How To Create A Tree Stump Flower Bed
Tree stumps: remove or embrace? We’ve faced this dilemma multiple times with no consistent resolution. Some we’ve removed on our own, but the remaining stumps require professional removal or stump grinder rental, neither seems appealing.
For the last several years, we’ve ignored the stumps, except for the kids turning them into safe bases from lava or helicopter landing pads. Now, we are embracing the largest stump and transforming it into a flower bed.
We decided against using a chainsaw, ax or mattock to dig out the stump for two reasons. First, since I was the worker on this project, I wanted to use tools I’m comfortable with, which do not include a chainsaw, ax or mattock. However, those tools would have been a fine choice for Gpa (my dad and project partner). Second, my several-year-old stump was already starting to decay in the center and didn’t require heavy-duty tools. For a fresh, harder stump, tools with more gusto may be required.
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Selecting Flowers for the Tree Stump Flower Bed
Consider the growing conditions (shade vs sun) and bed depth when choosing flowers; select shallow rooted flowers if the bed is shallow. Check out your local farm stand or garden store for seasonal annuals such as pansies, petunias, impatiens, begonias and mums. Succulents might be a good fit if the bed has good drainage and direct sun. Keep the bed fresh with blooms by replacing flowers seasonally.
Creating the flower bed transformed the old gray stump into a beautiful focal point in our backyard. Of course, we left enough flat stump for the kids to use it for whatever they can imagine.
Create a Tree Stump Flower Bed – Materials
- potting soil
- drill with 1” spade bit and 1/2″ drill bit
- oscillating multi-tool and saw blade
- large (24″) and small (6″) pry bars
- safety glasses
How to Create a Tree Stump Flower Bed
1. Outline the Bed
Wear safety glasses and gloves.
Outline the bed in the stump with an oscillating multi-tool and saw blade. Leave a perimeter of several inches, but not so thick that you won’t be able to drill drainage holes.
2. Dig Out the Bed
Starting in the center, where the stump will be softest, use a drill fitted with a 1″ spade bit to make holes close together. Since our stump was so old, it had a lot of soft spots that the spade bit chewed easily through.
Pull out any loose chunks and use the small pry bar and hammer to expand the holes. For firmer areas, use a large pry bar to break up the stump or hammer away. This is a wonderful stress reliever!!
Use both sides of the hammer (claw and head) to loosen, and then pry out chunks with the claw end.
Use the oscillating saw to cut horizontally into the sides of the hole and cut out chunks attached to the stump base.
When nearing the edge of the bed, hammer the small pry bar into the outline made by the oscillating saw and pry out chunks.
To leave a clean edge, use the oscillating saw along the edge. For a more natural look, roughen the edge by striking with a hammer.
3. Add Drainage and Soil
Drill angled drainage holes from the inside of the bed to the outside of the stump, angled down so excess water will drain.
Add a layer of gravel for drainage and top off the bed with at least 5″ of potting soil.
4. Add Flowers and Enjoy
Plant flowers and don’t forget to water.
How to Involve Kids in Creating a Tree Stump Flower Bed
Digging…need I say more? Our kids love to dig – in sand, dirt, mud, gravel or pretty much any substance. Kids will enjoy filling the stump with gravel and dirt, then planting flowers. Even if dirt isn’t high on the kiddos’ fun list, invite them to select which flowers to plant and to water the flowers. Unless the kids are much older, make sure they keep a distance when you are digging out the stump.
Do you have any stumps to transform into a flower bed? Let us know about your stump transformation.