What we do for our plants

desert_gardener(z9 AZ)March 27, 2006

I will tell you...what we don't do for our plants. We have had a corner of our yard that we had a pinic table with some plants on it that received afternoon shade from a very messy, leaf dropping, Arizona yellow bell. I was sick of all the mess, constantly picking leaves out of the pots and the raised bed under it. So I saw this picture in Sunset magazine of a cool steel structure that someone did in Tucson, Arizona, and I put it away and started talking to my husband about cutting down the tree and replacing it with a shade structure. I already have a 10' X 15' area of galvinized metal poles and shade tarps, so I wanted something with more of an artistic flair. You can kinda see where the pinic table is in the picture below, but you really can't see the messy tree.

Well over the last 6 weeks, we purchased a lot of angle iron, expanded metal, and concrete wire mesh. With the help of a very dear friend who was itching to sharpen his welding skills we sat out to make something special to house our filtered shade loving plants. For weeks prior to starting the project, my husband, his friend, and myself would sit in the backyard, have a few beers and put our ideas down on paper.

The frist week of the project, my dear husband cut down the tree. The second week was the digging holes to set angle iron in cement just above the ground to anchor the structure to. All of this being done of Sunday afternoons. This is the beginning of the frame.

Starting the frame 2/26/06:

Adding some artistic touches to the frame and the gable ends with the concrete mesh and expanded metal 3/12/06:

The finished project 12' X 16'..3/26/06:

Our friend will be making stair step type tables for the interior over the next few months, and I will be getting my huband on the end of a shovel, so that I can start the mass plantings I have planned for the exterior. We will also need to bring in some gravel and I will be shopping for some type of art work to hang over the entry way and the 2 side panels. I am keeping my fingers crossed for more rain to give the structure the rusty look that I am looking for, but with what we have received in the last few weeks the process has already started.

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anya_101(z5b central,IL)

THAT is Beautiful! You will have to repost it once the plants are on the new shelves. Congratulations!
You have a beautiful yard section also, so clean looking. It makes me want to rip out all the grass out back. LOL

    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 10:14PM
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desert_gardener(z9 AZ)

I have nothing on you anya with that beautiful green house you are erecting. I bet that you can't wait to fill it with plants that you can go out and fuss over everyday.

My husband and I spend a lot of time in our backyard fussing with plants, it is something that we enjoy together and our way of unwinding after a busy day. I could have spent the money on new furniture or something, but we would have to put it out on the patio to enjoy it. This way we get much more enjoyment.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 11:26PM
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cactusdan19(z5b NE)

Love the structure and am sure that your plants will love it too. It's good to have a spouse that loves the same things you do.
Lincoln, NE USDA 5

    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 11:14AM
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mingtea(z9 Tucson)

now i know what you mean by sacrifice! it only took you a week to dig those holes? i dug three holes in the arizona soil this last weekend using a caliche bar...sheesh!
your structure looks like it's going to be fabulous. please post when it's done!


    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 12:16PM
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desert_gardener(z9 AZ)

Thanks for all the nice comments, we are pretty proud of the results.
It has been kind of cloudy since the roof was installed, so waiting for more sunshine to see how much shade it will really provide. There are not very many succulents that can take full Arizona sun, so this will give them the filtered shade they require with out filling my backyard with more trees (already have 6 trees). This weekend I am putting my husband on the end of a shovel and we will begin with the planting. I will keep you posted on the progress. Thanks again for the nice comments.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 5:17PM
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Neat structure. desert_gardener. Maybe I missed it, but, what kind of material did you use for the roof & sides? I have an opaque fiberglass material on my greenhouse, but the sun is so intense it burns. I want to replace it, but I want something more burn resistant. Do you think the rusting will bleed into the material you used?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2006 at 7:26AM
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desert_gardener(z9 AZ)

baci, we used expanded sheet metal for the roof and sides, and concrete mesh for the other areas. It gives me about 30% shade. Here is the latest pic of the completion, with some art work, and a few planting (not as many as I had planned). It will be a few months before I get tables in there, so we put our old picnic table in there so I can start moving some plants in side. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2006 at 11:41PM
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reptilegrrl(z9 Houston)

Wow, that is fantastic! I am envious of your wonderful outdoor room. I need to learn to weld!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2006 at 5:59AM
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Thanks, desert_gardener. I understand your rusty look now, & as I see your progression the rust should make a great artistic effect. It looks very professionally done.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2006 at 9:21AM
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