Can This Garden Be Saved: We Have Nowhere to Sit


“We have nowhere to sit” is a common complaint in the garden because the definition of “outdoor furniture” is too narrow. Is there any reason garden seating has to be completely weatherproof, while weighing a ton? Too often it is lumpy teak or punishing wrought iron. In the time it takes to find the cushions, you could be unfolding a lightweight chair in exactly the right spot, for exactly the right moment.

Problem: We have planned ahead and put proper outdoor furniture where it ought to be.

Solution: Summer is the time for wild abandon.

Foldable Furniture

Above: For more of this garden, see Landscape Architect Visit: Jacqueline Morabito on the French Riviera. Photograph by Clive Nichols.

In a newly designed garden, moveable garden furniture may seem irrelevant. The solid bench at the end of a path provides a focal point; the built-in sofa is a cornerstone of the patio. And yet… the sun is shining just round the corner. This is the place to unfold the portable butterfly chair.

Portable Dining Room

Outdoor dining table by Clive Nichols
Above: Stone circle, wooden plank trestle table. In Jacqueline Morabito’s garden on the French Riviera, the eating areas are fluid; it’s more of an adventure to pick up the table and move somewhere different every day. Photograph by Clive Nichols.

Sitting by the back door is convenient, but convenience isn’t everything. A German beer table is easy to carry and to store at the end of the day; its slightly alarming shade of varnished pine wears down if it’s left out all summer, ditto the benches that come with it.

Shady Setting

outdoor furniture by Tait in Australia
Above: Photograph via Tait. See more of Tait’s outdoor furniture in Shiny Happy Furniture Made in Melbourne. Tait has locations in Melbourne and Sydney; for more information, go to Tait.

Ideally, a seating area will have a level surface underfoot and a permanent canopy above: a covered pergola or sun sail (umbrellas are not easy). Trees make a wonderful canopy, though sometimes bugs congregate under them just as you approach with your clinking glass. Another reason to keep a fold up bistro furniture on hand. For barbecues as well, it is good to have the option of moving seating up or down wind.

Sunny Spots

Garden seating, photo Claire Takacs
Above: A clearing in the long grass.

Since light changes all day, it is important to take note of the sun spots in the garden. First thing in the morning, having breakfast outdoors before work, time will be tight. Ideally though, you will not be stuck in a dark corner just because it is next to the kitchen door. Where is the sun at the end of the day? A patch of mown grass under the dappled light of a tree could be more inviting for half of the year than somewhere closer to the house. Note: If cocktails segue into dinner, choose somewhere closer.

Indoor Chairs, Outdoors

Panton chairs by Claire Takacs
Above: Panton chairs face the dawn. Made in Germany by Vitra, designer  is available in six colors for $310 apiece from Hive Modern.

There is no such thing as indoor furniture and outdoor furniture. My own Eames Eiffel chairs often find themselves on the “wrong” side of the back door, next to the kitchen. These Panton chairs would do very well by a swimming pool or shaded terrace.

Seeing Red

Garden seating, photo Claire Takacs
Above: Colors and materials do not have to be neutral and ultra-tasteful. Consider glossy red.

Adirondack chairs (aka Westport chairs) work anywhere, from a Dan Pearson garden in England to just about anywhere in the United States. The arm rests, steady enough for drinks or reading materials, contribute to their appeal.

The Swinging Set

Garden seating, photo Claire Takacs

The less serious the seating, as in a swing or hammock, the more celebratory the garden. This is summer, after all.


Our Outdoor Renovation – Cupcakes & Cashmere

Our home was built in 1916, though it doesn’t feel like it’s one hundred years old. The interior is modern and fresh, with an open floor plan, lots of light, and compelling architecture. But up until recently, the same couldn’t be said of our exterior space. It felt disjointed, dated, and unusable, made all the more clear once we had Sloan. We wanted to update the outdoor area to feel like an extension of our living room, where we could gather with friends and family and take advantage of L.A.’s warm weather.

We divided the project into three main sections: the front, side, and back yards, with the goal of creating an entertaining space, an outdoor kitchen, and a play area for Sloan, respectively.  Thea and Dorianne have unparalleled taste and they managed to transform a small, awkwardly shaped exterior into one that feels expansive, elevated, and most importantly, functional. Using items almost exclusively from ATG Stores, we now have an outdoor space that feels like a reflection of our interior.

I’m excited to finally reveal the finished project, along with the design insights from the team.

