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Sourcebook for Cultivated Living

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    Claire Basler lives and works in a former schoolhouse in Les Ormes, on the outskirts of Paris, where she creates enormous floral arrangements on a daily basis as the subject of her large-scale paintings.

    Basler, who studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, spent hours in the Louvre, observing classic masterpieces, and was inspired by French 18th century painting, Watteau in particular. "In her garden, she witnesses nature's fight for life against the wind, the rain, and the sun," according to the Telegraph. "This is what Claire Basler portrays in her paintings: the strength and frailty of a flower, the reassuring nature of a tree, the metamorphosis of a simple poppy." To read more, go to Roseland Art & Decoration. Photos via Claire Basler


    Above: Basler's home is a former schoolhouse.


    Above: Basler at work in her studio.

    Above: Basler creates her daily floral arrangements from her own gardens.


    Above: Still life with hydrangeas.

    Above: Basler at work.

    Above: Tools of the trade.

    Above: Basler's library, with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.


    Above: Wall murals by Basler in the music room.


    Above: In the dining room, a mantel is painted an unexpected shade of green.


    Above: A row of Ikea Maskros pendants. 


    Above: Green dining chairs echo the room's palette.

    Above: Basler's kitchen is painted a sunny yellow.

    Above: A pair of Artemide Tolomeo lights illuminates the study.

    Above: Basler's bedroom is pared down and simple.


    Above: Murals in a bedroom.


    Above: Basler's work is inspired by the natural landscape.

    For more of our favorite artists at work, see:

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    Victorian lovers sent coded messages to each other via houseplants (a gift of a scented geranium meant "let's rendezvous"). We're all for reviving the secret language of floriography on Valentine's Day:

    (Prefer to send flowers? See our 11 Best Sources for Online Flowers for Valentine's Day.)

    For Star-Crossed Lovers: Cyclamen

    Cyclamen houseplants Valentine's Day ; Gardenista  

    Above: The Victorians ascribed specific meanings to different kinds of plants. The sharp quill shape of cyclamen may have had something to do with the fact that one lover sent it to another to say, "Au revoir." If your intent is to say goodbye, break the news gently with a Turkish Hardy Cyclamen; $14 from Plant Delights.

    To Rendezvous: Pelargonium

    Scented pelargonium Valentine's Day houseplant ; Gardenista

    Above: The leaves of a scented pelargonium are as fragrant as a rose. Choosing one is like picking perfume: different varieties of scented pelargoniums smell like peppermint, orange, nutmeg, rose, lime, apple, lemon balm, and French lace. Photograph via Babes in Boyland.

    Victorians sent a nutmeg pelargonium to say, "Let's arrange a meeting." You too can rendezvous: a Nutmeg Scented Pelargonium is $5.50 from Mountain Valley Growers.

    To Pay a Compliment: Orchid

    Sharry Baby hanging orchid Valentine's Day romantic houseplant ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Sophia Moreno-Bunges.

    Victorians sent orchids to express love or to acknowledge beauty. Send Sharry Baby (an easy-to-grow Oncidium orchid known for having long-lasting sprays of small flowers) to say, "You look lovely to me."  A Mature Blooming Size Sharry Baby Orchid is $24.99 from Amazon.

    To Declare Yourself: Virginia Blue Fern

    hardy blue fern | gardenista

    Above: A fern signaled sincerity to the Victorians. Declare your good intentions with the soft green foliage and amiable nature (it will tolerate more indirect sunlight than many ferns) of a Virginia Blue Fern; $3.99 from Josh's Frogs. Photograph by Erin Boyle.

    For Faithfulness: Violet

    African violets Valentines plants ; Gardenista

    Above: Are you ready for an exclusive relationship? Declare yourself with a violet, a flower the Victorians associated with faithfulness.  African violets are especially Valentine-appropriate: Cupid's Jewel, with pale plum flowers and quilted leaves, is $7.49; Old-Fashioned Love with a fringed fuchsia petal is $8.49, and Rob's Love Bite with deep red miniature flowers is $7.99. All are available from specialty grower Lyndon Lyon.

    To Renew Vows: Cactus

    Hoya sweetheart cactus Valentine's Day ; Gardenista

    Above: Victorians sent a cactus to honor endurance; if you're approaching a milestone anniversary, a heart-shaped Hoya Sweetheart Cactus ($38 in a stoneware clay pot from The Sill) will say, "I'm still crazy about you."

    For Undercover Lovers: Maidenhair Fern

    Maidenhair fern romantic houseplant Valentine's Day ; Gardeniista

    Above: Photograph by Erin Boyle.

