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Sourcebook for Cultivated Living

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

    Garden Design cottage garden ; Gardenista

    • Above: Go for the romance (plus more tips for creating an alluring cottage garden). Photograph by Jan Johnsen. 
    • Gardenista is now on Hometalk. Connect with us there, too. 
    • Garage turned graphic design studio.

    London house brick Dorset Road indoor outdoor ; Gardenista

    • Above: We're taking note from the brick work and the indoor-outdoor living possibilities of a renovated North London cottage. Photograph by Richard Chivers. 
    • Our new favorite app? GrowIt!, a new social network for gardeners. 

    solid copper hanging planter ; Gardenista

    Pistachio Rose Saffron Financiers on Honestly YUM | Gardenista

    • Above: Pistachio and saffron financiers, rose petals included. Photograph courtesy of Honestly Yum. 
    • The Line Hotel's newest restaurant turns an urban environment into a green oasis. (Spoiler: It's inside of a rooftop greenhouse). 

    True Nature Botanicals Giveaway on Gardenista | Gardenista

    • Above: Stay tuned for a natural beauty giveaway coming to Gardenista on Monday. 
    • Create a journal of the best herbal remedies for kids at Wildcraft Studio School's workshop from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday, September 27

    Take a look at Gardenista's week of Style on a Budget and don't miss Remodelista's Style on a Budget issue, too. 

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    We know the landscape architect and designer members of our Architect/Designer Directory are talented, but nothing drives the point home like a good before and after. Here are some amazing gardens they've conjured in San Francisco, New York, England, and Southern California:

    San Francisco: Before

    Garden "Before" Photo, Gardenista

    Above: A verdant but unloved lawn; the owners' children had grown and gone and no one used the space.

    San Francisco: After

    Modern Backyard with Wood Patio and Poured Concrete and Pergola, Gardenista

    Above: San Francisco-based Growsgreen Landscape Design created a large outdoor room and garden with a new wood patio that sits at the same level as the threshold to the house, lending the feeling of a continuous room indoors and out. At the back of the garden is a heated seating area. Photograph by Caitlin Atkinson

    Brooklyn: Before

    Garden "Before" Photo, Gardenista

    Above: An empty backyard in Park Slope, Brooklyn provided little utility and privacy.

    Brooklyn: After

    Kim Hoyt Landscape Architects Lush Brooklyn Garden After Rain with Cafe Seating, Gardenista

    Above: Kim Hoyt Architect made use of the plot's generous length and created separate seating and dining areas connected by bluestone paving. A new stucco garden wall provides privacy and a crisp backdrop for the perennial plantings and styrax trees.

    Southern California: Before

    Garden "Before" Photo, Gardenista

    Above: A couple in Redondo Beach, California turned their garage into a studio and demolished their driveway.

    Southern California: After

    Modern Dry Garden with Succulents and Rock Wall, Gardenista

    Above: Grow Outdoor Design used chunks of the old concrete driveway to build a retaining wall for a garden filled with Mediterranean and California native plants. Their design includes raised vegetable beds, dwarf fruit trees, a blackberry bramble, and large trees to provide shade and wildlife habitat. Photograph by Katrina Coombs.

    Kent, UK: Before

    Cottage Garden "Before" Photo, Gardenista

    Above: A thriving but impractical garden in Kent, UK sports vines destructive to cottage walls and shrubs that block access to the cottage doors.

    Kent, UK: After

    British Garden Cottage House with Blue Doors and Red Tulips, Gardenista

    Above: Marian Boswall Landscape Architects redesigned the courtyard using local Kent ragstone and Breedon gravel. She created an herb-filled dining area surrounded by 'Mariette' red tulips in spring.

    Northern California: Before

    Garden "Before" Photo, Gardenista

    Above: A cramped garden in Marin County, CA with a bay laurel tree (disliked as a carrier of the pathogen for Sudden Oak Death) and a giant agave (adored by the succulent-loving client).

    Northern California: After

    Modern Patio by Pedersen Associates with Concrete Bench with Cushions and Fire Pit, Gardenista

    Above: SF Bay Area-based Pedersen Associates managed to keep the client's beloved agave while creating a "classic Northern California" outdoor room carved out of the hillside.

    For another dramatic before and after, see Garden Visit: Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan on Shelter Island. And browse our archives for Before and After Garden Rehabs.

    N.B.: This is an update of a post originally published October 13, 2013.

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    I'm not new to fresh pasta; my mom makes it, several Italian friends make it, and we have the process down well enough that we're reaching for flour just as we're starting to get hungry for dinner. But I like a challenge, and each time I say the same thing: "Next time, let's make colored pasta."

    I finally took the leap, and coloring pasta with natural ingredients is far easier than I thought. I did some Googling and found myriad coloring strategies—some even using artificial food coloring (the horror!). But most agreed on a simple concept: reduce a coloring agent to two tablespoons of liquid or wet paste, and add to your pasta when adding the rest of the wet ingredients.

    One thing to note: This isn't really for flavor, it's for color. I wouldn't pair the beet pasta with a sauce that would clash with beets, but even that may be all in my head: you really can't taste the beets at all.

    Read on for step-by-step instructions:

    Photography by Meredith Swinehart

    Eggs and Olive Oil in Flour for Fresh Pasta | Gardenista

    Above: Fresh pasta begins with eggs, olive oil, and salt inside a ring of flour.

    If you've never made fresh pasta before, try it. Just don't start when you're already hungry for dinner. It's a bit of a process the first time but, like everything, gets exponentially faster with practice. As a primer, I recommend a recipe from Linda Scheibal of Pasta Poetry: see Perfect Pasta with a Magic Ingredient on Remodelista.

    Atlas Fresh Pasta Maker, Using Saffron, Herbs, and Beets to Color Fresh Pasta | Gardenista

    Above: To flatten and cut the dough into linguine, I used a Marcato Atlas 150 Pasta Machine with Motor; $169.95 on Amazon. Made in Italy, it's the same brand of choice as Christophe Lemaire's partner Sarah-Linh Tran.

    DIY: Herbs, Saffron, and Beets to Make Colored Fresh Pasta | Gardenista

    Above: The overarching concept for coloring pasta: find something with a strong natural color, roast it, boil it, or smash it, and mix it into the pasta dough. I used beets, saffron, and fresh herbs. 

    Beets: For red pasta, roast a beet in the oven (at 425 degrees for approximately an hour). When cool enough to handle, peel a piece of the beet and puree in a food processor or high-speed blender, adding a splash of very hot water. Continue blending, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until you have a very fine puree; you don't want any chunks of beet in the dough. 

    Saffron: For yellow pasta, place a pinch of saffron threads into a small bowl and add two tablespoons of very hot water. Let the saffron soak for 15 minutes. Most recipes end after recommending you remove the saffron threads from the dye. This works, but the color isn't nearly as vibrant as I want it. My tweak? I poured more hot water over the saffron (just a teaspoon or so) and ground it with a mortar and pestle. This succeeded in drawing a lot more color out of the saffron, and the dye was much more vibrant. Next time I do this, I'll go straight to the mortar and pestle. 

    Fresh Herbs: For a consistent ribbon of green, most recipes call for spinach. But I like the flecked look of herbs, and I wanted the flavor. So I blended a mix of rosemary, oregano, and Italian parsley in a mini food processor with a splash of very hot water.  

    DIY Recipe: Eggs, Olive Oil, and Saffron to Make Yellow Fresh Pasta | Gardenista

    Above: Add two tablespoons of the coloring puree with the liquid before mixing. Here, saffron water in the liquid well. 

    Dry Red Pasta Dough, DIY Colored Fresh Pasta | Gardenista

    Above: When you add coloring, you are changing the ratio of liquid to flour in the basic recipe, so consider adjusting accordingly. I did not, but I also know what fresh pasta dough should feel like, and I'm comfortable adding more flour or water as needed. Some recipes suggested swapping one large egg for two medium eggs to reduce the initial dose of liquid in the recipe.

    If your dough is dry, as pictured above, your recipe will call for adding more water, a little at a time, to moisten the dough. When making colored pasta, don't add water: add more of your puree instead.

    Mounds of Drying Fresh Pasta Colored with Saffron, DIY Recipe | Gardenista

    Above: Why the dark photo? Because, well, even I forgot how long it takes to make fresh pasta; I made four pounds of pasta, and by the time I'd colored each pound and run it all through the machine, the sun had set.

    Recipe: Using Beets, Saffron, and Herbs to Color Fresh Pasta | Gardenista

    Above: After I'd begun cutting the pasta, I realized I hadn't accounted for a drying rack. (See DIY: Instant Pasta Drying Rack on Remodelista, coming Friday.) The solution? Let the pasta dry in small piles, each generously floured. Your final product won't be dried flat and neatly folded onto itself, but it will taste just as good. 

    Recipe: Using Saffron to Color Fresh Pasta | Gardenista

    Above: The saffron pasta was the mildest, in both color and flavor. I couldn't taste the spice at all, but the pasta boils into a beautiful yellow color. 

