Tag Archives: gardens

Make Room for Spring

Tomorrow is the first day of spring but it already feels like summer here in Louisville, where the temperature has been in the 80’s almost every day for the last week. Homeowners in my neighbourhood have been scrambling to start their backyard gardens, while apartment dwellers like me look on in envy.

Pretty spring flowers in this container garden

(Photo: Krizza Homes)

However, no matter how limited your space is, you have room for a container garden. I’m already eyeing my shared balcony to figure out how many pots of vegetables, herbs, and flowers I can have and still be able to get up and down our stairs.

wash basin planter with legs on castors (Photo: Houzz via Pinterest)

One of the best things about this type of gardening is that you can really think outside the box when it comes to what you put your plants in. Just about anything can be repurposed as a planter, so you can use them to emphasize your home’s style, or inject your own style into a less-than-great space. Brian Patrick Flynn has an excellent tutorial on his website to design a tub planter that work with either vintage or modern décor and can be wheeled inside when the weather gets too cold for the plants.

By grouping these square planters you up the visual interest(Photo: Apartment Therapy)

If you are using more ordinary materials, consider grouping them to have greater visual impact, like this large-scale planter of cinder blocks.  The key to this planter is the variations in height and depth, as well as the different coloured plants, which is something to take into consideration when planning your containers.

This planter doubles as a water feature(Photo: Silive)

You don’t have to limit yourself to standard garden plants; container gardens make excellent water features as well. These plants look exotic but are actually easy to maintain, if you follow Fine Gardening’s instructions on plant choice, placement, and care.

mounted eavestroughs are perfect planters for herb gardens(Photo: Tree Hugger)

If outdoor space really is at a premium, consider using a wall for planting. The small eavestroughs above are perfect for lettuces and herbs but would work equally well with small flowering plants. Lightweight planters can also be hung on the wall, or anything else that can hold enough dirt for the plant’s root system.

Planters for the railing(Photo: Greenbo)

Even if your balcony has no floor or wall space for planters, you can always use the railing. Greenbo’s ingenious design ensures that your planters won’t fall over the side and they come in a dozen fresh colours to help you personalize your space.

Repurposing colourful buckets as indoor planters(Photo: Urban Garden Casual)

Don’t despair if you have no outdoor space: small containers can work indoors too.  I’m considering borrowing this idea from Urban Garden Casual for my kitchen window. Small containers can work even if you don’t have the window space to spare; just make sure to consult your local garden specialist for plants that will thrive in shade.

vintage Twinning tea  containers make excellent planters(Photo: American Girl in Canada)

If you, like me, are a bit of a hoarder collector you can use this to your advantage. Vintage tins, pretty tea cups, and mismatched glasses make excellent herb pots which will perk up both your kitchen decor and your cooking.

Consider container gardening(Photo: Container Gardening For You)

You might want to wait a few weeks to begin planting but now is a great time to start figuring out what you will use for planters. While I’m spring-cleaning I will have my eye out for that special container to house my spring veggies and pretty posies. What have you been inspired to use?

Posted in Culture, Design | Tagged , , ,

A Place to Grow

A set of terrariumsterrariums by sfgirlbythebay

No more sad looking houseplants in boring plastic pots; the new houseplant is a design feature unto itself thanks to gorgeous terrariums and an array of unique and unexpected planters. A plant doesn’t need much to grow, just some soil, light, water and maybe a little gentle encouragement, but that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate having a stylish place to live. Here is a roundup of some unexpected planting ideas that will make you and your plants happy.

Yellow and white coffee planterDIY colour dipped planter by designlovefest

Make an instantly stylish DIY planter this weekend by following this easy tutorial. I’ve seen a number of colour dipped projects in blogland recently and the results never cease to amaze me. The versatitily is the best part about this technique. Anything that can be turned into a planter can be livened up with a touch of colour.