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The driveway was narrow and spilled out onto a brick path that hugged the house, which made for an underwhelming entryway. We swapped out the bricks in lieu of concrete pavers and added steps (flanked by two planters) to create more of a formal pathway to the front door. We also added a deck where we now have steamer chairs for G and me and a baby one for Sloan. They felt a little more sleek than our previous white Adirondack rocking chairs, but are just as comfortable.

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Our house had been a muted sage green, which we painted slate gray. I worried that a dark color would make the house seem smaller, but instead it made it look sleek and modern. We also swapped out the white gutters for copper and added a second light fixture by the front door to create a more balanced entryway. Our previous sconces had an old-fashioned look to them and these light fixtures instantly made the space feel grounded and intentional. Also, never underestimate the effect a properly sized doormat can have (our old one was about a foot too small, width-wise).

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Our front yard is enclosed, so we wanted to create an area where we could entertain. Thea designed the concrete fire pit and sectional, which has become our favorite spot to lounge. It’s a cozy place to hang after dinner and also an ideal spot for roasting s’mores with friends (and coworkers).

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We placed plants along the entryway path in order to block the view of the cars in the driveway while adding a little greenery back into the space. Based on the current drought in California, we got rid of our lawn and replaced it with decomposed granite and artificial turf in between the pavers. Besides being much more water conscious, it creates a clean, serene vibe.

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We used to have a table in the back yard, but since the kitchen is located in the front of the house, it was inconvenient to go back there with food. It meant either going around the entire house or through Sloan’s room, neither of which made sense, so we added this table and umbrella to the front yard using chairs we’ve had for years. Given the proximity to the kitchen, we’ve now been eating lunches and dinners outside on a daily basis.


Our old front yard was divided into sections: overgrown plants, parched grass, and brick. That separation made the small space feel even more cramped and awkward to use, which is why we rarely spent time there. We’d had an old fountain taking up a lot of room and swapped it out for this sleek, Moroccan piece that adds nice ambient noise to the space.

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In order to add light and a touch of whimsy, Dorianne suggested draping these cluster lights from the tree. It creates a magical look at night and is so pretty when sitting out by the fire pit.

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The side of the house is narrow and long, which made it an ideal space to create an outdoor kitchen. We both love to cook, so the entire area is set up to make food prep seamless and simple. We’ve been using the grill non-stop and having pizza nights with friends on a regular basis. Since we’re home a lot more than we used to be before Sloan, it’s nice to feel like we’re leaving the house without having to actually go out.

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I have a bit of a black thumb and typically manage to kill even the most sturdy of plants. The nice thing about the herb garden we created is that everything is easy to access and that a watering system makes it nearly fool-proof. It’s also made me that much more inclined to add greens to just about everything we make—especially when it involves picking basil to add on top of margherita pizzas.

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Thea and Dorianne designed our outdoor kitchen using all ATG products, aside from the concrete base, which we had custom-made to fit. I love the cut-out space that leaves room for fruit woods that we have on hand for the pizza oven.back yard, vertical.jpg

The back yard used to have a sort of English cottage vibe that I didn’t mind, but it wasn’t well laid out. Our air conditioning unit took up a lot of space and made it nearly impossible to carry on a conversation since it was so loud. We moved it to the roof, which opened up the space beautifully and removed the bricks and grass to create a single surface. We added new staircases and a little deck outside of Sloan’s room to help differentiate the play area. Thea and Dorianne had the idea to stain the stairs rather than keeping them white so that they blend into the landscape and disappear rather than feel like an extension of the house, which helped to make the back feel even bigger.


The Essential Guide to Pruning Plants All Year Long

Breathtaking Natural Swimming Pools


You’ll want to take a dip in these beautiful, sustainable pools.

This DIY Backyard Pergola Is the Ultimate Summer Hangout Spot


This one-of-a-kind set-up features a fire pit, swings, and a built-in bar.

With the arrival of summer comes warm nights spent outdoors with the family making s’mores, afternoons spent relaxing on your porch swing, and plenty of backyard parties, all of which would benefit from an incredible backyard space.

Which brings us to this amazing DIY pergola and fire pit setup. Created by Lauren Ashworth of Little White House Blog, and featured on Remodelaholic, this structure is the grown-up backyard play-set of your dreams. It seriously has it all: a fire pit, a movie screen, Adirondack chairs, six (!) porch swings, a built-in bar, and a pergola.

“It is truly an outdoor oasis and an area we created for the sole purpose of bringing our family and friends together,” Lauren wrote on Remodelaholic. “It’s a conversation piece around our small town and we love making s’mores, star-gazing, and relaxing here at the end of the day.”