    Recipe: Using Beets to Color Fresh Red Pasta | Gardenista

    Above: The earthy flavor of beets is one of the hardest flavors to mask, so I was surprised to discover that I couldn't taste the beet at all.

    I paired the beet pasta with a radicchio and gorgonzola sauce from new cookbook Bitter. Stay tuned for the recipe, coming Thursday.

    Recipe: Using Fresh Herbs to Color Fresh Pasta Green | Gardenista

    Above: The herb pasta had the most flavor. I paired it with more herbs—Walnut Sauce for Pasta (with walnuts, ricotta, and basil)—also from Bitter

    Recipe: Coloring Fresh Pasta with Beets, Herbs, and Saffron | Gardenista

    Above: I hadn't intended to make the tricolore, but since the Italians gave us pasta as we know it today, viva l'Italia

    Keep playing with pasta: See The Magic Pasta Ingredient, The Healthiest Spaghetti You'll Ever Eat, and coming Friday on Remodelista, DIY: Instant Pasta Drying Rack.

    More Stories from Gardenista

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    Do you hear that crunch of leaves underfoot? September is our favorite season. The air is tinged both with nostalgia for our school days and anticipation of the holidays. This week we'll be picking apples (and planting them), stringing our own DIY dried vegetables, and filling our window boxes with the colors of autumn. Join us: 

    Table of Contents: Harvest Moon ; Gardenista

    Above: Some gardens come into their own in autumn. Like Grace Kennedy's. See more in It's High Season in Grace Kennedy's Garden.


    Shedbuilt bike shed l Gardenista

    Above: We'll be exploring both inside and out of a stylish backyard shed with a secret back door in this week's Architect Visit.

    pink lady apples fishkill orchard by nicole franzen l gardenista

    Above: Now is the time to plant next year's fruit tree. If you're thinking of an apple tree, we'll tell you everything you need to know before planting one in this this week's Field Guide. Photograph by Nicole Franzen.


      concrete fire bowl ; Gardenista

    Above: We've tracked down furniture and accessories you can leave outdoors year round; see our favorite concrete pieces in this week's 10 Easy Pieces. (And if you missed last week's ode to the humble concrete block, see 10 Genius Garden Hacks with Concrete.)

      radicchio gorgonzola past dinner party project ; Gardenista

    Above: We're all invited to Meredith's house for dinner. This week she launches our new feature, The Dinner Party Project, with a step-by-step plan that makes throwing a party as simple as, well, cooking dinner. Next up? Stay tuned, because we'll be asking for your favorite garden-to-table recipes to make a menu for youe next installment of The Dinner Party Project.


    a sunny spot for drying, Colonial Food Drying: Gardenista

    Above: Inspired by her New England forebears, Justine figures out how to make colonial-style dried vegetable garlands in this week's DIY. (Yes, she had some help from her after-school assistants.) Photographs by Justine Hand for Gardenista.


    Apple orchard sweet berry farm christine chitnis ; Gardenista

    Above: Christine Chitnis & Co. goes apple picking as we celebrate the season of U-Pick Orchards (see directions to our favorites) in this week's Garden Visit.

    aged zinc window boxes from the balcony gardener; Gardenista

    Above: Jeanne investigates the pros and cons of different materials for window boxes. Zinc, wood, terra cotta: which one is right for you? See this week's Hardscaping 101. Photograph via The Balcony Gardener.


      Long Sutton Timber Studio Shed Barn Garage; Gardenista

    Above: We tour a timber garden outbuilding versatile enough to serve as a studio, shed, barn, or garage in this week's Outbuilding of the Week. Photograph via Dezeen.

    Sulby kitchen garden, Northamptonshire. Gardenista  

    Above: Kendra visits a classic English kitchen garden at Sulby in Northamptonshire in this week's installment of Brit Style. See more of Kendra's English Garden Visits in our archives.

    And see what's happening on Remodelista this week, where the editors are visiting Kitchens Around the World

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    Seattle-based SHED (members of our architect and designer directory) designed an unassuming backyard shed with barn doors that roll open on two sides, allowing it to double as a well-appointed gardener's retreat and bike storage. But when the doors are closed? You'd never guess what's inside.

    Photography via SHED.

    Shedbuilt backyard garden shed l Gardenista

    Above: On one side, a potting shed with a sink and running water, wall-mounted shelving, and a floor you can hose down.

    Shedbuilt backyard garden shed construction detail l Gardenista

    Above: The door slides open on an overhead track.

    Shedbuilt backyard garden shed closed l Gardenista

    Above: With closed doors, the shed draws no attention to itself.

    Shedbuilt garden shed lawn view l Gardenista

    Above: The view from the potting bench.

    Shedbuilt bike shed l Gardenista

    Above: The flip side; a rolling door on the other side of the shed opens to reveal a separate space for bike storage and sporting equipment.

    Shedbuilt bike shed closed l Gardenista

    Above: The door's track stretches like a pergola across the path.

    For another clever use of space, see House Call: Garage Studio by SHED on Remodelista. Designing your own shed? Read our Hardscaping 101 primer on Garden Sheds.

    N.B.: This is an update of a post published October 13, 2013.

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    Here at Gardenista, we strive to take a natural approach to our skin care and beauty regimens. Erin showed us how to make a face mask with flowers and Dalilah demonstrated how easy it is to ditch store-bought aloe vera gel.

    To promote the notion of using clean, natural products on your body, we're teaming up with Hillary Peterson, former CEO of Marie Veronique Organics, to give one reader a $450 gift of products from her new venture, True Nature Botanicals. The roster of products include moisturizers, shampoos, and solid perfumes—all made with the purest scents and ingredients.

    Here's what one lucky reader will win:

    How to enter:

    • Submit your email address to a form located at the bottom of the page.
    • One winner will be selected in a random drawing and contacted through the email address provided.
    • The contest ends on September 29 at 11:59 pm and the winner will be contacted September 30. 

    Note: The sweepstakes is open to residents of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada (excluding Quebec). For more details, see the Official Rules

    True Nature Botanicals Giveaway Prize | Gardenista

    Above: The prize: A solid perfume compact ($95) plus two refills ($75 each), a bottle of Pacific Face Oil ($110), and a bottle of Pacific Body Oil ($95). 

    Hilary Robertson True Nature Botanicals in the Garden, Mill Valley, CA | Gardenista

    Above: Hillary in her Mill Valley, CA garden, harvesting plants and flowers for True Nature Botanicals. 

    Greens from Hillary's Garden | Gardenista

    Above: A basket of kale from Hillary's garden.

    In the lab with True Nature Botanicals, a giveaway on Gardenista | Gardenista

    Above: True Nature Botanicals uses natural materials to achieve the most authentic scents, and each product is formulated without toxins. Take a look at the website to read more about the skin care philosophy. 

    Submit your email address below to enter for a chance to win. 

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  • 09/22/14--11:30: Field Guide: Apple Trees
  • Apples (Aplicus Rosacea): "Love-Struck"

    Have you ever just known that your blind date has some shadowy past behind his chiseled cheekbones? Well, meet apple trees, the plant equivalent of dating baggage. Beneath the rosy exterior, we've got the whole Garden of Eden original sin debacle. Then there's the tiny matter of prompting the Trojan War. And giving Hercules grief in the garden of Hesperides, and delivering the poison to the lovely Snow White. On the plus side, the tree arguably saved Asian and European civilizations as one of the only fruits that could last through the long winters. Cab for two, please. 

    Apple picnic Nicole Franzen ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Nicole Franzen

    Apple trees, like Mr. Shadowy Cheekbones, take some effort. Two cultivars, the scion and the rootstock, combine to make most varieties. Both should suit your climate. Don't fret over the minutiae—every state has agricultural extension agencies, and most have detailed resources for selecting, planting, and pruning fruit trees (more than Over 7,500 varieties of apples are grown world-wide) for your area. You can even grow apple trees in a large container.

    Apple tree picnic table chair ; Gardenista

    Above: A picnic under the apple tree. Photograph by Erin Boyle.

    Outdoors, select a sunny, well-drained spot with excellent air flow, preferably on a slope to avoid early spring frosts that can kill off the blossoms. You'll need to thin the harvest too. 

    tracking climate change using thoreau's notebooks | gardenista

    Above: Pink apple blossoms at Walden Pond in Concord, MA. Photograph by Caroline Polgar.

    When the apples are dime-sized, pinch off all but one per clump. This will give you larger apples and set fruit buds for the following year.

    Helmingham apple tree walk ; Gardenista

    Above: The apple tree walk at Helmingham Hall in Suffolk, UK. Photograph by Kendra Wilson.

    Cheat Sheet

    • Dwarf or semi-dwarf trees are best-suited for home gardens. Dwarf trees perform well in containers
    • The color scheme of apple trees includes pink and white blossoms; glossy green leaves, and gray and brown bark in winter months
    • Their gnarly shape makes apple trees a beautiful element in landscape design

    Keep It Alive

    • Don't interplant with walnut trees, which can inhibit growth
    • Hardy in growing zones 4-8 (depending on the variety)
    • Two is better than one: apple trees are "self-incompatible." They need another variety of apple tree nearby, one which blooms at the same time of year, in order to produce fruit. 

