Living in a city can feel like a concrete jungle. Sometimes we would prefer an actual jungle – or at the very least, a bit of green. We are fortunate to have a tiny yard and have occasionally made use of it (see: pumpkin bonanza).
But this summer, the front yard and back patio have been in need of a bit more landscaping. Unfortunately, we don’t really have any space for flower beds (not to mention we don’t want to make a bunch of investments in landscaping, only to have to rip it out if we decide to make structural changes to the garage or rear entrance…which is likely in a year or two). So instead of flower beds, we decided we would try to plant some larger plants in planters around the front and back yards. Here is a glimpse of what we are working with:
Sterling’s mom stumbled upon some rubber plants at an estate sale for a song so she picked them up. You can score them at pretty much any major garden center. Unfortunately they were still in their original crappy plastic pots and they were getting a little choked out.
We wanted to transfer them into real planters, but every planter we found that we liked was pretty expensive. Nicely designed planters for large plants can run anywhere from $150 to $1,200. Given we probably wanted six plants or more, we decided this was a poor use of money given how many other projects are also clamoring for our hard-earned dollars. We looked around extensively online and in stores and never really found much that met our aesthetic standards in our price point (champagne taste, beer budget sort of defines our approach to life). But then we saw some pretty nice pots online at Lowe’s, of all places.
At under $30 per pot, it was the best deal we had seen for something with a clean design, durability, and the flexibility to look good indoors as well (for when we need to bring some plants inside during the winter). Returning stuff to Lowe’s is generally pretty painless too, so we decided if they just didn’t look right it wouldn’t be the worst risk to take.
It turns out these planters look really nice, and are just as good looking as planters that are 3x the price. We can’t comment on the durability as we only planted them within the last week or so, but they seem pretty sturdy. (NB: they don’t have drain holes, so they can be used indoors easily, but you can also drill drain holes with the appropriate drill bit).
Then, we ended up finding some planters (short & tall) on sale at Crate and Barrel for a 4th of July sale. These were a bit more than we wanted to spend, but given they were similarly priced to many planters at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Menard’s, and large garden centers, and given that we thought they were much more attractively designed, we thought they were our best option – especially at the sale price.
Before ordering, we took measurements of our spaces and taped off how much space the planters would take up. We determined we wanted six of these things in order to bring some lush vegetation to our front yard.
Once we got the planters, we picked out a couple Hawaiian Ti, a couple Agleonema, and a couple Majestic Palms (correct us if we’re wrong) from Home Depot. We used some pebbles in the bottom to create stability, then put in some old plastic plant containers to take up a bit of space so they didn’t get super heavy from all the soil (we heard milk jugs work too, just didn’t have several on hand). Then we finished them up with some potting soil and Osmocote. We have found Osmocote to help give almost anyone a green thumb. It’s like steroids for plants. So yeah, our plants are juicing. We’re not shooting for the hall of fame here.
Then we found the saddest looking fiddle fig in someone’s dumpster down our alley. (Are you sensing a dumpster diving theme here?) We figured we would give this plant a shot and try and bring it back to health. But to this point, still giving off vibes of Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree.
Overall, we didn’t exactly create the Gardens of Versailles, but we really think this upped the style factor in front and created a more relaxing vibe in the backyard (and covered up our ugly garage siding too!).
PS – we know, we know…the front door needs to be replaced. We’re just waiting for the right one!