Lauren and her husband Brett built this entire project from scratch for just $2,300 over the course of two weeks. (But, according to Lauren, skilled builders can construct one in just a weekend.) If you want to DIY your own, but you’re a beginner builder, you may want to skip a few steps by purchasing some of the outdoor staples Lauren upcycled.

Upon closer inspection, you’ll see that Lauren and Brett thought of everything when putting this outdoor oasis together. Guests can sip on drinks and munch on snacks at the built-in bar, firewood can be stocked in the storage area, and film buffs can screen their favorite movies on a sheet hung over the rectangular frame. Outdoor lights add the finishing touch.

You could make yours even more spectacular (if that’s possible!) by installing a cement or stone foundation, adding a covering to create shade for hot summer days, or including a stock tank cooler for drinks and treats. Hang up Old Glory, and this beauty will be ready to host your festivities all summer long.


10 Photos That Prove Kokedama is the Best Plant Trend Right Now


These Instagram photos show why kokedama (Japanese for “moss ball”) is showing up everywhere.

The latest trend in home decor is simply adorable. Kokedama, which is Japanese for “moss ball,” is showing up everywhere. Kokedama forces trendsetters to think outside of the box — or pot, for that matter. This DIY plant holder can be hung, strung, and placed anywhere you feel the need for some elegant greenery. However, there is a little more to it than moss.

Want to make your own? It all starts with a mix of peat moss and bonsai soil, moss, and your choice of succulent. Twine holds all the pieces together, and voila! Get the full instructions for how to make kokedama here. No kokedama is made or looks the same, so the possibilities are endless. Before you get started, here are 10 photos that will inspire you to get creative with kokedama.

1. Sweet and Simple

This kokedama proves that sometimes classic is best. Although you can spruce up these planters with colors and embellishments, plain twine is the way to go. Perfectly sweet and simply understated, this kokedama belongs on a tablescape surrounded by minimal decor, great food, and lots of laughter.

2. So cute, it had to be framed.

This picture-perfect kokedama looks so cute framed in natural wood. Multi-dimensional artwork is a great way to impress your guests and look like a design star. The best part? This look is totally affordable!

3. Kokedama stands out against greenhouse counterparts.

Leave your planted orb in its natural habitat. Surrounded by like plants and good lighting, kokedama is sure to shine. Thanks to the kokedama’s ability to hang, the DIY plant takes up no precious windowsill space and allows you to collect as many as you want!

A N T H U R I U M 💗 #kokedama#anthurium#anthuriumkokedama#flowers#flowerstagram#arozona#dsfloral

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4. Flowers add a colorful touch to the trend.

There is no rule stating that all kokedama have to be made with a green plant. These blooming beauties add a wonderful sense of joy to the room and their matching bases tie it all together. Rain or shine, these will brighten up your day.

My beloved cocedama and book bestseller. When I saw it 2 years ago for the first time, it reminded me instantly the little prince & his baobab… and there was no plants deco at that time, so I made it myself (as usual) inspired by original little prince illustrations ❤ and I couldn't leave him there living alone 🦊. I have a feeling that I am not the only one there who loves this amazing book. and that is why I decided to make it for you guys, that share the same passion, available on my store. I hope they will make your day more beautiful, the same as it makes mine. I wish you happy #newyear Worldwideshipping: January 2017 😘👏🏼❤🌵🦄🍾🐘🐍🐑🚀👌🏼 Moje milovana kokedama a nejvetsi knizni srdcovka. Kdyz jsem ji pred 2 lety videla poprve, hned jsem si vybavila baobab s mym nejmilejsim Malym pricem… V te dobe ale nebyl v nabidce jediny takovy zapich- a tak jsem si ho (jak je mym zvykem) vyrobila sama podle puvodnich ilustraci ❤ a nemohla jsem ho tam nechat preci samotneho 🦊🌹 Neco mi rika, ze pro tuhle uzasnou knihu nemam slabost jedina, proto jsem se rozhodla rozsirit nabidku i o takoveto krasavce. Snad vas budou tesit, stejne jako me 🌑🚀🐍🐘🐑 Preji vam stastny Novy rok!!! 😘 #kokedama #design #designflorariums #florarium #terrarium #baobab #littleprince #fox #lepetitprince #malyprinc #mojelaska #❤ #happynewyears #withlove #handmade #czech #prague #mladaboleslav #instadaily #photoshoot @barborabistiakphoto #worldwideshipping #homedecor #bonsai #flora #miniature

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6. Blooming Beauty

This beautiful succulent bouquet looks difficult to recreate, but that doesn’t mean we won’t try. Use pins and lots of patience when assembling something of this nature. But most importantly, make sure you have a great place to display your garden work where everyone can admire!