    Dorothy's Applesauce Hanukkah l Gardenista

    Above: Looking for the World's Best Applesauce Recipe? Look no further than Dorothy's Applesauce. Photograph by Michelle Slatalla.

    For more of our favorite recipes with apples, see:

    After your tree gets established, it can last many years, up to a hundred in some cases, providing fruit, tonic bark tea, scented blossoms, and beauty to your landscape. How do you like them apples? (Sorry, couldn't resist adding one little cliché. At least we didn't say anything about keeping the doctor away.)

    Read More:

    Read More about apples ; Gardenista

    In the mood for something crunchy? Browse our state-by-state listings for U-Pick Apple Orchards. California's best apples? We found them.

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    At Obercreek Farm in Hughsonville, New York (near Poughkeepsie), owners Sam Wildfong and husband Tim Heuer (who happens to be my cousin) have been growing more than 200 varieties of vegetables and herbs on ten acres since 2012. The chemical-free harvest finds its way into the farm's CSA boxes, which offer subscribers from eight to 10 varieties a week during a 22-week season.

    Recently I went for a visit and a lesson in how to process herbs—by drying or making tinctures or infused oils—to make natural remedies. Read on for step-by-step instructions for how to process calendula flowers into an herbal oil used as a natural remedy for its anti-inflammatory properties and to heal wounds. (N.B.: For more about calendula oil's medicinal properties, see Memorial Sloan Kettering.

    But first, a tour of the farm:

    Photography by Meredith Heuer for Gardenista.

    Obercreek Farm herb drying Meredith Heuer ; Gardenista

    Above: Here's Sam Wildfong up in her herb drying studio.

    Ober Creek Drying Lavender Herbs Meredith Heuer ; Gardenista

    Above: Different kinds of herbs require different preservation techniques. The best way to dry lavender is in bunches, hung by the stems in the rafters.

    Obercreek Farm herb drying Meredith Heuer ; Gardenista

    Above: Sam pulls the leaves from dried Tulsi plants. The dried leaves will make a great tea mixed with other herbs, such as mint or chamomile, or on their own.

    Obercreek Farm herb drying Meredith Heuer ; Gardenista

    Above: The many benefits of eating garlic are widely known. Sam mixes garlic with mullein in organic olive oil to make a solution to heal ear infections.

    Obercreek Farm herb drying Meredith Heuer ; Gardenista

    Above: Echinacea grows extremely well in the Hudson Valley and makes a powerful tincture to build up the immune system against flus and colds.

      Obercreek Farm herb drying Meredith Heuer ; Gardenista

    Above: Fresh yarrow leaves are used to stop bleeding wounds, to treat gastrointestinal problems and high fevers, and to improve circulation. Chewing on fresh leaves will relieve toothaches. Scientists have credited yarrow with wide-ranging health benefits.

    Obercreek Farm herbs Meredith Heuer ; Gardenista

    Above: Calendula flowers, ready to be processed into a healing oil. (N.B.: Starting next year, Wildfong and Heuer will begin selling calendula oil at their farm store and will include it in CSA shares.)

    Obercreek Farm herbs Meredith Heuer ; Gardenista

    Above: To make calendula oil, harvest flowers—including their sticky green calyxes—and chop (for the sake of the photo, I may not have chopped it up quite as much as I should). 

    Add chopped flowers to olive oil (100 grams calendula to 300 ml olive oil) and heat the mixture to from 110 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (a slow cooker is great for this). Maintain temperature for 1 week. 

    Obercreek Farm herb calendula oil Meredith Heuer ; Gardenista

    Above: Strain out the flower material through a colander.

    Obercreek Farm Herb calendula oil DIY Meredith Heuer ; Gardenista

    Above: Then pour the liquid through a second, finer strainer.

    Obercreek Farm herb calendula oil DIY Meredith Heuer ; Gardenista

    Above: And finally, through a cheesecloth.

    Obercreek Farm herb calendula oil DIY Meredith Heuer ; Gardenista

    Above: The final product is as rich, golden oil that can be slathered on the skin to treat conjunctivitis, eczema, minor burns including sunburns. 

    For more herbal remedies, see Miracle Cure for Allergies and 10 Chinese Herbs to Cure What Ails You.

    More Stories from Gardenista

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    Too many people ignore curb appeal until it's time to move. Then they spruce up the place for the next residents. How does this make sense? Every time you come home, the sight of your front door should give you the sort of euphoric endorphin rush that long-distance runners feel when they stop.

    Adding curb appeal doesn't have to be expensive. Take it one step at a time: here are 11 ways to add instant curb appeal for $100 or less:

    Edwardian gray house paint house numbers San Francisco Mark Reilly ; Gardenista

    Above: When architect Mark Reilly gave an Edwardian home in San Francisco a full remodel, the facade also got a facelift. Photograph by Bruce Damonte via Mark Reilly Architecture.

    1. Get new house numbers. House numbers are one of the first things to catch the eye—first-time visitors are looking for them to confirm they're at the right address—and should set a tone for what to expect indoors as well as out. The spare, slim lines of Hillman Group 5-In Satin House Numbers (above) hint at the modern interior that lies beyond the traditional facade; $5.98 per number at Lowe's.

    Architect Mark Reilly also updated the facade by changing the entry stairs and porch from brick to Brazilian black slate and by painting the building's trim and body the same color. The paint is Gray by Benjamin Moore (color 2120-10). For more of our favorite gray exterior paints, see Shades of Gray: Architects' 10 Top Paint Picks.

    Pre weatherized zinc gutter system ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Gutter Supply.

    2. Clean out the gutters. Nothing says "Boo Radley lives here" like clogged gutters full of soggy leaves and the odd bit of twigs. Don't be shy about attempting this housecleaning chore yourself. All you need is a sturdy Stepladder ($63.99 from Cornell's), your oldest pair of waterproof garden gloves to protect your hands, and a bucket to fill with water to flush out the downspout. 

    For more tips on installing and caring for gutters, see Hardscaping 101: Rain Gutters.

    Curb appeal entryway front porch hooks ; Gardenista

    Above: A New Zealand beach cottage has a covered front entryway. Photograph via Homebunch.

    3. Add hanging hooks. If you have a covered entryway, you can turn it a welcoming extension of your home with hooks for coats, jackets, and dog leashes. Hanging fabric instantly softens the look of a space (think: curtains). We've rounded up our favorite hooks in our recent 10 Easy Pieces: Mudroom Hooks.

    4. Replace your porch light. It's hard to go wrong with a wharf light (above), a versatile style that complements both modern and traditional facades. We recently rounded up our favorites, including several under $100, in 10 Easy Pieces: Wharf Lights. And if you're looking for a ceiling fixture, check out our favorites in 10 Easy Pieces: Classic Ceiling Porch Lights.

    5. Get a new doormat. This is the exterior equivalent of getting new carpet. You need an upgrade if yours is stained, scuffed, worn down, or faded. If you're looking for a new doormat, see 10 Easy Pieces: Durable Doormats.

    6. Get matching planters. Flank your entryway with matching potted plants (as above) to create symmetry.

    Benjamin Moore Starry Night Blue paint front door ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Eve Ashcraft.

    7. Paint the front door. Think of your front door as jewelry for your house. It can be a little flashier than the rest of the outfit the facade is wearing. A strong color that complements wall and trim paint colors can be pleasing. (To get the look of the bright blue door above, paint color consultant Eve Ashcraft recommends Benjamin Moore's #2067-20 Starry Night Blue paint in Advance Satin Finish.)

    For more color ideas, see 5 Favorites: British Front Doors with Style.

    Naomi Sanders garden gate and mailbox l Gardenista

    Above: For more, see LA Confidential: A Private Courtyard Goes Luxe on a Budget. Photograph via Naomi Sanders Landscape Design.

    8. Get a new mailbox. If yours is rusty or dented, consider replacing it with a long-lasting aluminum or steel model. See our favorites in 10 Easy Pieces: Classic Sturdy Mailboxes

    Barbara Chambers English Garden in Mill Valley CA ; Gardenista

    Above: Architect Barbara Chambers keeps a rosemary hedge pruned to a height that frames her windows instead of covering them. For more, see Architect Visit: Barbara Chambers at Home in Mill Valley. Photograph by Nicole Franzen for Gardenista.

    9. Trim the shrubs. Overgrown bushes that block your front windows are not a good look. Ever. Period. Shrubs should frame your windows but never hide them (unless you're on the run from the law).

    Do you live in a climate where rosemary is a perennial? You too can have an herb hedge. For more on growing and caring for rosemary, see our recent Field Guide: Rosemary.

    Barbara Chambers Architect home and garden Mill Valley ; Gardenista

    Photograph by Liesa Johannssen for Gardenista.

