I Never Promised You a Wall Garden: An Easy DIY Tutorial 1
Home DIYs,  Life

I Never Promised You a Wall Garden: An Easy DIY Tutorial

Impressing the Parents with Thrift Store Decor!
Is All Fair in Le Creuset and War?

Hello Fellow Travelers! I’ve returned! πŸ™‚

I know, I’m the worst. Am I doing this blog or not? I need to make up my mind and stop stringing you guys along/ghosting randomly for months on end, huh?

I’ve been taking a bit of a sabbatical while shifting a few priorities in my life around to get myself back into a good creative space again. One of these shifts is a shift in my career. πŸ™‚ I recently joined PMX Agency as one of their newest Search Engine Marketing Managers. I’m a month in, and I’m absolutely loving the work, my team, and my clients (woot!).

Image result for i think i'm gonna like it here gif
I think I’m gonna like it here!

Anywho…Enough boring life stuff!

As most of you know, I bought a house last year (#landlady). I love it. It’s a blissful haven where I’ve spent many a caftan-clad evening sipping wine, contemplating the universe, and completely neglecting this blog from my porch, which I have nicknamed The Jillarium.

I Never Promised You a Wall Garden: An Easy DIY Tutorial 2
Mornings are for coffee and contemplation. Coffee and contemplation.

So, that porch is on the front of my house. However, I have to park/enter on the side of my house, which is considerably less welcoming. :/

I Never Promised You a Wall Garden: An Easy DIY Tutorial 3

Well hello there, windowless blank brick wall! How’s your incredibly boring life treating you?

Pulling up to this every day was starting to bum me out a bit. I knew I wanted to jazz that wall up, but couldn’t think of anything to jazz it up with (you know…that I could actually afford).

Then, one day I was cleaning the shed in my backyard and discovered this!

I Never Promised You a Wall Garden: An Easy DIY Tutorial 4
Geez…could I have picked a worse background for this?

You’re looking at a piece of metal railing that’s covered with rust and peeling paint.

I Never Promised You a Wall Garden: An Easy DIY Tutorial 5
Come closer!

I almost tossed it out, but then was struck with a great idea! I would use it to make a pretty wall garden for my big blank wall!

First, I ran to Lowe’s to pick up a few supplies.

I Never Promised You a Wall Garden: An Easy DIY Tutorial 6
Aforementioned supplies

I used the wire brush to get rid of all that flaky paint and rust. It didn’t take very long at all!

I Never Promised You a Wall Garden: An Easy DIY Tutorial 7
brushy brushy!

I wiped the railing clean, and then gave it a couple of coats of outdoor rust-proof paint in a cool robin’s egg blue.

I Never Promised You a Wall Garden: An Easy DIY Tutorial 8
Spray painting = Easy peasy.

While the paint was drying, I pulled out the two window planters I bought in the same trip, along with a few of my favorite flowers and planted them.

I Never Promised You a Wall Garden: An Easy DIY Tutorial 9
Lilies! πŸ™‚

Someone had already hung a few things from the wall in the past, so I found a couple of pre-drilled holes to put a couple of screws in to hold up the railing.

Next came the hard part. :/

I attached the brackets that came with the planters and then attempted to hang them on the railing. Sorry I don’t have any pics of this, as I was busy wrestling planters and trying to keep them from falling at this time.

What I discovered was:

  • The top planter could hang just fine with the attached bracket
  • The bottom one could not, but could be attached with some steel wire I found in my toolbox.
  • It’s really hard to attach a heavy planter to a wall railing thing with wire by yourself in a dignified manner and you should probably ask a friend to help you.

I think my hard work was well worth it!

I Never Promised You a Wall Garden: An Easy DIY Tutorial 10

Not bad, eh? And not too pricey, as the main expense for this project was the window planters (about $16 apiece) and the lilies (which you could always go with cheaper flowers or even herbs).

I Never Promised You a Wall Garden: An Easy DIY Tutorial 11
Plus it (kind of) covers that cable.