7. Why make one kokedama when you can have five?

The only thing better than one kokedama is two kokedama! Gather the girls for a gardening day or make it a fun family activity. Supply the moss, plants, and twine and get to work. When you’re all done, line up the fruits of your labor for a stunning photo shoot.

8. This beauty is layers of fun!

The way to get creative with your kokedama is with the plant of choice. This unique succulent is visually interesting and would look great in any room. Spend some time in the greenhouse before settling on a leafy friend.

9. We love this kokedama dripping with style.

If you’ve got the green thumb to keep your plant alive for a long time, let it grow! We love this kokedama that’s over-the-edge beautiful and inspired by Rapunzel and her flowing locks.

10. Looking Sharp

For those desiring simplicity, this cactus is perfectly adorable. Cacti continue to grow in popularity within fashion, home decor, gardening, and beyond. You’ll be on top of what’s hot with this pretty planter.


The Best Perennials for Shade

Brighten up sheltered spots in your landscape with these easy-to-grow shade plants that come back year after year.

Bigroot Geranium

One of the toughest plants that grow in the shade garden, bigroot geranium (Geranium macrorrhizum) doesn’t mind heat or drought. And, deer and rabbits typically pass it by in search of tastier morsels. This shade plant puts on a spring show with pink or white flowers; some varieties also offer outstanding fall coloration in their woodsy-scented foliage. Bigroot geranium is hardy in Zones 4-8 and grows 2 feet tall.

Top Picks: ‘Album’ offers white flowers; ‘Ingwersen’s Variety’ offers clear pink flowers; ‘Variegatum’ has purple-pink flowers and white-variegated leaves.

Plant it with: Add height and interest to your shade garden by planting bigroot geranium in front of toad lilies.

Old-Fashioned Bleeding Heart

There’s little wonder why old-fashioned bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis) is a favorite of plants that grow in shade. In late spring and early summer, it produces pink or white heart-shaped flowers that hang from elegant, arching stems. This top-notch shade plant is hardy in Zones 3-9 and grows up to 4 feet tall.

Test Garden Tip: By midsummer, old-fashioned bleeding heart usually goes dormant and loses its foliage. Plant it with astilbe or hosta so you don’t end up with a bare spot in your garden.

Top Picks: ‘Pantaloons’ is a variety with large numbers of pure white flowers. ‘Gold Heart’ bears bright golden leaves against the pink flowers.

Brighten up sheltered spots in your landscape with these easy-to-grow shade plants that come back year after year.


A great plant with an unfortunate name, lungwort (Pulmonaria) earned its moniker from the silvery, lung-shaped spots that dot the foliage of these plants that grow in shade. The variegated foliage looks great all season long, but is an especially nice accent to the clusters of pink, white, or blue flowers in spring. Lungwort grows best in Zones 4-8 and reaches 1 foot tall.

Test Garden Tip: Because its foliage is somewhat hairy, deer and rabbits typically leave lungwort alone.

Top picks: ‘Opal’ features ice-blue flowers; ‘Trevi Fountain’ features cobalt-blue blooms.

Plant it with: Japanese painted fern or ‘Jack Frost’ brunnera for a delightful silver-on-silver play.

The Best Perennials for Shade

Brighten up sheltered spots in your landscape with these easy-to-grow shade plants that come back year after year.


Starting in mid-spring, Lamium produces clusters of pink or white flowers. This delightful groundcover can rebloom off and on through the summer, creating months of color. And even when its not blooming, the silver-infused foliage of these shade plants brighten up shady corners. Lamium usually stays about 8 inches tall and grows best in Zones 4-8.

Tip: Keep lamium looking good by keeping it moist. If it dries out too much, the leaves will develop brown edges.

Top picks: ‘White Nancy’ offers white flowers and silver foliage with a green edge; ‘Beacon Silver’ bears pink flowers and silvery leaves.

Plant it with: Let lamium cover the ground underneath a colony of martagon lilies or an understory tree such as a redbud.


Top Ideas Adding DIY Backyard Lighting for Summer Nights


Summer is here! The life of night is an important part for us to spend this hot weather. For example, when night falls, we often like to entertain friends or hold a family party in the yard. At this moment, we need the light to light up the night and add some brilliant atmosphere. You needn’t to buy some splendid lights in the stores. In fact, we can do something special with the common incandescent lights in your home to add gorgeous radiance to the yard. Come and enjoy the following charming ideas adding DIY outdoor lighting to your summer night that can beautifully illuminate your backyard or patio.