    10. Wash the windows. This will improve the view from within as well as from the curb. Are you wondering if you can wait until spring? If your windows have cobwebs, a visible layer of dust, or dirt on the sills, you can't. Get out there and get the job done on the next sunny autumn day. Use our all-natural cleaner with The Secret Ingredient to Make Windows Shine Bright Like a Diamond.

    zinc window boxes paris ; Gardenista

    Above: Zinc window boxes outside the Paris home of architect Nicolas Soulier and ceramicist Cécile Daladier.  For more, see A Ceramicist and an Architect in Paris.

    11. Add a window box.  This is the fastest way to add color to your facade. Update the plantings year round and you can change the look every season. Wondering where to start? For more about choosing, installing, and maintaining a window box, see Hardscaping 101: Window Boxes.

    If you are inspired to spruce things up a bit, see our archives for more Curb Appeal posts. And on Remodelista, see Outdoors: House Numbers from A Short Walk in Cornwall.

    More Stories from Gardenista

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    Dinner parties shouldn't be hard to throw. To prove it, I invited friends over—and then fed them an easy-to-make menu based on what's in season right now at the farmers' market. Best night ever. (Hint: start with a cocktail.)

    It would be simply too hard to say goodbye to the sun and garden bounty of summer if autumn and its own seasonal produce didn't follow. To welcome fall and kiss goodbye to sweet summer, I built the dinner party's menu from Gardenista's collection of Garden-to-Table Fall Recipes.

    Home cooks, get ready. Tomorrow, we'll be asking for your favorite fall recipes for our next dinner party. 

    Photography by Meredith Swinehart

    Late Summer Early Fall Dinner Party with Menu | Gardenista

    Above: Before we start cooking, a word about party preparation. Candles say, "It's a party." Before guests arrive, light them. Lots of them. This sets the right tone—and is more important than vacuuming, more important than music, more important than putting on mascara (in fact, the complexion-enhancing glow from candlelight will make it look as if you are wearing extremely flattering makeup). 

    For more on creating a mood with candlelight, see 11 Ways to Look Younger Instantly.

    Gin, Lemons, Simple Syrup Ingredients for Tom Collins for Late Summer Dinner Party | Gardenista

    Above: Every dinner party should start with a cocktail. My pick was Hannah Kirshner's Tom Collins recipe from Party Ideas: Cocktails and Caramel Corn. It had refreshingly few ingredients and was a breeze to make.

    Late Summer Early Fall Dinner Party with Menu and Recipes | Gardenista

    Above: Another weeknight dinner party hint is to serve the food buffet style. This also sets a tone, signaling to guests they've been invited to a relaxed, casual evening. And a buffet is easier for the host; you don't have to plate the food for your guests if they serve themselves.

    Summer Heirloom Tomatoes with Pea Shoots Recipe for Pasta Sauce | Gardenista

    Above: Ready to cook for these people? Start by checking the refrigerator for usable leftovers (seriously). For instance, I found some homemade saffron pasta—the last of four pounds of colored pasta I recently made (see Garden-to-Table Recipe: Colorful Fresh Pasta). This gave me a head start on one dish.

    I paired the pasta with end-of-summer heirloom tomatoes from Erin Boyle's recipe for The Healthiest Spaghetti You'll Ever Eat. (Full disclosure: I couldn't find moringa leaves—which are the "healthiest" ingredient in the recipe's name—so I substituted super-fresh pea shoots. Nobody complained.)

    Three Small Snapper for Baked Salt Fish for Early Fall Dinner Party Menu | Gardenista

    Above: For the main course, I baked three small snappers under a paste of salt and water, as suggested by Souvla restauranteur Charles Bililies in Going to the Greek: A DIY Dinner Party in San Francisco. (Had I a grill, I would have followed the instructions in The Secret to Perfect Grilled Fish for some end-of-summer outdoor cooking.)

    Brussels Sprouts with Onion and Smoked Paprika Recipe | Gardenista

    Above: As a side dish, I made Mollie Katzen's Smoky Brussels Sprouts and Onion recipe from her new book, The Heart of the Plate. (Cooking this inspired me to add The Moosewood Cookbook: 40th Anniversary Edition to my wish list; it's out in October. And yes, I already know I will be reviewing it favorably.) 

    Recipe for Early Fall Apple and Coconut Crisp | Gardenista

    Above: For dessert, I made Olivia Rae James's very September-y Apple Coconut Crisp

    Slow Cooked Roasted Summer Tomatoes Recipe | Gardenista

    Above: The pasta sauce called for slow-roasting the tomatoes at 200 degrees for two hours. This made the most of their summer flavor. 

    Snapper Baked in Salt for Early Fall Dinner Party Menu | Gardenista

    Above: The salt-baked snapper was a hit—tender and moist. But next time I bake a fish in salt, I'll use a single large fish instead of several small ones; the fish absorbed the salt, and the thin layer of flesh was too salty. I think a thicker flesh would have helped. 

    (A friend suggested that it's critical to serve salt-baked fish as soon as it's out of the oven, when the salt still adheres to the skin. I let mine sit and cool before serving, allowing the fish to absorb even more salt.) 

    Apple Coconut Crisp and Smoky Brussels Sprouts Recipes | Gardenista

    Above: Among the unexpected ingredients in Olivia Rae James's apple crisp are coconut palm sugar, coconut flakes, and whipped coconut milk—instead of whipped cream—to go on top. 

    Succulents, Gin, and Pasta at Early Fall Late Summer Dinner Party | Gardenista

    Above: I admit I'd never had a Tom Collins before, despite the drink's fame. It was the perfect start to the evening: refreshing gin and lemon made slightly sweet.

    Start poring through your recipe files: tomorrow, we'll be seeking reader recipes for our next dinner party.

    Steal some dinner party inspiration from The Ultimate Open-Air Dinner Party: A Floating Pallet Under the Stars, A Guide to Intimate Gatherings from the CAMP Workshops, and Steal This Look: Dry Garden Tablescape from Local Milk.

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    Maybe you're as sick as I am of outdoor furniture that warps, rots, stains, splinters, sags, or falls apart if you forget to bring it indoors in bad weather?

    If so, consider concrete. Here's a material made to withstand the elements—hurricane season, do your worst—that may even look better under a blanket of snow.  

    Here are 10 of our favorite pieces of concrete furniture—for dining, lounging, or just sitting around—for the garden.

    Dining Furniture

    Courtney Klein concrete table SF garden in the Mission ; Gardenista

    Above: Clothing designer Courteney Klein at home in San Francisco's Mission District; her outdoor dining table is the Fuze Grey Dining Table ($999 from CB2). Measuring 35.5 inches wide by "57 inches long and 30 inches high, it seats six. 

      Fuze concrete outdoor bench ; Gardenista

    Above: A matching concrete Fuze Grey Bench is 49 inches long; $399 from CB2.

    Cast concrete table stool ; Gardenista

    Above: Christine recently discovered British architect Sally Mackereth's CAST 001 line of cast concrete outdoor furniture. "From Le Corbusier to Donald Judd, architects and artists have long been attracted to the sculptural qualities of cast concrete," Christine notes. "Mackereth adds warmth and texture with a metallic sheen." For more information, see Outdoor Furniture with a Dose of Glamor.

    Concrete slab dining table outdoor ; Gardenista

    Above: A Concrete Slab Dine Table is made of Eco Concrete, a lightweight mix of granite, stone, marble powder, natural fiber, and cement that weighs about 40 percent less than typical concrete. Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, it measures 63 inches long by 35 inches wide by 30 inches high; $2,029 from Bevara Design.

    For more outdoor furniture designs from Bevara, see our recent post on The Last Outdoor Furniture You'll Ever Buy.

    Concrete outdoor dining table and bench ; Gardenista

    Above: A Massive Concrete Table designed by Long Island-based artist Nico Yektai is aptly named; it measures 108 inches long by 42 inches wide. Shown here with the Modern Concrete Bench for Outdoor Dining, the table is a one-of-a-kind piece. For more information and prices, see Nico Yektai.

    Lounge Furniture

    Concrete Loop Chair Outdoor Lounger ; Gardenista

    Above: Designed in 1954 by Swiss industrial designer Willy Guhl, a concrete Loop Chair is made of lightweight natural fiber cement (ingredients include cement, powdered limestone, cellulose and synthetic fibers) and is $1,200 from Stardust.

    concrete jenner lounger concreteworks ; Gardenista

    Above: Weighing 400 pounds, a hand cast concrete Jenner Lounge by Concreteworks of Oakland is resistant to staining and can be left outdoors year round. It measures 72 inches long by 30 inches wide and 23.5 inches high. For more information and prices, see Concreteworks.

    Reinforced concrete lounge chair outdoor furniture ; Gardenista

    Above: Made of a single sheet of lightweight reinforced concrete, a Spurt Club Chair by Paulsberg comes in two colors of gray (Stone and Mouse) and is 2,170€.

    Side Tables and Stools

    Concrete side table stool ; Gardenista

    Above: Made of raw concrete, a Letter Box stool has two handles and measures 18 inches tall (a comfortable height for seating); $179 apiece from Teak Warehouse.

