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Urban Gardening in Small Spaces

Here at Garland’s we have acres of lush landscape where we are free to harvest from our garden and orchards. But we understand that everyone is not blessed with spacious yards and room to plant gardens. But just because you are limited in space, does not mean there is no room to try your hand at gardening. There are space saving options, as well as some wacky, creative storage ideas that you can adapt to your own home and style. From shoe sized plant holders, to moveable gardens, we are going to introduce you to some creative urban gardening ideas. 

DIY Urban Gardening

Project #1 – Shoe Planter Garden

If you have an old pair of shoes, why not turn them into a planter? Transform your shoes into a planter for succulents or a small herb garden. Here’s how:

  • Before you begin: Remember that a shoe’s are often shallow. You will want to choose small, shallow-rooted plants. Be sure that each plant you choose has the same requirements for water, fertilizer and sunlight. (we recommend small succulents or herbs)
  •          Once you’ve picked a pair(s) of shoes, you will want to clean them off with a damp cloth to clear off any debris or dirt. Then you will want to spray the exterior and interior of the shoe with an outdoor acryclic sealer (ie: Krylon brand sealers).
  •         After the first coat of sealer is applied, you can always decorate the shoes with paint, stickers, etc. But you’ll want to put an additional coat of sealer on the shoe once decoration has been done.
  •         When your shoe is dried and decorated just the way you want it, you will need to drill shoes in the bottom of the shoe for drainage (if you don’t have a drill, you can use a hammer & nail). Holes should be around 1 inch apart.
  •        Once the holes have been drilled you are ready to fill your shoe with potting soil. Fill it ½ of the way to the top, starting with the toe and then the moving along the shoe. A soil mix containing organic material such as peat moss will help absorb and retain water. A soil mix with bark or perlite will provide good drainage.
  •        You are ready to plant your seedlings or small plants once the soil is in the shoe. Be sure to evenly disperse water across all of the soil once your plants are in place!
  •          Voila! There you have it!

Project #2 – Pasta Strainer Planter

An old pasta strainer is perfect for an alternative planter. It has built in drainage and can easily be hung by its handles for fun, funky hanging planters. The project is easy to do and doesn’t require a lot of work to get it going.

  •        Start with your strainer. Use an old one from the kitchen, buy one at a thrift store or an old antique shop. Once you have your planter, clean it up, paint or decorate it any way you choose. Spraying it down with an outdoor acrylic sealer is also a good idea to help prevent rusting
  •         Line the inside of your strainer with a layer of landscape fabric. It’s breathable enough for water and moisture to get through, but will prevent the dirt from falling out of the holes in the walls of the strainer.
  •          Choose your plants that go with the weather and growing season. You’ll want plants that can stand up to your climate.
  •          After your landscape fabric is in place, you are ready to add in your soil and put your plants into place. That’s it – cheap, fun, easy and beautiful!

Project #3 – Paint Can Planter:

If you have old paint cans, or any cans, lying around the garage or home, you can easily transform them into a planter. You can easily paint and decorate them any way you would like to match your own personal taste and style.

  •         This project is pretty straight forward. Take the paint cans, decorate them how you wish and pick out your plants. You can do this indoor, as a small herb garden for the kitchen, or outside (mounted or stand-alone).
  •         We recommend putting corks or small rocks at the bottom of the cans before adding in your soil. Once the soil is in place you can put in your plants.
  •         To differentiate between herbs and plants, chalkboard labels, are always a fun option.

Another project we love is the Tool Box Planter. You can see a tutorial here


gardening with small spaces

Urban gardening means finding innovative ways to garden without a lot of space. Some of our favorite projects repurpose items to create moveable and vertical gardens that allow you to plant, flowers, herbs, succulents and even vegetables.

Project #4 - Wheelbarrow Planter

A wheelbarrow planter is a great option that allows you to move your garden wherever it needs to be. It is also a pretty straightforward process that repurposes an old item and gives you a garden in a small space.

  •         The first thing you want to do is make holes for drainage. Flip the wheelbarrow over and drill holes into the bottom 3-6 inches apart. This will be essential in draining water and retaining moisture.
  •         Next, flip the wheelbarrow over and line it with either mesh screen, window screen or even landscape fabric. This will allow water to pass through but will not let dirt fall through the bottom holes in the wheelbarrow.
  •        Next comes the soil. HomeGuides recommends: “Fill the wheelbarrow to about 1 inch from the top with well-drained potting soil, using a bagged mix or your own blend, such as equal parts peat moss, compost and sand or a similar blend of organic ingredients. Soil-less potting mixes weigh considerably less than garden soil, making it easier to transport a full wheelbarrow around the garden.”
  •          After you have your soil in place it is time for the seeds. Follow spacing guidelines outlined for each plant, or seeds that you are placing in the soil. Get creative and mix up the varieties you put into the soil.
  •         Finally, HomeGuides recommends: “Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around the plants to aid in weed suppression and help retain moisture in the soil. You can use organic mulch, such as shredded bark or wood chips, or inorganic mulch, such as pea gravel or lava rock. Organic mulches decompose over time to benefit the soil structure.”

