5 Easy steps to achieve a “WOW” garden feature: Alpine Walls using Clay Drainage Pipes!
Ever wondered how to create an eye-catching feature for your garden without compromising on space? Well we are here to show you how it’s possible in just 5 easy steps! At Grow Your Ideas we are always looking for new ways to get creative but as you will realizing by now – our designs don’t have to be extravagant or expensive. Regardless of the style or size of your garden, pots can be used in a number of exciting ways to express your personality and tastes. In this recent project of ours we learnt that a collection of small pots can be just as entrancing as a large focal feature as long as you choose your Succulents carefully and cleverly! We stumbled across some clay drainage pipes and put our resourceful brains into gear to come up with an innovative way to instantly create a carpet of colour to your garden without having to invest in hours of gardening! We couldn’t down tools quick enough to get this blog out to you guys to share such a cool idea! The Alpine wall which we created here, is a neat and tidy way to keep all of your favourite Alpines together in a compact space which not only mirrors a distinct contemporary edge but oozes universal appeal! Anyone and everyone can have a go at this so please let us know what designs you came up with after you try it out! You can share your creations on our Facebook page!
The great thing about all of the Succulents that we specialize in, is that they can all be grown in pots. We learnt that not only can they produce a breathtaking fusion of vibrant colour when mixed together to fill a large garden terracotta planter, but they can be used solely by accentuating the strength of one jewel-like flower within each pot. As many of our Alpine enthusiasts will know, the key to increasing the longevity of your Succulent plants, is to ensure that you never overwater! This is of course, helped by a good drainage system makes for the perfect haven for your little gems to flourish and thrive in most conditions that the good old trusty UK weather throws our way. The clay drainage pipes which we used create the perfect drainage system. So there you have it – no excuses! Space or no space, garden or no garden – Alpine walls are the way forward and give you perfect opportunity to express your inner creativity. Of course you can use many other household items for Alpine planters! Over the years we have seen many imaginative ways that allow fellow gardening lovers to re-ignite their passion for Alpines and Succulents by re-using chimneys, dustbins, upturned hats, boots, saucepans and bathroom sinks – but we were so proud of the outcome of this new project that we felt we had to share it with you guys. As you can see by our before and after photos – it’s a clutter free and effective way to look after all your plants in one location and what’s more – alpines and succulents are SO easy to look after, they really do make the best companions a gardener could ever wish for.
Step one: Measuring. Probably one of our least favourite tasks of the project, but what better incentive to get our measuring tapes and pencils out than a vision in mind of the overall finished look? We knew what we wanted to achieve – all we had to do was to calculate how many of these beauties we could cram along one wall! Oh – and then we decided to create another three rows just because it looked so good! We worked out for these particular dimensions, we could fit around 120 pots into our wall. Your wall may take less or more than this – ether way, please send your pictures into us so that we can see what you did with your design.
Step two: Setting. This is where the fun begins. All you need to do for this stage is to set your pots in place at each base using silicone. We began positioning our pots on what was to be a bank of gravel, starting with the first line of pots at the lowest point of the mound in order to make a ascending slope. Make sure that you leave a little breathing space between the first row of pots and the house wall to avoid any damp issues. Once this is complete you have your layout prepared for your first line. We let ours set over night and returned to work the next day to fix the second row into place. In order to secure each pot firmly to its location, we found it helped to silicon the sides together where they touched with each other. We then continued with the other four layers gradually going up and placing gravel at around a depth of 4 inches until we completed the wall.
hree: Drainage. Once the pots were secured down and the silicon had dried we filled the space in and around the pots with more gravel (around 50% to leave room for the soil). The gravel will provide a great drainage system (remember – you don’t want to end up with soggy Succulents!).
Step four: Potting. Next – the secret recipe! In order to get your Alpine wall off to the best start you will need a regular potting mixture of 50% John Innes Number 2 with 50% horticultural grit. Water the soil ensuring that none of the soil sinks to a lower level through the gravel. Top any receding soil levels back up with the same mixture until all of your clay draining pipes look beautifully even. We left around 1 cm gap at the top to leave room for the top dressing.
Step five: Planting. I don’t think you need us lot to tell you to have fun with this next step! Create a Alpine wall using a combination of Sedums and Sempervivums to create waves of vibrant inspiration! The Sedums need to be at the front of the wall to ensure that they don’t trail over the Sempervivums where we made a continual diagonal pattern for eye-catching effect. We water the wall twice a week (once a week in very hot weather) during the Spring and Summer months and then will reduce this to just once a month from the middle of November through to the end of February.
Below you will see some images of the completed planted wall just two weeks after planting! Also see the progress so far at the bottom of this blog with just four months growth!
No doubt you will now be getting to work with your own dramatic Alpine wall – so please share your designs as we love to see you very own personal takes on our creative projects!
If you loved reading this blog as much as we enjoyed creating it – please give us a wave by sharing or liking the article so that we can keep sharing our creative tutorials with you!
Below are the images after just four months of growth!
Happy gardening and don’t forget to Grow your Ideas!