Home » diy projects

diy projects

Creative Garden Ideas That Look Way Too Good To Be DIYs

Creative Garden Ideas That Look Way Too Good To Be DIYs

I don’t know about you, but I’m always on the hunt for my next DIY garden project.

And while I like to make a lot of pieces of my own garden, I don’t necessarily want everything to look like an amateur DIY project. I just want it to look creative and unique.

So, I went on the hunt for some I hope these will inspire you to design a garden that’s uniquely you.

**All images and projects in this post are shared with explicit permission given to Pretty Purple Door by their respective creators. Learn more about each project in the credits section at the bottom of this post.

This Wine Bottle Gazebo Stands Up To Harsh Canadian Winters

Project/Photo Credit: Jean Mogg Theissen

Well, this is just the most creative and unique gazebo I’ve ever seen! It’s made entirely from glass wine bottles. So, if you love the vino maybe you can consider saving your bottles to create a magical glass gazebo like Jean! 

In this ever-evolving yard in Alberta, Canada, short summers mean less plants and more features built to withstand heat and cold. She said that her husband bought her a cement mixer a few years ago, so she had to put it to good use. Each year, Jean adds another fun feature to the garden. 

Curious if the wine bottle gazebo is able to withstand Canadian winters? Jean says, 

“So far the wine bottle gazebo is standing up just fine.”

A Greenhouse So Charming You’d Never Want to Leave

Project/Photo Credit: Veronica Hanson Thompson

Well, talk about a unique and inspiring DIY project. I love this type of creativity, because not only did Veronica have to source all of these old windows… but putting this greenhouse together had to be like building the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle.

Veronica says this took her several years to find all the right windows to complete her greenhouse.

“I collected windows for several years to make this little greenhouse. It’s one of my favorite spots in my yard, especially with the new addition of solar string lights…”


I really love the way that this beautiful greenhouse glows in the evening. And, the solar hanging lights and fun, eclectic style just make you want to spend your entire day inside; potting, planting and dreaming up new gardening projects into the wee hours of the morning.

Carved Wood Door Becomes a Garden Gate, 25 Years Later

Project/Photo Credit: John Clute

A little lesson that some beautiful things are just worth saving. John had a lumberyard for fifteen years. One day, a guy came in with an old door that had very unusual carvings. He saved them for 25 years, waiting for the perfect project. 

Now the carved door is the centerpiece of this gorgeous garden gate. 

I think you nailed it, John. The green frame is such a lovely, creative touch. 

She Waited Two Years For This Cowboy Tub Coffee Table

Project/Photo Credit: Daniele DeVore

Daniele searched for two years to find this absolutely perfect cowboy tub. Perfect for her 150 year old farmhouse, this tub now serves as the base for a gorgeous and unique coffee table for her front porch swing. 

I love that the tub isn’t completely covered by the wooden top, so that it can serve as a beautiful planter, too. 

Repurposed Doors Create the Perfect Zinnia Garden Fence

Project/Photo Credit: Claire Bondy

What to do when you need a fence and all you have are doors?

Hmmm…. now we know! 

Loving the creativity and rustic appeal that Claire’s fence of doors creates. It also serves a second purpose: to surround her signature zinnia garden! 

This Magical Play Garden is Fun for Children & Adults Alike

Project/Photo Credit: Faith Rainbow

There are so many ideas to glean from Faith’s magical Play Garden located in Denver, Colorado. Faith has spent the last five years creating this beautiful space for kids and grown-ups to enjoy together! 

Some of the features include:

  • Sliding boards, tunnels and bridges to explore
  • A mud kitchen
  • Whimsical bird houses
  • Living archways, including an entire vegetable garden you can walk through!
  • Sand pit with shade sail
  • Bright, colorful flowers that change with the seasons
  • Lots of places to sit & relax, too.

I would definitely be trying out that slide!

Faith also offers outdoor parent-child classes during the summer and fall for families to share her garden. So, if you’re in the Denver area, be sure to get in touch with her! 

Chair Planters So Pretty You Wouldn’t Dare Sit On Them

Project/Photo Credit: Nataliya Lugovskaya

I love the variety of them sprinkled throughout Nataliya’s whimsical garden filled with chairs that you wouldn’t dare sit on!. 

I think this is such an easy and creative garden art project that anyone can do. Who can’t get their hands on an old or slightly broken kitchen chair? 

