Garden Photo of the Day

Turning a Stump Into a Garden

Don’t grind up something you can use!

Mischael McKenna of New Hartford, New York, sent in these photos of an amazing transformation they made in their garden, turning trash into pretty incredible treasure. I just love this idea! Instead of spending the time and money to have this stump ground down into nothing, they’ve taken it and made it a dramatic, unique feature in the garden.

We had to cut down the katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum, Zones 4–8) that was next to our house due to concerns about the foundation. As we were taking some of the plant material from the area, we realized that the root system was gorgeous. So we decided to dig it out and use it as a garden.


The completed stump-and-root garden, dug out and accented with gravel mulch and a few well-placed pots of annuals.

A wider view of the garden area, with the katsura stump visible on the right.

Looking up the path toward the katsura stump garden.

Bright yellows from flowers and foliage provide a theme in this bed in front of the stump garden.

The wide view up to the house.

In another part of the yard, hostas reign supreme. Here a variety of hostas grow, mingling with a few other shade-loving perennials and annuals for contrast and added color.



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View Comments


  1. Maggieat11 08/02/2018

    Wow, perfect example of "turning lemons into lemonade"! Great vision. You have a lovely home and gardens. So glad you shared your photos. Thank you!

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 08/02/2018

    Good for you, Mischael, for seeing the great beauty in the remaining stump and root system. And, it couldn't have been easy doing the careful excavating around all the root "branches" so that their artistry could be fully appreciated. It seems like the finished project had a slight surface sheen...did you paint it with a wood preservative and/or varnish? I hope it lasts a long time for you.

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 08/02/2018

    Oh, my, my. That root system is gorgeous. Unbelievably creative!

  4. Musette1 08/02/2018

    that is a stunning architectural piece and it works so well with the house and hardscape design! Kudos for seeing the beauty therein!

  5. btucker9675 08/02/2018

    Wonderful!! When we took down a dying hemlock in our back wooded area, I left a stump about 3 feet high and placed a deep pot saucer on it as a bird bath. Placed a small trellis next to it and planted a clematis to climb up. Love using natural things as garden "art"!

    1. User avater
      CAlexander 08/21/2018

      Sounds very creative! Would love to see it : )

      - Christine, Fine Gardening Web

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