“It’s like an extension of your house, an outdoor room,” Russ Polvino said of his fabric gazebo. “I love to sit out here and listen to music.”
I visited during the Saturday Night Lights portion of the Ken-Ton Garden Tour held July 21 and 22, and visitors could see his gardens during the day as well. Polvino shares the home at 1237 Tonawanda St., Tonawanda, with Doug Dedman.
The gazebo at the back of the house really does feel like an outdoor room with padded furniture, artwork hung on the walls, carpets, potted plants and a chandelier. The chandelier is made for outdoors and has shades so the bulbs don’t get wet.
Polvino also uses real candles in the gazebo.
“I’m trying to keep the bugs away,” he said.
The garden bed that you can see above is interesting because it’s built right on top of the asphalt of the driveway. The fence is the backdrop and the garden wall is made of bricks. He filled in the bed with garden soil mixed with peat moss. Because the bed gets so hot, he makes sure to cover it with mulch to help keep in the moisture.
Polvino also has a raised fish pond and fountain built on top of the asphalt.
Some of the flowers in the gardens are in pots. In fact, one entire bed is made up of planters, but you wouldn’t know it unless he pointed it out. Some of the containers are actually deeper than the garden bed.
An advantage to using pots is that if a perennial is out of bloom, you can move it to a less conspicuous spot and replace it with a flower that is currently more showy.
While Polvino’s lot isn’t all that large, just 30 feet by 133 feet, it holds a lot of plants per square inch.
“You don’t need a lot of space,” Polvino said.
Polvino makes good use of pots– 14 in total– along the driveway to create a cheery path to the side door, as you can see above right. Hanging pots and planters also grace the second-story balcony and the front porch.
The front yard, which you can see above left, is a grassless garden, and he squeezes in many plants for a cottage style look.
Tip: Planting flowers tightly together keeps weeds out and moisture in, Polvino said.
And who says you can’t have furniture in your front yard? Polvino has a bench that faces the house, above, and a table and chairs near the street, right.
Think outside the box and enjoy your yard in a way that works for you.
See another garden that was featured on the Ken-Ton Garden Tour in the article, “Hand-built barns, ponds and lavish gardens mark Tonawanda property.”
Photos by Connie Oswald Stofko