I am definitely a fan of chair planters. If you want to make one yourself, check out my step-by-step video tutorial below.

I made my chair planter out of a folding chair that I painted purple. It looks great and is easy to stow away at the end of the gardening season. 

Paint Pour a Bowling Pin for a Stunning Focal Points

Project/Photo Credit: Amanda Shuemake

Well this is something I’ve never actually thought of. And… I’m not sure I’d envision it coming out as beautiful as it did. Amanda used a paint pouring technique using acrylic paint to turn an old bowling pin into a stunning work of art. 

Amanda stressed that this project isn’t as difficult as it looks. All you have to do is layer your desired paint colors in a disposable cup as shown. Then, slowly pour paint over your project and let gravity do the rest.

Yes, it’s really that simple.

Amanda suggests getting creative with different types of paints like glow in the dark , gloss, neon, pastel, metallic etc. She also adds,

“Remember to have fun making it. …As Bob Ross says ‘no mistakes only happy accidents’ …If you don’t like the outcome, wait for it to dry and try again. You got this!!!”


Now, I’m just wondering where Amanda scored these awesome bowling pins… I know what I’ll be looking for on our next flea market trip. 

Broken China Mosaics

Project/Photo Credit: Solange Piffer

These broken china mosaics will take your breath away. I must admit, I’ve also dabbled in creating broken china mosaics and picture frames, but Solange’s pieces are truly works of art. I’m in love with these beautiful art pieces and how she’s able to capture the personality of all of her animal portraits.

Definitely check Solange out over on Instagram & Facebook to see more of her work.

Project/Photo Credits

If you want to learn more about these creative garden projects, here is where you can find the creators.

  • Chair Planters: Nataliya Lugovskaya (more)
  • Window Greenhouse: Veronica Hanson Thompson (more)
  • Bowling Pin Pour Art: Amanda Shuemake (more)
  • Fence of Doors: Claire Bondy (more)
  • Broken China Mosaics: Solange Piffer; follow her on Instagram & Facebook.
  • Play Garden: Faith Rainbow; read more about the garden at JoyfulToddlers.com.
  • Cowboy Tub Coffee Table: Daniele DeVore (more)
  • Carved Wood Door Gate: John Clute (more)
  • Wine Bottle Gazebo: Jean Mogg Theissen (more)

Wrapping Up

It’s so lovely to see so many creative and unique garden projects that take things to the next level. Although some of these are fun to look at, they may be out of your comfort zone for creation. If that’s the case, I definitely recommend you check out my garden art projects for grown ups blog post where you can get some more amazing DIY garden ideas. 

Shop my Amazon storefront for my essential gardening books & tool recommendations!

More DIY Garden Projects You’ll Love

How to paint Van Gogh’s Starry Night mural on an old fence (step by step)

How to paint Van Gogh’s Starry Night mural on an old fence (step by step)

Van Gogh’s Starry Night is one of the most famous paintings of all time. I don’t know many people that don’t love this painting. The best part about it is that it makes a really great project to create as a mural — even if you’re a beginner!

Yes! I said even for a beginner! The reason this is a great painting to start from is because you can complete it with a very minimal amount of colors. All you need is black, white and 3-4 other colors.

How to paint Van Gogh's Starry Night as a Mural - with complete instructions and video
How to paint Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night as a Mural

Trust me! This is a really easy and fun DIY project that makes a beautiful piece of art for your garden or backyard. I hope that you’ll follow along and create your own beautiful masterpiece.

Each section below will have a video reference time under the heading. At the bottom of this post, you’ll be able to watch a video that will show me creating this painting on an old fence I took down in my backyard.

Ready? Let’s get started on our Starry Night mural using these 13 easy steps.

Van Gogh's Starry Night Mural painted on an old fence
Here’s the completed Van Gogh Starry Night mural painted on an old fence and hung on my shed as a beautiful piece of art for my backyard garden..

1- Gather mural painting materials

Before we can get to painting… you’ll need to gather all of your materials so you’re sure you have what you need.