    To 19th century lovers, a maidenhair fern meant discretion. If you're keeping your affair a secret from prying co-workers, a Himalayan Maidenhair Fern sitting on your beloved's desk will give nothing away; $15 from Plant Delights. 

    To Rekindle Love: Lily of the Valley

    Gardenista 2013 Considered Design Awards Indoor Garden

    Above: If you just got back together after a breakup, take a page from the Victorians' book and send potted Lily of the Valley to mark a "return of happiness." A kit of 12 Lily of the Valley Pips Plus Potting Soil is $29.95 from White Flower Farm. 

    For Mom: Moss

    Moss houseplant in a pot Valentine's Day ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Emmy Made in Japan.

    Moss symbolized maternal love in the Victorian era. To pick a variety to give to your mother, see our favorites in 10 Easy Pieces: The Most Magical Mosses. Or get her a Moss Bottle Terrarium Kit ($40 from Bambeco).

    For a Shoulder to Lean On: Juniper

    Bonsai potted juniper houseplant ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Kitka.

    Juniper trees symbolized protection to an earlier era of lovers. If you are offering shelter or a shoulder to lean on, a Bonsai Juniper Tree is $12.48 from Amazon and larger Green Mound Juniper Bonsai Tree is $29 from Brussels Bonsai.

    For more ideas for Valentine's Day houseplants, see:

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    Snow Indoors with White Cyclamen

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    Just add water and watch love grow this Valentine's Day, with a heart-shaped love note that Austrian graphic designer Julian Hagan has embedded with seeds to grow microgreens:

    Photography via Crowdy House.

    DIY grow heart shape microgreen sprouts seed sprouting paper; Gardenista

    Above: Leafling Growing Paper is 12.90€ per sheet via Crowdy House.

    Hagan's sheets of handmade paper are embedded with seeds arranged in a shape—in addition to a heart, all the letters of the alphabet are available.

    DIY grow heart shape microgreen sprouts seed sprouting paper; Gardenista

    Above: The paper can be composted after harvest.

    DIY grow heart shape microgreen sprouts seed sprouting paper; Gardenista

    Above: To germinate, add water and put the sheet of paper in a sunny spot. To harvest the edible microgreens, just snip.

    Are you looking for a more traditional Valentine's Day gift? See:

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    Known for its 24 idiosyncratically decorated rooms where erotic photos mingle with the rest of the art on the wall, the Hotel Amour at the edge of Paris' historically racy Pigalle district also has one of the most romantic courtyard restaurants in the City of Love. (If you go for brunch on Valentine's Day, order the pommes Darphin.)

    Photographs via Hotel Amour except where noted.

    Hotel Amour Paris by Matthew Williams ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Matthew Williams.

    Designed by and for hipsters who like primary-color bedrooms and flea-market furniture finds, the hotel occupies the former site of a notorious brothel. In an homage to the history of the red-light district, the neon sign is a certain shade of lipstick.

    Hotel Amour Courtyard restaurant ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Hotel Amour.

    In the courtyard café, the chairs are vintage.

    Vertical garden plant wall Hotel Amour Paris ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Lostncheeseland via Flickr.

    Pothos vines hang low enough to introduce themselves to the condiments


    Above: Photograph via Hotel Amour.

    Tables for two.


    Above: Photograph via Lostncheeseland via Flickr.

    Inside the hotel, the rooms have been designed by avant-garde artists and designers including Pierre Le Tan, Alexandre de Betak, Marc Newson, Sophie Calle, and Stak. Two of the rooms have large outdoor terraces.

    Hotel Amour Paris courtyard garden restaurant ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Half Girl via Flickr.

    Wine at lunch, yes. Booster seat for bébé? No. As the hotel says of itself, it's "a more appropriate place to make babies than to bring them." 


    Above: Photograph via Lostncheeseland via Flickr.

    By day, the courtyard attracts aspiring bohemians and fashionistas in search of greenery and shade.


    Above: Photograph via Lostncheeseland via Flickr.

    Who doesn't look better by candlelight?

    Wondering what the hotel rooms look like? For more of the Hotel Amour, see Escape to Love: The Hotel Amour in Paris on Remodelista.

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    Today online magazine Freunde von Freunde publishes an exclusive interview (and apartment visit) with Brooklyn architect and designer Huy Bui, who is building a new kind of terrarium to solve a dilemma many city dwellers have: not enough space. No wonder the plants in his Williamsburg studio look so happy:

    Photography by Emily Johnston courtesy of Freunde von Freunden.


