You have read and heard me say many times that you should utilize every bit of your landscape, and use it in unexpected ways. Add depth, color range, personality, imaginative elements. You also know that I enthuse about adding features to your design, and not just settling for a predictable bit of annual color corralled by grass. What if, through time, you have added components—such as pots and urns full of growing plants, or water features—and you’ve grown tired of the constant upkeep? Or they’ve aged and fallen into decline? What next do you try to keep your garden rooms fresh and unexpected? Well, use what you have, but in a different way.
Adding planted containers to the landscape is the perfect way of adding depth to your design. But you don’t have to fill them each with something growing, year after year. You can empty the pot and fill it with found objects, or a collection of something you have not currently being used.
This urn is full of blue glass Christmas ornaments, which not only gives it new purpose, but also makes use of something we all seem to have: extra ornaments no longer used in our holiday design. Languishing in a box, they served no use, but piling them in an urn outdoors gives them new life. It didn’t cost a penny and doesn’t need constant care. And isn’t the blue a nice complement to what’s growing around it?
Please take a good look at this photo. Nice, isn’t it? Formal planting, surrounded by flagstone, statue added for depth and interest. Good layering of formal planting elements as well. Liriope serves as border, boxwood for anchor, hosta for foliage contrast, and finally seasonal color to lift the design. Just what you’d expect from a chic, discreet—and expensive—landscape element. And no casual observer, or guest on a stroll, would ever know that this area was once a fountain, ringed by liriope and a little bit of color. Yes, the remains of a fountain lies beneath this multi-dimensional planting.
The backstory is simple; the fountain sprang a leak. Water features are great, but can become time consuming and high maintenance, and finally, costly. Instead of removing the fountain, we jackhammered the bottom, so it now had drainage. We installed six inches of gravel, placed weed fabric on top of that, then covered with good soil. We used a rich, well-draining mix, not heavy topsoil. The design is completely formal, which matches the fountain’s original use. Adding plants, and following the lines of the fountain meant not only making perfect new use of the space, but also a clever one. How cool is that.
The typical investment of time and money means we all want to get maximum use out of every element in our landscape. Just because something no longer serves its original purpose doesn’t mean you have to tear it all out and reconfigure, or pay for new installation. Use what you have, and keep using it. But do it in unexpected ways. To repurpose bits and pieces of your landscape means making it all work over time. And time is something precious to us all.
Live Life to the Fullest,