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Northwest Gardening: Softening the Hardscape

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Let me share my guilty pleasure when it comes to hardscapes. I look at every hard surface as just a blank canvas, waiting to be bedazzled with beads, tarted up with tiles or hidden behind a lacy curtain of climbing vines.

white alyssum spilling over bricks

Next to a walkway I plant white alyssum so it will spill over the bricks, softening the edge and reminding me of a lacy white petticoat peeking from beneath the schoolmarm's serious black dress.

clematis vines

I also use clematis vines to scamper over the walls of garden rooms, and shade-loving golden lamium to light up the borders and edging along my woodland path.

brick wall accents

But you can use a lot more than plant material to soften the hard lines of your garden's foundation. I love to cruise the tile selection of my local Lowe's store, collecting interesting tiles to dress up my patios, walkways and most important of all -- to bedazzle and accent my new brick wall.

Locktite PL Premium Construction Adhesive for securing tiles to brick walls

I've found that tile will adhere to just about any outdoor surface if you use the right adhesive. Locktite PL Premium Construction Adhesive is what I use to secure colorful tiles to boring fence posts, affix flowerpots and glass balls to the top of my blue bench, and especially to glue my favorite tiles to the niches in my brick wall.

tiles on brick wall

When using construction adhesive I make a brace or support to hold the tile in place overnight. Then before winter arrives I caulk all around the edge of the tile with clear caulking to keep out the rain. Just to be sure my favorite tiles won't crack, I also give them a spray with an outdoor sealant.

Want to see how I ornament my hardscaping? Watch my video.

Hardscapes don't have to be boring. What do you want to glue into your garden?