    Above: Bui is building stackable wooden boxes to house plants to save space, an idea he got from highrise buildings with floor after floor of stacked apartments. "Why can’t we stack plants? We have to go vertical. That’s the baseline idea," he said. For the full interview and story by Shoko Wanger, see Freunde von Freunden.


    Above: "Plant life is very mysterious, very unpredictable," Bui told Freunde von Freunden. "In my shop, I have a full-spectrum LED light and all the plants below it are leaning in its direction."

    Bui's Plant-In City Air Terrarium is 195€ from Freunde von Freunden.


    Above: Bui, founder of HB Collaborative design studio, also is the co-founder (along with his brother) of An Choi Vietnamese Eatery on Manhattan's Lower East Side.


    Above: A former real estate banker (who majored in finance in college), Bui was expected to eventually take over his father's banking company. But he decided after six years in the business that it wasn't for him. "The people I was working with were spending lots of money to live a certain kind of life, and I thought, I can’t do this. I can’t get used to this. It didn’t feel right," he told Freunde von Freunden

    Freunde von Freunden Huy Bui Williamsburg, NY  ; Gardenista

     Above: Bui's road from banking to becoming a creative involved grad school, a serendipitous decision to team up with his brother, and a move to Brooklyn. For the full interview, see Freunde von Freunden.

    For more Brooklyn creatives, see:

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    Metal edging is the little black dress of a garden: elegant, strong yet understated, tailored and timeless. A long-time design secret of professional landscapers, metal has edged its way into the amateur home garden to offer a clean-cut and practical solution to keep plants and materials in place.

    Is metal landscape edging right for your garden? Read on:

    Versailles France metal landscape edging garden beds ; Gardenista  

    Above: Metal edging is a staple of public gardens. It keeps the curvaceous grass designs contained in the gardens of Versailles on the outskirts of Paris. Photograph by Gilles Boustany via Flickr. 

    What are the benefits of metal edging?

    Metal edging works hard without calling much attention to itself. This unassuming material offers many benefits:

    • Creates a clean separation between garden beds, grass, paths, and driveways using little space and and minimizing visual distraction.
    • Prevents migration of garden materials such as gravel and mulch.
    • Particularly effective at keeping grass from creeping into adjacent beds and paths. 
    • Will not rot, crack, chip, or become brittle in cold weather.
    • Stays put, resisting ground movement most often created from extreme weather conditions such as excessive rains or frost heave.
    • Won't sustain damage from garden maintenance tools.

    Metal landscape edging Brooklyn garden ; Gardenista

    Above: Metal edging is strong enough to stay rigid for installations where clean straight lines and geometric designs are desired. Foras Studio used metal edging around planting beds and pathways in a geometric Brooklyn garden. For more of this garden, see Steal this Look: Modern Brooklyn Backyard on a Budget

    Black metal landscape edging bluestone path ; Gardenista

    Above: Black metal landscape edging runs alongside a garden path of bluestone pavers. For more, see Hardscaping 101: Bluestone. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.

    What metal is most commonly used for edging?

    For metal edging, the choice typically is between steel and aluminum.

    Steel is the stronger of the two. Despite its thin profile, it holds its shape, pushes back against eroding earth and ground movement, and won't bend under the pressure of a rogue car tire on a gravel driveway. 

    Rusted Steel Metal Edging, Gardenista

    Above: Steel edging is available with corrosion-resistant finishes or in unfinished form. Untreated, it starts out silver in color and develops a desirable rust patina that blends in well with any garden. Yes, it corrodes, but at such a slow rate that even in its thin form it takes something like 40 years to rust through. Photograph via Skemah.

    Heavy-gauge aluminum does not rust, making it an appealing choice for some. Because it is softer than steel, it is a good contender for curvaceous installations, but also more susceptible to dings. Aluminum lacks the strength of steel, which may not be an issue for most flat residential applications. 

    Metal landscape edging Brooklyn rooftop garden ; Gardenista

    Above: In Brooklyn, garden designer Julie Farris uses metal edging and river rocks to border the raised beds on her rooftop gardne. For more of her garden, see Garden Visit: Julie Farris' Rooftop Meadow in Brooklyn. Photograph by Sophia Moreno-Bunge for Gardenista.

    Metal Garden Edging Barbara Chambers Garden, Gardenista  

    Above: Much stronger than benderboard, metal edging offers a thinner profile, typically from 1 to 2 mm (about 1/8 inch thick). Because it is produced with a uniform thickness and weight, metal offers a structural strength not found in other materials. It can even be used as paver edging. Photograph by Nicole Franzen for Gardenista.

