Tuesday, June 7, 2011

05/05/2010 - Integration

The gazebo is now a key focal point in the garden, providing a delightful spot to watch the birds and have morning coffee or evening wine.  When the vine is in bloom, it's full of bees.  When the berries ripen it's a popular spot for mockingbirds.  The leaves provide a thick shady canopy, sheltering us from summer sun. When frost arrives, the fan comes down and the heater goes up.  Since we didn't paint the dish, there's almost no maintenance----just trimming trailing branches around the edges.

Next time you see one of these relics that's destined for a landfill, I hope you'll remember this blog.  If you do create your own satellite-dish gazebo, please send pictures!

Monday, June 6, 2011

05/29/2010 - Celebration

We found a big paddle-bladed outdoor fan to put in the center of the gazebo.  It was the perfect height. Then one day my husband took a picture of a chandelier he saw on the Lowe's sale table.  It was gaudy as the dickens, but I told him that it would look great in the garden if we could figure out the right spot for it.  He brought it home, but it took a while to find that spot... 

When we were starting to plan a dual graduation party for our son and his girlfriend, I asked if there was any way the chandelier could be turned upside-down and mounted like a light kit on the bottom of the fan.  Well, yes it could, but the gazebo would need to be raised a couple of inches to accommodate it.  Fortunately, that was easy to do since it had been built with the sleeved support legs (remember I told you that capability was going to be handy?)

On party day, which was very warm, the fan kept bugs and barbeque smoke away from guests under the gazebo, and it made a perfect conversation and dining spot!

02/13/2010 - Proliferation

By the following spring, branches had completely covered the top of the gazebo, and had to be thinned out.

05/31/2009 - Foliation

Much to my delight, the vine bounced right back.  Bill figured out a way to hang the propane heater from the center section so we could admire the garden's progress on chilly spring evenings.  He also hung LED fairy-lights around the edge of the dish, and put electrical outlets and switches on the support post next to the vine's trunk.

02/02/2009 - Delineation

After giving the porcelain berry vine a little time to settle in on its new support structure, we pruned it back to the main branches.  Then we very carefully and gently wrapped the main trunk around the support post, and wired the leaders to the inside edge of the dish.  Although the vine seemed healthy, I was worried that it might not survive all the abuse it had taken in the past few months.  Some of the branches were brittle, so we couldn't bend them very much.  The ends of the two main leaders didn't quite meet on the side opposite the trunk, and I was really hoping they would grow together in the spring.

Friday, June 3, 2011

10/23/2008 - Finalization

The pathways throughout the garden and under the gazebo were covered with 4 inches of "Ginger fines", which cost twice as much as "Gold fines", but was of course the color of gravel I HAD to have.  After the little oval of green sod was laid, it really all started to come together.  We actually had something we could call a gazebo!  But that was really just the beginning.....

09/01/2008 - Fabrication

The surrounding area was leveled and the recycled-concrete raised beds were built behind the gazebo area.  Paths were graded, conduit was run for electrical connections, the watering system was installed, and rock was set around the perimeter of the vine's trunk.

08/14/2008 - Realization

Two days later, the crew had put the dish in place, and carefully draped the vine across the top.  I was beyond thrilled.  It didn't look like much yet, but the structure was in place, and my vision was becoming reality!

08/12/2008 - Perspiration

In 2008, I finally found a landscaping contractor who was willing to work with all my crazy ideas.  He'd done a beautiful job at a friend's house, and actually seemed to like the idea of recycling concrete chunks for raised-bed walls and a satellite dish for a gazebo.

He took down the old scaffolding and provided temporary support for the porcelain berry vine.

Next we decided where we wanted the support posts.  If possible, I wanted the front area more open than the back, to provide a better view of the garden.  Since the dish itself is fairly light, we had some flexibility in the placement of the "legs".  He set 3-foot galvanized pipes in concrete, leaving about 18 inches exposed. For the legs that attached to the dish, he used slightly larger-diameter galvanized pipe that would fit over the posts.  This allowed us to raise or lower the entire dish until we got the height just right.  You will see later that this capability came in handy!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

08/11/2008 - Explanation

We built this framework in 1993, when our son was in high school.  He needed a rope-vault to practice pole-vaulting.  We built one in the back yard, and he used to climb up this scaffolding (which was much sturdier when it was new).  Holding onto a rope attached to another frame built of streetlight poles, he would launch himself off this platform, pull himself upside down and vertical while hanging from the rope, and land in a tarp-covered pile of old mattresses.

After he went to college and had "official" equipment to practice on, I planted a porcelain berry vine (ampelopsis brevipedunculata) at the base, and let it crawl up the scaffolding.  It was a favorite perch for one of our cats, who liked to hide among the leaves and sleep in the dappled shade.

I wanted the vine preserved, and I dreamed of having a nice sitting area that would take the place of this rickety scaffolding!

06/13/2006 - Inspiration

 1.    small building with view: a small, usually open-sided and slightly elevated building, situated in a spot that commands a pleasant view
 2.    sun canopy in garden: a lightweight freestanding open-sided canopy for use in a garden, usually as a sunshade
I saw this old-style large satellite dish turned into a gazebo when I was on a garden crawl in 2006.  When I got home I told my husband we REALLY wanted to have one in our yard, and he posted a "want" on Freecycle.  Within 2 days we had a dish that he took apart and stored in our shed.  Of course it was two years before we actually got our gazebo built, but it's a wonderful addition to our garden.  Every time I see a dish like this forlornly sitting unused on a roof or in someone's yard, I want to knock on their door and share the idea! 

This blog documents the construction of our recycled satellite-dish gazebo, and will hopefully provide inspiration to a few more people!