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Water and flower boxes.

They're simple interlocking boxes with an attractive illusion.

You make them from tongue-and-groove decking with cedar facing

Color, sound, and illusion give these three interlocking containers considerably more importance than their size alone would suggest. Placed at the edge of a deck, they form an eye-catch ing, ear-pleasing transition between deck and garden.

Besides making a welcome splashing sound as it falls into the center container, the water is also responsible for an attractive illusion: its source appears to be the top containerful of flowers. The drawing at right shows how the water system really works. If you live where water is rationed this summer, you may want to skip the water box idea for now, and fill all three containers with plants instead.

Though the containers appear to be built into the deck, they were made independently and later nailed to the deck's outside joists. Constructing the three boxes took about 20 hours.

Each box was made from tongue-andgroove 2-by-6 decking (you could use redwood or pressure-treated wood), joined at the corners with lag screws. The lower planter is 3 feet square and 16 inches deep, the pond is 3 1/2 feet square and 2 feet deep, and the top container is 2 1/2 feet square and 3 feet deep. All three were faced outside with 1/4 -inch cedar. No foundation was necessary, since soil beneath the boxes is perfectly flat and very hard. To keep soil moisture from prematurely rotting the wood, top and bottom containers are lined with 6-mil black polyethylene sheeting, stapled to the top and concealed beneath a 1 -by-3 cap. Broken concrete, rocks, and gravel (coarser material goes on the bottom) fill the bottom 10 inches of each container; the rest is filled with potting mix. Soil is renewed every year or so with composted manure or another organic amendment.

For maximum growth, the seasonal annuals are fed once a month with liquid plantfood (potting soil usually contains no nutrients of its own).

The center box the fish pond-is lined with a 20-mil vinyl swimming-pool liner that rests on a 4-inch layer of sand on the box's bottom; its corners were folded into place. Since the liner is a very visible aquamarine blue, it's covered with the same black polyethylene that lines the other boxes. The pond is capped, as are the flower boxes, with 1 -by-3s.

Koi need too much room, so goldfish live in the pool.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Jul 1, 1989
Words:407
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