1. Place a baker’s rack in your balcony as a mini garden.

Source Unknown.

2. Build a super frugal pergola decorated with string lights.

Get Tutorial here ====>

3. Build a wooden post topped with a solar powered post cap, and then hanging up a large lantern to decorate it.

4. Install rope light as walkway illumination and landscape lights.

Get Tutorial here ====>

5. Wrap decorative ribbon and icicle lights around a hula hoop to create so cool chandelier.

Get Tutorial here ====>

6. Floating candles bucket can be a simple and romantic backyard decoration.

7. Installing lights under benches.


8. Decorate your garden fence with these DIY hanging mason jar lights.

Get Tutorial here ====>

9. Candles in a galvanized tub.


10. Go for an easy and cheap tabletop fire bowl.

Get Tutorial here ====>

11. String up some outdoor lights by using a cement base with tree poles added into the cement.


Container Gardening – How to Start

  • Intro to Container Gardening

    Mised Herbs and flowers
    Herb Pots with Flowers. © Kerry Michaels

    Anyone can learn how to container garden. Seriously. I used to be a confirmed slayer of all plants. My thumb was not green, it was a destroyer of green. However, over time I learned how to keep plants in containers alive, at least for the most part. I still do kill plants–on a fairly regular basis–but have come to the conclusion that all gardeners do. It’s just part of the deal. A reasonable goal goal, over time, is to kill fewer and fewer plants.
    For me, the pleasure of gardening far outweighs the inevitable pain of losing plants. One of the ways to achieve this is to take guilt out of the equation of gardening. There is a learning curve and with each failure, if you can take the knowledge and experience from that, it will make you a better gardener. 

    The good news is that there can be huge joy in container gardening even with inevitable plant death.

    Carefully Assess your Sun

    Birdbath Plant Stand
    A Birdbath can Make a Great Plant Stand. Photograph © Kerry Michaels

    Here’s the thing. You can grow gorgeous container gardens even if you have very little sun and you can grow gorgeous containers if you are drenched in sun all day long (or anything in between for that matter). However, for your container gardens to thrive, much less be spectacular, you need to accurately assess how much sun your pot or garden will get. And here’s a warning. If you just guess, or think you know how much sun exposure an area gets, chances are very high that you will be wrong–by a lot. No matter how good a gardener you are, the tendency I have seen again and again (ok, I’m guilty too) is to grossly overestimate how much sun an area gets.

    The first thing you should do is figure out, either by timing with a watch, or using a sun calculator, how much direct sun your containers will get. You need to do this close to the time of year that you are going to plant, because in the depths of winter, the sun is in a different place than it is in the summer. The amount of sun your pots get will determine what you can plant in them. You can’t know what will successfully grow, unless you know how much sun the plants will have.

    Making sure a plant has the amount of sun it requires to thrive is critical for any container garden

    Choosing a Container

    Log Planters with Pansies
    Log Planters. © Kerry Michaels

    Truly anything at all can be turned into a container. Anything from the size of a thimble to a parking lot can be used to hold soil and plants. However, for most plants, the larger (within reason) your container is, the more soil it will hold. The more soil there is, the more easily nutrients and water are retained and delivered to your plants and the less frequently you will have to water. Small pots dry out really fast and though some plants don’t mind getting completely dried out, most do and are stressed by it. Stressed plants are more  susceptible to pests and diseases so the object is to keep your plants happy. I use the biggest possible pots because I resent being a slave to watering and I want the most latitude for my mistakes.

    When choosing a container, make sure it has enough drainage or that you can add drainage holes. I like to have at least a one inch hole, in a large(ish) container. If you don’t have enough drainage, depending on what your pot or container is made of, you can usually drill, punch or pound extra holes.

    Self-watering pots are great because they deliver water to plants, usually using a reservoir system, which also gives great latitude.

    Get Good Potting Soil

    Large Pot
    Large Pot with Banana Plant. © Kerry Michaels

    It can be confusing because sometimes potting soil is called potting soil and sometimes it is called potting medium, potting mix or container soil or mix. Just make sure whatever you buy is for containers. Do not buy topsoil or garden soil and don’t try to dump some soil from your garden into your pot–you will be disappointed.
    Just like anything there are good potting soils and not such good potting soils. However, most will work and for beginners, don’t stress too much about it. Over time, you will find out what works for you and your plants and which ones you like the feel and even the smell of. All the major brands that sell potting soil, will work. I prefer an organic potting soil and buy the kind that doesn’t have fertilizer already in it. Either type of potting soil is fine–with or without fertilizer–but you need to know which you are buying.

