Decorating Outdoors - Hanging Gardens

Published on | Log Homes | Coleman Kelleghan

If you want to add one or more hanging gardens to a portion of your home’s landscape, the first thing that should be mentioned is that any wild plants growing out of, and drooping from, gutters do not qualify! All kidding aside, hanging gardens can offer an exquisite and unique addition to a deck, patio, front porch or traditional flower-bed. One of the most supreme hanging gardens dates back to 600 BC which was purported to be located on the East bank of the Euphrates River in what was once known as the ancient city of Babylon in the Middle East. And though there are debates as to whether or not this particular ancient garden truly existed, Greek historians insist that King Nebuchadnezzar built a stone pyramid-like structure, garnished with lush, roof-top vegetation and exotic flowers to help ease his wife’s homesickness for her original homeland. Apparently, the vegetation didn’t actually ‘hang’, but cascaded downward, giving the impression of being hung from above. If we fast-forward to the present, one doesn’t have to be royalty to enjoy the beauty, serenity and mental therapy hanging gardens are known for, around the world. Here are some clever hanging-garden ideas that are not only incredibly easy to create and beautiful to admire but will, without question, garner compliments from acquaintances and strangers, alike!

Get Your Mind Into The Gutter!

Yes, this time it’s OK to have your mind in the gutter and if you are going to replace any of your old gutters, don’t throw them out! If you don’t have old ones, you can always buy new ones. Cut them into 2-foot lengths or longer and give them a coat of paint in colors that will compliment or contrast with your home’s exterior. Gutters with end caps can be repurposed into planters, but make sure small holes are drilled into the bottoms of the gutters to allow for seepage of excess water. Drill one of the inside walls of each gutter onto an exterior wooden wall--perhaps a wall on your front porch or a wall in your patio area. Stagger the gutters and randomly position them for an uneven look.  Once the plants have had a chance to fill out, this hanging garden will provide beauty and personality to a bare wall that never looked so good! A second option is to drill one capped-end of each gutter into a wooden pole and place one gutter above the other, traveling upwards. Filling the gutters with plants that will droop will offer a “wall” of cascading greener that is sure to grab attention and provide a living curtain of natural splendor.

Adding New Life to the Old!

If that eyesore you’ve been meaning to paint—the side of your gardening shed or tool shed for example—is in need of being painted and you’re on your way to buy the paint, stop the presses! You can keep that weathered look and save yourself some time and effort by simply giving that old wall a topical (or should I say ‘tropical’) facelift utilizing terra-cotta pots that can be filled with a variety of gorgeous flowers and vines. The earthy pots can be various sizes that mingle with one another; and can be positioned onto any wooden wall with metal hangers made specifically for potted plants. Just slip the pots into the hangers, fill with nutrition-rich potting soil, add a variety of flower species and watch your creation bloom! Your old wall---garnished with color, texture and luscious, trailing greenery---will ooze with colorful, eye-candy personality!

Mason-jar Madness!

If you love Mason jars, you’ll love this inventive and adorable idea! If you have any empty wall-space anywhere outside, take weathered (or not weathered) 2 X 4 planks of lumber---as long or as short as you desire---and horizontally and/or vertically drill the lumber to the wall. If you are in a really festive mood, the planks can be painted lively colors such as yellows, oranges, light greens blues. The Mason jars, spaced about 6 to 8 inches apart, will line the lumber strips. Half-circle metal bands (with screw holes on each end) will cover the fronts of the jars and hold them in place. Simply screw the bands into place and voile`, your jars will be securely positioned! Various planks in various lengths can surround one another giving a large, empty area a new lease on life with a darling display of quaint jars filled with vivid colors and textures from your favorite foliage!

Creating a Colander-Collection Garden!

Oh yes, colanders are so much more than just strainers—they are literally ‘dripping’ with potential for more creative endeavors. How about a colander garden? 2nd-hand stores have old colanders for about a buck; and any metal or plastic colander will do, just remove any legs that might still be attached. Spray-paint your pieces with weather-proof outdoor paint in luscious, contrasting colors or keep them one color, such as brass, and fill them with potting soil and your favorite flowers and/or ferns or greenery. The base of a wire hanger can be cut and positioned through side holes to anchor the colander to the hanger while the curved, top part of the hanger will be used to grab an overhead hook or short chain from above. The neat thing is the holes and open slats are already in place for water drainage—enchanting and so inexpensive, while offering up a generous does of irresistible country charm!

Personalize The Planter!

This idea is really cool in that any letter or initial can be crafted utilizing old or new flower boxes; and the plainer the boxes, the better. Let’s take the letter “H” for example. The sides of the “H” would be two longer flower boxes of equal length and the horizontal, middle bar of the “H” would be a much shorter box. The boxes could be anchored together to form a specific letter before being drilled into a wall or they could be positioned onto a wall individually to form a letter---or even words such, as last names. Boxes made of tin, wood or even plastic could be stuffed with an array of mini succulents. Succulents are a plant variety that would be the best for this particular endeavor since they are a type “meaty” or “fleshy”, thick-leafed plant that will not droop or overflow to the point of covering up the outline of the initial that needs to remain as visually true to its shape as possible. Succulents come in a variety of types and textures as well as gorgeous colors including greens, yellows, blues, plums, violets and reds. They are very hearty since they retain water well and are able to withstand harsh climates in-spite of the fact they have very small root systems--making them absolutely perfect for this type of project! Whether it’s herbs, vegetables, grasses, vines or flowers, hanging gardens are a delightful way to display the natural splendor and tranquility of a garden when space is limited, or they can be used to simply add personality and ambiance to any area of your home, regardless of size. The key is to always use good-quality potting soil and planting containers which allow for consistent drainage. Creating hanging gardens is truly a labor of love!