Outdoor Family Bonding Activity: Gardening to Grow Together
The family that gardens together, grows together.
Jennifer Merrett (@jenn.merrett) and her family worked together to install a beautiful rainbow succulent plant wall using 5 colors of Wally Eco planters in their backyard. We especially love this wall because of the meaning it holds for the Merrett family and the wonderful way it brings them together. Jennifer agreed to share the story behind their rainbow wall with us, and we hope it inspires you to garden with your own family!
We live on a hill in Orange County, California with a great view from our backyard, so we spend a lot of time outside – playing, entertaining, relaxing, eating, and watching sunsets and Disneyland fireworks shows from our deck. I knew that we could do something really special on this particular wall since it’s something you’ll see from inside and immediately when you walk outside. For a while I thought about hiring an artist to do a mural on the wall, or to DIY a huge outdoor chalkboard. But I really love plants and I couldn’t get my mind off of using wall-mounted planters to create a really beautiful visual statement with a living wall. Pretty quickly after, the rainbow planter wall idea was born.
I’d recently completed a rainbow gate project on the other side of our house and this felt like another fun way to incorporate a rainbow into our yard without it feeling overwhelmingly Lisa Frank at our house. I thought about using my leftover paint from that gate project to paint a bunch of planters, but then I remembered WallyGro and knew it would be so much easier to work with planters already made to be mounted easily. Plus, I love that they are made from recycled materials.
The idea to use two columns for each color was really determined by trial and error. I used pieces of tape to play with the spacing on the wall to get an idea of where each planter would fit and knew I wanted to fill up that whole expanse of wall.
I also really appreciated that WallyGro includes close match Pantone and paint colors to coordinate with each planter… I love the idea of painting the wall behind the planters in corresponding colors! Maybe that’s a phase II project for another day!
Installing: Fun for the Whole Family
We followed the easy install and spacing instructions on the card that came with the planters, and I also referenced WallyGro’s easy-to-follow tips on how to install on brick. We used a power drill to drill into the grout and found that the included screws worked for all but a few wonky spots on our wall that weren’t even. Luckily, we had longer ones on hand.
My husband and older son worked on the drilling, while our youngest and I were on caulking duty. As a fun color matching game, the boys helped attach each of the planters to the wall mounts. They’ve really enjoyed being part of the project, and the lower level planters are at an easy height for them to help with watering, too!
My 5-year-old son and I went to Home Depot to pick out plants. We tend to get distracted at Home Depot, so we made sure to bring along one of each planter and I let him choose plants based on color, including Echeveria, Crassula, and Kalanchoe.
After installing the planters on the wall, we dropped the plants in the containers, keeping them in their nursery pots for a few weeks to be sure we liked the look, and then we added some potting soil and removed the plastic pots to give the plants some room to fill in and grow.
In just a few short months, the growth has been really incredible!
The Meaning Behind the Rainbow
Rainbows are beautiful, important beacons of hope for the pregnancy and infant loss community. Maybe you’ve heard the term “rainbow baby,” which refers to a baby born subsequent to a miscarriage, stillbirth, or passing of an infant. As a family who has experienced the loss of a child, rainbows have special significance to us as symbols of hope and light and love.
Our second son, Callen Jay, was born in March 2016 and passed just a few hours after birth. As we’ve navigated tremendous grief and loss, we’ve also learned how to simultaneously seek joy and happiness. This is the remarkable nature of rainbows – that they can appear gloriously even amidst a storm. Our third son, our “rainbow baby,” was born in 2017.
For me, rainbows make me smile and bring me joy, and I’m so thrilled to have this beautiful installation as part of our home.
Thanks to Jennifer for sharing her story with us!