    Fluted concrete garden stool ; Gardenista

    Above: Measuring 15 inches in diameter and 19 inches high, a Fluted Concrete Stool suitable for outdoor use is available in black or ivory and is $400 from Mecox.

    Inspired to use concrete as a design element outdoors? See our recent post on 10 Genius Garden Hacks with Concrete Blocks. Looking for outdoor furniture that's a little less permanent? See 10 Easy Pieces: Budget Friendly Unfinished Wood Furniture.

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    Having trouble adjusting to the Autumn Equinox? This eight-acre English garden in Essex makes the seasonal transition rather effortlessly. Or at least that's the effect intended by Ulting Wick's tireless owner Philippa Burrough.

    Photography by Jim Powell for Gardenista.

    Ulting Wick Garden, Essex. Gardenista

    Above: Ulting Wick's garden is arranged around an assortment of black barns. Rambling rose 'Goldfinch', seen here on the right, arches around the entrance to the heart of the garden: a densely planted parterre. The Goldfinch rose, from Peter Beales, has played proud host to a nest of goldfinches.

    Ulting Wick Garden, Essex. Gardenista

    Above: A circle of grasses (Stipa tenuissima), salvia (s. leucanthra 'Purple Velvet' and ipomea 'Lime Green' ranging around a young Eucalyptus gunnii 'Silverdrop' form the center of the parterre. They are all suited to growing in this dry part of eastern England.

    (More dry planting ideas from Essex can be found here: Required Reading: Beth Chatto's 5 Favorite Flowers For a Gravel Garden).

    Ulting Wick Garden, Essex. Gardenista

    Above: The fiery hues of tithonia 'Torch' and dahlia 'Arabian Night' against a backdrop of oversized canna leaves. The center of each of the boxed beds in this area is dominated by a canna and Ricinnus communis, or castor oil plant. They give a different height and texture from your typical English herbaceous display.

    Ulting Wick garden, Essex. Gardenista

    Above: The purple-mauve-red part of the color wheel is represented by spiky Salvia farinacea 'Evolution', Verbena bonariensis, and morning glory 'Knoila's Black'.

    Ulting Wick Garden, Essex. Gardenista

    Above: The garden is open six times a year for charity. On the other side of this open barn, a trestle table and chairs provide a place for tea and cake consumption, an integral part of garden visiting. Shown here: rhubarb and terra cotta forcers, for stuffing with straw and encouraging very early red stalks.

    Ulting Wick garden, Essex. Gardenista

    Above: Spotty crimson borlotti beans sing out among the yellowing wigwams of beans and pumpkins.

    Ulting Wick garden, Essex. Gardenista

    Above: Who says asparagus takes up too much space? Not when it looks this good, shown here from rabbit level. At human height, the feathery foliage is accented with red seed pods that resemble peppercorns.

    Ulting Wick garden, Essex. Gardenista

    Above: Dahlia 'Bishop of Auckland', v.bonariensis, and yellow Mirablis jalapa. Dahlias and sunflowers in this garden are firmly tied with hazel poles and twine.

    Ulting Wick garden, Essex. Gardenista

    Above: The sharp edges of the box parterre coolly contain an eruption of the hot and fiery.

    Above: For more information about Ulting Wick (and dates when it is open to the public), see Ulting Wick.

    Designing an English cottage garden? For inspiration, see all our Brit Style gardens. One of our all-time favorites is Derek Jarman's Prospect Cottage at Dungeness.

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    An autumn tradition in my family, our annual walk on the "Battlefield Road" retraces the footsteps of Paul Revere from Lexington to Concord. Here, in addition to autumn splendor, we enjoy presentations in Revolutionary firearms and, my favorite, colonial cooking.

    Fall was a time of bounty in colonial New England. But with no refrigeration, it was also time to prepare for the long, hard winter, preserving food by pickling, salting, and drying. Not only women, but also children were expected to partake in this provisioning process, with evenings by the fire spent stringing vegetables and fruits to be dried. As one who is always game to instill a sense of history in my children, and perhaps kill an hour or two in the process, I decided to give it a try. 

    Read on for step-by-step instructions:

    Photography by Justine Hand.

    pickling and drying food in Colonial New England: Gardenista

    Above: Each October at Hartwell Tavern, a preserved 18th century house and gathering place along the Battlefield Road, historic reenactors demonstrate authentic methods of colonial food preparation and preservation.

    Carrots, onions, broccoli, peas, almost any vegetable can be dried. I found the most comprehensive list of which vegetables to use and how to prepare them at Colorado State.

    mushrooms, Colonial Food Drying: Gardenista

    Above: Strung using a large needle and kitchen twine, fresh and dried mushrooms hang in the sun at Hartwell Tavern in Lincoln, MA.

    beans and mushrooms, Colonial Food Drying: Gardenista

    Above: Back home, we gathered supplies. Beans and mushrooms are easy to dry and are therefore a good option for beginners.

    stringing beans, Colonial Food Drying: Gardenista

    Above: With their small fingers, children are ideal candidates for stringing vegetables. They also really enjoyed it. Here, Oliver, 7, strings green beans. 

    string mushrooms, Colonial Food Drying: Gardenista

    Above: Solvi, 5, works on mushrooms.

    string vegetable to dry, Colonial Food Drying: Gardenista

    Above: After one strand each, Oliver and Solvi were still raring to go, so they switched vegetables and started again.

    stringing mushrooms and beans, Colonial Food Drying: Gardenista

    Above: There is almost nothing more charming than the sight of your children stringing vegetables. (Photo opps galore.)

    a sunny spot for drying, Colonial Food Drying: Gardenista

    Above: After our vegetables were strung, we simply found a sunny, dry spot (our kitchen window) in which to hang them. Then all you do is wait.

    apple pealing, Colonial Food Drying: Gardenista

    Above: A few days later we decided to try drying apples.

    dried beans, mushrooms and apples, Colonial Food Drying: Gardenista

    Above: After a couple of weeks we had dried food. The results, though not pretty, were still pretty satisfying.

    dried food bottled, Colonial Food Drying: Gardenista

    Above: Stored in sterilized antique canning jars, our dried vegetables should keep all winter.

    Colonial Housekeepers Companion, Colonial Food Drying: Gardenista

    Above: For more authentic colonial food preservation and other handy household tips, the folks at Minute Man National Park recommended the improved The Servant Directory or House-Keepers Campanion, available from G. Gedney Godwin, Inc.; $7.75. (When reading, it is helpful to note that the letters that look like f's are in fact s's.) 

    DIY: Dry Vegetables Like a Colonist

    Unlike my recent foray into colonial candle making, which was fun but labor-intensive, drying vegetables in the tradition of our fore-mothers was quite easy. 

    • First, procure fresh vegetables from a garden or farm stand. If you are growing beans, it is recommended that you leave them on the stem as long as possible. (As I learned from Blind Pig and the Acorn's excellent experiments with colonial foods: dried beans are also called "leather britches.")

    • Gently wash vegetables and thoroughly dry them; moisture may introduce mold. It is also recommended that you blanch vegetables such as beans to kill germs that can cause mold and decay.

    • Using a large needle, such as an embroidery needle, and some kitchen string or sturdy thread, begin stringing vegetables or fruit. Be sure to knot the ends so the food stays in place.
    • After your strand is complete, select a warm, well-ventilated, and moisture-free space in which to hang your vegetables. Many colonists selected a place in the kitchen or under the eaves in the attic. (Some websites even recommend the window of a car, parked in a sunny spot.) The idea is that it should be warm enough to dry the vegetables quickly, but not so fast that the outsides become hard and lock in moisture. Obviously, like anything, this involves some trial and error. But lucky us, ours turned out great the first time.
    • Drying time depends on the dryness of your spot. In my kitchen window, it took only two weeks. One of the reenactors at Hartwell Tavern said it took four weeks for her mushrooms to dry. 
    • Dried vegetables will look shriveled. Beans should be pretty hard, mushrooms and apples will still be spongy.
    • After your vegetables have dried, place them in a sterilized container and store in a dark, dry place.
    • Use the concentrated flavor of your dried vegetables in soups or casseroles all winter.

    Interested in more ways to prolong the shelf life of food? Try our recipe for Pickled Dilly Beans, explore methods of Preserving Roots in Sand, or try your hand at Canned Tomatoes.

    N.B.: This is an update of a post published November 6, 2013.

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    Over the weekend, we hosted a dinner party to welcome the fall, featured in The Dinner Party Project: Easy Weeknight Recipes. We built the menu using our favorites from Gardenista's trove of Garden-to-Table Recipes

    For our next dinner party, we want to feature someone else's favorite seasonal recipes: yours. Do you have a go-to succotash that makes everyone swoon? Did you inherit your grandmother's apple cake recipe? Did you create a genius side dish the other night from farmers' market finds?

    Send us your best fall recipes using the comments section below, today through next Friday, October 3.  We're looking for recipes for all courses, including cocktails, starters, salads, sides, main courses, and desserts. We'll pick one winner in each of those categories—then we'll make the dish, serve it at our next dinner party, and feature it in our next Dinner Party Project post. 

