Moss is a big deal. Moss is BLOWING UP. I am pretty sure that as I type this, there are twenty million people in North America trying to learn about and grow moss (and sadly, fifty million others trying to figure out how to kill it). But right now, with the exception of some small patches of new moss (and a type I didn’t transplant, YAY!), my moss is mostly dormant. HOWEVER! Container gardening is also a current-events superstar, especially How to Make Your Own Containers for Gardening.
If you live here in the Pacific Northwest, your tomatoes are languishing and the baseball is terrible. Everywhere else it is just too hot to do anything. But gardeners are a hopeful lot, the golden retrievers of the home improvement world. If it was lousy a minute ago, it could be awesome thirty seconds from now! Maybe you just can’t garden–its too late here and dangerous everywhere else…but you can make something for next season, or plan to. Your garage or your basement is going to be far more pleasant than outside anyway.
I have previously written about the raised, built-in containers I designed and built around the patio of my new home. A couple of years ago, though, I was helping some friends with their yard and pulled out a disreputable and dying shrub that was between their front
steps and the neighbor’s fence. Once the improperly sited shrub was out, it left behind a narrow space about two feet wide and three feet long, and a strange, irregularly shaped gap in the fence. The ground itself was shaded by the steps and the fence, but the shrub had died from the reflected heat from the concrete and the siding of the house. What to plant that would cover the hole and take the odd exposure? I had already created a sort of minimalist, contemporary Asian vibe for their entry walk, and so I decide to make a planter that would suit the feel of the space, cover the hole in the fence, and get the plants up where they could be seen.
The planter is about two feet wide, four feet long, and 30 inches high. It sits perfectly in the odd space and covers the gap in the fence. AND! It was incredibly easy to make; it took maybe an hour and a half. That is because I had a sheet metal fabricator make the metal part. Essentially, it is ductwork, except that it is closed on the bottom (I drilled a bunch of holes for drainage). I took detailed drawings and dimensions* to a metal shop near me, and picked it up two days later. Because it is basically ductwork, it had little structural integrity–it is only seamed and hemmed together. I used some inexpensive cedar 1 x 2 molding and mitered it to fit neatly at the corners. All the wood trim is attached from the inside with self-tapping hex head sheet metal screws. The hardest part was reaching in to the box and screwing the molding that runs across the bottom of the piece, as I am quite large and the box is not. I sprayed the whole thing, inside and out, with a few coats of spray lacquer. Done.
Doing It Yourself is important. Judging from the number of Mow ‘n’ Blow ‘n’ Go services driving around my neighborhood in a given day, not enough people do it yourself. Doing it yourself can be intimidating, though, if you are unsure how. That is why this is such a cool project. The sheet metal EXPERT is making the metal part. Putting the trim on it puts the capital Y in ‘easy!’…you don’t even have to miter it if you don’t want. Farm tubs, corrugated roofing material, old metal watering cans and buckets; the galvanized look is hot, Hot, HOT right now. This is a great way to go a step further and have it be a customized, designed by you, DIY project.**
*Sheet metal shops are accustomed to building things based upon greasy notes scrawled upon scraps of fast-food bags. Don’t run out and get a drafting table and t-square or CAD software. Just sketch it up freehand with your measurements.
**Yeah, someone else made the metal part. Ever watch home improvement TV? The host says he’s gonna do something, and then shows up with two subcontractors and 25 laborers…and when done, talks about what HE did. Be the host of your own home improvement show!