    How is metal edging installed?

    Metal edging typically comes in long strips (from 8 to 10 feet) that have overlapping connections. The standard heights range from 3 to 5 inches high, the choice of which depends on how much protrusion above the soil is desired. For stability and to best contain creeping grass roots, it is recommended to submerge metal edging, 2 to 3 inches below grade. This usually will allow a sufficient edge above ground to retain mulch or gravel.   

    Steel landscape metal edging garden beds ; Gardenista

    Above: To install, check your soil. If it’s fairly soft, you can simply use a wood block placed on top of the edging to pound it to the desired depth. If the soil is hard, first dig a slim trench in which to bury edging. Some metal edgings come with built-in anchors or slots for inserting metal stakes, which makes installation even easier.  Photograph via External Works.

    Peter Fudge Gardens Steel Edging, Gardenista

    Above: Installed low to the soil, metal edging can be mown over, eliminating the painstaking process of edging a lawn. Photograph via Peter Fudge Gardens.

    How much does metal edging cost, and where can I buy it?

    More expensive than benderboard or plastic edging products, metal edging is still an economical option. Part of its value rests in its longevity. For off-the-shelf metal edging, prices generally range from $2.50 to $6.50 per foot depending on thickness, height, the anchoring system, and brand. It can be found at home improvement stores, landscape suppliers, and online. Some of the major brands include Col-Met and Ever Edge for steel edging; Permaloc for aluminum; and Sure-Loc, which offers both aluminum and steel edging products.

    What if I like metal but prefer something more ornate to surround my garden beds?

    Cast iron edging for lawns and gardens has been around for centuries. Typically resembling small fencing in classically ornamental designs, cast iron edging is as easy to install, as durable, and as maintenance-free as low-profile metal edging. Looks come at a price; cast iron edging is far more expensive than standard metal edging. Consider sleuthing at garden and architectural salvage yards. 

    Metal landscape edging garden bed ; Gardenista

    Above: Belgian company Tradewinds offers a line of ornamental cast iron edging called the Bordurette

    Metal Garden Edging Recap


    • Durable and strong
    • Long lasting
    • Maintenance free
    • Easy to shape and install
    • Offers a clean and unobtrusive appearance
    • Fits into different landscape styles


    • Not a highly decorative garden element
    • Untreated steel edging will rust 

    Designing a garden path or a driveway? See our earlier posts:

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    Our favorites from the most recent Maison et Objet, Paris' pre-eminent design trade show: stylish new (or re-imagined) furniture and accessories for the spring garden. Here are our 15 discoveries:

    Planters and Pots

    Tradewinds Planter | Gardenista

    Above: The Tradewinds Cult Veg-a-tainer Planter, a raised bed made of galvanized steel and wood. The height makes it easy to harvest (and pull weeds) without having to stoop.

    Urban Mineral Pots at Maison Objet | Remodelista

    Above: The lightweight Urban Mineral Pot from Cotta d'Arte is available in shades of white, dark gray, and brown.

    Bacsac balcony planters ; Gardenista

    Above: French design studio Bacsac (maker of our favorite weightless garden pots) is adding new colors to the line this spring, including Avocado, Asphalt, and Cerise. Bacsac also is offering a new pair of adjustable straps to hang window boxes and planters from railings. A set of two Balcony Braces is 34€ from Bacsac.

    zinc ribbed planters ; Gardenista

    Above: British exterior design manufacturer Garden Trading exhibited ribbed zinc-plated steel planters. Named after the city in Provence that inspired the design, a pair of Vence Planters is £95.

    Karoo vertical garden wall modular planter kit ; Gardenista

    Above: Belgian designer D&M Depot debuted a new plug-and-play modular vertical garden wall kit (which comes with its own irrigation system). Each Karoo module can hold up to nine plants; for more information, see D&M Depot.

    Faux Plants and Flowers

    Faux cacti houseplants succulents ; Gardenista

    Above: Exhibitors were faux forward, with eerily lifelike cacti from UK design house Abigail Ahern drawing a crowd around the exhibitor's booth. What's driving the faux houseplant trend? Four things, Ahern says: plants add life to a room, soften spaces, can be used as room dividers, and create focal points (we agree, as our 10 Easy Pieces: Eerily Lifelike Faux Plants for the Home attests).

    Also spotted at the show: artificial flowers from Dutch homewares brand Decostar and faux green plants from Spanish designer Concoral.


