Garden Gallery

You know what's kind of boring? The way our retaining wall looked in the back of our garden bed at the beginning of the summer.

And since 'boring' isn't the new 'exciting' I thought I should do something about it! I've always loved the feeling of an outdoor room and after redoing my chandelier, building the herb garden, refinishing those planters seen above and adding some bling I knew this wall needed some TLC (not the network but the old school acronym).

But have you seen some of the garden accessories out there? Mucho expensivo! Ouch. So, I hit up my fave consignment shop and scored! Big time! Here is what I left with and the price break down.

A: shelves - $5.50 for both
B: square mirrors - $1.20 for both
C: large oval mirror - $7.00
D: plaque - $7.00
E: leaf candle holder - 90¢
F: brass bear $5.50
grand total: $26.60!

Not too shabby! My plan was to paint these all out in the colour palette I had come up with for our 'outdoor room'. Black (because it looks so sleek), white (because I likey), green (because of the piping detail in our patio furniture), blue (because it goes nice with the green and it matches the outdoor placemats I bought) and pink (because it POPS!). I know saying that something 'pops' is annoying and overused so I apologize. POP! POP! POP! I apologize again... and again... and again.

So, to carry out my big plan I needed to chose what colour to paint each item. To do that I had to figure out where each item would go so that I had the balance right when they got their new outfit. I didn't want my new finds fighting over who would be what, so I had to make the decision. Plus, they are not real so therefore can't talk (= can't argue).

I cut the shape of each out of newspaper and then hung them up in an order that I thought might work. After a bunch of configurations I had something I was happy with. So I sat back to study (might have had my feet up with a glass of wine during this process - can't confirm or deny) and decided what colour to assign each piece.

Decision made, I had my own little painting party to celebrate!

Do I know how to parrtaayyy or what!?

Once everything was sprayed and had dried, I hung it all up using my newspaper guides for placement. As each item was nailed in to place, the 'template' was simply pulled out from behind and discarded recycled. Then I stood back and had a good look.

Hmmm... something was missing. It needed something more (which I will get to later).

I must point out that all my projects are done around toddler nap times, that little window of light after dinner, a full-time job, freelance design clients and of course being a mommy and wife. You can imagine that not all my projects get done in a day. By the time I got back out to 'fix' what was missing I had a 'situation'...

And times this by two because as you may recall, there were two of these mirrors up there. OY.

While most of the world has been talking about their heat waves, we've been having an unseasonably rainy summer! This wood not only split but completely warped so there was no getting it back together. I tried a hammer, even coercion but when I could not get my 6'5" Chef Kev to get 'er back in, I knew the gig was up. Game Ova. Think of the noise at the end of a pac-man game. And then times that by two.

So, I racked the 'ol brain (which does not require a special tool) and searched through some closets and drawers. I found a black frame that I wasn't using (popped out the glass and took the back off so I just had the frame left) and then decided to pair that with a green-fake-grass-ball-thingy-that-I-was-going-to-spray-black (say that three times fast). So another painting party was held.

Up she went and now I was back to fix the earlier problem of 'something' missing. When I had originally studied the wall after hanging everything up I felt that - even though it had a lot of colour - it just wasn't dynamic enough. Then I recalled that I had some white plastic 'flowers' (best way to describe the shape even though they aren't really flowers at all) that I could trail up through the other elements. I had gotten them for a project quite a while back. They didn't work for what I had in mind, but were perfect for this!

After installing them, I was happy. So we went from this:

to THIS!

I love how the old retaining wall feels like a fresh gallery wall now. Imagine the coziness when we have guests over and we light the candles up on their shelves. The big mirror reflects the light from inside and the 'room' is really starting to come together! Pair that with our twinkle lights and chandelier glow and I think the whole thing feels really inviting!

And did you notice my Geeky Beek? He came out for the 'After Party'.

Here are some close up details:

Not bad for less than $1! I already had the paint and the candle...

Okay, so this little blue bear just might be my favourite thing of all. My little two-year old - Chace - helped me pick him out while repeating "yook mommy" (look mommy) "ooh-dat mommy?" (what - or who - that mommy). On repeat. When I asked him if he liked it he said "yes!" (yes!) and ran away with it. A good sign. Little brass blue bear came home with us. And come on, he's playing an Alphorn. As a general rule I take home anything playing an Alphorn (luckily this marked the first time I'd come across one).

Here are the white 'flowers' that I added for some whimsy. You like?

And the black frame and green-fake-grass-ball-thingy-that-I-was-going-to-spray-black that replaced the damaged black mirrors.

Overall I'm really happy with it. Unexpected yet inviting. And inexpensive!

And here are a few other little things I added to my evolving 'room', you know, to keep the paarrtaaay going.

Tea light candle holder/orb/cool thing that now hangs over the table.

And a pretty little pink tea light holder that makes me think of pink stilettos. I didn't spray this, it came this shade. A perfect match - meant to be!

So that's the story of my gallery wall that took WAY longer than I thought it would. It changed, it rained, it warped, it evolved. But in the end our heroine was triumphant. Quite dramatic for a back deck. I wonder if Hollywood would be interested in making a movie about it? I have the perfect pink stilettos for the leading lady...


  1. It looks awesome! What a great transformation you did.

  2. Your terrific finds and use of colour produced a great transformation of your retaining wall! Love the "pops" of pink everywhere :-)


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