    Even if your potting soil does have fertilizer already in it, chances are as the season goes along, you will have to feed your plants anyhow.

    If your potting soil doesn’t have fertilizer already in it, you will need to add it. I can not stress enough how important this step is. The vast majority of plants will not thrive unless you feed (aka fertilize) them.

    Choosing Container Plants

    3 Coleus in Pots
    Ok, once you’ve determined how much sun you have, chosen your pot and gotten your potting soil, now the fun begins–choosing your plants. The first thing you want to do is to look for plants that thrive in the same amount of sun that your pot will get. Most nurseries have high sun requirement plants together and shade plants usually have their own spot too. However, there are tons of plants that are part sun, or part shade. So the good news is that whatever your sun requirements, there will be plants that will be satisfied, now you just have to find them and decide. Also, if you are doing a mixed container, you want to make sure that all of the plants you buy haven not only the same light requirement, but the same water requirement as well.

6 Gardening Projects for Your Kids

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    Jack & the Bean Stalk

    Jack & the Bean Stalk
    Be A Fun Mum

    Turn a classic children’s story into a gardening project. Your kids will love watching the bean stalk grow taller and taller over the weeks.

    DIY Watering Can

    DIY Watering Can
    One Creative Mommy

    What a great recycling idea! Turn an empty milk jug into a useful watering can. Your kids can make this and water their plants all on their own. They are going to love it this summer!
    DIY Watering Can from One Creative Mommy

    06of 07

    How To Make Seed Bombs

    DIY Seed Bombs
    Practically Functional

    Did you know you can make your own seed bombs? This is a great project for little helpers! Keep these seed bombs to plant yourself or wrap them up pretty to give as gifts.
    How To Make Seed Bombs from Practically Functional

    DIY Fairy Garden

    Kelly Sillaste

    Check out this easy DIY fairy garden, made with material from around your yard! This is the perfect addition to any garden, and doesn’t require any planting. Your kids will love feeling involved and waiting for the fairies




I can’t help but admit how excited I am to surround our home in flowers & greenery once again in the coming months.  In fact, while I was gathering all the beautiful inspirational for this Flower Container Gardening Ideas post, I was taking notes & ideas of what I wanted to plant this Spring.  So I truly hope this post helps you as much as it has helped me for new inspiration

I thought I would go ahead and start off by sharing 2 images from my own home from last year.I was smart enough one year to buy these wrought iron hanging planters off season, and even though they were still an investment, I am so glad I did.  They have held up for years, and I love filling them with Sweet Potato vine, Creeping Jenny and Geraniums.  This planter is hanging on our gate that gets full sun.  The combination of these plants hold up so well for me in our Tennesee heat & humidity.

Flower Container Gardening Ideas

This is the front of our home from last year.  These flower planters get exposed to full sun, so I use Kimberly ferns (can tolerate full sun) Geraniums, and Creeping Jenny.  This combination grows like crazy in these planter boxes from Wayfair that we got 3 years ago.  They are by far my favorite and have a unique water reserve system that is built inside the planters.  Which saves on watering and makes the plants inside bloom and grow like crazy.

Flower Container Gardening Ideas


Flower Container Gardening IdeasThese gorgeous terra-cotta pots have the hearty geraniums and lime creeping jennies.  Once again you cannot go wrong with this combination!
Flower Container Gardening IdeasI get completely lost when I look through Deborah Silver’s blog of {cheap dirt} her ideas for Spring container gardening are like none other!Flower Container Gardening IdeasTruly an amazing idea and a full tutorial on how to make a cedar monogram planter box for your porch from Ellery Designs.  Such a huge impact of beautiful colors!Flower Container Gardening IdeasAlthough this picture above is not “styled” in a yard or on a porch, I thought the combination of the thriller, filler and spillers were absolutely gorgeous!  They’re a beautiful mix of hellebores, primrose, and spring flowering bulbs.Flower Container Gardening IdeasThe power and beauty of an all-green planter.  So classic and makes a beautiful “cool” statement.  Could definately have this for at least 2 if not 3 seasons of the year in some places.More green!  But mixed with a delicate white flower in window boxes.  Again, a huge classic statement that looks so lush to everyone’s eye.  So beautiful.Flower Container Gardening IdeasRemember the power of 3, my friends.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned when decorating, placing pillows, candles, and now flower containers it’s the power of 3 that will make a huge statement.   Of course we typically frame our door on our porches or patios with a flower container on each side.  But when you are using flowers in a big area or when you want to hide something – remember the power of 3!  To quote one of the landscape designers at the Southern Living Home in Nashville,“Ladies and gentlemen, this is the “queen mum” agapanthus. She is tall and regal and full of blooms. The lavender petals are so soft and feminine as if painted with watercolors. She is also unbelievably easy to grow! Keep her in full sun and part shade.”

