When we moved in to our home in the St. Johns Neighborhood of Portland Oregon we received a pleasant surprise. The former owner left behind a picnic table. It was a little rough around the edges and needed some love, but none the less it would support one of Portland’s finest craft beers, a plate of bratwurst and grilled potatoes. And it did so for several summers. But it was starting to creak and was becoming out of place in the ever evolving landscape. The question was, should it stay or should it go?
We opted to keep the aging picnic table and give it an update. One thing for sure is I am big fan of succulents. They are easy to grow, eye catching, and have the ability to give the landscape a bit of color and bling. Then came the aha moment. Picnic table, succulents, succulents planted in the picnic table. I like it!
So this past January when I was chomping at the bit to get in the garden I decided to go to work. I pulled all the boards off the table and stacked them in the garage to dry. Six weeks later after the boards had dried I sanded them all down and put a coat of linseed oil on them. Then I reattached them with a new set of torque screws. All of them except for the board in the center of the table, this one I set aside.
In the open space in the center of the table I used a pneumatic nail-gun to fasten a piece of rubber membrane material that I bought for cheap from Green Star International to the boards nearest the center of the table. This created a U shaped pocket. I then ripped some cedar strips and used them to sandwich the rubber membrane to the boards. I poked some holes into the rubber membrane for drainage. The board from the center of the table that I had set aside, I cut to fit the ends of the table so the U shaped planting pocket would not be visible.
The next step was the fun part, planting the succulents. I first filled the planting pocket with a soil mix of compost and perlite. I had an assortment of Sedum and Sempervivum, or Hens and Chicks as they are often referred growing in a pan. I cut them into strips just a little less than the width of the planting pocket. And last I gave them a good soaking with the hose.
Succulents like Sedum and Sempervivum are great for an application such as this. They require just a little maintenance, can tolerate hot and dry conditions, and their bright colors, interesting shapes and tactile appearance make them a real conversation piece.
I am glad we opted to keep this table and give it an update. It looks slick and has many more barbeques left in it.
If you would like to learn more feel free to email or call Wheel & Barrow Landscape Design & Maintenance of Portland Oregon at 503.265.8959.