I still have a lot of wall to cover (and welcome your suggestions). But now when I pull up to my house, I see something that makes me smile. πŸ™‚

I Never Promised You a Wall Garden: An Easy DIY Tutorial 12
Still so much room!
Impressing the Parents with Thrift Store Decor!
Is All Fair in Le Creuset and War?


  • Viv

    I was just on a Pinterest rabbit trail, and found this blog that I think you’ll love! Thrifted frames (or craft foam) and cheap vinyl table cloths for outdoor art! Easy Peasy, cheap, and super unique!

  • Tamera

    Yay! I’m glad you’re back! I had checked your blog a couple of times over the last several weeks and was sad that it had seemingly disappeared. You are a breath of fresh air. And your new house is cute!

  • Deborah Whitwell

    Wow!isn’t that color wonderful? I have been using it and,even painted my deacons bench that color. It is sooo beautiful but your hearing from a person where most colors are in the neutrals and I accent with color. But after losing my husband a year and half ago I enjoy bright perky colors. Why I even painted a few of my patio chairs plum which I repainted my round patio table and chairs that turquoise. Never too old to learn new tricks. Woof woof . Hey I am happy to hear from you just once a month if I can’t get a daily dose. After all you do have a life and we shouldn’t be after you. So blog girl and we are grateful for what we can get. Love Debbie

  • ninawum

    I never felt like you owned us readers anything, just got a lil bit worried. I’m happy to hear that you’re busy – living. As others have said before me: whenever you feel like showing up, we’ll be here for you. I wish you all the best. (Nice planter BTW. I’m probably never gonna own a house – not here in Poland, not in this economy – but I enjoy the idea anyway.)

  • Francesca Wright

    Lovely to hear from you again – was only thinking the other day, had I come off your mailing list. Please keep going love your posts – very inspiring.

  • Viv

    How about a raised planter with cinder blocks? I’ve seen some pretty cool ones that are painted and stacked in cool Tetris-y patterns. Then maybe a trellis for some colorful climbing flowers, and some thrifted statement pieces or pallet art to art it up. That wall is just BEGGING for some creativity!

  • Sadhana Kembhave

    For further ideas:
    I would leave the wall alone until I am sure whether to do anything to it permanently. What i would do is to do some sort of art work infront of the wall.
    1. A row of logs planted infront of the wall, uneven height, put individual potted plants on top. or any arty objects, or your sculptures. I would start with may be 3 logs and then keep adding them one on either side…
    2. make an installation kind of thing in metal, in the front. you can do it yourself, on sundays or holidays. have a theme ….
    3. A row of lighting fixtures, with sensors (?), when you reach the spot, they get illuminated!
    4. A sculptural hedge

  • Deb

    Wow. You have a house of your own now! That’s fabulous. And your outside wall decor is lovely. Thank you for sharing despite being so busy.

  • Ami

    I love barn quilts……………..just google them and you will find painted wood panels that are quilt block designs. A non quilter would see graphics and color. You can make them yourself. It does not need to be a quilt block just a design you like.

    Your planter looks beautiful.


    Great idea and I always LOVE your blog posts. Please don’t stop. I know life gets in the way though. You are so cute and perky.

  • Charlotte Bell

    Always brings a smile getting a notification of your posts and like everyone else, we are happy to wait as we know they’re worth waiting for.

    With your wall, you could consider living graffiti!! Where moss I encouraged to grow in a pattern or word of your choosing. Google living graffiti, its beautiful x here’s a recipe and method and it’s inexpensive.

    Two cups of buttermilk is also needed (Yogurt may be used as a substitute).
    *1 half a teaspoon of sugar
    *2 cups of water (beer may also be used instead),
    *A standard Blender
    *Container for the finished product
    *Corn syrup may also be needed in certain cases to increase the consistency

    Wash the moss carefully. Make sure that bits of soil found on its roots are completely removed, or at least as much of it as possible. The clumps of moss are then broken apart even further into smaller pieces. This will make it more manageable and easier for the blender to work on.

