Landscapers offer 8 creative ideas for a ‘Garden Party’
Visions of tea sets, floral arrangements and maybe even some twinkling lights might pop into most people’s minds when they think of a garden party.
However, the eight landscaping companies who created massive garden displays for the Spring Dispatch Home & Garden Show were a bit — and in some cases, a lot — more imaginative for this year’s Garden Party theme.
Wandering through the gardens at the Ohio Expo Center, visitors will see a movie theater concession stand with an apothecary-like candy display and a bench made from the tailgate of an old Ford truck, perfect for watching the big game.
There’s also a whiskey-pouring water feature (it’s really iced tea) and a stunning orchid-covered pergola along with pizza ovens and custom-concrete stovetops.
Tom Wood of Wood Landscape Services in Columbus even invented a new backyard game called Tree Ball, fashioned from the trunk of a maple tree and a copper pipe, just for the show, which opened Saturday and runs through Feb. 27.
Wood Landscape also included cornhole, bocce ball, Connect 4 and hopscotch in their design, which centers on Game Night.
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For first-time participant Delagrange Landscaping and General Construction, the challenge of creating a Family Movie Night scene that was impressive but also realistic proved to be a fun endeavor.
“We wanted people to be able to walk into the garden and envision this space in their backyard,” said Jason Bornhorst, vice president of design and sales for Delagrange, which is located in Howard, Ohio, in Knox County. “We didn’t want it to be a display but have people take ideas, steal ideas from it.”
A more recent trend in landscaping is that outdoor spaces can mimic indoor spaces with televisions, couches and whole kitchen areas for cooking, Bornhorst continued. With a theater-size screen under a tin-roof structure surrounded by beautiful stone and wood work, the Delagrange team tried to do just that in their garden.
“We created a space that is upscale — like a finished basement,” Bornhorst said. “Like someone wanted a movie theater, but they built it outside instead of in their basement.”
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The staff at Ryan’s Landscaping also brought TV-watching outside as they worked with the theme of Backyard Tailgate.
Ryan Harrell, owner of the Delaware business, said tailgating and backyard parties are already a huge part of the culture with his employees so it wasn’t a stretch for them to work within the category.
“We thought, ‘We already do this, but let’s kick it up a notch and do it inside for everyone to see,'” Harrell said.
Kicking it up a notch meant installing artificial turf, fashioning parts of an old Ford truck into seating and creating a water feature out of cornhole boards. Their garden also boasts natural stone work — walls, pavers, bar — for which the company is known.
“Planning for this started back in May,” Harrell continued. “We had monthly Zoom meetings that went to biweekly and then, weekly. There’s a lot of effort behind the scenes beyond what the set-up is.”
The eight companies involved all began assembling their months of design work in the Celeste Center beginning early Monday.
All the hard work is worth it, participants said, not only for the business leads and advertising, but also the camaraderie the event creates with their own employees working on one common project as well as with the tight-knit central Ohio landscaping community.
While putting finishing touches on his company’s Whiskey Tasting scene, Jacob Basnett of Landscape Design Solutions, could marvel at the Backyard Wedding being assembled across the aisle by Oakland Nurseries or the nearby Tuscany Wine Soiree from Seely’s Landscape Nursery.
Basnett, co-owner of the Hilliard business, said they played off the theme of “everything is better with age,” implementing more rustic-looking materials in their garden. And they used whiskey barrels wherever they could.
“We have a whiskey-barrel water feature … the arbors are sitting in whiskey barrels,” Basnett said. “We turned them into tables with chairs and there’s a barrel light hanging.”
Basnett said their business has created a garden the past eight years because it stretches their skills and allows them to show off their imaginations a bit.
“We get to show our creativity to prospective clients,” Basnett said. “If they dream up an idea, we can do it.”
Echoed his business partner Charlie Vickers: “We don’t get to do this in real life, at least not all at once.”
At a glance
The Spring Dispatch Home & Garden Show runs through Feb. 27 at the Ohio Expo Center, Interstate 71 and East 17th Avenue. (It is closed Tuesday, Feb. 22). Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., except Sundays, which are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (The event is closed on Tuesday.) Masks are strongly encouraged. Admission is $8, or $10 at door, and free for children. Discount coupons are available at Lowe’s. Parking is $5. To buy tickets or more information, visit www.dispatchshows.com.