    A few things to keep in mind:

    • Think about the season: we know that seasonal produce varies by region, but we're in San Francisco and have a fairly temperate climate. We can handle most ingredients you would consider "fall."
    • Remember the "garden-to-table" mandate: we're eager for recipes that use at least one fresh ingredient from the garden or farmers' market. 
    • We'll host our next dinner in October (yes, around Halloween), but we're leaving the cookies shaped like witches' fingers and cocktails with floating fake eyeballs to Martha—so no need to send anything spooky.
    • Your recipe needn't be original. If it's taken from somewhere else but happens to be your favorite, tell us where you got it and we'll give credit where credit is due.

    Submit your favorite fall recipes—one or many—using the comments section below, today through Friday, October 3. Thanks for participating! 

    Fair's fair: here are a few of our fall favorites from the Gardenista Recipes archive to inspire you:

    Quinoa Nut Bars Recipe | Gardenista

    Above: Michelle has been known to hoard Quinoa Fruit and Nut Bars from blogger John Bek of He Needs Food. A cookie sheet that looked just like this one was wrested from her grip over the weekend.

    How to Make a DIY Bouquet Garni | Gardenista

    Above: An easy way to flavor any dish with broth: a bouquet garni. Erin Boyle points the way in DIY: How to Make a Bouquet Garni. Photograph by Erin Boyle

    Rose Geranium Tea Cake Recipe | Gardenista

    Above: Justine made a Victorian-inspired tea cake using leaves from her rose-scented geranium in Tea Cake with Meyer Lemons and Rose Geraniums. Photograph by Justine Hand.

    Raw Kale Salad Recipe | Gardenista

    Above: Michelle chose this kale and almond salad for her latest Recipe Roundup: 5 Favorite Garden-to-Table Salads. Photograph by Erin Boyle.

    All this cooking means we're spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Browse some of our favorite kitchen stories: Required Reading: The Forager's KitchenSteal This Look: Island Cabin Kitchen, and A Clever Kitchen Herb Rack from Austria.

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    Why are you spending your Saturdays raking? Think of autumn's colorful leaves as jewelry for the garden. To inspire you, here are 10 gardens that look particularly good draped in fall's colors—all from members of the Remodelista + Gardenista Architect/Designer Directory:

    McInturff Architects Pool and Garden, Color Changing Fall Autumn Leaves | Gardenista

    Above: Tall trees with yellow leaves preside over the infinity pool of a stacked-stone lodge-style house by Bethesda, Maryland-based McInturff Architects. An outdoor fire pit and lounge chairs linger nearby. For more from McInturff, see Let Twilight Linger: 10 Early Evening Gardens.

    Stephen Stimson Garden, Color Changing Fall Autumn Leaves | Gardenista

    Above: This Martha's Vineyard landscape by Stephen Stimson Associates was designed in collaboration with Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects to emphasize continuity between the indoors and out. New plants join features of the preexisting landscape in dialog with the house. Photograph by Roger Foley. For more from Stephen Stimson, see Landscape Architect Visit: A Very American Garden on Cape Cod

    Andrea Cochran Garden, Fall Autumn Leaves | Gardenista

    Above: This Geyserville, California landscape by Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture was once a prune packing facility and is now a mixed-use property for arts and commerce. Photograph by Marion Brenner. For more from Andrea Cochran, see Garden Visit: Andrea Cochran's Courtyard Vignettes

    Stephen Stimson Garden, Color Changing Fall Autumn Leaves | Gardenista

    Above: Stephen Stimson Associates designed the landscape of this farm near New Salem, New York, in the Hudson Valley. It sprawls over 50 acres and includes a pool, pond, and orchard. Existing stands of color-changing native woodland were preserved, and the grass plantings shown here are meant to conjure regional agriculture. Photograph by Charles Mayer. For more of this property, see Architects' Roundup: 10 Contemporary Farmhouse Gardens.

    XS Space Pool and Garden, Color Changing Fall Autumn Leaves | Gardenista

    Above: XS Space designed the landscape of this weekend house in Watermill, New York, using native plantings such as birch and maple trees and perennial grasses. It was designed in partnership with architects Khanna-Schultz and Summerhill Nursery to ensure the landscape is in step with the architecture of the property. 

    Coen + Partners Garden, Color Changing Fall Autumn Leaves | Gardenista

    Above: Minneapolis-based Coen + Partners revitalized the landscape of a historic home on Lake Minnetonka, MN, where the landscape was overgrown and no longer in step with an ongoing modern architectural renovation. The client wanted to maintain the shape of the historic landscape while creating a modern, art-centric landscape. For more from Coen, see Ultimate Luxury: 10 Favorite Fountains and Garden Water Features

    Susan Wisniewski Garden, Color Changing Fall Autumn Leaves | Gardenista

    Above: Susan Wisniewski Landscape designed the gardens of this home in Bedford Hills, New York, in partnership with architect Kroeger Woods Associates. For more from Wisniewski, see The Grandes Dames: 10 Stately Gardens from the Gardenista Gallery

    Deborah Nevins Garden, Color Changing Fall Autumn Leaves | Gardenista

    Above: Though the house on this Midwest estate was designed in French reproduction style, the gardens do not follow suit. The landscape, designed by NYC-based Deborah Nevins and Associates, is modern with simple hedges and tree groves. For more, see Hedge Fun: At Home with Garden Designer Deborah Nevins

    Wirtz Garden in Belgium, Color Changing Fall Autumn Leaves | Gardenista

    Above: Wirtz International Landscape Architects designed this formal garden near Antwerp. Though the garden is heavily geometric, the color-changing hedges and trees soften the look. For more, see Secret Garden: The Wirtz Family at Home in Belgium

    McInturff Architects on Potomac River, Color Changing Fall Autumn Leaves | Gardenista

    Above: Fall colors completely surround a home on the Potomac River by Bethesda, Maryland-based McInturff Architects. The modern house features full-height windows from which residents can view the changing seasons. For more, see A Forest of Wood in Northern Virginia

    Read more from our directory members in Steal This Look: A Seaside Beauty in Marin; Steal This Look: Elegant French Country Compost Bins, and Secrets of Success: Winter Gardening from Seattle Urban Farm

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    Following the success of their first book, Vegetarian Everyday, David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl, founders of the popular vegetarian food blog Green Kitchen Stories, have just come out with a new book: Green Kitchen Travels. Inspired by years of traveling through 15 different countries and five continents during the first four years of their daughter Elsa’s life, the Stockholm-based couple share their favorite recipes from around the world (all of which they have tweaked for vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets). 

    Read on for a bonus recipe from the book:

    Green Kitchen Travels by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl | Gardenista

    Above: The couple's take on Italian antipasti: a plate of chioggia beet carpaccio and mint- and ricotta-stuffed cherry tomatoes.

    Green Kitchen Travels by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl | Gardenista

    Above: "The recipes in this book are different from many other travel-inspired cookery books because our approach to food and cooking is healthy, natural, and green," they write.

    Green Kitchen Travels, David Frenkiel, Luise Vindahl, Green Yoga Smoothie | Remodelista

    Above: A green yoga smoothie, with layers of green vegetables and red berries, was inspired by a trip to Barcelona. See recipe below. 

    Green Kitchen Travels by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl | Gardenista

    Above: The book includes a chapter on traveling with children with helpful tips garnered from experience. 

    Green Kitchen Travels, David Frankiel and Luise Viendahl | Gardenista

    Above: "Even though cultures, ingredients, methods, and flavors may be very different around the world, the people who are genuinely interested in food seem to have a special connection and are always the friendliest in town," they write. 

    Green Kitchen Travels, David Frankiel and Luise Viendahl | Gardenista

    Above: Green Kitchen Travels by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl is published by Hardie Grants Books. The book is available in the US for $22.36 at Amazon.

    Green Yoga Smoothie

    Serves 2


    • 1 ripe mango, peeled and flesh cut off stone, discarded (thawed frozen is fine too)
    • Juice of ½ lemon
    • 2.5 cm (1 in) fresh ginger or ½ teaspoon ground ginger
    • 2 handfuls leafy greens of your choice  (spinach, kale, chard, etc.)
    • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
    • 2 teaspoons barleygrass powder or grass powder of your choice (optional)
    • 250 ml (8½ ounces) natural coconut water or unsweetened plant milk
    • 1 large handful ice cubes
    • 200 g (1⅔ cups) fresh or thawed frozen raspberries, crushed

    Place all ingredients except the raspberries in a high-speed blender and mix until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust to your preference. Spoon the raspberries into two jars or glasses, pour the green smoothie over, and serve with a spoon.

    Tip: Start with 1 teaspoon barleygrass powder per person and work your way up to 1 tablespoon.