    Place the washed, broken up moss in the blender. Add the two cups of buttermilk, the two cups of water, and the half teaspoon of sugar. Blend this mixture until it is completely smooth. Now, use the paintbrush to test the consistency of the blended mixture. If it drips like paint with too much moisture, add corn syrup then blend the mixture again. Repeat this step until sufficiently viscous consistency is achieved. If the mixture becomes too thick, this can easily be remedied by adding water.

    Once the moss paint mixture has the desired consistency, transfer it into another container with a lid. Seal it for the time being until a sufficient amount of this paint” mixture is produced. If the mixture is to be used later, store it in the refrigerator.

    Paint your design using a paintbrush straight onto the brickwork.

    The first couple of weeks are critical. The moss graffiti should be misted using a water spray once every other day to keep it moist. On days when it is not to be misted with water, apply an additional coat of moss paint” mixture. The best time to put up a moss graffiti are the spring and fall seasons. There is sufficient moisture in the air so misting or applying a new coat of moss paint” may be done once a week. Monitor the moss graffiti on a regular basis to ensure it stays moist. This will encourage its growth.

    And then admire your living art ^^

    • Ash

      I was thinking a mural, but that sounds so much cooler. Also, some diy bird feeders from thrifted supplies never hurts. Ive seen them made from scrap wood, old painted water jugs, license plates, vases….could do a whole array surrounded by the moss graffiti.

  • Tarynkay

    I didn’t read all of the comments, so maybe somebody already suggested this, but how about some bat houses? I want to put some up myself since bats eat mosquitoes and they are also endangered and apparently need houses.

    But it could be really cute! You could make them really easily, it would be a fun project and they are small so you could build them out of scraps.

  • Oksana

    If that wall gets at least 6 hours of daylight, it would be a great location for growing a fragrant climbing rose like Don Juan, etc.

  • Lori Nevin

    Congratulations on the new job. The robins egg blue is fantastic as well as the whole project. The Jillarium looks so inviting.

  • Lydia

    I would definitely check out the DOY posts on Pinterest for upcoming pallets. They are pretty cheap (usually free) and you can hardscape, plant herbs, vevgies, or flowers, or build a nice bench to break up that walk. Congrats on purchasing your first home! You go girl!

  • Susan

    Don’t worry about the sporadic blogs, I always enjoy them whenever they appear. You need time to refresh without feeling pressure to write and post. I love that you named your porch. Enjoy!

  • Lisa

    I am seriously digging your Jillarium! Awesome job on the wall as well. The blogging? Well, its a precious gift you share with us, so if its every so often, whenever, that’s perfectly ok.

  • Brandy

    That wall screams for a bright mural! Or if not something permanent, how about recycling some old doors or something and creating a type of folding screen? I would paint them some bright colors and hang some planters, vines, metal accents, etc. I would also use the ground in front. maybe some old children’s wagons or trike? Something fun and whimsical!

  • Tova

    Great wallflowers! I have been randomly following your blog for some years from Sweden, and I just have to say that you seem like such a fun wonderful person, and it has been great following your refashionproject as well as getting to know your life a little. Thanks for this!

  • Carolyn

    I always enjoy your postings so welcome back! Lovely planter! My suggestions – paint that boring brick a nice colour – even cream will be better. And a flowering climber on a trellis would be a great addition. Star Jasmine is an awesome climber. grows really quickly and doesn’t require much water once established. You can even plant it in a pot and let it climb.

  • robota

    I love your beautiful garden wall! Maybe you can paint a mural on your brick wall — like a garden gate. Or even more simple, and I’ve done this so I know it works, you can just paint the brick wall any color(s) you want. It worked on my old drab brick, just brought the whole house to life! Or maybe you’ll find a thrifty garden gate or something else you can hang on the wall. But we know you! You will find a way to make it beautiful.

  • Sandra Blackwell

    Wait for the right thing to speak to you, rather than wasting time and cash just to have something there. And petunias would be better in your window boxes,…they will trail down. If you put the lilies in the ground they will come back again.