    Tradewinds Brass Sprinkler | Remodelista

    Above: A vintage=style brass sprinkler with a rotating head, via Belgian company Tradewinds.

      Tradewinds Hose and Shower Storage | Remodelista

    Above L: Most genius hose storage solution ever? Above R: A portable shower on wheels is powered by your garden hose. Via Tradewinds

    Outdoor Furniture

    Honore Vintage Chair Serax | Gardenista

    Above: Designed by Annick Lestrohan for Serax, the Honore Chaise is 1,089 from Fonq. 

    Henry Dean Black Stool | Gardenista  

    Above: From Belgian glassmaker Henry Dean, a plastic version of the studio's iconic outdoor stool, available in black or white (as well as a range of rainbow colors). The Tsjomoloenga Stool is available for pre-order for $350 AU apiece from Pleine Nature.

    Wood and rope Nordic outdoor lounge chair ; Gardenista

    Above: Swedish design house Eco Furn is offering a traditional Nordic Lounge Chair made of wood and rope and available in three colors (weathered gray, natural, and brown). For more information and pricing, see Eco Furn.

    AA Clear Plastic Butterfly Chair | Gardenista

    Above: The AA Airborne Butterfly Chair, reimagined. 

    Les Toiles du Soleil Chair | Remodelista

    Above: The Rue du Bac Gris Teak Chair is $340 from Les Toiles du Soleil.

    Egg Shape Rattan Chair | Gardenista

    Above: A Hanging Ball Chair made of rattan is part of Norwegian design house HK Living's new collection "inspired by the past, but given an eclectic and contemporary twist. For more information and pricing, see HK Living.

    For more spring garden trends, see:

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    Some container plants are too much trouble. Not boxwood. It's easy to create curb appeal with this evergreen shrub because well-behaved box won't lose its leaves, outgrow its pot, or clash with other colors. Here are nine of our favorite ways to use boxwood as a container plant:

    1+1 Equation

    Boxwood planters curb appeal black paint windows ; Gardenista

    Above: Keep the look simple. One pot plus one boxwood ball: what equation could be easier? Containers of different heights with boxwood balls of varying diameters make a pleasing composition.

    Concerned about boxwood blight? Kendra has some suggestions about How to Eliminate Boxwood Blight.


    Twin symmetrical planters boxwood ; Gardenista

    Above: Sliding barn doors at Napa-based designer Barbara Colvin's Oakville home. Photograph via Heirloom Philosophy.

    Identical planters flank an entrance, a classic way to create a pleasing symmetry. As in a Renaissance painting, symmetry draws you in, instills balance, and creates depth and perspective. 

    For more garden design ideas using boxwood, see Gardenista Roundup: For the Love of Boxwood.


    Boxwood planters curb appeal black front door ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Woonstijl.

    Asymmetrical groupings of planters work well because they all repeat a single theme: boxwood. For more tips, see 11 Landscape Design Mistakes to Avoid in 2015.  

    Scatter Pattern

    Oliver Gustav's antiques shop Copenhagen ; Gardenista

    Above: Clipped boxwood adds formality to a garden. If you arrange planters haphazardly, you can avoid stuffiness and add an element of visual surprise.

    For more of this boxwood courtyard, see Shopper's Diary: Oliver Gustav in Copenhagen.

    Choose Wisely

    Boxwood green velvet ; Gardenista

    Above: Boxwood 'Green Velvet' is a hardy hybrid that holds a clipped shape easily; $14.95 for a 1-quart size from Wayside Gardens.

    There are more than 70 species of boxwood, of which the most common in Europe and the US is Buxus sempervirens.

    Varieties of Buxus sempervirens have widely different characteristics. For instance, 'Green Gem' is a slow grower and tolerates cold well. 'Green Mountain', which grows quickly and in a rounded cone shape, is a good choice for a hedge. 'Fastigiata' is tall and skinny with blue-tinged leaves. 'Suffruticosa' is the classic English box with soft, rounded leaves.

    In containers, consider planting miniature box. Varieties of Buxus microphylla include 'John Baldwin', which grows in a conical shape; 'Green Beauty', a good substitute for English box if you have full sun; and 'Green Pillow', with a dense and low growth pattern.

    A Shag Haircut

    Gwyneth Paltrow symmetrical twin planters Brentwood curb appeal ; Gardenista

    Above: In LA, Gwyneth Paltrow bought a Brentwood house where planters of unclipped boxwood soften the straight lines of the entryway. Photograph via Windsor Smith

    For our boxwood growing guide, see Field Guide: Boxwood.

