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When Your Neighbor’s Trash Is Your Treasure !

By: Deb Pavlosky
Some days one person’s trash is YOUR treasure!  I was fortunate enough to come across my treasure on the street in my neighborhood as I was driving to work one day recently.  It was trash day and one of my lovely neighbors had left a broken wooden chair on the curb for pick up.  As I drove by, all I could think was, “Surely, I can do something with that.”  The chair was beautifully painted and looked like it would only need some minor repairs.  So, that’s when my husband got the call to swing by and pick it up.  Luckily for me, I married a man who will do weird things like pick up a chair off the side of the road without asking too many questions.  So, he did and I couldn’t wait to get home that afternoon.
Below is a picture of the chair.  The frame needed to be screwed back together and there was no seat, but that didn’t matter because I decided to turn the chair into a planter.
  Trash to Treasure 1
First things first — My husband is also quite handy.  He was able to easily fix the frame of the chair and reinforce it with both an exterior adhesive and screws.
Second, I sealed the chair with multiple coats of exterior clear, matte sealant.  I made sure to thoroughly spray all joints and screws as well as the underside of all surfaces.  I allowed the finish to dry between


Third, I purchased a plastic planter that fit exactly inside the seat opening on the chair.  I used plastic because it is lightweight.
Fourth, I prepared to plant the plastic pot by drilling large drainage holes in the bottom and placing a layer of weed barrier on the bottom underneath a few cups of expanded shale (to aid with drainage).  The weed barrier keeps the shale and soil from falling out the bottom of the pot, but it still allows water to flow freely through.
Fifth, I selected my plants to fit in the pot and the location for the chair in my landscape.  Luckily for me, again, we had just received a shipment of Rex begonias at Maas Nursery.  I have wanted to grow Rex begonias forever, but I never really had the right place to put them.  With this chair project, I now do!
When creating a mixed container planting, there is a formula to follow: Thrillers in the back, fillers in the middle and spillers in the front.  Filler plants are typically in the middle of a mixed planting and provide contrast for the thrillers (tall and showy) and spillers (growing over the edge of the pot).  But, with Rex begonias as fillers, they are also thrillers!!!  Along with the begonias, I tried my best to pick other plants with similar light (shade, part shade, dappled light) and water (well drained and dry between waterings) requirements.  For spiller plants, I chose silver falls dichondra and a hoya.  For thriller plants, I chose Mariachi Pink picotee lisianthus.  Though lisianthus like a little more light and a little more water than begonias, I was able to situate the planter in my yard so that they get just enough light.  Also, they are planted at the back of the pot, so if they need to be watered, I can water only these plants and not the others.    There are usually ways to make things work!
And lastly, the most fun part, I put it all together and I have the cutest planter I have ever made!!!

So, don’t pass up that trash on the side of the road that caught your eye.  It may be your treasure!!!