Thea and her husband had an area along the side of their house, about 25' long and 5' wide, that had no landscaping and a serious tendency to get weedy and muddy. Thea explains, "It was a wonderful haven for soil to turn to mud on rainy days. It definitely needed to be landscaped. But how was the question?"
Her husband leveled the area, covered it in landscape fabric and filled it with black shale rock. He even created a nice border with paver blocks, and Thea felt it looked "much cleaner... but it was a bit plain-looking, so I came up with an idea!" Her idea worked beautifully, so she included it in her Time With Thea blog, in a post that was later included in a Huffington Post article!
Thea, a retired teacher, had several colored glass gems that she had used as counters with her math students (they are sometimes called "flat marbles" and can usually be found at a dollar store). She sprinkled them along the strip of black shale, in a thin meandering line, creating the effect of a "river of glass." The splash of color against the black is very effective, although she notes that her husband thought "it looked like I had just spilled something over the rock. Oh well."
What do you think -- does it look like a pretty way to brighten up an otherwise colorless area or just a bunch of spilled rocks? See more pictures of Thea's "river" at Time With Thea, and decide for yourself.
Thea's "glass river" is stunning because the glass gems naturally catch and reflect light, making them really stand out against the black shale. Why not use this inherent property of the gems to your advantage when adding beautiful whimsy to your garden?
Try using the gems to fill holes in your fence to catch a few rays of sunlight, or let the kids create sun catchers with them! At your next backyard barbecue, stage a few gem luminaries around the patio for a stunning glow.
Please add some color to the world by sharing this river of ideas!