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Sourcebook for Cultivated Living

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    Our judges have selected the finalists, now you choose the winners. Vote for the finalists in each of 17 Considered Design Awards categories, on both Gardenista and Remodelista. You can vote once a day in each category, now through August 8.

    In the Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding category—open only to professionals—our five finalists are Kantelberg + Co, Red Bark Design, Rees Roberts and Partners, Maggie Anthony Designs, and Sweeds Fabrication.

    Project 1

    Kantelberg + Co | Mulmur Township, Ontario, Canada | Mulmur Outdoor Lounge

    Design Statement: To create a three-season entertainment room in the Canadian countryside. Must be screened to protect from bugs and roofed to protect from the elements. Loungy open-air seating with cooking facilities, fireplace, and storage.

    Chosen By: Guest judge and America's handyman Bob Vila, who said: "The use of oversized timbers is well done, and the summer beam is a nice touch. I find the overall palette of natural colors very pleasing."

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: Screened window vignette.

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: Outdoor lounge wide shot.

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: Fireplace frontal view.

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: Raised outdoor fireplace vignette.

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: Real wood and faux wood bucket.  

    Project 2

    Red Bark Design, LLC | Tucson, AZ | Menlo Park Residence

    Design Statement: This historic home rests among an eclectic mix of architectural styles along the Santa Cruz River in Tucson, Arizona. A recent commercial development included an 8-foot-high perimeter wall on the adjacent parcel. It replaced a native mesquite bosque, which altered the art-filled naturalistic space into something that felt more like jail than a residential backyard. As a result, the backyard was remodeled to mediate the less-than-friendly atmosphere and included an outdoor kitchen area, new ramada, edible gardening space, location for a future guest house, and native vegetation. Materials such as steel, concrete, and decomposed granite were used for their tolerance to the harsh desert sun. An existing wooden ramada was replaced by a larger ramada made of steel and a corrugated metal roof—complete with a cocktail rail for beverages and a work of contemporary art for roof runoff. The modern steel rain chain and custom gutter collects water, and directs flow to adjacent native plantings.

    Chosen By: Gardenista editor-in-chief Michelle Slatalla: "In a harsh climate, it can be difficult to figure out how to extend your daily life beyond the limits of your air conditioning. This covered outdoor dining area invites breezes, blocks the sun, and is sturdy enough to stand up to the elements. It's a clever way to introduce the concept of indoor-outdoor living to the desert."

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista  

    Above: Ramada with trellis in the background.

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: Cocktail rail. 

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: Roof detail.

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: Contemporary functional art—rain chain—and drainage.

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: Custom gutter/rain chain.

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: White marble rain chain detail.

    Project 3

    Rees Roberts and Partners | Hudson, NY | Entertaining Barn

    Design Statement: This project involved the adaptive reuse of a barn that sits on a 100-acre former working farm in Hudson, NY. The objective was to create a living and entertaining space while leaving the existing structure aesthetically intact. The barn is an L-shaped structure; one wing was a hayloft and granary, while the other wing was a dairy stable. The hay barn, which was made into a space for entertaining, was kept uninsulated, and many of the found details, such as the gaps in the cladding, were kept. When in use, the barn emits a lantern-like glow in the blue light of Hudson Valley evenings, a beckoning effect that is acutely appropriate for a reception space. The timber structure was restored where necessary, and a gently sloping stone ramp, reminiscent of the earth and masonry ramps traditionally used in hay barns, was added at the entrance. The exterior cladding of the dairy barn was kept intact, though insulation and conditioning were added within the exterior shell to create a livable space. This wing now houses a screening room, bedroom, bath, and garage. The overall result is a compound that adheres closely to American farm vernacular and manages to enhance, not replace, the ambience of the original structure and landscape.

    Chosen By: Bob Vila: "While it's a very big project and must have had a very big budget, it remains respectful of the original building and celebrates the barn timbers while creating modern interior spaces."

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: The barn sits adjacent to the farmhouse and provides additional sleeping and living quarters for guests.

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: An earth and stone ramp, appropriate to the vernacular of hay barns, gently slopes to the entrance.

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: The asymmetrical fenestration is both appropriate to the original vernacular and intriguingly abstract.

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: Sliding panels reveal an opening that was originally the hay loft.

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: The guest wing at twilight.

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: At night, the barn takes on a jewel-box quality on the vast landscape.

    Project 4

    Maggie Anthony Designs | Nashville, TN | The Shelter

    Design Statement: “The Shelter"—clad with locally harvested Eastern Red Cedar—serves as studio office space for the homeowner, offering a peaceful place for creative and therapeutic work. The north end houses the garden shed, and the metal roof serves as a rain catchment system to water nearby vegetable beds. The south wall features exterior art (commercial HVAC panels and vintage auto insignias and a truck door) among naturalized yucca and ornamental grasses.

    Chosen By: Michelle Slatalla: "What a nice commute to the office—walk a few steps through the garden, past the lettuces, listening to the sound of gravel crunch underfoot. Both the setting and the studio's womblike size make it feel like a refuge."

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: Veggie "bedroom."

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: The Shelter in situ.

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: Vintage auto insignia art on HVAC panels.

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: Entry bed—junipers and Hinoki cypress.

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: Desk and library with centered view.

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: Bird's-eye view.

    Project 5

    Sweeds Fabrication | Tucson, AZ | Dunbar Spring Residence

    Design Statement: The Ramada Deck was designed to replace a dilapidated structure in a historic neighborhood in Tucson, Arizona. The clients wanted an expansion of their home through an outdoor room, shade, and an observation deck. The result offers spectacular views of the western mountains, year-round sunsets, and stargazing, not to mention the perfect gathering space for a pool party. The Ramada Deck is 10 feet tall and constructed primarily of steel with wood accents to withstand the year-round blazing desert sun. A trellis (soon to be planted with a vine) runs along the west edge for screening and provides additional shade. A cocktail rail runs along the east edge to hold cold beverages—of course. The upper deck is constructed to support rooftop gatherings. A removable custom ladder with oak treads leads upwards, where collapsible handrails engage for safety. When the roof deck is not in use, the rails fold in and the ladder is removed to prevent the littlest owners from playing rooftop hide-and-seek.

    Chosen By: Bob Vila: "It isn't fussy. There's nothing unnecessary. The materials alone—and the way they were treated—are eye candy enough in this modern, functional structure."

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: Ramada/deck with ladder. 

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: Custom oak-and-steel ladder. 

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: Cocktail rail.

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: Collapsible railings.

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: West trellis/screen.

    Finalist in Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding in Gardenista Considered Design Awards | Gardenista

    Above: Latch detail.

    Start voting—and vote daily, now through August 8, on both Gardenista and Remodelista. Winners will be announced on August 9.

    More Stories from Gardenista

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  • 07/21/14--11:30: Field Guide: Cilantro
  • Cilantro, Coriandrum sativum: "Pharaoh's Friend"

    Cilantro makes another winning argument for home-grown vegetables. This leafy herb, a cross-cultural superstar, fits in a pot on your windowsill, brightens up almost any savory dish, and smells wonderful while growing.

