All over blogland almost everyone is gearing up for Autumn. It’s true that the air is becoming brisker, it’s getting darker much earlier, and mums are populating the nurseries about town…
I refuse to even think about it until Labor Day. I’m still concentrating on our landscape, mostly because there’s still soooooo much to do it makes my head spin.
When the ‘to-do’ list is long the last thing we want are projects that are difficult or expensive. We’ve had enough of both to last a lifetime, so I thought about what materials I already had available and what I could do with them and these are what I came up with.
We had some MDF so I decided to make a garden sign. I drew the lines for the curved top and then used a jigsaw to cut it out. (It’s the first time I used a power tool unsupervised! Can I get a whoohooo?)
I gave it two coats of black paint then used a white paint marker and some stencils for most of the lettering. (I didn’t trust my penmanship enough for the ‘my garden’ part so my friend Cheryl did it for me.)
Since it’s MDF I don’t expect it to last very long, but just in case, I did coat it with a sealant, and to keep it off the ground it’s resting on a piece of wood that has a groove in the middle so it won’t blow over if it’s windy.
Oh, and in case that bench looks familiar, it’s one of the three benches we got for free recently. The other two are currently not being utilized, but that won’t last long!
Up next are some garden markers that are basically free and easy to make. I’m a huge fan of using natural materials in a garden, and living in the woods made it easy to gather what was needed for these fun and charming markers.
The best part? Imperfections (such as my not-so-great handwriting) are NOT a problem. In fact, they enhance the rustic vibe.
I lucked out with this large piece of bark. Rather than cut it up and use it for several small signs, I decided to take advantage of the natural curl at the top and use that to hold the horizontal twig. The only nailing that we needed to do was for the stake. Notice the flower on this sign and the garden one? That’s Fisherman’s trademark :).
Here’s a super quick how-to, and what you’ll need.
- Twigs about 1/2 – 3/4″ in diameter. The larger the sign, the larger the twigs.
- Birch bark (from fallen trees), cedar shakes, thin boards or metal flashing
- 1″ nails, preferably copper
- Marker or paint and small paint brush
Cut four pieces of twig to make the frame. I cut two 3″ long and two 6″long for the top and bottom. Cut a 12″ long piece for the stake. Using your nails, drive a nail through the long piece into the short piece on both ends. To make this a bit easier, if you’re working alone, you may want to secure the pieces with hot glue before attempting to nail in place. If someone can help you, have them hold the twigs steady while you hammer.
Cut the piece of bark (or whatever you’re using) to fit the outer dimensions of the frame. Write/paint whatever you want before nailing in place. Then nail your stake to the back, letting the top extend about 2″ above the sign as shown.
How easy is that??!
*Note* If you take a good look at the frames, you’ll notice that the construction is different for each one. While they all work, my preference is for the ‘spinach’ frame, with the short side ends on top of the long ends. This type of construction makes it easier to secure the bark in the back. For example, with the ‘mesclun’ frame, there is a space between the top and bottom twigs and the bark. Not a deal breaker, but it’s something worth noting.
This next project is one you’ll have to spend a bit of money on for the solar lights, (these were less than $5 on sale at Loew’s) but it’s totally worth it. I got the inspiration for this via Hometalk, and you can see the ‘how-to’ here, but trust me on this, it’s really easy and can be done in just a few minutes.
Solar lights seem to have come a long way. The light these give off are as bright as low-voltage lighting, but less expensive to implement. We were using some battery operated lights up until recently, and while they were less money to purchase, having to replace the batteries frequently doesn’t make them a budget friendly (or eco-friendly) option.
If you have an area in your yard that is extremely shady, listen up, because this next yard upgrade is a no-brainer, and won’t cost you a dime. The area of our yard located near the road is shady and damp and as you can see, full of weeds. Not much would grow here except moss, so why fight it? I actually like the serene look that moss brings to a landscape.
We noticed there was a lot of moss on the tennis court in our community. Not only is it unattractive, but the immediate area surrounding it is very slippery, so we did our civic duty and took some and transplanted it to our yard where hopefully it will fill in this area nicely. Most likely I’ll plant some hostas and ferns also, but not until September or October.
So if you’ve got a spot that simply seems like nothing will grow there and it doesn’t get much sun, take a walk in the woods and gather some moss. *Tip* make sure you keep the moss damp until it has time to get established.
In other garden news…
A couple of weeks ago we had a torrential downpour. It didn’t last long, but it managed to separate our Rose of Sharon. It’s gotten better, but still has a way to go to recover. Almost every day there are dozens of bees and a hummingbird or two enjoying the blooms, and I get a front row seat from my porch.
Oh, and I FINALLY got a picture of a butterfly! I never seem to have my camera when opportunity comes knocking, but this little guy hung around long enough for me to retrieve it and I was able to get this shot.
I guess these Black-Eyed Susans have naturalized, because I don’t remember planting any here!
Remember my birdhouse? I picked up a little nest and gave this bird a new home.
I promise in a couple of weeks I’ll have something more ‘Autumnal’ for you.
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