Tiny planter for bikesbike planter via Design Sponge

Tiny planter for bikesbike planter by Wearable Planter

For those of you dying to take your plants for a spin the wonderful etsy shop Wearable Planters has designed a wearable planter for your bicycle. It’s perfect for small succullants but I don’t think I could resist trying to plant a mini bouquet of flowers.

Rhino planterrhino head planter via design for mankind

A rhino’s head is definitely an unexpected place to find a plant in. This little rhino head is funny and cute, and a very fun way to add a bit of greenery to your room.  I’m a big fan of wall hanging planters; I have almost no available floor space near any natural light, so by hanging them on the wall I can have a couple house plants without trying to perch them precariously on narrow ledges.

Sculpture/planterDa Morto A Orto planter images via Dezeen found via apartment therapy

How amazing are these plant environments created by Peter Botazzi and Denish Bonapace? Using recycled furniture and found odds and ends they’ve assembled an exhibition of planters that are functional pieces of sculpture. To see more pieces from the exhibition go here.

Terrarium postcard setQuill and Fox Terrarium Print via Bloesom

If you don’t have a great track record with keeping house plants alive you can still add some new growth to your walls; this terrarium print set is beautifully illustrated and easy to frame.

Before spring officially arrives in a few weeks why not start growing some green to give the season a head start.

Happy Friday Everyone!

Posted in Culture, Design | Tagged ,

Garden Design Simplified

Garden Designed by Philip Nixon via design milk

Garden design is about more then choosing the right plants and a couple pieces of garden furniture. Many of today’s gardens are examples of harmony, balance and a blending of the elements.  Doing an entire landscaping overhaul can be a daunting task but here are a few ways to translate the garden of your dreams into something easily accomplished in any outdoor space.


estate gardens

Dream Life: A cascading waterfall of crystal clear pools, flowers and grasses; ideal for a modern hillside home overlooking the ocean. The sound of softly trickling water can add peace and tranquility to even the most hectic urban backyard. The added benefit of adding a water feature to your garden is that it can also attract butterflies and birds.

Real life: Build a man made pond or use an existing water feature and create a mini waterfall using overturned planters and clear plastic hosing. Another option is making your own fountain like the clever folks at sunset.com have done. This one would be a cinch to put together.

Zen Sanctuary

inspire home magazine

Dream Life: A sprawling zen garden of tranquil pebbles, simply shaped plants and plenty of peaceful spots for meditation. This raked garden above is a stunning combination of natural rock and Japanese greenery.

via shelterness

Real Life: Achieve the same look in a corner of your garden or even on your balcony. Use stone benches, light coloured pebbles and Japanese plants to create a private zen sanctuary. The balcony garden above is so peaceful and serene, showing what you can accomplish on a very small scale.

Secret Garden

Waterperry Gardens

Dream Life: Okay, I suppose it’s time I come clean. I’ve never actually read The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, but I think I did see one of the film adaptations. Nevertheless, there is something I find enchanting about the idea of stepping through a doorway to a cobblestone walkway lined with flowers and draping wisteria overhead leading to the perfect romantic bench.

via pottery barn

Real Life: Divide off a section of your garden with a simple archway and plant climbing flowers or vines around it. Add a wicker or wire bench in a shaded area and you have a semi-private place to relax and enjoy your surroundings.

These are just a few approaches you can take to designing your garden, but there are plenty of fabulous examples out there in a wide variety of styles. Just remember, even the most lavish gardens can be the inspiration for your next weekend gardening project.

Posted in Design | Tagged , ,

Fab Even When Wet

Jules's bathroom in the TV show Cougar Town. Screenshot by Hooked on Houses.

I have seen this episode in Cougar Town wherein Jules, the lead character, refused to leave her beautiful, newly made over bathroom. I can totally understand. Even the ugliest bathrooms are still sanctuaries of privacy and solace anybody can retreat to. So imagine the cocooning instinct a gorgeous bathroom can arouse!