    The herb has been popular for centuries, earning mentions in Sanskrit texts and in the Bible. Ancient Egyptians buried their dead with cilantro. And nowadays, health scientists concur that cilantro could help stave off the afterlife. The herb packs in the vitamins—A, K, and C—and also acts as a heavy metal detoxifier.

    cilantro salad 101 cookbooks; Gardenista

    Above: For a refreshing summer lunch, try 101 Cookbooks' Cilantro Salad. Photograph by Heidi Swanson.

    Cilantro has the best flavor and vigor when it's fresh. The plants bring beneficial insects to your garden, especially when grown with mint, basil, and parsley. Although it bolts in the heat, multiple successions take care of that. There's also a benefit to the bolt—coriander spice comes from the dried and ground seed heads. 

    cilantro herbs for a shady windowsill Erin Boyle ; Gardenista

    Above: That's cilantro on the left in Erin's window box.

    Cheat Sheet

    • Bright green, lacy foliage and small white flowers make cilantro a good companion at the edge of a flower bed. 
    • Combine with other small-flowering, pungent herbs to bring beneficial insects. 
    • Delicious in stir-fries, sauces, and dips in cuisines ranging from Indian to Mexican to Brazilian. 

    Keep It Alive

    • An edible biennial, cilantro is hardy in all zones, in full sun or partial shade.
    • Plant outdoors in cool seasons (spring or fall) or keep a pot indoors (it will tolerate a shady windowsill). 
    • Snip leaves on a weekly basis to keep the plant from getting leggy.

    Gin and tonic with cilantro Erin Boyle ; Gardenista

    Above: Another favorite summer recipe: Gin and Tonic with Cilantro. Photograph by Erin Boyle.

    In one study, researchers demonstrated that a handful of cilantro could clear a jug of contaminated water of almost all its lead content. Use it freely to reap the maximum health benefits: Add it to guacamole, juice it into a smoothie, layer it into black beans. 


    cilantro seeds John Merkl ; Gardenista

    Above: Starting cilantro seeds indoors? See Gardening 101: How to Sprout a Seed. Photograph by John Merkl for Gardenista.

    To get the most from your cilantro plants, choose a slow-bolting variety and provide adequate moisture during germination. Plant in rich soil; cilantro demands little else. If you want, let some go to seed, then hang the heads upside down in a paper bag so you can harvest the orange-peel scented seeds and grind them to make coriander. 

    Read More

      Read More Plants & Seeds ; Gardenista

    Above: Read about more of our favorite Plants & Seeds in our archives. If you're planning an herb garden, check out our Field Guide posts on Chives, Rosemary, and Tulsi Basil.

    More Stories from Gardenista

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    "It's kind of a little postage stamp, but coming from New York I think this feels gigantic and amazing," clothing designer Courtney Klein says of the backyard garden in San Francisco that she and her husband created from scratch last year.

    When Courtney and Zach moved to the Mission District, the so-called garden consisted of a ratty backyard with a half-dead rosebush growing against the fence—and a bug problem. "It was hopping with fleas," she says.

    The fashion designer was in the process of launching a new business (her Storq collection of maternity clothing), but when her husband suggested they also launch a garden revival, she signed on eagerly. "He said, 'Let's turn this backyard around.' " And they did.

    We caught up with them (and their now thriving edible garden) via Ann Street Studio, whose Jamie Beck recently spent a day photographing Courtney at home:

    Photographs by Jamie Beck.

    courtney klein garden sf storq ; Gardenista

    Above: Klein's landlord painted the fence (and house) a soothing chalkboard gray, the perfect foil for the green vines that grow on it. For more information about the paint color, see Steal This Look: Courtney Klein's Edible Garden.

    Courtney's Storq maternity collection turned out to be of personal as well as professional interest to her. "I became pregnant myself, so it was kind of funny timing," she said. "I got the idea because I have a lot of friends and family who are having kids, and one thing that kept coming up was maternity fashion. More children are being born to women over 30 who are established in their careers, but maternity fashion hasn't adjusted."

    Storq offers a bundled collection of four essential pieces of clothing. "The bundle becomes your pregnancy base layer uniform," Courtney said. "You can pair stuff you already own on top of it."

      Courtney Klein Storq SF edible garden; Gardenista

    Above: "My husband built all the garden boxes. I'm his assistant," said Courtney. "Being able to garden has been one of the biggest joys about moving here. Neither of us ever had a garden before."

    Courtney Klein Storq SF edible garden; Gardenista

    Above: The garden's cold frames are built of 10-foot-long redwood planks, and have brass hinges and handles. Instead of using panes of glass, the couple went to a plastic supply shop; the panes are lightweight and virtually unbreakable.

    Courtney Klein Storq SF edible garden; Gardenista

    Above: Last winter's edible garden included chard, kale, cabbages, and several varieties of lettuce: Tom Thumb, Little Gem romaine, and Grandpa Admire's. "We went to the Petaluma Seed Bank for our seeds," she said.

    For more about the 1,200 varieties of rare seeds that are for sale in a renovated bank building in Petaluma, see A Bank for Rare Seeds in Petaluma.

    "We are total newbies and just experimenting with the garden. We've had some really weird successes and some weird failures," said Courtney. "For some reason when we tried to grow broccoli, it was a total disaster. Every bug in San Francisco lived in that broccoli. We ended up having to take it out because it was creating chaos. But our radicchio grew to the point where we were trying to give it away to everyone we know because we just couldn't eat it all."

    Courtney Klein Storq SF edible garden; Gardenista

    Above: A concrete outdoor table and wooden benches—which Courtney and her husband stained—were ordered from Amazon. "We're big Amazon Prime users," says Courtney. "For our wedding, we Amazon Primed heat lamps."

    To find out how to buy that concrete table, see Steal This Look: Courtney Klein's Edible Garden.

    Courtney Klein Storq SF edible garden; Gardenista

    Above: Salvia (R) and a butterfly bush attract hummingbirds. "It's funny, because we have this hummingbird feeder. I'm devoted to the thing, but the hummingbirds all head to the butterfly bush, and I'm like, 'Come on, there's a whole thing waiting for you here,' " Courtney said. "I'm just going to keep filling the feeder and some day they're going to like it."

    Courtney Klein Storq SF edible garden; Gardenista

    Above: "We realized that if we just let the herbs do their thing, they suddenly start sprouting," said Courtney. "When I was trying to take control and trimming them all the time, it was a mistake. They were too manicured. I think I over-loved them."

    Courtney Klein Storq SF edible garden; Gardenista

    Above: The raised bed was built by Zach in western red cedar. The potted plants came from the San Francisco Flower Mart or Flowercraft Garden Center. "And a couple of things are from Flora Grubb—you can't live in San Francisco and not go there," said Courtney.

    For more Bay Area gardens, see An Urban Surf Shack in San Francisco and Steal This Look: Water Troughs as Raised Garden Beds.