Project #5 – Vertical Planter Using a Repurposed Shoe Holder

We love the vertical planters people have made using repurposed shoe holders. They are bit trickier and require a little more work since they need to be mounted but they are a wonderful space saving option for growing vegetables in an urban setting. (Instructables has a detailed tutorial with step-by-step images).

Project #6 - Pallet Garden

The pallet garden is another creative way of building a vertical garden in a small space.  For a detailed tutorial with step by step pictures check out Life on the Balcony.

  •         Start by finding a pallet. Go to a local store, and see if they have any pallets out back that they don’t need. You can usually get a few for free. If you don’t take them, they will just be thrown away so it better to repurpose one if you can.
  •         Once you have your pallet, clean it up. Replace any loose boards or nails that may be sticking out.  You can stagger the boards if you want more space for plants that need more room to grow.
  •         Once the pallet is prepped, you will want to staple landscape fabric to the back of the pallet since it will be standing upright. This will prevent soil from falling out of the back. You will also want to cover the bottom boards of the pallet with the landscape fabric.
  •          Next it’s time for planting and placing the soil. Make sure the soil is dispersed evenly through each layer so the plants are firmly rooted in place. You’ll want to do this with the pallet lying flat on the ground.
  •           Once all of your plants are in place, lean your pallet up against your preferred wall and water it regularly

You can also create an incredible Crate Garden using milk, wine or any wooden crate you please. Apartment Therapy has a great tutorial on how to create a repurposed wine crate planter.

There you have it! These are some of our favorite DIY urban gardening projects you can tackle in a small space. We hope you enjoyed them!

Organic Gardening Month

Learn all about organic gardening this month during Organic Gardening Month! Join us for special events this month on the Garland’s property. Register for Organic Gardening Month events via EventBrite.

  • Tuesday July 21, 2015 – An Afternoon of Pairs: A Tasting Event Featuring Locally Sourced Wines, Chocolates and Cheeses
  • Thursday July 16, 2016 – A Day in the Gardens: Tour the Garland’s Orchards and Gardens with Tips from the Experts
  • Tuesday July 21, 2015 – An Afternoon of Pairs: A Tasting Event Featuring Locally Sourced Wines, Chocolates and Cheeses
  • Thursday July 23, 2015 – Meet the Chef: Brian Widmer

Pre-registration for each event is required so don’t miss out! All proceeds for each event are going to Gardens for Humanity, a local Sedona nonprofit spreading kindness, compassion and connectivity through gardening. REGISTER NOW VIA EVENTBRITE!

Banner Images Via: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8  

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Connecting with Nature: Garland's First Annual Yoga Retreat Hosted by Lisa Cohen

Connecting with nature garlands first annual yoga retreat

For many, yoga is a way to nourish mind, body and spirit. Well practiced yogis find both peace and strength from their daily practice. Experience peace and relaxation at Connecting with Nature: Garland's First Annual Yoga Retreat Hosted by Lisa Cohen. From August 24-27, 2015 get closer to nature and find your inner Zen at this intimate couples retreat. This retreat will further develop your yoga personal practice while bringing you closer to your partner, through intimate yoga sessions and immersion in nature. 


Each day there will be an optional morning vinyasa style yoga class, followed by Garland's signature breakfast. The afternoons are yours for the taking: participate in a guided hike and meditation, book a massage or facial, or explore on your own. One afternoon there will be an option to participate in Give Back to the Garden: Retreat guests will get their hands dirty, and will find themselves closer to nature during this Kriya yoga session. As always dinner will be served to guests in the main lodge each day at 7pm. The kitchen will be creating delicious meals featuring organic produce straight from the gardens, orchard and greenhouse, as well as sustainably raised products sourced locally.


Lisa Cohen will be leading all yoga sessions and comes to the retreat with 35 years of teaching experience. Lisa began practicing yoga after many years as a professional dancer and gymnast. Her yoga classes and teaching style are an eclectic blend of many yoga traditions and cultures from all over the world. She often incorporates elements of Kundalini, Anusara, Bikram and Ashtanga disciplines. She leads workshops for students at all levels and aims to challenge everyone. Lisa's daily practice includes a Hatha flow practice, meditation, kirtan/chanting and has been involved in Yoga Teacher Trainings all over the world. You can learn more about Lisa at: 


Garland's is very excited to be home to a yoga retreat and hopes to see you there! 


