Backyard Barrels & the Bramble of Zuni

There it stood; a green tangled, mess. Like Medusa on a bad hair day, one look and you’d turn to stone. Overtaking the monstrosity was deemed impossible. It heavily guarded the back entrance of 4410, intimidating all passersby like the Balrog from Moria. This harrowing existence had to be defeated. With the power of his chainsaw, Brian slayed the giant hedge, dismantling its reign and revealing an old, glass-embedded birdbath and water pump. With the Bramble of Zuni now conquered, reclamation was in order. The backyard was to be rejuvenated into a retreat and social haven for ShelterBelt Design's employees, clients, friends, and family for the rest of time... 

Once the behemoth, disorderly juniper bush and surrounding weeds were removed, it was time to clean the lot. The old rocks and gravel that once covered the ground were shoveled into wheelbarrows and taken off site. The remaining dirt was leveled and topped with a fresh layer of crusher fines. Foreseeable potential was now in plain view.

Local Landscaper, Rebecca Dolan, owner of Radiant Gardens, undertook most of the design. It was her suggestion to use recycled metal drums as planters to hold an assortment of flowers, shrubs, kale, and decorative grass. The giant, metal barrels selected were colorful and most importantly, were food grade. They once held honey or olive oil, instead of petroleum-based products, so the plants living in them will flourish and not die from any toxic residue.

After hauling the metal drums on site, they were cut in half, into different sizes, with holes drilled in the bottom to allow for water drainage.  


The perfect placement of these metal barrels was key. With the sizes being different, an appealing staggering effect was achieved. Rebecca and her team arranged the inside of the drums with perennials, annuals, and some edible plants.

Placing rubber edging on the freshly cut drums was necessary protection from the sharp edges that were exposed after sawing them in two.


To create a unique 'high-top' table arrangement, a left over lid from one of the metal barrels was placed on top of the inoperative birdbath. 

A string of lights was stretched across the darker corner of the yard, along with more seating, creating an intimate and welcoming space that can be enjoyed at any hour, day or night.

Although the backyard haven is not quite finished -- more vegetation, crusher fines, seating, and night-time lighting are expected to be added soon -- the fresh and open setting is a perfect area for an enjoyable outdoor social hour with friends and family...'s also where we have lunch daily.