    Updated from a post published January 22, 2014.

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    From Antwerp design company Xala, Goldilocks-style household essentials: watering cans that are extra large and extra-small, and a bucket that's just right. They're made of non-toxic HDPE, high-density polyethylene plastic. True, we generally avoid plastic, but in this context, it's undeniably practical: lightweight, well detailed, and designed to last, cottage in the woods not required.

    Above: Xala specializes in basics for the house and garden that are manufactured in Belgium and the Netherlands. The Lungo Watering Can, designed by Davy Groseman, takes its shape from old-fashioned coffee pots. Designer Sylvain Willenz conceived the "archetypal bucket—elegant and well proportioned."  

    Above: The Lungo Watering Can holds 12 liters and comes in five colors: navy, pale green, pink, yellow, and white. It's available from Neo-Utility for $35.

    Above: The Drop Bucket is available in navy, yellow, pale green, and red, and has contrasting metal handles; $25 each from Neo-Utility.

    Above: The Drop Bucket has a 13-liter capacity. A subtle exterior "evaporating bubble" pattern makes it easy to grip.


    Above: Sized for small plants and indoor use, the Bowli Watering Can holds 2.5 liters of water.

    For household basics, peruse our Domestic Science posts. We also have lots more Watering Cans
    Over on Remodelista, check out 10 Best Old-World Household Essentials

    Originally published on Remodelista June 30, 2014.

    More Stories from Gardenista

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    We spotted this clever and stylish instant herb garden wall via Bambula. Doesn't green look fabulous against a black and white backdrop? All it takes to recreate the look is some white paint, a few black accessories, and herbs. Here's how:

    Above: A fence panel, a sturdy trellis, or even a recycled pallet will work fine as an anchor for wooden planter boxes filled with herbs. Photograph via Bambula.

    white planter boxes trellis black nylon webbing via Gardenista

    Above: Strips of black nylon webbing are threaded through the panels and cinched with plastic buckles to hold the planter boxes flush. Photograph via Bambula.

    detail white planter box strapped to trellis with black nylon webbing via Gardenista

    Above: Start with simple wooden boxes. You can use any length or configuration that fits your wall, as long as the planters are deep enough to allow the herbs' roots to spread. A 48-inch-long unpainted Natural Cedar Window Box is $65 from Jamali Garden. For other sizes, see 10 Easy Pieces: Wooden Window BoxesPhotograph via Bambula.

      new wood pallet via Gardenista

    Above: If you don't have a horizontal slat wood fence, you can make your own version. Start with unfinished wood pallets. You can recycle used pallets or buy a New Wood Pallet; available in four sizes at prices ranging from $17.25 to $49.50 apiece at Uline.

      white painted wood pallets via Gardenista

    Above: Sand and paint the pallets and planter boxes; a can of Glossy White Krylon Spray Paint dries quickly enough to be handled within an hour and is $7.49 from Dick Blick. Photograph via Pallet Furniture.

    black nylon webbing strap 1 inch wide via Gardenista

    Above: You can buy a 10-yard roll of inch-wide Black Nylon Heavy Webbing for $11.95 from Amazon. It's strong enough to support the weight of the planter boxes. Photograph by Whimseydogs via Etsy.

      black plastic buckle clasps via Gardenista

    Above: To cinch the boxes tightly, a package of 25 1-inch Duraflex Stealth Plastic Buckles is $12.29 from Amazon. 

    potted rosemary topiary tree via Gardenista

    Above: An 18-inch-tall Rosemary Standard Topiary tree in a pot will look dramatic against the white horizontal slats of the backdrop. It is $49 from Fresh Topiary.

    Fragrant herb collection, Williams-Sonoma; Gardenista

    Above: Fill the planters with herbs. A six-plant Fragrant Herb Collection, which includes scented geranium, lemon verbena, spearmint, pineapple sage, lavender, and Tuscan blue rosemary, is $28.95 from Williams-Sonoma.

    white plastic outdoor armchair skarpo ikea via Gardenista

    Above: A polypropylene White Skarpö Armchair with a drain hole is $59.99 from Ikea.

      Thermos jug, Rosendahl Copenhagen; Gardenista

    Above: For an elegantly elongated coffee thermos, the Grand Cru Anniversary Thermos Jug by Rosendahl Copenhagen is $125 from Scandinavian Design Center. 

      black and white striped coffee mug via Gardenista

    Above: A black and white striped Tasaraita Mug is $20 from Marimekko.

    Do you love a black and white and green color scheme in the garden as much as we do? For more ideas, see another of our favorites: Steal This Look: Black and White Indoor/Outdoor Terrace.

    Updated from a post originally published July 17, 2013.

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    Martin Reinicke's Blomsterskuret (meaning "flower shed" in Danish) is overflowing with starter plants, topiaries, and fresh-cut flowers. Reinicke, a floral designer and potter, began Blomsterskuret shortly after establishing his workshop-in-shop, Krukkeriet, where he sells his earthenware planters. He built the flower shop in a small black shed that's lit outside by rustic gooseneck fixtures. Both Krukkeriet and Blomsterskuret are on Værndamsvej, a street that dissects Copenhagen from Frederiksberg, in the popular Vesterbro district. For more information, visit Blomsterskuret.

    Above: Reinicke arranges potted plants in the shop window.

    Above: Pale lavender stands out against the shop's black exterior. On the wall: allium blossoms drawn with chalkboard paint.

    Above: The shop's address is Værndedamsvej 3 A, 1819 in Frederiksberg.

    Above: A rustic flower-shop essential: Chalkboard signs that display daily offerings.

    Above: One of Reinicke's planters holds stalks of dried eucalyptus pods.

    Above: Reinicke creates driftwood wreaths to sell in the shop. (Read about similar wreaths designed by Kinfolk magazine editor Nathan Kinfolk in Framed and Foraged: DIY Wall Hangings.)

    Above: Inside, the shop windows are painted a pastel blue.

    Above: A Scandinavian-style wreath, one of Reinicke's custom arrangements, made with sphagnum moss and green tapers.

    Above: A still life scene in the shop.

    View Larger Map

    Above: Blomsterkuret is located at Værndedamsvej 3 A, Frederiksberg, Denmark.

    Visiting Copenhagen? Find out what not to miss by reading Remodelista's Copenhagen City Guide. And make a side trip to see A Fairy Tale Garden in Denmark. If you're inspired by Scandinavian style, get the details at 10 Garden Ideas to Steal from Scandinavia.

    Updated from a post originally published February 13, 2013.