    Inspired to cook seasonally? At Meredith's recent Dinner Party Project: Easy Weeknight Recipes, she built the dinner party's menu around our collection of Garden-to-Fall Recipes

    On Remodelista, we create an Easy DIY: Herb Drying Rack for the Kitchen

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    Name a construction material—wood, zinc, copper, iron, tin, ceramic, terra cotta, wire—and no doubt someone somewhere has made a window box from it (I once saw beautiful window boxes made out of rubber tote bags). Which one is right for your window?

    No matter what you choose, the box should be rot resistant and strong. A wide box filled with plants can weigh hundreds of pounds when soil is wet. Even lightweight soil mixtures designed for containers still require a strong box (don't forget about those pushy plant roots). A flimsy container will sag and even break under the weight.

    We've mapped out the pros and cons of common window box materials to make your decision easier. 

    N.B.: This is the second part of our series on window boxes. Before you choose a material for window boxes, select a style and calculate the proper size. See last week's Hardscaping 101: Window Boxes to get started.


    Black Window Boxes Brooklyn, Gardenista

    Above: Elegant black window boxes on a Brooklyn Heights townhouse. Photograph by Ann Althouse via Flickr. 

    A traditional and attractive window box material that goes well with most architectural styles, wood is a good choice if you're building custom sized boxes. Soft woods such as pine are prone to rot. Consider more resistant woods such as cypress, cedar, redwood, and teak. An advantage of wood is that it can be painted. However if water from the soil inside the box saturates the wood, the paint may bubble and peel away. Place a plastic liner inside the box to prevent rot and water damage.

    Pros: Attractive. Goes well with most styles of architecture. Can be painted. Can be built to fit any size window.

    Cons: Prone to rot and has a shorter lifespan than boxes of other materials unless you add a metal or plastic liner. Vulnerable to insect damage. Heavy.


    Above: Bulbs in a wooden window box in Brooklyn. For more on wooden window boxes, check out our post 10 Easy Pieces: Wooden Window Boxes. Photograph by Erin Boyle.

    Window Box with Cabbage and Kale by Debra Prinzing, Gardenista

    Above: Wooden window box filled with cabbages and kale at Jayson Home and Garden. Photograph by Debra Prinzing.

    Terra Cotta:


    Above: Before planting in terra cotta boxes, such as the handmade Italian Cassetta Finestra boxes (from £95 to £325 at Italian Terrace), soak them in water. That way they won't absorb all the water you intend to give your new plants. For more on terra cotta boxes, see Design Sleuth: Terra Cotta Window Boxes.

    Terra cotta window boxes are made of unglazed earthenware. They were used by ancient Romans and look fantastic with Mediterranean architecture. However, they tend to be quite pricy and, if you water them in the winter, are prone to crack. Use these if you have space to bring them inside in cold weather or if you are lucky enough to live in a climate that is warm all year. Terra cotta is porous, which means it dries out quickly in hot weather; be prepared to water plants as necessary.

    Pros: Beautiful. Breathable. Natural.

    Cons: Expensive. Heavy. Can crack in freezing temperatures. 


    aged zinc window boxes from the balcony gardener; Gardenista

    Above: Aged Zinc Window Boxes are from £16.50 to £35.95 depending on size from The Balcony Gardener. For more on metal window boxes, check out our post 10 Easy Pieces: Metal Window Boxes

    Window boxes made of aluminum are rust proof and lightweight. Copper is beautiful and forms an attractive patina over time. However, it is extremely expensive. If your windows get bright sun all day, it's a good idea to avoid dark-colored or solid metal boxes; they will heat up and become ovens that bake plants. 

    Pros: Will not rot. Not subject to insect damage. Strong and durable. Attractive.

    Cons: Prone to dents. Expensive. Rust can be a problem.

    Galvanized metal window box, Gardenista  

    Above: Made of 24-gauge steel, a 48-inch-long Galvanized Trough Planter has a slim profile at only 5 inches wide and 4 inches deep. Suitable for indoor or outdoor use, it's $128 from Terrain.

    Composite PVC:

    Frequently made of recycled wood products, these are materials that chemically combine wood and plastic. Wood dust or fiber and recycled plastic are common ingredients. Manufacturers claim products made from composite PVC have the attributes of both wood and plastic with none of the drawbacks. In other words, unlike wood they resist water damage, and unlike plastic they are strong. 

    Pros: Will not rot. Can be painted. Available in many styles.

    Cons: Can be expensive.

    Fiberglass and Resin:

    Resin Terra Cotta Look Window Box, Gardenista

    Above: The resin Eloquence Window Box in a weathered stone finish looks like terra cotta. Starts at $22 (depending on size) at Windowbox Small Space Gardens.

    Window boxes made of fiberglass and resin resist moisture damage, are very strong and are lightweight. Available in many styles and shapes, resin boxes often mimic the look of natural materials such as terra cotta but without the weight and fragility. There is a range of material compositions available, some mixing clay, limestone, and other natural substances with fiberglass and resin. They can be painted without the worry that the paint will readily peel. They will not rust or corrode and, with careful handling, are quite durable. Secure mounting is very important because fiberglass resin boxes are so lightweight that they can become flying projectiles in high winds.

    Pros: Will not rot. Can be painted. Available in many styles. 

    Cons: Non-porous so adequate drainage must be ensured. Expensive. 

    Black Resin Windowbox, Gardenista

    Above: The ResinStone Classic Window Box is available in several finishes, including black; $169 at Amedeo Design.

    Modern Resin Windowbox, Gardenista

    Above: Limestone? Steel? No, resin. The Modern ResinStone Window Box is $169 at Amedeo Design.

    Ready to plant? Here are some posts that can help: Magic Trick: The Invisible Window BoxDIY Patio Planter: Dark and Stormy Shades and DIY Planters: Tough Beauties

    Tiny Trees for WInter Window Box, Gardenista

    Above: Plants for your window box can include Tiny Trees to Last All Season. Photograph by Erin Boyle

    Window boxes are a great way to add curb appeal. Michelle has Ten More Ways to Add Curb Appeal for Under $100.

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    If you count all the hours we allot to plumping pillows, smoothing sheets, straightening shams, and fussing over how the whole thing looks, we spend as much time on our beds as in them. Yet the results never look as good as pictures in magazines. Enough already. I am a busy person and so are you. Here's a foolproof system to make a bed inviting enough to make it hard to say goodbye each morning:

    For tips on bed-making (and a philosophical discussion about what the state of your bed says about you), I turned to Tricia Rose, a bedding expert who owns Rough Linen and has given a lot of thought to the topic.

    "Virtually any bed looks beautiful if it has a woman lying naked in it, on her side, seen from behind, with a sheet carelessly draped across her bottom," Tricia said.

    "I could try that, I suppose, but I don't know if it's sustainable," I said. "What about on days I have to go into the office? How can I make it look good then?"

    "Easy," she said. "You have to get to the heart of it—what is your bedroom for?"

    Domestic dispatches michelle slatalla bed making secrets ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Debi Treloar.

    Your bedroom is the most private room in the house, and it should be the most personal. Your bed should feel like the ultimate sanctuary and make you happy every time you get into it. "Show-off-y beds are a thing of the past," Tricia said.

    So are fussy pillows—remember the era of "my husband has to throw 14 tiny pillows onto the floor so he can get into bed?" It's over. Instead:

    Secret No. 1: Get the right pillows. By all means keep your favorite pillow—the flat, dingy one you've been carting around since childhood because it has just the right squish factor to lull you to sleep—but also invest in a pair of beautiful goose down pillows. On her bed Tricia has a White Goose Down Pillow; available in standard, queen, and king sizes at prices ranging from $104.99 to $172.49 at Warm Things.

    Goose down pillows will look plump and make your bed look welcoming no matter whether you lay them flat or prop them against the headboard. "Some people do pillows like a stack of pancakes and others like magazines in a rack that faces forward, and either looks good," said Tricia.

    Above: A set of standard size Garment-Dyed Linen Pillowcases is $65 and a Garment-Dyed Linen Flat Sheet is available in 18 colors; from $55 to $109 depending on size at Restoration Hardware.

    Secret No. 2: Buy a bolster. Then push it up against the headboard and leave it there. A twill 30-inch-long Bolster Cover is available in eight colors for from $39 to $89 and a 30-inch-long Synthetic Bolster Insert is $26; both from Pottery Barn.

    "If you read in bed, having a bolster to fill in that horrible corner where the mattress meets the headboard, feels so much better," said Tricia. "And it's no work at all, because you don't touch it. You don't have to move it to make the bed in the morning. It stays put."

    Above: Bed linens made of linen; a  Pure Belgian Linen Sheet ($154 for queen size) and a lightweight Summer Cover ($220 for a queen size) are available from Rough Linen.

    Secret No. 3: Instead of cotton sheets and pillow cases, put linen on your bed. (After all, this category of textiles is called bed linens for a reason.) "What I love about linen is you can stand at the end of the bed and with both hands go 'flick," and it looks beautiful, wrinkles and all," Tricia said. "It doesn't have to be perfectly smooth or perfect at all, because linen already is perfect."

