Decorative Uses for Tree Stumps

It's sad enough to lose a beloved tree, but the problem of stump removal adds insult to injury. The job often requires chemicals, drills, chainsaws and sometimes even a bulldozer. It takes time and money. A better idea is to honor the tree by creating art from the stump so that it remains a treasured member of your family.

Gnomes and Fairies

Incorporate your tree stump into a whimsical gnome garden or fairy glen. You can find fantastical figurines made to endure the elements at country-home shops, antique and thrift stores, at garden supply stores and sometimes even hardware stores. For a personal twist, use action figures from your children's favorite TV shows and movies.

Outdoor Furniture

Upholster your tree stump with an all-weather cushion from an old set of patio furniture, or make your own seat cushion out of vinyl stuffed with foam rubber. To make a sewing pattern based on the size and shape of your stump, put a piece of paper across the top and make a crayon rubbing of the stump's outline. Similarly, a vinyl tablecloth with painted-on place mats makes a tree stump into a table for a teddy bear tea party.

Tree Stump Container Gardening

Planting flowers or vegetables on, or in, your tree stump is a pleasant way to help your tree return to its roots. To hold the potting soil, you can carve out the center of the stump to form a rough bowl, or you can plane the stump flat and set a frame on top. Plant shallow-rooted plants for the first few seasons. After a few years the stump will have decomposed enough to accommodate deeper roots.

Mushroom Cultivation

A hardwood tree stump is the perfect food source for growing edible mushrooms. Purchase wooden plugs that have been infused with mushroom spawn, drill the stump full of holes sized to match the plugs, and pop the plugs in the holes. If the stump is in the sun, you can coat the top of the stump in wax to prevent moisture from evaporating. The mushrooms might take a year to really start fruiting.


If you're handy with chisel and saw, or if you know someone who is, you can give your tree stump a lovely future as art. Functional chairs and animal shapes are popular choices, but abstract designs work well too. For a mixed media sculpture, visit a scrap yard for pieces that you can affix to the stump in imaginative configurations.

Keywords: tree stump, stump art, mushroom cultivation

About this Author

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little is a freelance writer, blogger, and web designer from New Orleans, Louisiana. She is a graduate of the professional SF/F workshop Viable Paradise (2006). Recent published work appears at and, with a short story forthcoming at (March 2010).