    Clipping Service

    twin boxwood planters ; Gardenista  

    Above: Photograph via Wesseling.

    Boxwood is extremely easy going; you can clip it into balls—or into spheres, cones, or more fanciful shapes—and it will hold its shape for months.

    Feeling whimsical? To see how to shape a shrub into a boxwood bear or boxwood bird, visit a reader's Secret Garden: Fanciful Topiary in the Berkshires.

    Squares and Circles

    Curb Appeal twin boxwood planters ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design.

    Emphasize the geometry of a round boxwood ball by planting it in a square pot. If you're looking for simple wooden planters to complement the round shape of boxwood balls, see 10 Easy Pieces: Wooden Planters.

    Cloud Pruning

    Cloud prune boxwood ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Ivy Clad.

    For visual interest, place a planter  with a tightly clipped boxwood ball in the foreground against a backdrop of cloud pruned shrubs. For more on cloud pruning techniques, see 10 Garden Ideas to Steal from Japan.

    For more instant curb appeal, read 11 Ways to Add Curb Appeal for Under $100.

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    And, for more on container gardening, see:

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    For most urbanites, escaping the crowds means getting out of town. Unless the retreat is in your own backyard.

    Enter a garden cabin designed by architectural-salvage specialists, Adam Hills and Maria Speake, who own London-based salvage and design business Retrouvius. And while we marvel at its seamless incorporation of modern conveniences and patinated materials, it's the commute that makes the retreat every city dweller's fantasy. From the main house located off a lively intersection in Central London, it's a quick zip from the bedroom, a walk across a worn-timber bridge, and you're on vacation. Let's have a look around.

    Photography by Debi Treloar.

    Above: The structure, while considered a "new build," is filled with well-loved and well-worn objects and materials. A bridge made of rough-hewn wood leads to the cabin, situated directly across from the main house at the end of the garden. The famous London fog notwithstanding, light streams in from the sliding doors and above, thanks to three Velux windows-turned-skylights. 

    Above: During summer, the doors, repurposed from former chapel doors, slide open in accordion style to reveal an ensuite bedroom. In winter, heavy curtains made of antique patchwork and two modern radiators (hidden beneath a pair of salvaged church grills), keep the cabin toasty and insulated.  

    Above: The walls have a life of their own, with tongue-and-groove panels of variegated wood arranged in seemingly random fashion. Designed for a debonair man-about-town, George Lamb, there is built-in storage for books and shoes, made from old church pews. Similar Victorian Mirrors, starting at £45, are available to buy on Retrouvius' website. 

    Above: A reclaimed industrial sink in its original stand was selected by the experts at Retrouvius. The construction materials and furniture are one of a kind, or as Retrouvius  puts it, "due to the serendipity of salvage." The design house's website sells similar Timber, from £25 to £125 per square meter, and Industrial Storage Trolleys, ranging from £245 to £495.

    Above: Derbyshire limestone panels offer a cool contrast to the wood clad walls and point the way to the shower, which is in the same material.

    Above: Metal hooks at the entry keep clutter in the tiny cabin to a minimum.

    Above: Rather than blackout curtains, the designers opted for textiles in the same color as the bedroom in the main house, for a mirrored effect that ties in both structures.

    Above: Patchwork detail on the custom curtains.

    Above: Between the two structures is a set of concrete benches, surrounded by bamboo and ornamental grasses.

    For more high-design salvage projects rescued from what Retrouvius calls "the vagaries of demolition," read the book on the design studio Reclaiming Style: Using Salvaged Materials to Create an Elegant Home. And, for more imaginative uses of reclaimed materials, see our favorite examples here:

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    Palest pink is the Remodelista editors' new favorite color as they visit Paris and environs this week. They've discovered an under-the-radar destination for romance, blush-tinged tumblers, and pink velvet sofas:

    George Sherlock pink sofa ; Gardenista

    Above: Julie discovers that pink sofas are not just for girly girls in The Romance of the Pink Sofa.

    Loris Livia Picardie Glasses; Gardenista

    Above: Melted Picardie glasses are already tipsy (and No. 1 on the Remodelista editors' wish list for Valentine's Day).

    Linen works pink sheet ; Gardenista

    Above: Palest cassis rose is a color we just discovered—and now desperately need—thanks to Julie's Pale Pink Sheets Roundup.

    Cecile Deladier oyster party ; Gardenista

    Above: Alexa attends an oyster party at ceramics artist Cécile Deladier's Parisian atelier—and sources everything you need to throw a Parisian Oyster Party in this week's Steal This Look.