  • Jillian McKimm

    A lovely surprise! House is coming along very nicely! Looking happy with your new job, we are delighted for you! Now about the wall, I wouldn’t paint it, if you do it will always need a top up. Do you know of geraniums, pelargoniums? These are wonderful plants, easy to grow from a cutting, tough, forgiving, flower beautifully. The variety of flowers are incredible , from tiny to rose like, leaves can be variegated or plain. Some leaves are aromatic, eg rose, peppermint, cinnamon. These plants grow in the ground, pots, window flower boxes ( think France, Italy) They can be standard plants and climbers. The range of colours are incredible!
    Yep, I love geraniums! Great to hear from you! Jillian, Melbourne, Australia πŸ™‚

  • Mary Anne Christopher

    Love it! Life changes, interests change, priorities change … I love your blog whenever you have the opportunity to write on any topic – sewing or home improvements!

  • Kris

    Get those rocks out of there and put more green mossy things in there! Softer on the feet and prettier πŸ™‚

  • Cher Shipman

    I love it! and welcome back! Several people suggested for the other blank area, to put a big planter. Don’t know how you feel about an old galvanized, oval watering trough (I got one at Agway) but that plus a trellis, and something climbing would be awesome. I always enjoy when you show up in my inbox πŸ™‚

  • Amelia

    Looks great!

    I just purchased my first home and have a lot of space to get creative so, you know, if you want to share more creative home things that would be great!

  • redbamsews

    Welcome back! I, for one, totally understand you absence. We all go through periods of regrouping or rejuvenating. What I particularly appreciate is that in the process you are honoring the creative process–stretching and growing in your creativity.

    I love your current home improvement project. You’ve added a splash of color to your blank wall while re-purposing. Bravo!

  • Linda Busch

    You owe no apologies to anyone for your blogging schedule. Enjoy your life! But your posts always make me smile and inspire me. I think you (and maybe some friends) could paint a mural on the wall, or have guests “sign” a brick with paint. It would be a fun a colorful reflection of the love in your life. Enjoy your new home and job!

  • Beth

    So the reason you’ve been missing is completely ok! As an artist it’s your privilege to have a dry spell.
    The flowers are a perennial and would work best in the ground. Replant them in the fall, don’t throw away!!!
    You could always dry brush bricks here and there in black, grey/white, ran to make the wall look older and it would make it pop! OR, paint the entire house, New idea in the refresh/flip world. Light colors work best!!!
    I love the idea, and might do it with a ladder in my shed!?
    Missed you, hope to see you soon!

  • Vanessa

    A beautiful, bright spot that will make you smile πŸ™‚ Love it!!! Your Jillarium is absolutely stunning too! Welcome back to my inbox – I’ve missed you x

  • Kathleen Lee

    I enjoy your posts and don’t at all feel neglected. I’ll read when you post and send you good thoughts when you don’t!

  • Sherrie

    Hey, it’s a start on that stark, blank, wall. I am sure now that you have the planter up and see how it brightens that section of the wall more ideas will follow. Glad you are enjoying your new home πŸ™‚

  • Anne

    Hello again! Makes me smile when I see ‘Refashionista’ in my inbox – An old friend returns kinda smile.
    Love your wall garden and your gorgeous porch xx

  • Murielle

    Tres cute! Really love what you’ve done with your porch.

    Can’t speak for others, but I am always delighted to hear from you whenever you post.

    • Viv

      That would be cool! Unless it would reflect neighbors, in which case I just watched an episode of Design on a Dime where they used a torch, spray paint, and acetone to make pretty cool looking effects on mirrors. Kind of like the antique/mercury glass effect, so she’d still have the mirror, but not so much a view of her neighbors.

  • Pamela

    Be careful planting vines on the wall. Many can be destructive as they attach to the wall to climb and slowly tear the wall apart and/or crack it to allow water to penetrate creating moisture issues in the wall.

