Building cool things for the Garden

harmonypDecember 9, 2012

I see prices in the stores for trellises and arbors and borders, and other garden structures, and they are insane. I started building my own trellises as soon as I got my first climbing roses and vines. It's fun and quite easy. Recently I've been looking at borders to get ideas. I cannot believe how pricey the little 2' sections of wood picket fence are, or the metal decorative borders. I'd really like to upgrade my borders (tacky right now), and I've been eyeballing these pointed stakes in the building sections of Lowes - 1 1/2', 2', + 1"x1" - bundles of 25 really inexpensive, and thinking about different materials to go between them. I'm also starting to think about whether to create my own fountain, or to purchase one. Reasonably priced fountains can be found, so I'm not sure which way I'll go on that one. And then, also thinking about building simple archways. I see premade wood archways with about $10 of material for over $100!

Wondering how many people do "build their own" structures and such for their gardens? Photos would be great.

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Campanula UK Z8

Yeah, we always build our own but, to be fair, they vary from the totally utilitarian ( using whatever materials we can scavenge to building for customers (and, since they are paying us, things take on a much more elaborate significance). Even if I were minted, the DIY ethos is deeply embedded and not always rooted in cost or availability but mainly in knowing that we are always going to do a better job if we spent money on materials instead of a finished article (forgive a bit of trumpeting my virtues - they are few enough to have no need of modesty)

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 6:12PM
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My last arches we built were 4x4s covered in heavy wire. Once the roses are mature you don't really see the supports much.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 6:52PM
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I've posted this before, but these are my trellis for New Dawn. They are 3/8" scrap steel and what you see is the left over piece after smaller custom pieces were cut from it. I have a metal guy (he did the porch covers) who had them in his junk heap where I spotted them. He trimmed them down on one side then welded on side rails that go a couple feet into the ground. So *I* didn't make them, but anyone handy with an acetylene torch could have. I bet GW has a forum for that!

I wouldn't say they were "cheap," but probably a lot less expensive than you might think. Basically, I paid him for a few hours of his time. Being steel they'll probably outlive me. I like that they are kind of quirky and unusual, it keeps people guessing...

FYI the ND were gallon plants put in a year previously and selected before I discovered the forum. The original hope was to send them up over the roofs, but she's a real thorny beotch and there's a water spigot in the center of one of those walls--bad planning on my part! So I'm thinking they are going to get relocated to the back fence line where they can sprawl to there hearts content and I don't have to fight with them!

This post was edited by subk3 on Sun, Dec 9, 12 at 19:28

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 7:26PM
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Very pretty, Sub.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 11:31PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

My experience is you don't save that much money but you do get a far more sturdy structure in the size you want. Pre-mades are often stapled instead of screwed together and not big enough for California-sized roses. When you build your own you can build a lot stronger and bigger.

Fountains, same thing, you can make your own, and far better than purchased, it takes knowledge and research more than anything else. An external pump rather than a submerged pump saves electricity, submerged pumps are cheaper but don't last nearly as long. A new trend is a soft fountain powered by an air pump instead of a water pump. Big savings on electricity that way.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 12:03PM
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My DH (who is a general contractor) built this archway over the path into our side garden - it is about 10 feet long. The bushes have grown over the top of it, and I am trying to convince a couple of roses to do so also, although it is pretty shady.


    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 12:06PM
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WOW Jackie - that archway is SO incredibly beautiful. Structures - bird bathes, benches, archways - they add such depth and personality to a garden. Can I have your husband please? Trade him for a few horses?

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 12:14PM
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We have built a small apple tree and blueberry garden from a terraced area and dh built an arbor for me at the top of the steps into it. The roses are very young so aren't visible yet. There are also roses planted behind the small apple trees, and I hope this winter to clean out some more of the ferns and underbrush and put in a wire and post fence to plant some ramblers along.

Not so much built as rebuilt from an old junk shop door and a $5 window from Lowe's, I'm trying to build a garden around the backside of our old garage so it looks like an entry garden. It still looks fake and sure hasn't fooled the UPS man yet. Maybe when the plants grow larger it will look more "natural" or "real." There's a small black paper cat and a curtain of some plastic fabric in the window, along with some shutters made from old boards. It has Christmas lights and a wreath right now on the door and the path is made from old concrete pavers dug out from an old patio. Gean

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 2:59AM
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Fabulous Harborrose. I never thought of putting framed lattice on 4x4's. What a wonderful trellis. And I LOVE the stone walkway, and the stone arched wall. Stone really adds a lot to a garden. And I just think archways are the cats meow. Need to add them to my garden. I love seeing these pics and getting ideas - please keep them coming!!!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 11:35AM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

This came from a stack of 7 partly rotted sections of an old shed made with 1" plywood, a pair of old windows that match the house and a new tin roof.

At the time we named it "Camilla's Hoe House" after moms cat, now is it Ashley's

But I LOVE having this little Garden shed!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 12:31PM
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I want it!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 6:48PM
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I want it!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 6:49PM
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nanadollZ7 SWIdaho(Zone 7 Boise SW Idaho)

That's a cute little house/garden shed, Kippy. Do I see an enclosed type kitty litter box with plants growing out of it? Now that's an original repurposing of an object. Love it! Diane

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 3:26AM
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the_dark_lady(z7 Amelia VA)

One summer day last year I've got a sudden urge to build an obelisk. DH was away, so there has not been a soul to stop me from doing it:)
I went to Lowe's and bought a few 2"x2"s and 1"x2"s, and a finial.
Same day I had a finished 'product'

All my garden structures are painted or stained black, so in a couple of days I went to Lowe's again and bought ebony wood stain and my obelisk now looks like this.

I made total of four obelisks like this and placed them in the center of mulched circles. Photo was taken in May'2011, now all the circles are filled with roses, clematis, daylilies and other companion plants.

This post was edited by the_dark_lady on Thu, Dec 13, 12 at 6:52

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 5:28AM
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FABULOUS!!! What a difference a stain makes, and I LOVE the Ebony. And the top piece adds such a finishing touch. Of course you know we need a current photo now!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 10:08AM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

I love the photo of the obelisk! That was on my "next" list before mom fell, even have the vintage finial here.

I would love to see it today too and know how it is holding up in the weather.

Nana-Mom is in to health foods and had that whole area taken over by stinging nettles, She would dry for tea or add to soup. I did not want that area nothing but nettles and found that toy box missing the lid by the dumpster here. I added some drain holes and moved her nettle patch to a more contained area. I could not find a better after photo, I need to clean and reorganize our little shed, but I love having it right there.

Next is a bigger version with an attached green house in the main garden.

This post was edited by Kippy-the-Hippy on Thu, Dec 13, 12 at 11:50

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 11:25AM
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nanadollZ7 SWIdaho(Zone 7 Boise SW Idaho)

Marina, I am in awe of your spontaneous carpentry skills. The obelisk is perfect--perhaps you have missed a calling. Yes, some more photos would be great!
Kippy, Toy box, cat box...I think that was a great repurposing. I'm now considering using an old cat box to raise some pepper plants in this coming gardening season. Diane

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 3:20PM
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