Every now and then I get a landscape client that is fully open to any design idea that I can dream up. When a recent client professed her love for rock and roll, I knew I had to incorporate something in the design that stood out, looked a little edgy, and reflected her inner rocker. What would be more edgy than a garden tattoo?
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Dawn, haven’t tattoos lost their edge by now? I mean, come on! The girl at the grocery checkout, my Aunt Millie, and even Justin Bieber have tattoos, for crying out loud. Justin Bieber!
Despite their ubiquitousness, I still think tattoos are kinda cool, especially when in an unexpected spot, like a garden. And there are many advantages to tattooing your garden vs. tattooing your butt, for example. First, there’s no needles and no pain. Secondly, there’s very little risk of contracting Hepatitis A, B, or C. And lastly, you won’t end up looking like a complete idiot, like when you get your boyfriend’s name tattooed on your booty, only to have him dump you soon after. That would suck. Tattoos for your garden definitely don’t suck.
Basically, a garden tattoo is a stenciled image that you can apply to a driveway, walkway, patio, wall, or any other flat and boring surface. I found my stencil from a company on the internet. Just do an internet search for “concrete stencils:” lots of fun stuff will pop up. You can also buy stencil film from an art supply store and make your own. Just make sure the image is not something lame. Remember: this is rock and roll, man.
Once you have your stencil, then you can begin. Start by cleaning the area really good, so whatever you use for the color–concrete stain, acrylic paint, organic beet juice if you’re into that sort of thing—will adhere properly. Here’s a picture of our space, all gussied up and ready for tattooing:
Next, stick the stencil paper onto the surface and peel off the top protective paper. Then, use a burnishing tool (either comes with the stencil or just use a credit card) to get all of the air bubbles out. Here’s a picture of the mind-numbingly tedious, pain-in-the-ass burnishing process:
Then, mask off the whole area so the stain or paint doesn’t get everywhere, and apply your coloring.
Apply any and all necessary coats of paint or stain and give them time to cure (this varies according to what you’re using. I’m pretty sure organic beet juice only takes an hour or so). Then peel the sticky paper off, do a happy dance, and immediately take a whole mess of photos of your handiwork. Lastly, plug your camera into your computer so you can download the pics and share your supreme awesomeness with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.
Make sure to take time to inwardly gloat about how your garden is a whole lot hipper and edgier than your neighbor’s. You may not have a retro handlebar moustache, wear a fedora, or have a tongue piercing, but you are cool, man, cool. Or at least your garden is.