  • Netta Quick

    Love your blog, but you don’t need to feel obligated! Good to “see” you again in my Inbox. Love your creativity. Love, love, love your Jillarium. What a great place. I have used old windows (minus the glass) and hung them on walls. You can paint them different colours or the same as your iron fence (which is pretty cool!).

  • skillseditor

    I’ve missed your posts – I was thrifting with my sisters last week and wondered where you’d been. I’m glad you’re in a happier place. It’s always nice to see you in my inbox.

  • Pamela

    You might paint that side door and iron columns and railing a fun vibrant color. Also go junking looking for a large piece of metal you can paint up in an abstract mural of sorts as a big piece of outdoor wall art.

  • Judy Cromwell

    I have missed your posts, but glad you are getting settled into your new home. Takes a while. I love what you did with the wall. It won’t be long till you have it looking more beautiful. Missed you, but take your time. It’s always nice to hear from you.

  • Josie

    Maybe you could re-purpose something bigger for a larger trellis to grow some vines on–the leaves would look nice through the whole year plus give you some good blooms seasonally.

  • Lisa

    It would be fun to paint the planters with your beautiful blue color for a little more pop off the wall.

    And I could definitely see an awesome mural on that wall.

  • Karen

    It’s always a good day when a post from you shows up in my mailbox! Well, you have a lot going on right now, so it makes sense that some things get a lower priority. We’ll be here whenever you can post! Love that you’re sharing your home projects!!

  • Lynne

    Post when you can! No judging here. Seeing your newest post is like a breath of fresh air. Do it when you can, we’ll be waiting.

  • Valerie Malley

    Nice to hear from you. The best laid plans of man – and life happens. Picking up on kittlen’s comment, a mirror in a window frame would work too, or an interesting/ornate framed mirror.

  • Claire

    A fantastic idea, it looks great and it’s so lovely to hear from you again in sunny (for a change!) Southern England.☺ How about getting some wooden pallets (you know, the sort that heavy stuff gets delivered on), giving them a quick sand if necessary, then paint, varnish, or stencil in your choice of colour and design, and use butchers hooks and wire to attach bright potted plants, and/or hanging baskets. You can use as many pallets as you need for your wall and even saw them into shapes if you prefer (star, heart, etc, etc). You could also attach some plastic guttering to the back of some of the horizontal struts, fill them with soil, and plant directly into it with ivy and trailing plants – that way you can create a permanent year round living wall. Just remember to keep everything well watered in the summer though, otherwise it’ll dry out quickly. However, whatever you do, I’m sure it’ll look fantastic!

  • Beryl

    Congratulations on your new home. I love the Jillarium, and the lilies. I suggest a climbing plant for the other boring part of the wall. Good luck in your endeavours, and thank you for brightening up my mail box.

  • Mary Newcomb

    I’ve been so inspired by your blog over the last couple of years. My fireplace was like your drab brick wall and I decided to make it more me. We don’t use the fireplace and have small children. So there’s always been this plywood board blocking it. I painted it and wrote quotes on it in metallic sharpies. I loved that board and still do, but the brick around my board didn’t look good. So I bought paint and checked with my landlord (aka my mother in law who lives next door) and I painted the bricks. I painted the bricks a charcoal color and in between the bricks I painted a teal color. I talked with people who have more experience than I do and they warned me that it takes a lot of paint to paint brick. It’s like a big, hard sponge that soaks up paint. Luckily I bought the paint during a sale and it took 3 coats of paint. I still have some paint leftover that I plan on using as touch up. I would love to show you pictures! I’m not completely done with my fireplace, but I’m happy with the work I’ve done on it.

  • Beth

    Maybe you are aware of the little catalogs that have a large variety of stuff such as Miles Kimball, Collections, etc, Lakeside, and others I cannot think of right now, but they all have seasonal and permanent stuff that you can attach to walls and fences. I love the big butterflies. I could spend (waste) a lot of time looking at their stuff on line. Enjoy!

