God Save the Trees!

G A R D E N S, gardening, Gardens, Landscape Design | Tagged , , ,

My favorite landscapes to design are those that already include mature trees. They provide a framework to start, drama, history and most importantly shade and air quality.  The placement could be seen as a hindrance, but as the images below showcase with some thought can be incorporated into any design.

Image Credits: 1, 2, 3,4, 5, 6, 7,


I don’t think there is a homeowner out there that does not desire large mature trees in their yard, but often folks don’t know how to look out for the tree’s best interest. The worst offences are during construction phase. With well intentions to keep the trees, the construction proceeds to slowly kill the tree with parking equipment under or piling soil on the roots, even something as repeated foot traffic can have deadly effects. The tree will not die right away, but a few years down the road the tree will die or at the very least large branches will die. The sad part is protecting the trees is very simple with a little planing before construction begins.


Here are some quick pointers for protecting your trees:

Have a Plan. Before any construction starts, walk the lot with your contractor and confirm which trees should be saved. You can hire an arborist to evaluate tree health in selecting the trees to protect, this will be a huge benefit to make sure the trees you are saving are healthy.  Make sure the trees selected are clearly marked and this is communicated to all contractors on the lot.


Put up Barriers. Protect the tree and root area with barriers around the truck and root system. For every inch of diameter of the tree, include one foot in the barrier from the tree truck.  Snow fence works great but also wood structures help provide additional barriers.


Utilities Harm Too. Pay attention to the trenches for utilities. Request they bore all utilities under tree roots (compared to trench dug). Approve the locations the trench will dug. An arborist can help provide recommendation where trenches can be dug with the smallest impact to the root systems. Make sure all trenches are filled ASAP after being dug and make clean cuts on any roots damaged during the process.


Grade Matters. After construction is completed, ensure proper grade is around all trees.You will want to keep the preexisting grade before the construction started. Too much grade will suffocate the roots and kill the tree.


If you want to see more details about protecting trees, check out this site. It is sad to say, I barely see the precautions listed above while driving past both home and commercial construction sites. It should really be the part of all construction practices and only the home owner and the old trees lose out.


Ebay Finds for the Garden

C O N T A I N E R S, G A R D E N S, gardening, Landscape Design | Tagged , , ,

I spent some time on Ebay last night looking for unique antique and vintage items for the garden. Adding found garden elements with patina and age give a history to the garden you cannot get with just plants. Looking for an antique gate or interesting container is just as easy as buying new, you just need patience and the ability to see something used to its potential. Below is a list of items I found along with an inspirational Pinterest image to bridge the gap –


A collection is always better than just one, and this collection of concrete fruit and baskets covered with lichens is a beautiful for smaller scaled item.

See Items for Bidding here: 11″ Concrete Basket of Apples  and 7.5″ Concrete Basket of Mixed Fruit



These are iconic grecian urns designed by Kramer Brothers in a foundry located in Dayton, Ohio. Some of the casts initially used are still in use after the foundry closed, but I don’t  believe this cast was saved. I was lucky to find one in Southern Ohio ,without the pedestal, that matches those accentuating the pond above; I paid $200. This one is listed as a buy it now for $1,800 but that seems to match others I have seen at 1st Dibs etc.

See item for bidding here: Cast Iron Kramer Brothers Grecian Urn 



Scale is something important in both a garden and a container. If you are going to invest in an antique or large natural stone you want to make sure you get pay off with large impact.  To create a diverse mixed plant combo you need a large container. This antique sand stone water trough is perfect in texture, age and scale. It is flat on one side which would allow you to place next to the house or wall. Listed as a buy it now for $1,650.

See item for bidding here: 27″H Antique carved sand stone trough. 



Another Kramer Brothers cast iron item are these rabbits, which look great lining a walkway in another use of collections to make big impact. These will show their age quickly but the weathering makes they as unique as individual bunnies markings. Place near a path entrance or hidden in a collection of containers.

See item here for bidding: 10.5’H Antique Rabbit Signed Kramer Brothers.


Reclaimed brick can be used for many uses in the garden, like the image above for providing the entrance to a gravel driveway. You can edge walkways, use as a patio or on an outdoor fireplace. These bricks were removed from a building completed in 1904 and the price is for 240 bricks so about .60 per brick. However you use them, make sure it highlights the chips, nicks and imperfections of hundred year old brick.

See item here for bidding: Antique Reclaimed Bricks.  


This garden fence has such a strange design, not victorian but almost more art deco. It is 36″ squared and is most likely a portion of a fence than a gate, but a local ironworker could alter into a gate. Keep the natural patina or paint a blue/green to stand out from stone posts. I have also reused the sand stone trough since could be fitted as a water feature.

See items here for bidding: Wrought Iron Gate and Antique Sand Stone Trough.



The last item I found is this sink, with no good inspirational image, to showcase how I think it could used in an outdoor kitchen. At four feet across this would be a huge statement and will allow you to do full food prep outside, and filled with ice is a great entertaining bar. For the complete look, mix this concrete sink mixed with soapstone counters, large stainless grill and then clad the sides of the kitchen area in teak or ipe. I prefer mixing multiple finishes in outdoor kitchens and make as many of them natural elements as possible.

See item details for bidding here: Old Vintage Double Bay Concrete Sink