Flower Container Gardening IdeasAnother bright and bold power of 3 idea.  These containers are filled with “bright pink and yellow zinnias—think ‘Zowie! Yellow Flame’ or ‘Magellan Salmon’—which are one of our favorite flowers for their beautiful, round shape. Cooler ‘filler’ flowers, such as purple verbenas and blue calibrachoas are added to create contrast with texture and color.”Flower Container Gardening IdeasPatio Flower Container gardening at it’s best, right here.  All 3 planters have the same flowers but they used a large bowl container for the tabletop.  Such gorgeous detail, beautiful colors, and lush!Flower Container Gardening Ideas

Repetition makes a spectacular statement, and it can also save you money in the process.  Similar pots and buying trays of the same flowers can lower that nursery bill.  I know for myself, I also need to find creative ways to make that bill lower.  Flower nurseries are my weakness.

Oddly Beautiful Outdoor Plants You Never Knew Existed

Top New Perennials for 2017


Agapanthus ‘Neverland’

A bright new lily of the Nile. Sporting yellow-and-chartreuse variegated foliage is the start of this new variety’s appeal. The foliage maintains a nice, tidy clump that stays below 12 inches tall. On top of that, these plants wave wands of sky blue flowers all season long.

Plant name: Agapanthus ‘Neverland’ PPAF

Growing conditions: full sun to part shade

Size: 18 inches tall by 12 inches wide

Zone: 8

Grow it with: tufted hairgrass and salvia

Photo credit: Garden Debut

Amsonia ‘Storm Cloud’

A breakthrough in native plant breeding, this new variety of Bluestar is a knockout! Foliage emerges almost black in spring and ages to dark green with silver veins. It then begins the real show with numerous clusters of starry blue flowers and continues to bloom for weeks. Afterward, it maintains a great presence in any garden and has great heat and humidity tolerance. It stands up to deer as well!

Plant name Amsonia tabernaemontana ‘Storm Cloud’

Growing conditions: full sun to part shade

Size: 24-30 inches tall by 38-42 inches wide

Zone: 4-9

Grow it with: hardy hibiscus and Shasta daisy

Photo credit: Walters Gardens Inc.

Coreopsis ‘Gilded Lace’

What sets this coreopsis apart is its sheer size contrasted with its delicate, lacy foliage. This is not your average coreopsis. At a whopping 4-5 feet tall, this is sure to stun, especially with its impressive bloom time—June through October! It’s also great for pollinators and very disease resistant.

Plant name: Coreopsis ‘Gilded Lace’

Growing conditions: full sun

Size: 4-5 feet tall

Zone: 5-9

Grow it with: agastache and Culver’s root

Photo credit: Mt. Cuba Center


Tree House – Building Tips


Tree houses are for everyone with imagination. Elevate your building skills with these tree house building tips from experienced builders, including attachment techniques, site choice, assembly techniques, design ideas and more.

Overview: The inspiration of tree houses

Climbing trees has always been part of human history, allowing us to escape floods, saber-toothed tigers and intruders (especially parents with chores in mind). Building tree houses has long been part of human history, too. In that spirit, we’ve gathered tree house building tips, project ideas and photos from TFH readers and professional tree house builders. Maybe something here will inspire you to build the tree house of your dreams, for the special kids in your life or as a way to escape from modern day saber-toothed tigers and chore-requesting spouses. Enjoy!“You get a different perspective when you’re up in a tree. First of all, nobody can find you because nobody ever looks up. And when you’re up there, you’re able to look up, down and all around—it’s another world up there.” Michael Garnier, professional tree house builder

Building Tip : Site considerations

Choose a healthy, long-lived hardwood for maximum support, with load-bearing branches at least 8 in. in diameter (larger if the species is a softwood).The best trees include maple, oak, fir, beech and hemlock.You don’t have to build it very high, just high enough so nobody gets a bump on the head when walking underneath it
Build the platform as close to the trunk as possible and add diagonal bracing for extra strength to support uneven loads.Put the load over the base of the tree, not on one side.For heavy tree houses, consider spreading the weight among several trees.A tree house will act as a sail in strong winds, which can add a large load to the tree’s roots. In high-wind areas, build your tree house in the lower third of the tree.“I built a tree house for my kids in our backyard (Photo). It was tricky getting the roof in place and, of course, nothing is square. They drew the wall design on regular paper, and we transferred the pictures to the walls, using a grid method. We replace the old pictures with new ones each year.” Sean Milroy