    For more of Deladier's city garden in Paris, see In the Garden and Atelier with Cécile Deladier.

    Olivier Chabaud Maison Villenne sur Seine ; Gardenista

    Above: Past meets present in France, as Christine tours A Future-Proof Renovation on the outskirts of Paris.

    Hotel Amour Paris by Matthew Williams ; Gardenista

    Above: When you're young, in love, and very hip: the Hotel Amour. May we suggest you Escape to Love, both indoors and out.

    Don't miss the rest of Remodelista's French Connection week. And catch up with everything you missed on Gardenista in The French Connection.

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    Here are a few things that obsessed us this week:

    e e cummings valentine's card ; Gardenista

    Bunny Guinness kitchen garden ; Gardenista

    Elderflower cocktails, floral cocktail recipes from Saveur | Gardenista

    Jane Austen family papers love letters ; Gardenista

    Instagram and Pinterest Pick of the Week

    Gardenista Instagram Pick of the Week: @jennikayne

    hellebores - gardenista

    Above: Pinterest user Franny Golightly has more than 400 pins in a Carpet of Flowers pinboard. 

    In the mood for love? Have a look at our week of making The French Connection issue and see Remodelista's week in France

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    When a young couple with a baby on the way moved into a 2,100-square-foot Spanish Colonial, LA designer Martha Mulholland created interiors that complement their Southern California garden. By mixing the clients' favorite heirlooms with eclectic finds, she created a comfortable backdrop for family life.

    But first, the curb appeal. Garden plants, including cacti and other succulents, are drought resistant and thrive in heat. Green plants soften the black and white palette of the house's facade. Let's take a tour: 

    Photography by Laure Joliet.

    Above: In addition to keeping the interiors cool, two black window awnings are an important visual element that adds interest to the low, L-shape facade. 

    Above: To the left of the window, a tall, spiny euphorbia is a succulent that masquerades as a cactus.

    Spanish stucco house curb appeal shade awning ; Gardenista

    Above: Two euphorbias flank the window, creating a symmetrical balance.

     Martha Mulholland LA stucco Spanish colonial house ; Gardenista

    Above: Inside the house, Mulholland combined the clients' existing furniture (treasured family pieces from Tennessee, including an 18th century grandfather clock) with a California modern look that they like—and turned it all into a casual, durable, and child-friendly setting.

     Martha Mulholland LA stucco Spanish colonial house ; Gardenista

    Above: The custom kitchen cabinets, painted in Benjamin Moore Amherst Gray, are a simple Shaker style with oil-rubbed bronze hardware.

     Martha Mulholland LA stucco Spanish colonial house ; Gardenista

    Above: The breakfast room overlooks the dining room and has built-in Shaker-style cabinets to serve as a visual extension of the kitchen. Vintage George Nelson steel frame chairs sit around a round oak dining table, a family heirloom the clients brought with them from Memphis.

     Martha Mulholland LA stucco Spanish colonial house ; Gardenista

    Above: "I love colored walls in a small room or a painted wood floor to make a jewel box out of a living space," Mulholland says. "In larger rooms, I tend to use color primarily in the accessories and textiles, like the emerald green curtains in the dining room." The curtains are Amba Dossett Organic Green fabric ($12.98 a yard from Fabric) and the Farm Table is from Nicky Kehoe.

     Martha Mulholland LA stucco Spanish colonial house ; Gardenista

    Above: "I love emerald green in interiors," Muholland says. "I feel like it's the next indigo and jump at the chance to use it. It's a difficult color to combine with, but I thought that the white walls and neutral woods in this room would make a fitting backdrop for dramatic color."

    Above: A Saltillo patio and stoop lead to the front door.

    For more of our favorite LA entryways, see:

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    Gardens are powerful things. As global warming exacerbates drought conditions worldwide, we're looking for ways that gardeners can make a difference. We're taking note of colorful drought tolerant gardens, Marfa minimalism, and curbside cactus.

    Join us for a week's worth of ideas about how to use your own garden—big or small—to help the environment:

    Table of Contents: Drought Week ; Gardenista

    Above: See 96 ways to use Succulents in the garden in our Gardenista Photo Gallery. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.



    Above: Drought tolerant doesn't mean devoid of color, as we learn in this week's Garden Designer Visit to Australia, where we discover hazy drifts of lavender at a rural retreat.


    Burro's tail succulent plant drought growing guide ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Cereal Magazine.

    Above: We've rounded up the best succulents to grow—they're hardy, happy, and low maintenance—in this week's 10 Easy Pieces. And our Growing Guide to Succulents has more tips to keep them alive.