Pricing: It is $350 per night for singles, $525 per night for couples. Alcohol, sales tax and gratuity are additional as well as massages and facials. Booking includes afternoon tea, dinner and breakfast and yoga retreat activities. (three night minimum booking required)

For Reservations Call: 928-282-3343

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Special Events: Organic Gardening Month

Organic Gardening Month

As times change, people are beginning to think about where their food comes from and if it is done through sustainable practices. Garland’s Oak Creek Lodge began using organic gardening practices in the 90s to create a healthier, more sustainable garden, orchard and greenhouse. To celebrate and educate the benefits of gardening, and sustainable eco-friendly products, Garland’s Oak Creek Lodge will be hosting the first annual Organic Gardening Month all through the month of July.

The month will feature special blogs on gardening practices, as well as special interviews with experts and those close to Garland’s. We will also be hosting four events throughout the month, with all proceeds going back to Gardens for Humanity, a local Sedona organization that is creating community, peace and awareness through the cultivation of community gardens. Registration for all events is now open. Register now via EventBrite

practices and principles of organic beekeeping

Tuesday July 14, 2015Practices and Principles of Organic Beekeeping: An Educational Workshop Lead by Patrick Pynes

This educational workshop will be led by local beekeeper and expert Patrick Pynes ( Patrick is an expert on apiculture and will be speaking to guests about beekeeping, his extensive experience and the honey bee hives on the Garland’s property. Patrick has been an organic gardener and beekeeper since 1989, and is the President of the Northern Arizona Organic Beekeepers' Association This event is sure to fill you with buzz!

Time: 11:30am

Registration Fee: $15

Click Here to Register

Smaller Day in the Garden Promo

Thursday July 16, 2016 – A Day in the Gardens: Tour the Garland’s Orchards and Gardens with Tips from the Experts

Enjoy a tour lead by the Garland’s gardener, Mario Valeruz and their orchardist, Rob Lautze. Learn about Garland’s organic gardening processes, the produce that grows and get any questions answered that you may have. Mario and Rob are experts in their field and can offer many insights to participants. It’s a beautiful way to spend your afternoon.

Time: 11:30am

Registration fee: $15

Click Here to Register

Smaller An Afternoon of Pairs

Tuesday July 21, 2015 – An Afternoon of Pairs: A Tasting Event Featuring Locally Sourced Wines, Chocolates and Cheeses

An Afternoon of Pairs is an opportunity to sample wines, cheese and chocolate that will make your palate sing. Javelina Leap Winery & Vineyard will be providing the wine at this delectable event. ChocolaTree Organic Oasis will be providing the chocolates for guests to savor. All products will be sourced locally and will shine a light on Arizona businesses. Upscale and tasty, this event is perfect for the foodie in all of us.

Time: 3:30pm-5:00pm

Registration Fee: $30

Click Here to Register

smaller chef brian widmer

Thursday July 23, 2015 – Meet the Chef: Brian Widmer

Chef Brian Widmer is the mastermind behind the kitchen at Garland’s. An experienced executive Chef from Maine, Brian Widmer comes from the culinary program at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, RI. He was as a chef for Grand Canyon National Park Lodges for 13 years and spent 8 of those years at Phantom Ranch. Chef Brian is creating and developing new recipes in the kitchen that add to Garland's well known reputation for dining. 

At this event, guests can hear from Chef Brian his techniques, the way he creates and incorporates dishes using local products and produce straight from the garden. Participants will be able to ask Chef Brian questions and learn what it takes to be the chef at a highly rated retreat.

Time: 11:30am

Registration Fee: $15

Click Here to Register

Stay tuned to our blog for more information on events, blog features and special interviews. Registration is now open! Be sure to pre-register since these events do have caps and we anticipate to be full to capacity. We hope to see you in July to learn about organic and local living in Arizona, and to support a wonderful organization Gardens for Humanity.

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#GarlandsGetaway Pinterest Contest!


1000 Pinterest Giveaway

At Garland’s Lodge we believe in rest and relaxation. We want you to have the perfect getaway whether that means a massage by Oak Creek, reading a book by the fireplace, savoring our daily menus, fishing in Oak Creek, a day trip into Sedona or simply admiring the beauty around you. No matter what your ideal getaway is, you can find it at Garland’s.

We are launching a #GarlandsGetaway Pinterest contest for you to win a free third night stay at Garland’s Oak Creek Lodge.  How does it work? Create your own Pinterest board with #GarlandsGetaway in the title. You can pin photos from past experiences, other photos you have seen or images of what vacation means to you: reading a book, sipping on wine, or cozying up to a fire. Create a Pinterest board that tells a visual story of what a relaxing getaway means to you!

We will look at all of the Pinterest boards submitted and choose a winner by June 30th. One Winner will receive one additional night free to add onto an existing two-night reservation at Garland’s Lodge. What are you waiting for? Get pinning now!

Check out to find inspiration!

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