5 great garden decorating ideas Steal inspiration from an eye-catching California nursery where the planting ideas are free Barrels and Branches Not many people start a business while still in their 20s. But Samantha Owens and Danica Hirsch each knew they wanted to own a nursery almost from the time they could first hold a trowel. Owens grew up on a flower farm, while Hirsch is her family’s third generation to go into the business. 'It was practically inevitable we’d end up here,” says Hirsch of the nursery the two opened ― called Barrels and Branches ― in Encinitas, California. "Gardeners need inspiration, not just plants,” Owens says. “Fortunately, coming up with those ideas is the fun part of the job ― we both like that best." INFO Barrels and Branches (1452 Santa Fe Dr., Encinitas, CA; 760/753-2852) Pinterest Arrange a patio vignette Drop bold plants singly into separate containers. Keep most of the pots in the same color range ― golden browns, for instance ― to tie everything together. To give a small plant more presence, frame it in a large bowl set on its side, as pictured. "Ice" some potted plants Big chunks of recycled blue glass (from $30 each) add a glacial touch beside blue-violet pots, each containing plants with silver-blue to bronzy purple foliage (a golden yucca adds a spritz of lime). Owens and Hirsch also use the glass chunks to create the effect of water in dry creekbeds. Dress a fence Owens and Hirsch turned pressure-treated wood left over from a building project into shadow boxes to hang on a fence. They’re strong enough to support a gallon-size plant in a ceramic pot. Plant a present A small succulent in a decorative container, glammed up with a mulch of shiny pebbles, makes a great hostess gift. Barrels and Branches keeps a supply in stock just for that purpose (from $15 each). The variegation of this crassula’s foliage provides color year-round and echoes the pot’s cinnamon hue. Use unique art Quan Yin, the Chinese goddess of compassion, looks doubly serene surrounded by the mostly quiet green foliage that reinforces her mood.