blackberry vines
Buffalo Garden DIY garden art Tip

Diamonds are this gardener’s best friend

Look up, down or around, you'll find dozens of diamonds in our garden.

Back in 2002, when we started building our deck, I wanted something fancier than Home Depot diamond-shaped lattice on the upper portions of our arbors. My aim, for just about anything in the garden, is to not do something everyone else does – or is doing.

Porcelain Vine clambers up one of the two arbors opposite each other in the garden. The intention was to create a privacy screen between us and neighbors.

But I’m cheap

Custom lattice was too expensive. Homemade was too time intensive (I crave immediate gratification!). So I went with the Home Depot commodity cheap lattice.

It worked out okay

From Page 106 of my garden design book, “Buffalo Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs” written with Buffalo News Garden Columnist Sally Cunningham.

My first big project in the garden was planting four dwarf pear trees – espaliered along our garage wall beside the new deck. A typical diamond shape is common for espaliers. I went with it, remembering saying to myself that at least a diamond shape was common to the lattice in other areas of the garden.

Next was creating a checkerboard garden of grass and concrete pavers under, what was then, my daughter’s swing set. And of course, concrete pavers are square. Rather than set them in a straight checkerboard pattern I set them at 45º and did them in a diamond-oriented pattern.

A theme established.

Any project I did in the garden after that I would try to incorporate diamonds. It made design decisions easier and provided some continuity throughout the garden and otherwise diverse projects.

Frank Lloyd Wright did the same thing in many of his projects, using shapes or themes like graphic representations of plants or trees in his projects. I was on the board of the Wright designed Graycliff for six years. Wright also used diamonds throughout that property. So I’m in good company. Or he is.

I’m an art director/graphic designer – always looking for clever ways to incorporate repeated patterns into whatever I do – whether shapes, colors textures, fonts and so on.

I even came up with a simple logo of sorts for the garden using the diamond shape, a terracotta planter shape and terracotta color. You’ll see it in the shutters I made for the shed and in the garden bench I made.

As we work more on our 1897 house (it needs work every year!), I’ll be adding the occasional diamond decoration so that the theme goes from house to shed to garden.

Below are samples of diamonds in my garden. Is there something in your garden, a shape or a theme, you’ve used consistently?

The Louise Nevelson-inspired garden sculpture I made this summer on an outdoor fence even has diamonds all over it.

Is there something I can find for you?

Whatever it is, I may have it in my 70,000+ photos! Let me know – leave a comment. Here are other garden features I’ve assembled from my photo collection.

Jim Charlier is an advertising designer/photographer/crafter with a serious gardening problem. He's co-written a garden design book featuring the funky, quirky and fun gardens by the gardeners of Buffalo titled "Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs" (; he writes a long-standing garden blog (; led the largest garden tour in America, Garden Walk Buffalo; has written for, or provided photography for dozens of magazines and books; has made presentations and participated in panel discussions on garden design and garden tourism nationally and internationally.

3 comments on “Diamonds are this gardener’s best friend

  1. You managed your plants and things so good


  2. Your blog is amazing 🙂


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