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Create Your Own Garden Art Gallery
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Create Your Own Garden Art Gallery

The 23rd Annual Spring Garden Show presents another seminar, where a landscape designer taught the audience ways to turn their yard into their own personal garden art gallery. Shirley Bovshow, from Discovery Channel's Garden Police, uses her own backyard makeover as an example as she transformed her drab yard into her own Zen-like art gallery garden. Her landscape designer background helped her recycle old junk that she never uses into masterpieces in her backyard. She also adds that people can shop around and buy basic needed materials at low cost without going over budget. Some examples that she used in her backyard makeover included an old rug as a privacy screen in order to create a different cozy compartment, separating it from the other compartments in the backyard, similar to turning a warehouse space into an apartment. She also used antique-looking tomato cages as vertical planters, but painted it in a different color to give it a rustic look.

The idea in a creative landscape design for your backyard is to create multilevel gardens in order to make it appear more spacious, organized, and meditative. She advises the audience to add Mediterranean and succulent plants, a birch tree, a pepper tree, a cascading waterfall, a lovely pond with maybe some koi fish, a rocky flowing stream, and lots of large rocks arranged to frame areas in the backyard.

For instance, in once section, there is a cozy outdoor fireplace and comfy outdoor furniture with tapestry pillows and throw blankets that turns this area into an outdoor living room. If the people sitting in this area are not able to view the meditative stream and waterfall, then she suggests they add a large mirror in that area, where they can view certain areas of that garden in the picturesque scene of the mirror. Another area can be turned into a personal spa with a Jacuzzi, sauna, a table for refreshments and/or cocktails and bar. Other examples include adding pillars, room dividers and screens, and built-in seating areas, maybe near the waterfall or stream, where people can meditate and relax after a long day of stressful work. Speaking of meditation, why not also add a section for yoga and/or pilates workout. That section should have a hard ground, whether tile or cement, where a person can place a yoga mat and other props to enjoy a yoga workout on nice day, smelling the lovely scents and breathing fresh air. In that area, there should also be a Zen-like chest to place yoga materials when not in use.

Moreover, creating a functional landscape involves building a recessed kitchen courtyard, an edible garden, a grapevine that can also be used as shade, a raised vegetable garden, lots of built-in seating, and a tearoom in the side yard. Steps can be created that allows people to wander towards the upper garden. Retaining walls can be added at an angle to separate certain areas. A built-in stone bench and a seating area with a fire pit can also be added, maybe in the center area of the garden, so that people can better enjoy their meditative surroundings.

Columns are created as focal points because it creates a sense of space and place. To decorate these columns, add an ornate pot or planter filled with greenery and colorful flowers. Another focal point involves creating vignettes. Other outdoor extras include lighting for evening, garden ornaments and nightlight, tree jewelry, such as bird houses or birdfeed, potted fruit tree as a vignette, and art sculptures for garden decoration. Creating a terrazzo is sentimental because it is about expressing a story and history, which is about you and/or your family, to further personalize the backyard environment to make it unique and special.

A simple but cheap way to create your own garden decoration includes placing moss and plants into old pillow cases, and arranging it at certain areas, maybe in the yoga section. Succulent muffin tin, dollar tree vignette, old bottles that have interesting as well as diverse shapes and sizes, and a mosaic bottle can be placed as centerpieces at certain areas or on tables. Add sculptures into a pot or container to further decorate a plant as well as add a mini meditation area, some whimsical art pieces, a glass orb, and some glass mulch for decorative purposes.

Consider also creating an edible garden in the front yard area. A wooden bench in the patio, by the front door with some decorative potted plants, planters and other props, can be inviting and welcoming. Some panels, such as freestanding lattice panels, as well as metal sheets with cutouts, placed in the front yard garden, create interesting and artistic patterns against the wall when the sun glistens on these panels and sheets.

For more information, check out her blog at, as well as, and



*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.

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