The final Secret Garden post

When you DIY practically everything in a space it is so hard to explain it all in one post. Especially if there are tutorials involved. So I usually do a reveal and then share the tutorials separately. I have already shown the big Secret Garden reveal, the solar lamp tutorial, and the moss art tutorial. I am going to try to squeeze the rest into this one post.


The mirror is one of my favorite elements in my secret garden. I seems to bring it all together and make it feel like a room. It is really big, about 3 1/2 – 4 feet wide. I got it for $15.00!!! The best part about it was that it is a heavy duty plastic which is perfect for what I was using it for. I taped it (like you can see in the pictures), then taped paper all over the mirror part to protect it. I used an oil based primer first and then spray painted it white. I also used Helmsman (spray kind) to seal it. If you are sealing something white make sure you spray a thin coat, let it dry and then spray another thin coat. If it gets too thick it will make the white paint yellow.

I wanted to water proof the back as well so I caulked around where the frame met the backing. I them sprayed the back (which was wood) with the Helmsman spray as well.

As far as hanging it, it was kind of tricky. Because of the 4×4 fence post we had to add 4×4 pieces to the back of the frame. I used a super strength epoxy to adhere the pieces of 4×4. By adding those, the mirror laid flat against the fence and the post. Not only was this mirror hung on the wire it came with, but we screwed the 4×4 pieces into the fence. I didn’t want the mirror to move at all in the wind and break the glass.

Do you remember my tutorial on how to make this fun planter box? I wasn’t really using it anywhere because even though the color was fun, it doesn’t match anything in my backyard. So I painted it white. I bought some shelf brackets at Hobby Lobby and spray painted them white as well. This is a very sturdy way to hang a planter on a fence :)

I built this table out of fence pickets that were left over from my reclaimed wood floating shelves in my office. I built it the same way that I built the simple side table from last year. I just changed the measurements.

The gate was the project that was a total team effort. My hubby helped me out because I got to the point where I felt overwhelmed with everything I had to do to finish. He build the frame and added the pickets while I worked on other projects. The I drew the arch and cut it with the jigsaw. Then I sanded and stained and sealed them.

How I drew the arch is actually pretty simple. I decided where I wanted it to start and finish. hen I used a ruler and measured each picket. Each picket the line would go a little higher. Then it was just a matter of connecting the dots. Once I had the first side cut, we added pickets to the other side. I used butcher paper to create a template to trace and then cut out the other side so it would match perfectly.

Make sure to wear some sexy goggles when cutting wood…. and expect to get brown saw dust stuck all over your sweaty face :P

Anything that got painted for the secret garden got primed first. I used an oil based primer because they adhere much better. Then I used spray paint. The things that were wood (the bench, trellis, planter box, and ladder) also got a coat of the Helmsman sealer (I LOVE that stuff!).

Now I hesitate to even talk about this fence here because I did not do it the “right” way as far as “staining” a fence. But I did it the right way for what I wanted. It works for me but I can’t say that it is the way you should do it.

I wanted the fence to look old and weathered. I just didn’t want to wait for it to happen. The section of fence in the before shot has been there for about 4 years. It was starting to go grey already.  But I wanted it all grey….. now. So I mixed up some grey paint and then watered it down…way down. If you do not water it down enough it will still lay on the surface of the wood and not sink all the way in. It needs to be the consistency of water based stain. In fact, I could have used a water based stain and had the same effect. I got an old rag and I rubbed the paint into the wood. It actually went pretty quickly. It was basically like I was washing the fence.  The fence posts were so dark that it took 3 or 4 coats to get them the same color as the fence.

I know that since it is not a “real exterior” stain it will not stand up to the test of time. I am okay with that. All I need it to do is stay on long enough until the wood actually goes grey. So for that reason I did not seal it when I was done.

I think I covered everything…… If I left something out that you have questions on don’t hesitate to email me and ask.

I LOVE my space.  I can’t wait until it cools off and I can spend even more time in my secret garden.

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  1. says

    Your garden is lovely. I am impressed with the fact that you stuck to an all white color palette. I have wanted an all white garden, but when it comes to planting. . .I just get carried away with all the beautiful pinks, purples and yellows. Something about everything being white brings in a very tranquil feeling to the garden. Love it! Very creative! Connie :)

  2. brenda says

    lovely inviting and best of all so very well explained that if one goes step by step as she went thru it most would be able to come close to a secret garden also

  3. Samantha says

    Your secret garden is amazing. I never would have thought to put a mirror outside like that but it just fits so perfectly! I am truly inspired

  4. says

    You have done an amazing job on your secret garden! The thought and effort you put into every detail shows. I did a the same wash on my potting table a year ago and it is still fine, even on the horizontal surfaces.

  5. says

    That gate is seriously awesome! (Just as the rest of your secret garden!) Wish I had the guts to make one like that =) Still don’t feel to comfortable with the really big power tools, though! xo Anja

  6. Nancy says

    You can be proud of all that you have accomplished. Your sanctuary is a special place to hang out. One note about your mirror; if you have a lot of birds in your area, or if you have bird baths and feeders around, be aware that mirrors can be deadly to birds as they don’t recognize a mirror as a mirror, but they think of it as passageway to another area. They might fly right into it and either become stunned or killed. If you don’t have a lot of birds around, then I wouldn’t worry about it.

  7. must love junk says

    I just found you through 20 State-your garden is stunning!! I’m now following you-I’d love you to visit my blog and say hello :)

  8. says

    I have an idea. You go on vacation to Maui and I vacation at your home!! You are so amazing! I wish I could borrow you and let you makeover my house!!!

  9. says

    Thank you for this! I love to see the how-to’s just as much (if not more) than the big reveal. Glad to hear there is another one coming ;) I am going to have to get some of the Helmsman stuff. Sounds amazing…

  10. Renee says

    Stacy, your garden is amazing — so much so that I copied it for my new house! After 30 years of marriage (USAF for 20) we built our dream house in a community that has TINY yards — ours is more of a courtyard made between our garage and the garage next door. I will send you pictures after I get some Spring planting done — we moved in Nov. 1, so most of the plants have been dormant. But our house was part of a home show in Sept. and Oct. so the daisies and hydrangeas were still blooming then. Anyway… I would like to know what other white blooming plants you used (what climate?) and especially how you keep your gate closed! I hate the functional handles they used. I want door knobs like yours but I can’t figure out if they are working or ornamental. Thanks so much! Hope to hear from you soon!

  11. Robert says

    Another way to do a graceful curve across the top of the gates is to use a piece of 1/2″ PVC pipe (the flexible white plastic tubing – or gray, if you have access to a piece of plastic conduit) that is longer than the gates are wide. Just measure up on each side where you want the curve to end (it should be the same distance, but maybe you want something asymmetrical?) and mark it. Then lay the PVC pipe across the gate(s), lined up with the marks, and pull the middle up toward the top of the gate(s) to make a smooth curve. You may need a few extra hands to hold the pipe at the marks (or you can use a nail at each mark to hold it). Once you’ve got the shape you want for your gate top (you can play with symmetry or not if you want), hold it in place and trace along the length of the pipe with a pencil. Voila! you should have a nice smooth curve that is easy to follow with a jigsaw. This works well for cutting free form curves on any wide piece of work (doors, fence sections, tables, etc.).