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Setting the bar

This past weekend was another project in the “garden” that has been gnawing at me for years. I built the diamond-patterned slate tile counter tops around my grill years ago (seen below, left) and, not having an engineering degree, and with only weekend carpentry skills, the one L-shaped counter was very wiggly and jiggly. Drinks were in peril had anyone accidentally hip checked the bar.
Before.

For the longest time I’ve wanted to shore up the base of it with deck planks, also providing a bit of cover for that area of the deck and adding a little bit of storage there too.

Now the bar is so solid, you could dance on it. If you shake it, the entire arbor shakes (only slightly) too.

The top of the bar has a hole cut in it. Normally I keep a pot of basil there. It being next to the grill – it is easy to add basil to whatever is being grilled. But for parties I switch out the basil pot for a an empty pot used as an ice bucket.

Similarly, the back counter – the “buffet” – has a recessed long planter in it where we plant climbing vines each year to travel up the great garbage-picked grate. I think this year (year six or seven, my memories are fuzzier than my math) we actually found what will grow in this corner best –  Black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata). We’ve tried morning glories, mandevilla, Firecracker Vine/Exotic Love Vine (Ipomoea lobata), all coleus, and others. Glad to have that settled. Just wish the Black-eyed Susan vines were perennials.

Following is the evolution of the “outdoor kitchen”:
Before the before, way before.
After the before, but before the before. The gas grill works from
a gas line from the basement – enabling year-round grilling.
There’s a bit of wine-theme around the deck. There’s a “sawed-off”
wine bottle lamp above the grill for night grilling, as well as four of these wine bottle torches
I made on the arbor to which the bar is attached. I have plans in my head
for a “chandelier” over the 10-foot long picnic table I built.
Of course, it’s me, so lighting gets incorporated into everything. There are rope lights behind almost everything in my garden, including the vine grate. I’ll be adding lights underneath the bar in the spring.
The sculpture of the ferns on the left in the photo I bought at the Elmwood Festival of the Arts years ago.
The orange ball (a gift) is filled with white rope lights and looks swellegent at night.
Believe it or not the stain color of the bar and deck are the same.
Eight years of use and abuse, and subsequent sandings and stainings of the deck led to the color disparity.
Hopefully, over time, the bar color will mellow and they’ll  get closer in hue.
Built-in shelf for grill brushes, garbage can and other assorted stuff that was on view previously.
Here you can see the diamond-patterned slate top and built-in planter/ice bucket.
The diamond pattern is a reoccurring theme through the entire garden – and even the exterior of the house.

I have a long-time garden blog, a popular garden on America's largest garden tour, and have co-written a book on garden design titled, "Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs" When I'm not doing all that, I am an advertising designer always out looking to design things to promote your business. Look me up at #jcharlier.

0 comments on “Setting the bar

  1. Looks good… and I plan on dancing on it!

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  2. Not a good way to spend a bottle of wine, but I guess it beat the guests getting lit. Your lighting designs make the night time magic.Ray

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  3. Now it will hold you. And all the fervor you can bring to a dance.

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  4. No wine was harmed in the making of the wine bottle torches. It was drunk though. The hope is that inebriated guests will not, out of desperation, drink the tiki torch fuel, that powers them now.

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