    Linen linens look good even when mussed. But I have to point out this is not the way I was taught to make a bed. Housekeeping had very strict rules. My mother ironed bed sheets and taught me to make hospital corners before she taught me to read. On each bed: a fitted sheet, a top sheet, a blanket, a quilted bedspread, and two pillows. She folded back the spread, precisely placed pillows on it, then re-folded. Bed making took about 10 minutes, and the result looked like a dead body was lying under the spread at the head of the bed.

    How did your mother make the bed? Prepare yourself emotionally for Tricia's next suggestion; my mother (and probably yours) would consider it heresy:

    Shaker peg rails at High Road House, a London hotel, Remodelista

    Above: Photograph via High Road House.

    Secret No. 4: Ditch the fitted sheet and instead tuck in a flat sheet around the mattress. "Fitted sheets are an excrescence," said Tricia. "Mattresses are all different depths. Fitted sheets never fit properly and they never look good." Instead, she suggests, use a big flat sheet—if necessary, buy one that's a size larger than your mattress—and tuck it tightly around the mattress.

    (Fitted sheet or no? Where do you stand on the subject? Tell us in the comments section below.)

    Above: A generously sized Flat Sheet big enough to be tucked in all around the mattress is available in five sizes at prices ranging from $140 to $220 from Rough Linen.

    Housekeeping is a personal thing. Next to religion, I can't think of a topic on which I have stronger opinions. (Don't get me started on bleach.) Your mother, like mine, knew how to make hospital corners. Perhaps you still employ this technique every time you make a bed. If not, re-learn; eighteen-year-old Army recruits can do it. Here's a Basic Training Video to refresh your memory.

    Secret No. 5: You don't need a top sheet. Instead, stuff a comforter inside a duvet cover (preferably a linen one) and let the cover do the job of a sheet. "The only function of a top sheet, if you have a duvet, is to wrap itself around your legs while you sleep and to become untucked," said Tricia.

    Bonus: by eliminating a top sheet, you will be able to make the bed faster and more easily in the morning.

    Above: A White Goose Down Comforter is from $338 to $568 depending on size and a Down-Alternative Comforter is from $118 to $148 depending on size from Garnet Hill.

    Secret No. 6: Buy the right size comforter insert to stuff inside the duvet cover. "The silly thing is there isn’t a standard for the sizes of duvet infills, so you can't just buy 'queen' or 'king' and be done with it; you have to measure your duvet cover," said Tricia. "To fill it up, buy an infill that is at least two or three inches larger. You can even buy one that's six inches larger, and the infill should mush nicely in there." On Tricia's bed is a Down Comforter from Warm Things.

    Secret No. 7: Buy non-slip casters and place them under the feet of your bed to keep it from moving. Then you can lean against the headboard and read without fearing you will slide all over the room. Under her bed's legs, Tricia has placed a set of Non Slip Furniture Cups; they're $16.21 for a set of four from Wayfair.

    "This is all I have to do to make my bed look as good as if a naked woman were lying in it on her side?" I asked.

    "Well, to make it look nearly as good," Tricia said. For some things, there are no substitution.

    See more Domestic Dispatches for a Closet Cleanout: 10 Essential Clothing Pieces and How to Care for a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree.

    N.B.: This is an update of a post published March 18, 2013 during Loft Living week.

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    I made this recipe for three reasons. One, I wanted to try a recipe from the cookbook we recently reviewed, Bitter. Two, I had just made fresh red pasta, colored with beets, and was seeking a sauce that wouldn't clash with the earthy flavor. And three, I wanted a sauce that would show off my pretty red pasta (pink, when cooked). 

    In no time, I settled on Jennifer McLagan's recipe for Radicchio with Gorgonzola Pasta Sauce, though I had yet to learn the real reasons I—and you—should make this sauce. Reason four: it's easy. Really easy. Aside from pasta, salt, and pepper, there are three ingredients. And finally, reason five: it's delicious, and an impressive dish that suggests—not requires—hard work.

    Photography by Meredith Swinehart

    Radicchio and Gorgonzola Pasta Sauce from The Dinner Party Project | Gardenista

    Above: Bright plum radicchio darkens to deep purple, and red pasta fades to pink—in all, a pretty color combination.

    Ingredients for Radicchio and Gorgonzola Pasta Sauce from The Dinner Party Project | Gardenista

    Above: The recipe calls for only six ingredients: cheese, cream, radicchio, salt, pepper, and pasta. Radicchio—healthy, crunchy, and bitter—is a needed counterpoint to the recipe's cream and cheese. Interestingly, so is the freshly ground pepper; it adds a lot to this dish.

    Fresh Red Pasta with Dried Pasta from Radicchio and Gorgonzola Pasta Sauce from The Dinner Party Project | Gardenista

    Above: I used fresh linguine because I had it on hand. Learn how to make fresh red pasta in Garden-to-Table Recipe: Colorful Fresh Pasta

    Recipe: Radicchio and Gorgonzola Pasta Sauce from The Dinner Party Project | Gardenista

    Above: The extent of the cooking required in this recipe: melt it all together. 

    Radicchio and Gorgonzola Pasta Sauce from The Dinner Party Project | Gardenista

    Above: The dish was met with rave reviews at the dinner table. 

    Radicchio and Gorgonzola Pasta Sauce

    Serves 4 as an appetizer


    • 10-1/2 ounces penne (or other pasta)
    • 1 cup whipping cream
    • 3-1/2 ounces Gorgonzola dolce cheese, diced
    • 3-1/2 ounces radicchio leaves
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • Sea salt

    Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta, stir, and return to a boil. Adjust the heat so the water boils gently and cook the penne until al dente.

    While the pasta is cooking, pour the whipping cream into a frying pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue to boil until the cream thickens slightly and reduces to about 2/3 cup. Add the cheese, lower the heat, and stir until melted. 

    Rinse and dry the radicchio and chop finely. Add to the sauce and stir until the leaves soften and change color. Season with salt and pepper. Drain the pasta and add to the pan, toss to coat with the sauce, and serve. 

    Still in the mood to cook? See Gardenista's trove of Garden-to-Table Recipes, including DIY: Rose Petal HoneyPumpkin Soup with an Unexpected Twist, and From Garden to Party: The 7 Best Holiday Cocktails

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    It always throws me for a loop to see the first fall apples appear among the last of the summer stone fruits at our farmers' market in Rhode Island.  Apples and peaches belong to two distinctly separate seasons in my mind...and yet, there is no denying the way fall creeps in, pushing the last remaining summer days along their merry way.

    Despite the fact that fall leads us into winter, which is not for the faint of heart here in New England, it is a season of beauty: changing leaves, apple picking, hay rides. and pumpkin carving. Our family loves to welcome fall with a visit to our favorite Rhode Island U-Pick orchard, Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown.  

    Photography by Christine Chitnis for Gardenista.

    Apple picking orchard Sweet Berry Farm RI Christine Chitnis ; Gardenista

    Above: We make a day of it, driving through the beautiful farmland, stopping at beaches, and finally making our way to the farm to grab lunch from the farm stand.


    Above: Then we head out to the fields to fill our baskets with every variety of apple imaginable.

      Apple picking Sweet Berry Farm orchard RI Christine Chitnis ; Gardenista

    Above: Sweet Berry Farm is in Middletown, Rhode Island (about a 45-minute drive south from Providence.

    Apple picking orchard Sweet Berry Farm RI Christine Chitnis ; Gardenista

    Above: The season begins with "summer apple" varieties such as McIntosh, Ginger Gold and Gala, and continues through late October with favorites such as Honeycrisp, Cameo, Ida Red and a host of others.  

      Apple picking orchard Sweet Berry Farm RI Christine Chitnis ; Gardenista

    Above: While apple picking is normally difficult for young children given the height of the trees, the trees at Sweet Berry Farm are grafted low to the ground to allow little ones to reach the apples.  

    Apple picking orchard Sweet Berry Farm RI Christine Chitnis ; Gardenista

    Above: The effect is visually stunning, with apples growing from the grass and reaching towards the sky.

      Apple picking orchard Sweet Berry Farm RI Christine Chitnis ; Gardenista

    Above: In addition to apples, Sweet Berry Farm offers a variety of U-Pick options throughout the growing season, as well as cut flower bouquets and a bustling market stand with prepared food and locally made ice cream.

      Apple picking orchard Sweet Berry Farm RI Christine Chitnis ; Gardenista

    Sweet Berry Farm practices Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), which ensures food safety and Integrated Pest Management.  These practices involve many biological techniques which allow the farm to be low to no spray.  In fact, the majority of their crops are pesticide free, which makes this an even smarter visit for families.

      Apple picking orchard Sweet Berry Farm RI pumpkins gourds Christine Chitnis ; Gardenista

    Above: While we pay our first visit in September, we're sure to return throughout October to pick pumpkins and late fall apple varieties.

      Simmons Farm RI Christine Chitnis ; Gardenista

    Above: On our way home from Sweet Berry Farm, we always pay a visit to Simmons Farm (also in Middletown). where the kids can pet and feed sheep, horses, goats, ducks and chickens.

    Above: For hours, driving directions, and more information, see Sweet Berry Farm.

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