Do-it-yourself yard art

Make your own stepping stones with pieces of stained glass.

By Jane Gates

Signal Staff Writer

You can make do-it-yourself yard art with a little of your own creativity. Yard art is anything that will decorate your landscape. You can use it anyway you want. And if you want to do it yourself, you can make exactly what you want without impacting your landscaping budget.

Decorate your gates, fences, walls or doorways. Add a focal point or point-of-interest into your garden area. Create some whimsy with some humorous signage, or an unexpected creature peaking out of a pond behind a bush or over a wall. Or, add comfort with some home-sewn cushions.

Think about places in your yard that can be improved by adding something artistic. Yard art can be in the form of a large or eye-catching event, or it can be subtle like items of décor. Examples of DYI art that create interesting focal points would be sculptures, archways or fountains. Décor, high or low, might take the form of dangling wind chimes or hand-cast stepping stones.

You can build your own fountain by simply adapting a pot or a few well-placed rocks with a submersible pump that recycles water from a tub, up through piping to tumble back over the rocks or out the top of a pebble-filled pot to spill back into the tub.

A Western or Southwestern theme can be enhanced by carving a piece of tree trunk into a simple totem pole, building your own decorative wagon wheels or covering a surface with some hand-painted ceramic tiles. Create a cottage garden by surrounding a collection of roses or wildflowers with a little picket fence and paint it white. Or, add drama to an outdoor room by sewing colorful curtains or drapes using durable, outdoor fabrics.

How about decorating with bowling ball mulch – rescued from a closing bowling alley – that will never be disturbed by wind, rain or pets!)

Re-using ordinary household items can also become yard art. You might want to paint a dilapidated wooden ladder a playful color and train climbing vines over it, or plant an old washtub into a decorative piece of yard art. Recycle old glass bottles as hanging sculptures or turn them upside-down to water potted plants. You can even plant small cactus plants into an old worn-out pair of boots filled with sand and soil.

Stepping stones are ideal for making do-it-yourself yard art. There are acrylic paints now fabricated to last outdoors, and you can paint plain cement squares or rounds with clever sayings, designs or your own illustrations. Consider getting the kids together with friends and have them all paint their own stepping stone creations, then lay the results into a decorative path in your landscape. You can cast your own stepping stones with cement or plaster and make them ornamental by pressing stained glass, sea shells or colored stones into the surface before the stone mixture sets.

Even spray-painting dried sticks, large flower stalks or pine cones can become yard art. Rescue your favorite plants or garden furniture from your male dog by making your own artistic pee posts in a pet-friendly garden. Simply take three vertical posts,  which can be made of anything from wood to natural branches to metal or PVC pipes to whatever strikes your fancy. Then paint them decoratively and set them up near your pet’s favorite marking area. He’ll find them irresistible. If they are ornamental looking, your guests will never guess their purpose! (Do make sure the base area is easily hosed down or the odor might give their function away.) 

Hang your decorative art on outdoor walls. Weave, sew, knit or knot a macramé hanging for a wall, or to create eye-catching pot hangers. Another idea might be to have the whole family get together to paint a mural on a flat outdoor wall or a blank wall of fencing.

Build your own tables, raised beds and make your own pillows!

Flat ground can become artistic by pouring colored gravel into designs or laying out pavers, bricks or tiles into colorful patterns. Or, you can buy forms and build your own fake rocks.

There are many ways you can make do-it-yourself yard art. Before throwing out items from your home or garage think about how you could recycle them into something decorative for your garden. Use creating yard art as an excuse to get the family or friends together for a fun project. Whether you make something practical, fun and/or beautiful, have fun building your own yard art.

Art and décor can take so many different forms. Trash can become precious when repurposed into art. Why waste it? Personalize your landscape to your own tastes. And do it yourself. For free!

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