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Prayer Garden

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I was given a small check and asked to 'plant' a tree in memory of my mother in law when she passed away. It turned into our beautiful sanctuary. I hope you enjoy. First, I spent DAYS looking through Pinterest for inspiration. Given that I really didn't think a tree could do justice to her memory, I thought we could do a small, fenced garden. I had a spot of land at the end of my driveway and against the house where it would fit nicely. It is approximately 21' x 24'. First and foremost, I hit Craig's list and picked up any and all free stuff I could find that 'might' fit with my vision. I purchased old doors for $15 and found as many free bricks that I could haul. I found a concrete table and pedestal (free) as the owner simply wanted it hauled away. 3 guys later, it was in the truck.


You can see 2017 Spring pics of this garden here: http://www.hometalk.com/28650560/prayer-garde...>
Time: 6 Weeks Cost: $3820 Difficulty: Medium
I also hit garage and estate sales. I found this cool birdcage for $25 and shutters for $4 each. Look at all this glorious stuff! I am sure the neighbors were cringing! I searched the city for wood and fencing and seating, going to everywhere I could find on Craig's list for free lumber. Nothing was going to work as I had envisioned and probably wouldn't hold up. So, I decided to spend the money about $1000 for fencing materials - primarily pressure treated wood - 4"x10' posts, 2"x 4"x 8' boards, and deck wood. I also purchased quick-crete to secure the posts into the ground. To keep my maintenance to a minimum (and because I thought the wood lattice looked flimsy and cheap), I did purchase trex like lattice in 4'x 8' sections. Framing out the lattice, we created sections of fence that we then secured together and ran a piece of deck board on top to finish the look.
Anchoring in the posts to the house and in the ground with Sak crete. We than attached the rest of the sections together and left spaces for the doors.
I added in a small pergola to provide a bit of cover for my sun/seating area. While the evening shade protects it, the morning sun is brutal here. After a $700 trip to the landscape store, we purchased 3 trees, 3 climbing hydrangeas, climging wood vamp, clematis, Brunneras, Jack Frost and more. I then started laying out the plants, bricks and pieces of decor to get an idea of the best layout. I used red spray paint to lay out my design for the seating area. It is important to note that this garden is on the north west side of my house. I have mostly shade in 3/4 of the garden, most of the time and it is rather moist on this side of the house. So, I had to pick plants that would do well in that climate. I choose the climbing hydrangea, even though it is slow growing, because ultimately, I would like this garden to be 'mostly' hidden from outside view and the lovely flowers will make the look all that more enchanting - in a few years. I hope the hydrangea will cover 3/4 of the shade part of the garden. For my sun corner, I choose clematis in two colors.
update: if you use old doors, remember that generally, one side is an indoor side with indoor paint and one side is an outdoor side.. I didn't have the time or energy to sand down, prep and paint this fall. MISTAKE! I have loads of paint chips from the white inside of the door all over my yard. Given the age of the doors, you can bet it is loaded with lead.
I then spent several days making sure my layout was just right. It is one thing to do it on paper, which I highly suggest, but it also is important to physically lay it out before you dig.. that will save some payoff in the end.
We then installed a brick border, using landscape fabric underneath to minimize weeds. I cleaned the bricks, let them dry thoroughly and used paver sand to set them into place. *I was really excited to find super old brick (without the holes) that looked old. This gave the garden a sense of age, even with the brand new plantings! From there, planted and mulched.
Next, I created a bench set up that was 8'long on each side to perfectly sit the corner of the garden. Of course, you really cannot buy 8' cushions so I had to have seat cushions custom made by a local shop. I might suggest going with a standard size to save some money. The custom cushions cost about $800. The bonus was choosing ANY fabric I wanted... Another trip to the landscape store and I purchased several hundred pounds of flagstone to create a floor. I first dug the square and laid out landscape fabric. I then added a layer of sand. Then I set and leveled the flagstone. I used Paver sand as the final filler between the stones to help keep them in place.
We then finished up the seats with deck planking (oh, I really wish I had made them into storage benches as I now have an 8' long cushion (plus many more) that I have to store in the winter and limited storage space in the garage). The benches were HEAVY and we put landscape fabric and additional sand underneath to help keep any weeds to a minimum.
I then painted.. and painted and painted. I bought 3 colors choosing a lime, yellow and a complementary blue. All the items that were to be painted were put into 3 piles and the painting began!
We purchased a fountain at the end of the summer for less than $300.
We put the decor in place and then added in lighting.. and bulbs.. lots of bulbs and more plants.. I cannot wait until spring.
We then turned a lot of the scrap wood (tops from posts, etc) into art creations! We also made sure to include electric running out here for lights, the fountain and electrical outlets. I plan to spend lots of time here and it will be great to sit and be able to use my computer!
We finished with the garden for the winter and had to wrap up the fountain and other more delicate items last fall. I'm writing this post because I hope to reveal how things are now looking in the new spring. Here's a look at the final costs to date (best estimate): Home Depot Purchases - lumber, trellis, hinges, paint, brushes, nails $1300 Home Depot - paver sand, electrical supplies, cup hooks $100 Earth Best - sand, mulch $80 Adamson - Landscape and plants $700 Written in Stone - fountain and bells $400 Amazon - lighting $150 Furniture Make Over - custom cushions - $800 Walmart - curtains and rod, cuphooks $60 Craig's list - doors $55 Hobby Lobby - 2 smaller bird cages, 3 crosses $70 Craig's list - large bird cage $25 Garage sales - statues, cups, shutters, stands, mirrors, etc - $80 Craig's list - bricks, concrete table and stand, patio sculptures, dresser mirror frame, pic frames - free Total costs (not counting labor!) = $3820 Also, I was limited to 15 pics here so I made a pinterest page that has a lot more pics.. including pics of when my husband brought in our Chimenea one night (I thought he was going to burn down my lovely garden). Here: https://www.pinterest.com/chervickers/my-own-prayer-garden/

Materials I used for this project:

  • Pressure Treated Lumber   (Home Depot)
  • 3 gallons paint, spray paint, brushes   (Home Depot)
  • Trex 'like' trellis   (Home Depot)
See all materials
  • Yolanda.smits2
    Yolanda.smits2
    on Apr 11, 2016

    so beautiful...a little paradise Yolanda from Belgium

  • Lindalee_47303
    Lindalee_47303
    on Apr 11, 2016

    What a lovely way to honor your mother-in-law! You put elbow grease and a whole lot of love into this project 🎈

  • Fee Miriam Rosenfeltz
    Fee Miriam Rosenfeltz
    on Apr 11, 2016

    What a beautiful sanctuary.... I feel inspired now because I have a similar area to the side of my house..... Looking forward to seeing your 'Spring' pics of this lovely space. Lovely way to honour your Mother-in-Law.

  • Morag_br
    Morag_br
    on Apr 11, 2016

    Wow, so many marvellous ideas. I also love the use of colour, and feel inspired to create something to commemorate my own parents and feel close to them in our garden. Thanks! - Morag, U.K.

  • Ellen
    Ellen Canada
    on Apr 11, 2016

    That's so lovely. Thanks for taking the time to share it. I got lots of ideas from you. Ellen (London On. )

Inspired? Will you try this project? Let the author know!