many lazy evenings in the yard. Here are some ideas I try to incorporate each year:
I look for bargains at second hand stores and in my garden centers. The chairs above are Pottery Barn chairs that originally cost $499 each. I found these at a yard sale for $100 each...a steal!! My table is made from a pot I bought for $20 and a glass top I found somewhere (don't remember where, but I'm sure it was free). I stuffed paper in the pot, filled the top half with white sand and river rocks. 

I do not have a green thumb.  I've found hearty perennials that require little care from me.  I fill a few posts with annuals to add color to my deck and patio.  The orange day lilies came from my mother -in-law's yard.  She thinned hers out and gave them to me. They've grown so much that I need to thin them out and plant some in the front yard. 

The boys and I made C these garden stepping stones for Father's Day in 2004.  You can find kits at the local craft store or make your own by using stepping stone molds and concrete mix (which is what I did).  I let the boys design their pavers with trinkets, marbles, and anything meaningful to them.  They used Legos, tiles, glass, beads, etc.  I had them put impressions of their feet, tiny then, into the pavers and sign their names.  These stepping stones have been out in the garden, leading up to my bird bath, since then.  They may be the most meaningful things to me in the whole garden. 

Additionally, the boys and I put up prayer flags every other year.  When the flags are worn to loose threads, we burn the old ones and replace them with new ones.  This signifies our prayers going out into the world.  Visit my previous post about them and see an easy peace flag project for kids here.

Little details in my garden make me happy.  I bought these two ceramic happy Buddhas from a local store for $8.00 each.  They've travelled all over the yard and bring a smile to my face each time I look at them.  The wooden wind spiral came from a local Asian antiquity store.  It was $10.00 and is mesmerizing to watch as it twirls in the wind.

The pay off to a nice garden is, of course, what Mother Nature brings to the picture.  This year, we've already found a nest with a robin's egg in our bamboo (yes, the same bamboo that gives me grief as seen in this post) and a nest of hungry robins.  These were little surprises that I didn't have to purchase, prune, or plan for and they were wonderful!


  1. Ooh, what a wonderful outdoor space. ANd what a fabulous yard sale find...I never have finds like that!

  2. This was a really wonderful post, I love everything about your garden!

  3. My dream is to have a year round living/dining room. Not sure if that will ever happen, but I can wish.

    Thanks, all.

  4. Great ideas. I love the table! How creative! :)


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