There's nothing more satisfying than designing a garden makeover for a deck when it's empty, like the one at the "Home & Family Show."
Clean slates are under-rated!
Deck Makeover Segment Assigned
The Home & Family Show producer who was in charge of the deck makeover segment is one very determined guy named Nick Birren.
Nick may look like a "romantic lead actor" but he's clearly channeled all his energy into being a top-notch producer behind the camera!
I got a call from Nick a few days before we were to tape a segment on designing a composting system.
The plans for the composting system were ready to go and I had my bag of food discards packed in my truck.
There was a last minute change- no composting segment, instead, a deck makeover was ordered.
I take my television garden makeovers seriously.
They must meet professional standards which translates to, "no installation shortcuts or planting of plants that look pretty for camera but die a few days later."
I had to measure, assess the site for irrigation, check the grading, soil conditions, sun exposure, etc.
This was a real landscaping job with a super short deadline, high expectations and a camera in your face!
Left side planting strip. Measures two-feet deep, 13-feet wide and one-foot tall.
Right-side planting strip. Measures the same as left side except it's one-foot wider. Take a look at that tall, ugly wall!
Fortunately, the planting areas were restricted to two planting strips located between the deck perimeter and the house.
My challenge was to design a dynamic garden that could serve as a "backdrop" for segments taped on the deck, while reserving deck space for production needs.
At the same time, I had design issues that needed to be mitigated such as tall, gray walls, an unattractive roofline, horrible soil, and the instructions not to install any pergolas or overhead structures!
With limited floor space, I padded the design with vertical garden features such as a trellis against the wall, a window box, wall planters and a trio of three-tiered plant towers- obelisks.
Preparing For the Deck Makeover
It was a rare day in Los Angeles because it was raining.
This meant that the nurseries were probably closed.
The clock was ticking and I was 24-hours away from installation and still had to source, buy, pick up and deliver the plants, soils, containers and garden decor for the deck.
To make matters more difficult, one of my design decisions ended up being a hassle to fullfil.
Instead of planting directly in the ground, I decided to recess plant liners in the small planting areas in order to better control the soil and planting environment.
My problem was, I couldn't find any planters that fit in this specific space!
I had to visit three different Lowes garden centers in order to buy 16 liners!
None of the stores had enough on hand.
After rustling up the liners, my energy turned towards finding plants.
I called my friends at Armstrong Garden Centers and asked if they would be interested in supplying the plants for the deck and help me pull plants in the rain.
Armstrong agreed, and on my way to the Sherman Oaks store, the rain dissipated.
That was a hopeful sign.
"I need a lot of organic potting soil for my TV segment," I cried.
"No problem Shirley," the marketing director responded, "we'll set up a pick up for you!"
"All hands on deck!" Producer Nick and assistant Will unload soil for the garden project.
Oh, to have friends in the gardening industry!
Installing the Deck Garden
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Read and see more photos related to the Deck Makeover Project on Shirley's other website, Garden Center TV!