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    Some people make it look so easy. On late summer afternoons, blogger Christine Chitnis heads to her community garden plot to tend her vegetables—toddler in tow. "This part of my day is so idyllic," she says. "Vik is such an easygoing soul, he's happy to eat some dirt and hang out while I fuss with my plot." Here are her secrets to creating a kid-friendly garden:

    Photographs by Christine Chitnis.

    kids vegetable garden by christine chitnis via gardenista

    Tip No. 1: Let go of your expectations. Kids want to "help," and that means plants will get uprooted, herbs over-watered, produce picked before its time, and pots knocked over, says Chitnis. All of which is a good thing. "By letting kids help, and giving them the space to get messy and make mistakes, you will nurture their love of gardening," she says.

    tomatoes in kids vegetable garden by christine chitnis via gardenista

    Tip No. 2:  Plant vegetables and fruit that your kids like—and some they don't. "Planting produce that your kids love is a no-brainer. But try planting a few things they claim not to like," Chitnis says. "Once they help it grow, and pick it straight from the vine, they may change their minds."

    kids in vegetable garden by christine chitnis via Gardenista

    Above: "My older son claimed that he didn't like tomatoes," she says. "But when I let him pick some sweet cherry tomatoes right from the vine, he decided they were his favorite." 

    sweetpeas in kids garden by christine chitnis by Gardenista

    Tip No: 3: Set yourself up for success by laying the groundwork, so to speak. Growing vegetables in raised beds "is the best idea, in my humble opinion—the soil is so rich and the weeds so few," she says. 

    radish harvest from kids vegetable garden by christine chitnis via Gardenista

    Above: "My garden certainly doesn't look perfect, but it's a place where my boys are welcome and encouraged to get their hands dirty," says Chitnis. 

    kids vegetable garden journal by Christine Chitnis via Gardenista

     Tip No. 4: Keep a journal, recording successes (and failures) that your kids can page through with you during the winter months. It will also remind you what you want to plant, come next year.

    christine chitnis with chickens in the garden via Gardenista

    Tip No. 5: Make it a family affair. "We all help in the garden and with the chickens," says Chitnis. "Kids love chores that involve shovels, rakes, and other tools, not to mention hoses and watering cans." 

    kids garden chicken coop by Christine Chitnis via Gardenista

    Above: "And then comes the most laughable part of our urban gardening experience—chicken wrangling," says Chitnis. "Our four 'girls' don't seem to understand the concept of coming back to their coop once night falls. And so we head out into the backyard to chase them down. It's always comical, with one of us wielding a rake, Vijay making matters worse by scaring them away, and my husband cursing lightly under his breath as he crawls through the bushes." 

    Chitnis wonders if any experienced backyard chicken farmers can offer advice on corralling the flock: "We'd appreciate some tips."

    teepee in kids vegetable garden by christine chitnis via Gardenista

    Tip No. 6: Stake your peas as soon as they start to sprout. Otherwise? They'll turn into "a tangled disaster,"  says Chitnis.

    teepee detail kids vegetable garden by christine chitnis via Gardenista

     Above: Of course . . . "We're still getting a lot of peas," says Chitnis.

    raised beds in kids vegetable garden by christine chitnis via Gardenista

    Above: "We load our basket full of kale, spinach, lettuce, and peas," says Chitnis, "and make our way home to start dinner."

    Is your gardener's trowel too big for little hands to handle? See 5 Favorites: Kids' Garden Tools from Burgon & Ball. And check out For Kids Only: A Hidden Garden in Brooklyn.

    Updated from a post originally published July 11, 2013. 

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    An old-fashioned summer staple in the Napa Valley, where I live, is a plastic bag filled with water and hung from the backdoor of a farmhouse. It took me a while to realize that this not-so-glamorous device is an effective way to keep flies and other summer insects at bay (alas, mosquitoes are not deterred).

    Leave it to the chaps at Kaufmann Mercantile to source a good-looking equivalent: the Anti-Fly Glass Sphere by Mexico City-based designer José de la O of Studio José de la O. Now there's no excuse not to give it a go.   

    Above: It's the refraction of light against the water that confuses insects, especially flies, and keeps them away. The Anti-Fly Glass Sphere hangs from a leather rope and sells for $79. 


    Above: De la O worked with a family-run glass-blowing business in Mexico City to create these mouth-blown vessels. Just fill with water and suspend near food.

    Looking to add to your insect arsenal? See Five Favorite Fly Swatters and consider mixing up a batch of Alexa's DIY: Bug Repellent Balm. And if the bugs have already bitten, have a look at Erin's Natural Mosquito Bite Remedies (used tea bags are one of the seven answers).

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    The Trex® decking brand is the world's first composite deck. It is durable, low-maintenance, and high-performance, designed to keep up with your family's needs and keep your weekends hassle-free. And the Trex® blend of 95 percent recycled materials keeps 400 million pounds of waste out of landfills each year.

    Above: Trex® products include decking and railing, Elevations® steel substructure, and house trim. Trex® also has a line of outdoor furnishings in a wide variety of styles, crafted from recycled lumber that is easy to maintain. Shown here is Trex Transcend® railing in Classic White with Colonial Spindles.

    Above: Trex® decking is backed by a 25-year limited fade and stain warranty, guaranteed to last. Trex® also offers furniture, made of high-density polyethylene, made partially from milk jugs. Above, Trex Select® railing in Classic White.

    Above: Trex Elevations® steel deck framing goes unseen but is a stronger alternative to lumber that allows for fewer deck posts and obstructed views.

    Above: Shown here is TrexTrim® crown molding against a beadboard ceiling, both in White. Trex® colors are vibrant and stain, scratch, and mold-resistant.

    Above: Trex® products won't rot or crack. And cleanup is simple, requiring only soap and water. Above, a TrexTrim® circle window in White. 

    Above: Trex Transcend® colors and wood-grain patterns deliver the look of wood.

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    I remember summers in New York. Whenever any of my entourage managed to score a piece of outdoor real estate, it immediately became a community garden for all of us. We chipped in with the buying, planting, and watering so we could share in this rare urban oasis. And then? We went away for the weekend. 

    Poor plants. It took no time at all for those urban plants to be scorched by hot sun pouring down on asphalt roofs. Other hapless city plantings quickly succumbed to airborne pollutants and salt.

    But New Yorkers always bounce back. So the next season, we fledgling urban gardeners got smart and invested in some pollution- and drought-tolerant plants that thrived in their urban habitat.

    (Suburban gardeners also take note: These plants work well for that problem area—the aptly nicknamed "hellstrip"— between your sidewalk and the street.)

    Thuja by Ofer K: Gardenista

    Above: "Thuja in the Wind" by Ofer K. via Flickr.

    Many evergreens do fine in urban environs, but Thujas (either plicata, Western Redcedar, or occidentalis, Northern Whitecedar) are particularly hardy. Commonly known as arborvitaes, these conifers (which are actually members of the cypress family) make excellent privacy hedges from prying neighbors. The feathery needles also add lovely texture as a backdrop in the garden. Mature plants grow to 30 feet, but you can cut the top to encourage outward, rather than upward, growth.

    Thuja Plicata 'Green Giant' is available in several sizes for prices ranging from $22.95 to $199.95 at Sooner Plant Farm.

    santolina by zenryaku: Gardenista

    Above: Santolina by Zenryaku via Flickr.