  • Jeanette Czalbowski

    I am so impressed with your results!! I honestly did not expect to be, but then when I saw it I said, “Wow!!”. I do also like Kitlen’s idea. Don’t know if it would work on your area, but it’s good to get such a good idea out there!

  • Tracey

    No pressure to post, live your life and enjoy. Your post for me is like your new wall garden…makes me smile! Thanks for the inspiration. Oh! and I would never want to leave your porch.

  • Jo Evans

    No matter how often, always a joy to see yr name in the inbox. Sorry to be a worr
    y wort but watch out for your power supply box when watering. . From Jo, Ross on Wye, England πŸ˜‰

  • Michelle

    Good job! My parents just replaced their bed and are going to “plant” their king size iron headboard in the backyard with clematis. You could do something similar with a smaller support, an old ladder or something similar to your railing. It looks like your pavers/driveway goes right up to the house so you might need to start from a long low planter against the wall. I absolutely love the idea from Kittlen about the window frame with the photo on the back. I have a painting that’s specifically made for outdoors on my wall in the back. I tried using a regular painting with a “guard” kind of shellacing and that didn’t work.

  • Elisa

    Nice to have you back! Beautiful project.

    It looks from the pictures that you have pebbles along the bottom of the wall rather than a flower bed. I have the same along one of my walls. To make the area more interesting, I have placed several large pottery planters (the reddish terracota-type that blend well with the brick color) with small flowering trees that grow well locally. The wall looks so much better now, and the small trees also give the appearance of height to the wall. Perhaps you may consider doing something like this as I often find cheap large terracota planters at garage sales.

  • Kathleen McDermott

    You don’t owe a blog to anyone, but it sure is nice to have you back. Really nice. Wonderful job on the wall. Creative and charming, as always. Your porch is a delight.

  • Barb Harrison

    So happy to see you in my inbox this morning!
    I love your wall thingy. Suggestion for wall..paint the whole thing your fav colour..paint a beautiful summer mural, which would be like a wip..work in progress..not something you accomplish in a day.
    That’s my 2 cents worth. Have an amazing summer, and congrats on the new job!

  • -Amber-

    Ladder, old 6-8′ ladder to the L of the hose with a climbing vine or plant (decorative mini pumpkins would be interesting)!

  • queenpushy

    Great work but…hate to rain on your parade but those lilies would be better in the ground as the are perennials and will only bloom for a moment. You should go with a good annual that blooms continually thru the summer season.

  • elaine174

    Great idea – always look forward to your posts. Happy that you post when you feel like it – no-one wants you to feel pressurised.

  • kittlen

    You should buy an old window from a thrift shop and have a cool print made to affix behind the window so it looks like you’re looking inside a festive party room or bistro or something. We did that once inside our living room with the picture behind it being an exterior shot of a canal in Amsterdam so that everyday, we could just stare at the canal. If you get it printed on a substrate that’s UV protected, the sun won’t fade it too much (hopefully).

  • Debbie Golding

    I love finding objects I already have and repurposing them. This is a great idea!! Enjoy your porch – don’t worry about us. We’ll wait for you.

  • Terri Tompkins

    Nice work on the wall garden! I’m glad that you have taken time to do things that would nourish your heart and soul. Never a bad time to do that, and never a reason to feel badly or apologize for it. Own your life always, and make it a happy one.

    • Nancy Lindsay

      I don’t feel neglected. You are an artist and you have blogged for several years. Sometimes I look back at blogs to get ideas… so all of your blogging is still useful in many ways. I respect that you have a life and when you get around to it, I am sure your readers will still be here.

    • cindy884

      I love projects that use recycled things that others would take one look at and then throw away. I also have a large blank wall in my backyard and I think I’m going to try this myself. We have a lot of scrap metal yards in my town so I should be able to find some old railing there. Not to try to make you feel guilty or anything but, I was worried about you. We also don’t live that far from each other. I live in a small town on the N.C., S.C. border. Take care and keep creating!
      It just occurred to me I have an old, straight ladder. This would probably work well using that! Just my opinion.

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