Materials needed for mural painting

Here’s what I used:

Colors you’ll need to complete your Starry Night mural painting

Use exterior-formulated acrylic paint for the best outcome. Here are the acrylic artist paint colors with a Benjamin Moore alternative so you don’t have to spend the time color matching like I did 🙂

Video Reference Time: 0:49

Color Swatches for Van Gogh's Starry Night Mural Painting
Color Swatches for Van Gogh’s Starry Night Mural Painting
  • Cadmium Red / BM 2000-10 Red
  • Primary Cyan / BM 2065-30 Brilliant Blue
  • Ultramarine / BM 2067-20 Starry Night Blue
  • Cadmium Yellow / BM 2022-10 Yellow
  • White / BM 2121-70 Chantilly Lace
  • Mars Black / BM 2120-10 Jet Black

2- Prep your “canvas” for the mural

Whether you’re using a regular artist canvas, a wall or a 30 year old weathered fence like I did, you’ll need to prepare your canvas so you can get the best results possible.

Determine the right proportions for your canvas

This made things a lot easier for me. I took the line drawing of Van Gogh’s Starry night that I found online here and used it as a template, or grid, in order to transfer the drawing onto the larger canvas (my fence). In order to do this correctly, you’ll need to take the line drawing and make sure that the dimensions are proportionate to your canvas.

This particular line drawing is about 14″ wide by 11.25″ high. So, your canvas will need to be roughly the same proportion. An easy way to figure this out is through cross multiplication (yes, grade school arithmetic is your friend, here).

14/11.25 = Canvas Width/Canvas Height. Plug in either the width or the height of your canvas and then cross multiply to get the other dimension. So, if your wall is 84″ (7 feet) long it would look like this:

14/11.25 = 84/x
x= 67.5

So if your wall is 84″ long, the height should be 67.5″ (about 5.6 feet). Proportions are fun, right?

Clean, sand and prime the canvas

Because I used an old fence, I needed to clean it first. I used some dawn dish detergent and water along with another round of Murphy’s oil soap. After the surface dried I sanded the fence to make the surface a little bit smoother. Then, I painted the back of the fence with an outdoor acrylic paint + primer in one. On the front, I covered most of the fence with an acrylic primer.

Create a grid from the line drawing

Video Reference Time: 0:12

Once you have the proportions of your canvas correct, you can now create a little grid for yourself. This can be divided in any way you like. I’d recommend dividing the line drawing into a 4×4 grid. Or, in my case I did 4 vertical sections and 14 horizontal sections (because I had 14 fence boards to work with).

However you decide to divide the grid is up to you. Just do whatever is easiest and makes the most sense. Divide both the line drawing and the canvas in the same way. Now it should be a little bit easier for you to transfer the drawing onto your canvas because you can work in sections!

PS: If this is confusing you, just watch the video in this post. It should help you to understand this step better.

3- Transfer the line drawing onto the canvas

Video Reference Time: 1:15

Using the grid we just made, you can slowly and carefully start to transfer the line drawing onto the large mural canvas. I used a paint brush and some black paint for this but you can use whatever you are comfortable with to do the initial drawing.

The grid should help you keep everything in proportion as you move along.

4- Block in the color

Video Reference Time: 2:10

Now that we have the entire Starry Night painting transferred onto our large mural canvas, we can start to block in the colors. I call this an “underpainting.”

We aren’t getting fancy here. We are just blocking in a dark base layer that we will build upon. This will help you to visually separate each area of the painting into different sections to work on — stars, sky, mountains, town, cypress tree, etc.

5- Paint in the stars and moon

Video Reference Time: 3:00

Now that everything is blocked in we are starting to get to the fun part! I started by creating big blobs of yellow for the stars and the moon. While you are doing this you can use the yellow to start to create the movement in the sky. Just use big swooping motions to get a feeling for the direction of the curves.

Blocking in the yellow stars and moon in the starry night mural

This is what my painting looked like at this stage. All of the sky color is blocked in along with the yellow spots for the stars and the moon. It doesn’t look like much now but we are getting there!

After you finish up the yellow, switch to white paint. You’re just going to paint in the white around the outside areas of the stars and the sky movements. These are your highlight areas where things look bright in the Starry Night painting. If you’re having trouble determining where the highlights are, just reference the video around 3:00.

While you are working on the stars, you may want to use a little bit of your red paint mixed with the yellow to create the crescent moon shape in the upper right corner. This is really the only area where you’ll need to use the red paint. You don’t need much red at all.