    Gray Santolina or Lavender Cotton has been described as a "no-fuss mound" of fragrant foliages with "cute button flowers" that can be dried. I like the contrast of soft gray and sunny yellow of this "wild and woolly" plant that needs virtually no water. A 3-inch pot is $4.95 at Mountain Valley Growers.

    Creeping Rock Rose by Sierra Foothill Garden: Gardenista

    Above: Creeping Rock Rose via Sierra Foothill Garden.

    A bushy evergreen shrub, hardy Rock Rose (Cistus) produces a profusion of fragrant summer flowers. Originally from the Mediterranean, this sun-loving, drought-tolerant plant was later cultivated to withstand more northern climes (cold hardy from zones 8 to 11). Plant it in well-drained soil. Available in white, pink, purple, and yellow at Digging Dog Nursery; $9.25.

    snowberry by Town and Country Mouse, gardenista

    Above: Snowberry via Town Mouse and Country Mouse, Native Gardening in Central California.

    Growing up, I loved to imagine faeries and pixies playing mini games of soccer with snowberries. And though it seems delicate and does prefer partial sun, this enchanting native plant is quite adaptable to many soil and moisture conditions; it can even withstand salt spray. With pink flowers in the spring and plump white berries that last through the summer and fall, snowberry (Symphoricarpos) has an appeal that lasts beyond the typical growing season. Note: Fauna love snowberries, but they are not good for people. A 2-foot Snowberry Bush is available at Nature Hills; $34.95.

    stipa grass: gardenista

    Above: Stipa tenuifolia via Wikimedia Commons.

    Anyone who's visited New York City's High Line knows that ornamental grasses are perfect for urban environs. I love the soft sweep of textured Mexican Feather Grass. Don't you just want to pet it? Available at Plant Delights Nursery for $12.

    Teucrium: Gardenista

    Above: Teucrium via Pepiniere Fleurs du Sud.

    Tolerant of drought, wind, and salt spray, Germander (Teucrium fruticans 'azureum') features lavender flowers and soft gray-green leaves. I think I'll plant one in my seaside garden as well. Available at Digging Dog Nursery; $7.75.

    blue fescue, gardenista

    Above: Blue fescue (Festuca ovina glauca) via Gardener Direct.

    Offering a bit of refreshing blue gray in the summer garden, softly textured blue fescue is another of my favorite grasses. It prefers full to partial sun and well-drained soil. Other than that, you can't kill it. Blue Fescue is widely available at most garden centers; it's $5.25 from Evergreen Plant Nursery. You can also buy Blue Fescue Seeds; $1.99 for a packet of 100 from Seed Corner.

    sea thrift by green walks, gardenista

    Above: Sea Thrift via Greenwalks

    For the same reason it works well in coastal gardens, Sea Thrift or Sea Pink (Armeria maritima) is also great for urban plots. Pink or white spring flowers can be deadheaded to encourage an additional summer bloom. Available at Bluestone Perennials; $8.95.

    libertia by tony rodd, gardenista

    Above: Libertia by Tony Rodd via Flickr.

    Native to New Zealand, the spiky amber stems of Libertia make a dramatic and unexpected statement in your urban garden. Fragrant white blossoms, which appear in the spring, only add to the allure of this unusual plant. Seeds are available at Plant World Seeds for $3.23 per packet.

    Serviceberry by Trees in the City, Gardenista

    Above: Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) in spring via Trees in the City.

    If you have a little more room or are planting a hellstrip, consider the magical Serviceberry. Like some kind of archetypal tree, serviceberry wears a distinct coat for each season. Spring brings a dusting of delicate white flowers, which turn to tasty purple berries (great for jams) in the summer, before a dramatic fiery finale in the fall. Available at Sooner Plant Farm, from $29.95.

    Find much more expert advice about growing plants in the city at Urban Gardener.

    Updated from a post originally published June 27, 2013.

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    Of course you may install an enormous live tree in your sixth-floor apartment: Police will escort the crane down the street, traffic can be diverted, and neighbors are welcome to gawk at the sidewalk spectacle.

    This is the philosophy of Bart Haverkamp and Pieter Croes, a pair of garden designers in Antwerp, Belgium, who specialize in designing ambitious urban gardens. We spotted their work on Coffeeklatch, where another talented team—writer Magali Elali and photographer Bart Kiggen—spent a day at work (and in the garden) with them:

    Photographs by Bart Kiggen.

    Above: At Bart & Pieter's Antwerp atelier, formerly a farm, a sliding window frames a courtyard view.

    Above: Mature wisteria smothers a railing.

    Above: The two work in a high-ceilinged city loft where the white beams create "the illusion to be in a whale's belly," says Magali Elali.

    Above: Skylights make the loft space feel like a big greenhouse.

    Above: Installing a sliding window.

    Above: "Every project is a search for the right solution," says Pieter. "When clients want to install a new terrace, but they lack the budget, we repaint old tiles or replace them with plants. Everything is possible."

    Above: Their atelier is "a stunning green and quiet oasis in the city," says Magali Elali.

    Above: "At first the premises looked romantic, with ivy growing through brick," says Bart. "At second sight it was a big mess."

    Above: "We didn't know we had a garden until we started cleaning up the place," says Bart.

    Above: Pieter Croes and Bart HaverKamp at their "holiday house," where there is no computer. "You can swim in the pond and relax in the garden and there's plenty of space for outdoor experiments," says Pieter.

    Above: For more, see "Bart & Pieter, Garden Architects."

    Above: Read about a florist shop in Brussels at Fashion's Favorite Fleuriste: Thierry Boutemy in Belgium.
    For more green city spaces, see Urban Gardens in our Gallery of rooms and spaces.

    Updated from a post originally published July 23, 2012.

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    Repeat after us: Shou sugi ban. Devised as a way to make wood less susceptible to fire and to keep away insects and rot, this longstanding Japanese method involves torching your building materials. The charred wood is long-lasting and hauntingly beautiful. And now charred wood for siding—and flooring—is widely available for domestic use. 


    Above: Lumber retailers of late have begun to specialize in shou sugi ban. Shown here, a sampling of the shou sugi ban finishes offered by Delta Millworks in Texas, which focuses solely on burnt woods and works directly with private and commercial clients. Another provider is the reSawn Timber Co. of Bucks County, PA. In the UK, Shou-Sugi-Ban supplies, designs, and installs shou sugi ban cladding, flooring, and wall coverings in colors that it compares to "the dying embers of a log fire and the charred effects of a burnt wooden board." 

    Above: Charred lumber for use as siding, fencing, decking, and flooring. Photograph via reSawn Timber Co.

    Above: Delta Millworks and reSawn Timber Co. specialize in using cypress, as well as yellow pine and vertical grain Douglas fir, all grown in the southern US and treated with variety of burned finishes. Photograph via reSawn Timber Co.

    Above: reSawn Timber Co.'s shou sugi ban with a subtle char.

    Above: A house with shou sugi ban siding in Kajiyama, Japan, by Sakuma Studio. 

    Above: Shou sugi ban siding and a living roof on a farmhouse in Sweden. Photograph via Basic Label Sweden.

