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Sat, Feb. 29

Lighten up a dark outdoor walkway with mirrors, plants

(Courtesy photo)

(Courtesy photo)

I had a dark, narrow walkway behind my house using mirrors and planter. Saw a similar mirror at the thrift shop across from Frys in Prescott or a cluster of old mirrors would work.

My home had a long narrow walkway of cement lined with beds of gravel. At the end of the walkway was an 8-foot cement wall painted dark brick red. The previous owner had tried to utilize this wasted walkway by cementing a clothesline into the gravel to make it of some use. But it wasn't pretty.

Home Depot guided me to a white water-based Gliden paint called Gripper, which can be tinted to any color. Light sky blue was the color I wanted, and just one coat of Gripper gave excellent coverage to the dark wall. I put up a lovely arched mirror I found at a thrift store; a cluster of smaller mirrors or mirrored tiles would also work.

Next I purchased a planter box and positioned it next to the newly painted wall. Adding potting mix, an assortment of plants including an ornamental grass, small clusters of chives, salvia, Pensteon and scaposa from Native Plant Gardens on Montezuma Street in Prescott, I now had twice the amount of light, color, texture and variety of heights.

Steve Miller, owner of Native Plant Gardens, warned that the mirror might give too much reflected heat for even the sun-loving plants, so I used short branches from my flowering pear tree stuck between the plants with strips of fabric on top, to give temporary filtered shade while the plants adjusted to their new location.

The low cement wall to the side of the long walkway was painted deep chocolate. With a narrow gravel filled bed between the wall and cement walkway, I planted Arteisia or Silver Sage .On the near side of the walkway with two feet of bedding, space I planted Achillea millefolium, "Red Velvet"; Achillea filipendulina, "Coronation Gold"; Anthemis tinctoria, a creamy white marguerite; and Sedum, "Autumn Fire," with bright red blooms The airy blooming stalks of Gaura added height and soft color to the bed,

The mirror reflects the plants at its base, plants along with walkway, and trees and the patio area at the near end of the walkway.

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