Garden trend: Graffiti garden art

Got a wall or fence that keeps getting tagged with graffiti, defacing and devaluing your property? Take heart—you could be on the front end of a trend toward using graffiti art in the garden. I’ve spotted graffiti-decorated walls and planter boxes in Austin and Dallas over the past year, and I think these gardeners are onto something.

Used intentionally (and sparingly), graffiti adds a hip, urban, and youthful—not to mention colorful—element to your garden decor. In Austin, the folks at Big Red Sun gave a pair of potted palms downtown curb appeal with “tagged” planter boxes.

These snippets of graffiti are reminiscent of pop art. The gritty look is enhanced by their low-tech security system of broken bottles affixed to the top of the wall, Mexican-style.

At East Side Succulents, the owners disguised a filing cabinet’s gray-industrial origins with spray-painted graffiti-style swirls. Simple, colorful, and fun, and they even color-coordinated their succulents to match.

The Blue Lotus garden in Dallas takes the concept to a higher level with their corrugated-steel “wall.” They commissioned this work of art from a local graffiti artist and asked him to render various elements from their travels and hometown. It makes an edgy, fun focal point in their garden.

I’m curious to see where this trend will pop up next. Are other areas of the country seeing it too? Are you a fan, or do you think graffiti should be relegated to boxcars and abandoned warehouses?

By the way, my blog Digging is a finalist for Best Gardening Blog in the Readers’ Choice Awards at I’d love to have your vote. You can vote once a day (it’s on a 24-hour cycle) until March 21. So vote early and often! Thanks for your support! (And thank you to Pamela Price for the vote graphic.) Click to VOTE.

All material © 2006-2012 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

10 Responses

  1. Amy says:

    Very cool! Another thing I’ve seen on Pinterest, which would totally work in the moist PNW where I live, is painting graffiti using a moss mixture.

    I’m intrigued, Amy. I’ll have to look that up. —Pam

  2. As you stated it works when used intentionally and in the right setting. I like the planters at Big Red Sun and I have admired the skill of some graffiti artists in cities where I’ve lived.

    I’ll skip the trend for my own garden and enjoy it on garden tours or in other places around town.

    Just voted (again) and it looks like you are doing very well. :-)

    I admit, it’s hard to imagine this trend taking off in a suburban, woodsy neighborhood like yours and mine, Shirley. (Thanks for your vote[s]!) —Pam

  3. Scott Weber says:

    Wow…I could never do something like that myself…but I love people with that kind of chutzpah!

    Me too, Scott. It’s a fun surprise in the garden. —Pam

  4. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I don’t mind graffiti if you have a place for it. I don’t think I would like it in my garden. Graffiti seems like a modern element and I don’t see my style as modern. If I had a big corrugated wall I might change my mind. I like what you have shown here. Sometimes my neighbors big white privacy fence makes me want to get my paints out. It looks like a big white canvas.

    Hmm, it might be time to take some paint to your side of the great white wall, Lisa. —Pam

  5. The graffiti seems to be fitting in that setting. Love the bold colors.

    Isn’t it fun? —Pam

  6. Les says:

    Myself and a co-worker have been tasked with brightening some street side planters at work. I think this idea is way cool, but I know my boss would not!

    Aww, it’s only paint. If he doesn’t like it, tell him you can always paint over it! —Pam

  7. Mamaholt says:

    You KNOW I love it.

    I desperately wanted the front of my house graffitti-d, but Jackdaddy was a naysayer. Boo Hoo. NEXT life …

    Michele, I can totally see you running with this idea. Maybe Jackdaddy would go for a painted steel fence panel… —Pam

  8. Laguna dirt says:

    Love the graffiti. I think you are onto a certain trend. As far as the competition, you have my vote!

    Thanks, Laguna. :-) —Pam

  9. Gail says:

    Love the graffiti walks and the planter. I’ve seen the low tech security system on walls in new Orleans, too. gail

    Have you? It’s ingenious, really, and pretty (in an agave sort of way). —Pam

  10. Jane says:

    Have you noticed El Federico’s work around Austin? Google Federico Archuleta, you’re sure to recognize something!

    Super cool, Jane! I did recognize his “Til death do us part” mural from Austin’s Dia de los Muertos festival. That’s gone now, of course. Are there other places around town to see his work? —Pam