    Above: A modular studio (for use as a home office, guest room, or play space) made from shou sugi ban siding by Sett Studio of Austin, Texas. In addition to its designs, the company sells charred wood in a range of shades, including pine with a white-washed finish, from $15 per square foot. 

    Above: Inside one of Sett Studio's modular studios.

    Above: Shou sugi ban timber with bright dividers on the exterior of a residence in Amsterdam designed by architect Pieter Weijnen, who studied wood-charring techniques in Naoshima, Japan. Photograph via Dwell.

    For more on burned wood, see Michelle's A Teahouse, Charred and Blackened (On Purpose) and Remodelista's post on Shou-Sugi-Ban Wood Siding

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    I'm a romantic at heart, and so at the risk of facing commenter-wrath, I'm going to go out on a limb and say it: The season's first mosquito bite isn't such a bad thing. It's kind of like earning your summertime stripes, don't you think?

    No? Well, romantic notions about pesky insects aside, I admit that by this time of summer, the first bite has turned into 40 and I'm ready for a bit of relief.

    In case you haven't gotten around to whipping up a batch of DIY: Bug Repellent Balm—and we suggest you do—we present you with some natural remedies for mosquito bites that might have you putting away that chalky pink Calamine lotion forever.

    Photographs by Erin Boyle.

    natural mosquito bite remedies | gardenista

    Above: My arsenal of natural mosquito-bite remedies. We're sharing seven of our favorite remedies here, but if you've had good luck with others, please let us know in the comments section below.

    natural mosquito bite remedies | gardenista

    1. Ice cubes: An ice cube or cold pack can be a surprisingly effective remedy for mosquito bites. The ice numbs the area and helps control swelling. Wrap cubes in a towel and press against bites for 10 minutes (or for as long as you can tolerate).

    natural mosquito bite remedies | gardenista

    2. Tea bags: Natural tannins in tea act as an astringent, drawing toxins out of the skin and helping to lessen your discomfort. Press a used tea bag against your bites until the itching subsides.

    natural mosquito bite remedies | gardenista

    3. Tea Tree Essential Oil: Antiseptic properties in tea tree oil help it treat a variety of skin-related symptoms, including mosquito bites. Dab a little essential oil onto a cotton swab and rub it on the affected area. Lavender and peppermint oils also work well. A caveat: Some people are sensitive to having essential oils applied directly to the skin. If that's the case for you, try diluting the oil or choose a different remedy. (You can buy a 1-oz bottle of Tea Tree Oil from for $6.87.)

    natural mosquito bite remedies | gardenista

    4. Baking Soda Paste: Add a few drops of water to some baking soda, mix it into a paste, apply it directly onto bug bites, and allow to dry. The alkalinity of baking soda can help neutralize the pH of an infected area and reduce itching. 

    natural mosquito bite remedies | gardenista

    5. Apple Cider Vinegar: In the same way that baking soda can help neutralize a bug bite, a swab of apple cider vinegar (or a few cupfuls diluted in a bath) can help balance the pH of an infected area. Apple cider vinegar is somewhat less acidic than other vinegars and a good choice for restoring natural pH.

    natural mosquito bite remedies | gardenista

    6. Aloe Vera: Often associated with relieving painful sunburns, aloe vera is also helpful for mosquito bites. Look for fresh aloe vera in the produce aisle, or buy gel at the pharmacy. If you go the fresh route, peel away the tough skin from the inner gel with a sharp knife. You can then pulverize the gel or just rub it on any offending bites. (A 6-oz bottle of Aloe Vera Gel is $5.76 from

    natural mosquito bite remedies | gardenista

    7. Peppermint Poultice: Mash peppermint leaves into a paste and apply it to especially bothersome bites for a cooling sensation. If you're an adept forager, you can also make a soothing poultice from jewelweed, plantain, or chickweed. And if you don't happen to have a mortar and pestle handy, you can just chew the herbs to mash them—bonus points for using your very Gardenista wilderness survival skills.

    Don't go, we've got more summer bug stories:

    Enamored of fireflies? Here's how to protect them.

    Are moths feasting on your winter wools? See DIY Modern Mothballs (No Chemicals Included).

    Prefer something between you and the bugs? See 10 Summery Mosquito Nets on Remodelista.

    Updated from a post published July 25, 2013.

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    Our judges have selected the finalists, now you choose the winners. Vote for the finalists in each of 17 Considered Design Awards categories, on both Gardenista and Remodelista. You can vote once a day in each category, now through August 8.

    In the Best Outdoor Living Space, our five finalists are Tatiana Barhar/Carlos Zubieta, Jacob Cottage, WE Design, Leslie & Woody Pyrtle, and Hsu McCollough.

    Project 1

    Tatiana Barhar/Carlos Zubieta | Venice, CA | Casa de Familia

    Design Statement: "I love soft plants and a layered look," said Barhar. "Our house is so architectural, and I wanted to make sure whatever we planted was more organic-feeling. I love throwing California poppies and chamomile seeds in with the wild bunch grass." So much of the family's life spills outdoors—cooking, dining, sitting around the fire pit, playing bocce ball, gardening in the raised planter boxes—the expanded home feels much larger than its 1,750 square feet.

    Chosen By: Guest judge Judy Kameon, who said about the project: "Casa de Familia looks super fun! Lots of great ways for everyone to engage and enjoy the outdoors."

    Above: Twenty-foot ficus with an A-frame tree house.

    Project 2

    Jacob Cottage | Swansea, United Kingdom | Outdoor Kitchen or "Man Cave"

    Design Statement: Our outside kitchen was born out of two necessities: firstly to turn a previously overgrown and unused area into something useful, and secondly to find a place where we could cook fish without stinking the house out. We felt it important that the kitchen was sympathetic to the style of the house, which is a Victorian cottage, and so tried to use reclaimed or recycled materials. The retaining wall was built from old bricks that were found on the land during renovation and the area was then filled with gravel. For the walls we used reclaimed scaffolding planks so that it wasn’t too pristine; the table is an old work bench from the garage—both are battered and have old paint splatters, which add character. We wanted to raise the area to make it stand out from the rest of the garden, so we backfilled it with several tons of hardcore that were hacked off the house when we renovated. We are growing herbs in the kitchen to use when cooking. The surrounding border and gardens have lots of ingredients that can be foraged throughout the year, such as wild garlic, berries, and elderflower. Most of the items on display are car-boot or charity-shop finds, such as the Clint oil painting. The kitchen is west-facing so it's the last place in the garden to catch the evening sun—perfect for a sloe gin sundowner.

    Chosen By: Gardenista Editor-in-Chief Michelle Slatalla. "Finally, an iteration of outdoor living my husband can embrace: the man cave. (The only thing missing is a spot for his man cave TV.) Extra points for the thoughtful reuse of materials."

    Above: Workbench.

    Above: Staff plank shelves. 

    Above: Garden mint.

    Above: Storm lantern. 

