KnoxZine
KnoxZine

September 10th, 2015
The Gnarly Gnome

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By: Debra Dylan

Peter Pan’s Lost Boys could find a perfect hideaway at Mike’s Daylilies in Powell, Tennessee.

We Plot By Moonlight

The otherworldly front yard was “dug out by hand with a clay pick,” says Timmy Arnold. The property belongs to his father, Mike Arnold, and it has been in the family for generations. Timmy continues, “Every plant and rock was brought here. We are extreme plant fanatics. My father is like the architect and I’m the laborer.”

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View from the driveway. Dead cedar trees were cut to make the railings.

There are two levels of bridges.

There are two levels of bridges. The lower area was dug out by hand.

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Pallet wood was used to build the bridges.

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Photos cannot capture the scope of this project.

To escape the heat of the day, father and son “plot by moonlight,” says Timmy. Seating was naturally built into one of the stone walls. It’s perfect for gathering around the fire pit at night.

Timmy Arnold enjoys the natural seating around a fire pit.

Timmy Arnold enjoys the natural seating high above a fire pit.

The Gnarly Gnome

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The bridges and pathways lead to an impressive backyard workshop built out of pallets. The Arnolds’ woodworking business, The Gnarly Gnome, gets its name from Timmy’s appearance and the magical look of the property.

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Mike’s Daylilies business is in front of the workshop. When the flowers are in bloom the yard looks magnificent.

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Workshop rear view.

The workshop table is also made from pallets.

The workshop table is also made from pallets.

Benches and other wood products are for sale at The Gnarly Gnome.

Benches and other wood products are for sale at The Gnarly Gnome.

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Mike Arnold paints the artwork on the boxes.

Mike Arnold paints the artwork on the boxes he makes.

These medium sized handmade coffins are great for storage. They could also be used as a medicine cabinet, or for bar supplies.

Decorative handmade coffins are great for storage.

The Arnolds’ collect and sell a variety of salvage, including pallets, bricks, cinder block, and other items. All of the structures and floors on the property were made with recycled items.

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Part of a brick driveway runs alongside the pallet collection.

The Secret Garden

The lengthy entryway to the workshop and lily field is lined with a variety of flowering plants.

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I’m looking for snakes. Yellow dahlias are in the distance.

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Timmy regrets planting Trumpet Creeper in the garden. He says, “It grows over everything and it doesn’t do any good to cut it back or to pull it down. Trumpet Creeper climbed up his grandmother’s vintage satellite dish. Under the dish is a shady sitting area with nasturtium, hibiscus, and gorgeous tie dye morning glories.

The vintage satellite dish dome cover.

The vintage satellite dish dome cover.

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Under the dome.

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Tie die morning glories on a garden arbor.

Tie die morning glories on a garden arbor.

A grand circular stone hut is off to the side of the workshop. Timmy says he and his father have been working on the land and structures for 10 years. Wind chimes adorn many of the paths. There is a pair of grandfather clock chimes inside the hut.

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I'm still looking for snakes.

I’m still looking for snakes.

Only one neighbor has tried to get the Arnolds evicted from their land. Timmy says, “Some people are incapable of seeing magic. All they see are weeds.”

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Photos by: Buck Kahler

If you enjoyed this property, you might also enjoy Knox Pallet House, Better Yurts & Gardens, and A Storybook Home.

© Debra Dylan, 2015.

  • Nichole Hicks

    I loveee this house and the people in it! So cool to see this featured! :) Love you guys!

  • Evelyn Banda

    So cool!

  • Kellie Jamieson

    Timmy is a close and dear friend of mine. I have been to this home many times. It is truly a magical place. Mike and Timmy are very talented and have worked very hard to make this property very unique and special. There is no place like it in the world. The author is right – pictures do not do it justice. There are no words even to describe the overwhelming beauty that exists here. I am so happy that the Arnolds are finally in the spotlight for the tremendous feat they have accomplished on this land. They are always working and building and adding new dimensions to this layout to make it even more fantastic. I am so proud of them both. Thank you for your contributions. You both are very special.

  • Sheila Hill

    Bravo!!!