6- Add detail to the sky with cobalt blue

Video Reference Time: 3:30

Use cobalt blue to paint more detail into the sky. Here you’ll just look at the reference painting of Starry Night and create little dashes in the direction that the sky is moving in the reference photo. Painting in dashes is how you’ll get that impressionistic effect that really will make your mural look like the original Starry Night by Van Gogh.

7- Mix white and cobalt blue dash strokes to build up more detail

Video Reference Time: 3:45

The trick to getting this to look super detailed is by making dashes with the cobalt blue paint, then paint dashes with white. Then, go over them again with the cobalt blue in places. By layering the colors on top of each other while the paint is still wet, the colors will start to mix together and give you all different variations of blues, light blues and whites.

Be sure that you’re following the direction of the dashes that you see in the original Starry Night painting. Around the stars, the dashes will be more of a circular motion and will be connected by streaks that flow across the sky.

Van Gogh Mural with Reference Line Drawing, Grid, and Reference Painting being guarded by Sally

My dog Sally made sure she guarded the painting for me while I ran inside. Here you can see the sky details completed along with my setup of the line drawing/grid and the reference painting above.

8- Paint in the details of the mountains

Video Reference Time: 4:10

Now that the sky is about done, use the ultramarine blue and black to add more detail to the mountains. This is the layer that separates the sky from the town. You’ll just want this to be darker than the sky to create a nice definition. Even a solid color here will work if you are having trouble.

9- Paint in the details of the town

Video Reference Time: 4:25

The town is always a bit tricky for me because there’s just so much going on. Instead of trying to recreate every little detail of the town, focus on the important defining elements like

  • the placement and coloring of the church
  • any of the light coming from the windows of the homes
  • blocks of color where grass, trees or forests are

By not overdoing the details in the town, you’ll let the sky really be the focal point of your painting. So, like I said, just fill everything in so it looks complete rather than dwelling on all the details in this area. Just keep it dark with your ultramarine blue, black and even some green paint.

10- Finish painting the cypress tree

Video Reference Time: none

If you haven’t done so already, block in the cypress tree (the swiggly black thing in the left foreground. I completed the tree early-on just by creating a very dark black base and then using the “dash” technique I used in the sky to add some detail with ultramarine, green and any other mix of dark colors I could come up with.

11- Distress the edges

Video Reference Time: 4:35

If you are going for the same rustic look as I have, you may want to use an orbital sander to distress the edges of your painting. I did this because the fence is so old. Once I completed the painting I thought that it looked too “new.” So, by distressing the painting along the edges I was able to feather the paint into the background a bit. I think it helped to make the painting match the old fence canvas.

This step is optional, of course. If you don’t want to distress the edges then just leave it as is.

12- Seal your Starry Night mural

Video Reference Time: 4:50

Once you’ve completed your painting and finished up all the last details, don’t forget to sign your work! Then we can use the spar urethane to seal the painting.

If you used outdoor paint, this isn’t a necessary step but I would still recommend it to give your painting more protection. The spar urethane also has UV blockers in it which should keep the paint nice and vibrant so it doesn’t fade in the sun.

To give the mural the best protection possible, I used about 8 coats of spar urethane. After applying a coat, I left it to dry in the sun before adding the next. It was a pretty warm day so I only had to wait 20-30 minutes between coats.

If your mural is inside, there’s really no need to seal it. So, just skip this step.

13- Hang the mural

Video Reference Time: 5:20

After the spar urethane dries you are done and ready to hang the mural. I used the Hangman Heavy-Duty Mirror and Picture Hanger cleat system and found that really easy to work with. First, attach the one cleat to the wall or surface that you’ll be mounting the mural. This system is aluminum so it wont rust outside. It also comes with a built in level in the cleat so that makes it really easy to hang it level.

The other cleat goes onto the back of the canvas– in my case, the fence. Once that’s screwed into place you can just lift the canvas and set it onto the cleat on your mounting surface.

Obviously, if you’re painting a “true” mural directly onto a wall you won’t need to hang it. If that’s the case you’re already done!

Watch the Video: How to Paint Van Gogh’s Starry Night Mural on an Old Fence

Watch the video to learn how to create Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting as a mural on an old fence. All of the description sections have reference times so you can follow along!

Wrapping up

Well, that’s it! I hope you found this tutorial fun and helpful! I would love to see your projects so be sure to comment below with photos and any more advise you have!