    Project 3

    WE Design | New York, NY | Chelsea Rooftop Terrace

    Design Statement: On this rooftop terrace, lush plantings create private outdoor rooms for dining and entertaining, while preserving views out to the Manhattan skyline. A custom outdoor kitchen, new green roof, and thoughtful lighting all play important roles in establishing this previously underutilized rooftop as a lively space at all times of day.

    Chosen By: Judy Kameon: "This rooftop terrace in Chelsea is an elegant re-imagining of an often underused space."

    Above: View of continuous seating bench with storage below.

    Above: Detail of continuous seating bench in open position, showing storage trunks below.

    Above: The outdoor kitchen.

    Above: Detail of step light beside the green roof.

    Above: View showing interior butler’s pantry. 

    Project 4

    Leslie & Woody Pirtle | New Paltz, NY | Garden Room

    Design Statement: We wanted to design a quiet contemplative space for sitting and reading.

    Chosen By: Michelle Slatalla: "The word 'magical' is not one I throw around lightly, but it's appropriate in this context. The juxtaposition of rough stone walls and velvety green vines creates an otherworldly sense of peace."

    Above: A quiet place to sit in the garden room.

    Above: View from above the garden room. The chicken coop lies just beyond.

    Above: Approach to the garden room. Climbing hydrangea covers the exterior walls.

    Above: Entrance to the garden room, with tree stump seating in front of the firebox.

    Above: A diagonal view across the room. 

    Project 5

    Hsu McCullough | Los Angeles, CA | Boise Residence

    Design Statement: Hsu McCullough maximized the gardens and living spaces on a corner lot adjacent to two alleys, maintaining privacy with property edges of exterior wood walls, cherry laurels and pepper trees. Exterior living spaces are deposited over multiple levels of wood deck and at grade, including an outdoor living room below the yuccas, a dining terrace below the pine tree, and a fire pit below the poplar tree. All exterior living spaces, the driveway with motorized vehicular gate, and the detached accessory structure are connected with interchanging paths of flagstone, broken concrete, and decomposed granite with sage and lavender edges.

    Chosen By: Judy Kameon: "Wonderful privacy paired with considered outdoor rooms creates a real extension of the home."

    Above: Looking west, with exterior dining terrace deck and exterior living room deck with chaise lounge connected to master bedroom.

    Above: Looking east at dining terrace deck with accessory structure, driveway, and wood wall that screens trash and compost bins beyond.

    Above: Looking northeast at dining terrace deck with driveway and wood wall that screens trash and compost bins.

    Above: Looking west at dusk, with dining terrace deck and living room deck with chaise lounge connected to master bedroom.

    Above: Looking northeast at fire pit, with dining terrace deck beyond.

    Above: Looking northwest at dusk, with fire pit and living room deck beyond.

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    Argentario is a promontory on Italy's west coast, overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is also the name of an estate with wooded hills disguising some fine minimalist architecture, including this open-air platform for gazing at the Tuscan Archipelago. It's a good place to hang.

    Photographs by Clive Nichols.

    Argentario, Tuscany. Photo by Clive Nichols; Gardenista

    Above: The ongoing project in this area of Argentario began in 1996 with the involvement of Paolo Pejrone, Italy's most renowned landscape architect. Manmade verticals mingle with those of the woodland in a way that doesn't disturb nature but somehow enhances it. As Mediterranean garden writer Louisa Jones says: "Almost nothing on site was removed but much was added."

    Argentario, Tuscany. Photo by Clive Nichols; Gardenista

    Above: There are a number of boxed areas and platforms on the Argentario estate, but none are quite as dramatic as this one. The elongated construction appears to hang off the side of the mountain. It looks right.

    Argentario, Tuscany. Photo by Clive Nichols; Gardenista

    Above: Materials have been carefully considered. Chestnut planks form the flooring: burned for darkening and then varnished. The topography here consists of the brown and green of bare earth and trees, the latter mainly oak and pine. Argentario was once an island—it is now a promontory—and there are sea views on almost every side.

    Argentario, Tuscany. Photo by Clive Nichols; Gardenista

    Above: Paolo Pejrone is known for his sense of space and his in-depth knowledge of plants. He was aided in the architecture by Rome's Studio Lazzarini Pickering, and in the approach to planting by the estate's very keen owner. Eight full-time gardeners are employed to maintain about 35 acres. But the estate covers 80 acres in all, and more is being cultivated—mainly through pruning, which is done three times a week.

    Argentario, Tuscany. Photo by Clive Nichols; Gardenista

    Above: Wooden steps, decks, and walkways appear to float over the shrubbery. The evergreens either grow in small tight groups or are kept that way—though the landscape looks natural, it is highly maintained.

    Argentario, Tuscany. Photo by Clive Nichols; Gardenista

    Above: Nothing is fixed in this floating box. The surrounding screens are removable and the furniture can be rearranged for eating or just sitting. It is an adaptable viewing/eating/living area.

    Argentario, Tuscany. Photo by Clive Nichols; Gardenista

    Above: The greensward, most definitely manmade, is a sign of luxury. Grass here requires constant watering, unlike the neighboring shrubs. These are part of the Tuscan macchia, the dense evergreen shrubland found all over the Mediterranean.

    For a Greek approach to building on wild mountains, see Landscape Architect Visit: Thomas Doxiadis on Antiparos.

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    Can you imagine if every room in your house had its own garden? If you lived in a palace, mansion, or manor house, perhaps. But what if you lived in a 13-foot-wide, five-story house in a commercially dense section of Tokyo?

    Composed of a series of structural slabs and glass walls, this house and workplace designed by Japanese architect Ryue Nishizawa appears wall-less and light-filled; perfect conditions for the plants in all those gardens.

    Photography by Iwan Baan via Design Boom.

    Above: The hard edges of the concrete slabs are softened by the abundance of green plants.

    Above: Plants and curtains provide a screen of privacy from the urban street traffic.

    Above: A plant-filled office provides pleasant working conditions.

    Above: A curtain on a wraparound track separates the office and the bedroom on the second floor.

    Above: Every room, from living room to bathroom, has a garden of its own—a pure luxury anywhere, but particularly in an urban environment.

    Above: The staircase fits into a cutout in the concrete slab.

    Above: A cutout on the fifth-story slab allows for extra-tall plants.

    Above: A view to the sky above.

    Above: The "wall-less" house allows light to flood into a very narrow house on a sliver site between two tall buildings.

    Above: The architect's diagram aptly captures the spirit of the house.

    For more on Japan, read about decidedly nontraditional bonsai at A Bonsai Revolutionary in Tokyo, and about a house surrounded by a courtyard (rather than vice versa) in Architect Visit: A Hidden Japanese Garden

    Updated from a post originally published March 5, 2013.

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    There's a lot to be said for staying in town while everyone else packs up: Rules loosen, breezy cafes beckon, and it feels like there are more hours in the day—which means more time to take in the spectacle. Here are some of this week's tips from Remodelista for urban living, heat-wave edition.