Building Tip : Don’t Restrict Tree Growth

Don’t constrict branches with rope, straps or wire. This can strangle the tree.Add spacers between the beams and the tree to allow movement.Use extra-long large bolts. This leaves most of the shaft exposed so you can mount items on the ends and lets the tree grow over the shaft (see “Use the Right Fasteners,” Tip 6, below).Allow a 2-in. gap around the tree if it passes through the floor and a 3-in. gap if it passes through the roof (photo).

Building Tip : Level the floor

It’s much easier to build the rest of the structure if the floor is level and can support the entire weight of the tree house. Consider these methods:

  • Lay beams across the branches and shim until level.
  • Run the beams between trunks of different trees.
  • Cantilever the beams out from a single trunk and support them from above or below.

“I wanted my kids to experience the same fun I had in my tree house as a kid but without the risk of killing themselves—like I nearly did.” Brenton LaFleur

Building Tip 5: Build sections on the ground and hoist them into position

From one tree house builder:“I built it in my driveway and used a friend’s backhoe to lift it up on the joists I’d hung in the trees (Photo 1). The morning of ‘the big lift’ was quite exciting. We served bagels and coffee in the driveway for people who came to watch.”
Mike WhitakerAnd from another: “I assembled the platform and house on the ground, then disassembled them. After attaching the supports to the trees, I lifted the platform piece by piece and assembled it on the supports (Photo 2). An extra set of hands was needed only to raise the four walls and two roof sections. Final assembly took place in the trees.”

10 Expert Gardening Tips for Beginners


Love to garden? These tips from The Family Handyman will help you be faster, cleaner, and more efficient.

Build a gardener’s portfolio.


Keep tabs on your garden. Create a scrapbook using an inexpensive photo album and add your plant tags and sticks to it each season. Then, make it as detailed as you’d like by adding information as to where the plants were purchased and where the plant was located in your garden. Add your own artistic flair with sketches of your garden or photographs.

Create a no-stick shovel.


Spray your favorite garden shovel with a silicone or Teflon lubricant to make shoveling a breeze. A good coating of this spray will make any type of soil slip right off the shovel without a mess.

Lighten those heavy pots.


Take the strain out of lifting large planters and pots by filling the pot one-third to one-half full with packing peanuts. Be sure to place a piece of landscape fabric on top of the packing peanuts and then layer on your potting soil. To reduce the weight of the pot further, use a potting mix with lots of vermiculite and peat moss.

Transport your plants.


Before your next trip to the local nursery, line the back of your car with a plastic tarp and place a small step ladder on top of the tarp. The slots between the rungs of the ladder serve as perfect compartments to protect your fragile plants during the drive home. You will no longer have to worry about spilled plants or a messy car!

Easy-read rain gauge.


Spruce up your rain gauge by adding a few drops of food coloring to the bottom. During the next rainfall, the water will combine with the dye and the water level will be bright red and easy to read

Restrict an aggressive plant.


Prevent plants such as gooseneck loosestrife from taking over your garden by planting them in a plastic container. To ensure that these plants’ underground roots don’t quickly crowd your entire garden, cut out the bottom of with a knife—the roots can grown directly down into the soil.

Assist your root-bound plants.


One woe associated with buying potting plants is that they are often root-bound. In other words, as the plant grows in the pot, the roots run out of room to grow–so they begin to form tight circles of roots in the pot. The problem is that these roots can prevent water and other essential nutrients from traveling to the leaves and the rest of the plant. For a quick fix, gently guide the roots outward using your fingers. If they are really tough, carefully make vertical cuts in the root-ball with a knife. Get details from The Family Handyman »

Protect your bulbs.


Sick of creatures munching on your just planted flower bulbs? Keep them out by staking netting over the bed of flowers. Come springtime, simply remove the netting or cut holes in the cloth and let the plants grow through.

Portable potting.


Upgrade your wheelbarrow by fitting a piece of plywood to the back end with wood cleats. This creates a flat surface that is perfect for potting. Now you can wheel your soil and plants to the garden all in one easy trip.


Blemish-free roses.


When planting roses, pruning is crucial to keep the center of the flower open, so sunshine can shine in. Careful pruning will keep the moisture out, and will prevent black spots and other blights from forming.