Monday, June 6, 2011

A Splash of Color

A summer or two ago I visited my sister in Wisconsin/Minnesota and we did a day trip to Madeline Island.  The only way to get there is by ferry, and there are shops and restaurants to putter around in.  There are residents as well, who live there year 'round.  It was beautiful.  One of the areas on the island was a botanical garden.  I saw some really cool planters made out of corrugated pipe -- and thought, "Hmmm.  I could make those, and they would probably be inexpensive."  Time passed, and now I'm working on my backyard, and I remembered those planters. 

So, now I have the pipe:

I did some research on what type of paint adheres to galvanized metal.  I learned that you have to use a special primer -- one especially for galvanized surfaces.  I got different answers at just about every paint place I went to, but I eventually bought a gallon at Sherwin-Williams.  The lid was very dusty...

Next I borrowed my neighbor's power sprayer and cleaned off as much debris as possible from the pipe.   There was a brief consideration of leaving them natural -- the more organic look -- but I really had my heart set on a big splash of color to pull the eye to the back of my yard.  I used a brush and painted two coats of the primer on each -- it was more surface area than I had anticipated...

 Now the fun part -- the color!  I decided I wanted one planter green (to match the yoga platform design) one an eggplant purple color and one tangerine orange -- my favorite color.  I was using spray paint for an even coat, and for $1.99 I bought a snap on trigger for the spray can so that I didn't wear out my pointer finger with the spray nozzle.  Money well spent! 

Here's a photo of two of them with primer, and two of them painted:

I sprayed two coats of color on each one -- and set them in place:

The lavender in front of them has really grown!
I haven't permanently set them yet -- I'll want to dig them down into the ground a few inches, and the purple one I'll want to dig down a little deeper so that it's a more staggered height compared to the other two.    I like that they are imperfectly shaped, and aren't perfectly straight -- and when I do set them permanently I will likely try to "lean" them a bit.  I also am goign to spray on a coating of UV protectant high gloss to protect the color and finish.

I have a bag of rocks at the bottom of each one for stability, and I'll put some type of lightweight filler on top of that so that I don't have to use SO much dirt to fill them.  And then the fun part; choosing plants to plant inside each one.  For now I'm content to get used to seeing them there, and to let that visual settle in my mind before I add plants.  I've had lots of ideas about the plants -- tall spiky ones, or trailing ones that would overhang the sides... I can't decide.

As for the fourth one, it's still just primer white.  I can't decide where it will go, and until I know where it's going I can't choose a color.  It may even end up in the front yard... who knows...

I love the happy splash of bold color they've added to my yard...!  You can even see them from the street, though my side gate:  Happy.

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