A surefire way to give a bathroom a makeover is to upgrade the tiling. There are a lot of classic reinterpretations and fresh new innovations in bathroom tiles that can make your jaw drop from sheer sumptuousness.

Here are some of the coolest, most awesome things that ever happened to bathroom tiles.

Classic Lushness

Take the grand and glamorous elements from exotic places and eras past and bring them to the bath. You’ll certainly feel like royalty.

Victorian "quilted" tiles by Acer Petr.

Image from Fancy Cribs.

For a dose of Old World opulence, get these tiles from Ceramica Lord’s Via Veneto Collection.


These tiles by JSPR “dress up” your plumbing to incorporate it into your bathroom’s wall design, and amazingly come with their own shower fixtures too.

Cover tiles by Studio JSPR.


Green Pockets by Maruja Fuentes

Put plants in your tiles! These adorable and innovative tiles by the late Maruja Fuentes give gorgeous texture and visual interest to any room, as well as your greenery’s air-cleansing facilities.


Who says tiles have to be square? These tiles are anything but square! The “Passion” glass tiles by Evit and the circular tiles by Cube and Dot are just too cool for that.

Image from Trendir

Dots by Cube and Dot


You can’t put a painting in the bathroom. At least not a good one that you want to hand on to your grandchildren. Bathrooms demand an art medium that would be unfazed by moisture and humidity, and mosaics are just perfect. And these by Sonia King and Mercedes Austin and her team from Mercury Mosaics are just beautiful.

Exquisite work by mosaic artist Sonia King

Gorgeous tile work by Mercury Mosaics.

You don’t have to cover all your surfaces either. Mosaics work as fabulous accents too.

Also by Mercury Mosaic

Posted in Design, Kitchen & Bath | Tagged , , ,

Outdoor Kitchen Envy

In Chiangmai, people still cook outside. Image from user chenws of shutterasia.com

Outdoor kitchens are nothing new in Asia. Before the advent of the gas and electric range, outside was where the cooking was done, probably because in warmer countries, people want to keep heat as far away as possible from the living area.

But even after people equipped themselves with snazzy kitchen appliances and gadgetry, a lot of homes till have outdoor kitchens. We like cooking with these macho-looking fires. We like our grilled meats and seafood, and we like our pungent eats. So the outdoor kitchens remain.

We had one when I was little, and it just had a sink, a wood stove-slash-grill, and a tiled counter. In the Philippines, it’s called a “dirty kitchen” — not because it’s dirty-dirty, but because it uses charcoal and firewood so it’s sooty most of the time, and because a lot of dirty work is done there.  I remember live chickens being slaughtered a few times there, and a pig and a goat at least once, before they were roasted in a makeshift spit in our backyard. Now we just have one kitchen, a regular indoors one, though we still have a grill outside.

A traditional outdoor kitchen a.k.a. "dirty kitchen" in the Philippines. Image from www.philippinesorbust.com

Meanwhile, in the Western hemisphere, there is a burgeoning desire for al fresco dining and outdoor cooking, and kitchen designers are coming up with such gorgeous outdoor kitchens that I find myself suffering with a bad case of “outdoor kitchen envy”. There are a lot of gorgeous ones I see on food and lifestyle shows, and I drool over ones I find online. We have a decent-sized yard and I like hanging out there with my friends on the occasional cool night. Having one of these would be just awesome:

This little thing is a kitchen in itself--with a gas ignition, mini range, and mini fridge. And it's got wheels so you can roll it anywhere. The Christophe Mobile Kitchen On Wheels (La Plancha Sur Roulette Christophe). By French outdoor furniture maker Calanc.

This one has an exotic tropical feel, so you'll always feel you're on vacation.

This one has beautiful rustic looks, and is made according to traditional Danish design. From Nexo.

A simple outdoor kitchen island that covers all the basics. The St. Martin island from Outdoor Greatrooms Company.

I would never dream of "dirtying up" this stunning outdoor kitchen. From Electrolux.