5 Ways To Make The Most Out Of Your Tree Stumps

Ways To Make The Most Out Of Your Tree Stumps

It’s already a huge change to your yard and garden to cut down and remove a tree, and taking out the stump is expensive, frequently messy, often dangerous if you try to do it yourself, can take a huge amount of time depending on how old your tree is, and leaves a huge, nasty scar in your garden that needs to be dealt with somehow. It also wastes a good opportunity to decorate your yard. What may start as an ugly stump can be transformed with some time and creativity into a wide array of beautiful and interesting focal points, planters, and even tables.

However, with winter approaching, planters and outdoor tables are a faraway dream, right? It’s good to make preparations now, though, so you’ll be ready to go as soon as the weather warms up. Here are some ideas on what to do with your stumps from our Edmonton tree care experts!


A stump is ideal for a planter, especially if you don’t like fertilising your plants.

  • Wearing safety glasses, chisel a hole into the middle of your stump, then chip out the center with a mattock, leaving three inches of wood all around the edge and cutting down four to eight inches.
  • Drill a few holes in the bottom downward out of the stump to make sure you have good drainage in your planter.
  • Now you can fill it with good draining material like gravel, and a mix of 30 percent compost and 70 percent potting soil, and start planting. As the stump decomposes, it releases nitrogen into your soil, nourishing your plants for many years, making them perfect for perennials.
  • Why stop with perennials, when you still have so much real estate? Cultivate a mushroom garden by drilling holes and inserting starter plugs; they may take a few years to grow, but it’ll be worth it when you have your own harvest of homegrown mushrooms. 

Shelves and Tables

The possibilities need not stop at planters, however; consider that smooth, flat surface that you can now perch a vast array of objects on.

  • Pretty pots with brightly colored or overflowing plants or flowers are ideal for stumps. Start bulbs in them now, and they’ll be blooming as soon as it warms up in the spring.
  • Interesting statuary can be arranged on top of, or around, stumps. Make it interactive!
  • Depending on the height of your stump, you can also find something for a tabletop, perhaps an interesting reclaimed block of wood or a metal conversation piece; a metal tray, for example, filled with flagstones fitted against each other, would add excellent contrast. Pull up a couple of chairs, and you have a bistro-style table at which to sit and enjoy your garden.

Back to Nature

If the stump is in a secluded area, finding a way to benefit wildlife with it is very eco-friendly.

  • Setting up a birdhouse, bird feeder, or bird bath on top will benefit birds who previously used the tree for nesting and perching.
  • Some native bees burrow in or under tree stumps to build their hives. Digging a small hole at the base of the stump, and planting bee attracting flowers, will benefit these vital pollinators and give them somewhere to live and overwinter. 

Modern Art, Garden Art

For the artistic, a tree stump presents a blank canvas for a wide range of media.

  • There is the option of painting it, of course; if you would rather keep your handiwork for as long as possible, make sure to factor in a couple coats each of primer and sealant.
  • The classic way to turn your stump into art is by carving it, and the bigger the stump, the better. Faces are a favorite subject, but animals, people, and objects are also very popular.
  • As your stump is a blank canvas, don’t be afraid of adding or subtracting elements for a unique piece that will bring personality to your garden. For example, fans of miniatures may turn their stumps into small houses with windows, doors, and roofing, perhaps even carving out as much of the stump as they can for rooms.

Continuing the Tradition

Finally, if you have children, a tree stump offers several options as well to bring them into the garden.

  • It makes perfect child-height workspace, creating the opportunity to get your kids started on their own gardening projects.
  • Children with an interest in science will have an excellent chance to learn about tree rings and decomposition over time.
  • If you’ve saved logs from the tree, you can arrange them into a small picnic area, or meeting area for their friends.

Though you’ve said goodbye to one of your trees, you need not bring more upheaval to your sanctuary. With a little time, effort, and creativity, you can turn a symbol of loss into something beautiful that adds color and new life to your garden.

 About the Garden would like to thank Alberta Arborists for this creative article. They are a tree service company serving Edmonton Alberta and surrounding areas. The professionally trained I.S.A. Certified Arborists are very experienced & dedicated in providing professional tree care with safety,professionalism and integrity.

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