If you’ve ever doubted that gardeners are the most innovative people under the sun, just look at the photos below. I shot these on a summer garden tour for inspiration.


I took this shot at the home of Atlanta landscape designer Paula Refi — that’s the side of her garage you’re looking at! A salvaged mantel piece was painted, outfitted with mirrors, and bolted to the outside wall. A stone “hearth” completes the illusion.

This next idea is also clever:

chair planter

I’ve actually seen this chair-as-planter idea before, and once I even successfully duplicated the look at home.

Here’s how I did it: I paid a few dollars at the flea market for an old wooden chair that was missing its caned seat. Then I stapled black landscape fabric to the underside, to form a shallow planting area — I used the porous kind that’s meant to allow water to run through while it suppresses weeds. I filled it with a lightweight potting soil, added shade loving plants like ferns and impatiens, and placed my chair-planter on my covered front porch… until I got tired of keeping my creation watered during the hot Atlanta summer. If I’m ever inspired to make another chair planter, I think I’ll plant it with succulents that will thrive in shallow soil and dry conditions.

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