Thursday, April 16, 2015

backyard music wall!

I did it...I finished one of my hundredty-thousand projects!

Our backyard music wall took less than an hour from start to finish, not including my two trips to the store for materials. Installation basically went like this: bring everything outside; nail everything to fence. 

...And I could just leave it at that and not over-explain every (easy and obvious) step. Yeah, right. Here's how it went: First, I gathered everything together.

All of these items are from the thrift store, except the two xylophones (a friend gave those to me), and some random things from the dollar store - the butterfly wind chime and bamboo wind chime (both towards the bottom left in this picture), two of the three mini-buckets (in the middle), the colorful spinning orb (at the top), and the two hanging butterfly decorations (on the right). At the thrift store, I found various pot lids and pan pieces, wooden utensils, a metal dish-drying rack, a hamster wheel, a flower-shaped photo display thingie, and a muffin tin. Oh, and a huge popcorn tin (not pictured here). It was around $20 total, and I used an assortment of nails and cup hooks from our collection in the basement for hanging.

I cleaned some of the items (and neglected others...possibly a disgusting mistake) and hauled everything outside to pick a section of fence to work with. 

Most of the music wall examples I found online featured items nailed to a freestanding section of fence - one that could be transported or removed if necessary. But what's the point of that, in our situation? We have a wooden fence (as opposed to vinyl or chain link) already installed, and we don't have any child care licensing issues, like many of the online examples, that might require us to move/remove the music wall. I can always just pry everything off if I need to, and I'm sure no one would notice the holes from the nails. So I chose a fence section and started hammering away.

It's not like me to not overthink a project, but with this one, I really just placed each item wherever it fit, and in it went. The hardest part, actually, was finding nails that weren't too long. Even the shortest ones I had on hand (1" roofing nails) were longer than the depth of the vertical pickets, so they'd poke right through. The other side of the fence is still technically our property (not park property for another six feet or so), and it's a tangle of weeds and trees, but I didn't want to worry about any little kids wandering over and scraping themselves on a rusty nail poking through our fence. Whenever I could, I nailed the pieces directly into the horizontal railings, which gave me more leeway with longer nails.

You can go ahead and Pin this shot as an example of high-quality landscaping. Go on.
#dirt #andpricklyweeds

Here are some close-ups, going from left to right across the length of the music wall...

On the left is a flimsy metal pan and pan bottom; then a hanging butterfly decoration that
doesn't make noise, but added some color; a hamster wheel; a butterfly wind chime;
and a metal dish-drying rack.

Along the top of this little section are xylophone pieces hung on individual nails; a spinning
wire orb thing for decoration; and a muffin tin. In the middle is a cake pan. Along
the bottom is a popcorn tin and three little tin buckets (AKA percussion section).

Next to the muffin tin is a bamboo wood chime; a metal pan with a ripply bottom;
another hanging butterfly decoration; and a weird metal flower thing that I think
was originally meant to function as a photo holder?

And all the way at the end we have our "drumsticks" (a whisk with a wooden handle
and rubber whisk-ers, and four wooden spoons), along with a hollow metal
ring that came from a cake pan.

And here are some close-ups of how certain pieces are installed, since I had trouble figuring out methods on my own - I definitely had to refer back to the example pictures I found!

There are more things I'd love to add - pieces from a stubborn xylophone that I just can't dismantle; longer metal wind chime pieces; and a wider assortment of "drumsticks" - but the great thing is that this can be a dynamic work. We can add to it if we find something cool, or remove pieces that get rusty or broken or gross from being exposed to the elements. For now, though, it's done.

And Rowan digs it.

Her favorites are the big popcorn tin (you can hear her say "LOUUUUD!" in the video as she makes a beeline for it), the butterfly wind chime, and the hamster wheel. And, since I know you're wondering, no, our neighbors don't hate us (not because of the music wall, at least). First of all, believe it or not, it's not actually that loud. Maybe when she gets bigger and has better coordination, she'll get louder, but right now her "music" basically blends in with the general noise from the adjacent park. Second of all, Rowan is only one and a half...her attention span isn't very long. So if that popcorn tin is making your brain rattle, just hang on about five more minutes, and then she'll be (silently) making mud pies in the grassless wasteland that is half of our lawn.

Negligent lawn-tenders though we may be, we're loving transforming our backyard, little by little, into a variety of play pockets. With the park right on the other side of our property, I never thought we'd want or need to do much to our own backyard in the way of adding play places - but sometimes it's nice to be outside with Rowan and still be in our own space, you know?

She's not complaining, that's for sure.

Next up is finishing the slide mound, as soon as I can find time to reacquaint myself with my miter saw when Rowan isn't either right next to me or asleep. So, in about seventeen years.

1 comment:

  1. That's interesting, a great tool to use for the kids to learn and grow with and keep them busy and occupied outside. as they're always learning and growing. thanks for sharing it!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...