    Elephant Ceramics, living room, Gardenista

    Above: In A Ceramicist at Home in the City, the owner of Elephant Ceramics takes Julie around her cheery apartment in Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood, with its splashes of color and remodeled kitchen.

    Hally's deli, London; Gardenista  

    Above: Hally’s, a new deli in southwest London, was inspired by California beach cafes—you're hanging ten in London, dude. Get the details at LA-Style Dining in London, Sunshine Included.

      niche workspace; gardenista

    Above: Come next winter, you might be needing a quiet place to plan next year's garden. Get ideas for Ingenious work areas slotted into closets, corners, even under the stairs at 10 Favorites: The Niche Workspace.

      William Smalley London balcony; Gardenista

    Above: In Architect Visit: Musings from Bloomsbury, find out how London architect William Smalley transformed a rental flat into a sanctuary of visual calm. This balcony is where he and his flatmate catch up at the end of the day.

      Biergarten table; Gardenista

    Above: Obviously, the classic German beer garden table is great for outdoor spaces. But it's also ideal for narrow apartment rooms. 5 Quick Fixes: The Versatile Biergarten Table shows smart ways to use them indoors.

      Huettenpalast Airstream trailer hotel; Berlin; Gardenista

    Above: A quirky hostel in Berlin welcomes overnight guests to its six refurbished campers and cabins, clustered in an indoor campground replete with birch trees, picnic tables, and lanterns. Read more in Into the Wild: An Urban Campground in Berlin.

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    Take a look at a few things we've been loving lately: 

    Canopy Creative flowers, Brighton, Gardenista

    • Above: Residents of Brighton, England, can enjoy a Sunday morning delivery of seasonal flowers and a fresh-baked cake thanks to a new (read: amazing) service offered by Canopy Creative.
    • Is it just us, or did Johnny Depp forever change the way we look at topiary? 

    scott shrader garden southern California succulents; Gardenista

    Milo LED Lamp Planter via Design Milk | Gardenista

    • Above: Lamp or mini greenhouse? Both! Meet Milo, the latest creation from Polish lighting studio Lightovo. Photography courtesy of Design Milk. 
    • What we're drinking this weekend: raspberry and pomegranate smoothie with green tea ice cubes. 

    Bri Emery of Design Love Fest at Jardin de Plantes in Paris | Gardenista

    • Above: We had lots of France in last week's Bastille Day issue, but we can never get enough. This week we found ourselves roaming the streets of Paris on Design Love Fest. Photograph courtesy of Design Love Fest. 
    • There's still time to pick the winners for this year's Considered Design Awards. Go vote!

    For more from this week on Gardenista, see our Urban Escape issue. And don't miss Remodelista's week of summer in the city. 

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    Urban living is all about making the most of available space, especially outdoor space. Ever wonder what's up there on New York City's rooftops?

    To create an elegantly simple roof garden in Manhattan's East Village, Melissa Baker and Jon Handley of Pulltab Design (members of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory) maximized the impact of panoramic views while maintaining a sense of privacy, which they achieved with strategically placed walls, canvas screens, and plantings.

    Photography by Bilyana Dimitrova.

    Above: The East Village roof garden offers several seating areas, reprieve from the sun, and even an outdoor shower.

    Above: The expansive views take in the East Village and the city skyline.

    Above: Steel beams were installed across the entire roof to support the new construction. "We worked with a creative structural engineer [Dan Cuoco from Robert Silman Associates] to figure out the required loads and level changes," says Jon Handley. "Plantings and water features create additional loads that need to be accounted for early on in the design; we brought in the landscape gardener [Roger Miller Gardens] from the start of the project."

    Above: "We designed this project to weather well," Handley says. Over time, the ipe decking will turn gray, the Corten steel water basin will continue to rust, and the oak block will blacken.

    Above: "Every project has a hero," says Handley, "the place where you spend a little extra to get what you want." The oak block water feature, nicknamed Chunky, was the hero for this project. Baker and Handley specified in the building contract that furniture builder Stephen Iino would make Chunky. The oak block, which came from a Pennsylvania mill, also serves as a bench.

    Above: Like the other materials used in the project, the Corten steel screen will continue to weather and rust.

    Above: Inspired by the late Italian architect Carlo Scarpa, a master of architectural detailing, Pulltab lined the framed opening of the view to the power station with a 12-inch section of gas line pipe, designed deliberately to rust onto the stucco wall.

    Above: Typically, exceeding the budget is the Number 1 concern on every building project. Baker and Handley believe that a detailed set of construction documents is the key to minimizing changes after the budget has been set. The construction bid for this project included 20 pages of drawings, leaving little room for interpretation or doubt. “We draw everything,” Handley says. “It’s the only way to know your project and avoid surprises.”

    Above: The outdoor shower was designed for privacy, but it has a small rectangular opening that offers a glimpse of the Empire State Building.

    Above: The canvas partitions were made by Mark Washam from Doyle Sailmakers on Long Island, using military-grade surplus canvas.

    See Pulltab's stylish East Village loft apartment with a vertical garden on Remodelista at Architect Visit: Pulltab Design in New York. Wondering what else is growing on New York's rooftops? Check out NYC Rooftop Garden Roundup

    Updated from a post originally published May 26, 2012.

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    It always feels exotic to prepare food outdoors, whether you're cooking on a gas grill, roasting skewers over a campfire, or arranging a platter of vegetables picked from the garden. Maybe one reason it feels liberating: In summer, we keep it simple. (Plus there's the fact that men like to grill.) Here are some ideas to help you keep it simple.

      Table of Contents The Summer Kitchen ; Gardenista


      New Eco Landscapes, Clinton Hill, outdoor kitchen, Gardenista

    Above: When the owners of a townhouse in Brooklyn's Clinton Hill neighborhood hired New Eco Landscapes to overhaul their backyard, they asked for "a showstopper." See what they got in this week's Landscape Architect Visit.


      Artist's garden, Suffolk, perennials, Gardenista

    Above: Kendra pays a Garden Visit to illustrator Celia Hart in Suffolk, England, and finds flowers that reach to the sky and chickens living in a rather stately henhouse (along with Cheep, the rooster).


      Hydrangea bouquet in window, Gardenista

    Above: In Bouquet of the Week: Hydrangeas Gone Wild, Justine accepts an assignment that turns her opinion around. 


      Prosciuitto salad recipe, Gardenista

    Above: "For me," says Michelle, "the perfect summer kitchen is one I barely see." She's rounded up five of her favorite garden-to-table recipes for summer salads; no cooking allowed.  


    London summerhouse kitchen, Gardenista

    Above: Could this kitchen look any more summery? It's tucked into our Outbuilding of the Week, a summerhouse in the backyard of a grand brick house in South London. The doors open wide onto a dining deck surrounded by flowers. Heaven. 

    Over on Remodelista, the editors are also looking into Summer Kitchens. Too bad they have to be indoors.

    And don't forget: Voting is now underway for the 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards. You can vote for the finalists every day until August 8th. The winners will be announced August 9th. 

    Vote button Gardenista

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