Compost stations in Gambon’s garden provide new soil. Composting items such as egg shells, unused mulch and leftover plants saves money and reduces the amount of chemicals you put into the soil, she said.
3. Incorporate unique design
Stockton enjoys decorating her natural, woodland-style property with eclectic garden art from Think Outside's "ee-i-ee-i-o" collection (thinkoutside.biz, available at Pike Nurseries). The sculptures and patio furniture are made from recycled oil drums. "I may have a whole barnyard in my garden soon," Stockton said.
Gambon’s repurposed shed is made from shingles and lattice donated by neighbors and windows that she found on the side of the road in Alabama. Arbor and Sage, a Canton landscape design/build firm, constructed the shed.
4. Add water-smart components
Rain barrels can keep drainage from running over your yard and causing erosion, said Gambon. Her barrels catch large amounts of rain and channel it back into the ground. Meanwhile, Stockton has found a way to channel the water in her sloped backyard. The gutters catch rainwater, which flows through an drainage system under the lawn and onto rock-covered stream beds for birds to drink and bathe in.
5. Provide a wildlife haven
Stockton's garden received certification as a backyard habitat through the Community Wildlife Project, a program by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Garden Club of Georgia (georgiawildlife.org/node/2013). Her garden is home to birds, including a family of marsh hawks that has nested in two dead trees, called "snags." Stockton has kept the snags for the hawks to continue nesting, even though the trees aren't visually attractive. "It doesn't take a big checkbook or a big footprint to have a green sanctuary," Gambon said.
If you go
Garden Fair and Plant Sale
When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m., April 22-23
Where: Jim Miller Park
Prices: Free admission
14th annual Through The Garden Gate Tour
When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., May 7
Where: Various locations in Cobb County
Prices: $15 in advance, $20 day of tour
Info: 770-528-4070, cobbmastergardeners.com/2016-garden-tourfair