    Tradewinds Brass Sprinkler | Remodelista

    Above: A brass vintage-style double sprinkler from Tradewinds.

    Above: We've discovered ten surprising ways to save water in the garden; read about them in  this week's Ask the Expert.


    Drought tolerant succulents-garden-design-los-angeles-agaves-gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Denise Maher.

    Above: Cactus at the curb; we'll dissect Garden Design details of a drive-by LA garden in this week's Garden Visit.


    Backyard room outbuilding drought tolerant garden Australia ; Gardenista

    Above: Margot discovers a prefab backyard outbuilding with a small footprint in our Outbuilding of the Week post.

    fire pit The Capri Ten Eyck ; Gardenista

    Above: We're sleuthing to discover the 11 best Garden Ideas to Steal from drought resistant gardens. Explore ideas with our 10 Easy Pieces: Fire Pits and Bowls.

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    Sydney-based garden designer Peter Fudge has never been fazed by the fact that Australia is the driest continent in the world. For nearly 25 years, he has created hazy, romantic gardens with drifts of color—which require almost no water. Our favorite is his study in lavender:

    Photography via Peter Fudge Gardens.


    Above: Known for his love of French gardens and symmetry, Fudge re-interprets the formality of Versailles—without the fussiness—to create a modern drought-tolerant garden with parterres, mirror-image garden beds, and drifts of color.


    Above: Fudge likes to plant drifts of lavender to create a loose border. Here olive trees are underplanted with lavender; tightly clipped boxwood balls add formality.


    Above: The view from the front porch is of symmetrical garden beds bordered by paths of large stone pavers set in decomposed granite, a permeable design to capture and recycle water. For more about permeable paths, see Hardscaping 101: Decomposed Granite.


    Above: To create hazy drifts of color, Fudge uses a Mediterranean palette of pale purple, silver, and blue-green. Among his favorite drought tolerant plants: French lavender; olive trees, and New Zealand grasses, particularly varieties of poa.


    Above: Lavender plants like to be watered infrequently, but deeply. Allow soil to dry between waterings. Garden designer Fudge recommends a drip irrigation system to save water and direct the flow efficiently to roots.


    Above: The way to make any garden look larger, Fudge says, is to use different spaces to create distinct destinations. Here, an outdoor dining area abuts a tennis court. The patio is paved in brick set in sand, a permeable surface. For more ways to use brick as a hardscape element, see Hardscaping 101: Brick Patios.


    Above: A hedge of Japanese boxwood, which has a looser look than traditional English box, edges the garden beds with formality but no fussiness. Mass plantings and low hedges create a sense of depth and greater space.


    Above: Three important steps to creating a successful drought tolerant garden are soil improvement, compost, and mulch.


    Above: “Anything that can’t be established without twice a week watering has to go, we need to make better plant choices,” Fudge said in a recent interview.

    For more of our favorite drought tolerant gardens, see:

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    I'm afraid that of late I've become a crushing bore on the topic of water (just ask my family). I’m on a mission to reduce consumption, at least in my own household. We recently downsized to a smaller cottage in Northern California (a temporary move, but one that I'm liking). Close quarters mean I'm suddenly much more aware of everything that happens, including idle faucets running and the showering habits of primping teens. 

    The monthly water bill is one gauge of usage, and paying attention to everyday domestic activities is also extremely helpful. Droughts may come and go in California, but it's the rapid depletion of the country’s groundwater that finally moved me to action. While there are plenty of obvious things that can be done to conserve water, from installing a low-flow showerhead to using low-flush toilets, there are also a number of small, no-cost, daily ways in which, if we alter our habits, we can make a difference.

    In this era of environmental doom and gloom, I did point out to my children the news that the ozone layer is thickening for the first time since the 1970s—a positive thing and proof that effort eventually effects change. To that end, here are a 21 water-saving tips that I've implemented at home.

    Above: The Soma Water Filter's well-designed—and good looking—glass carafe can go from faucet and fridge to table, no decanting needed. 

    1. Use a carafe for serving water at meals, and only pour what you know you'll drink. 

    2. Decline water in restaurants if you're not thirsty, and refuse unwanted refills. (Earlier this year, SHED in Healdsburg, CA, adopted the policy of asking diners whether they want water before pouring.)

    Above: To keep chilled water on hand, the Holmegard Carafe comes in three sizes and fits inside the fridge door.

    3. Prefer your water cold? Instead of letting the water run cold, fill a bottle and keep it in the refrigerator.

    4. Plant a large jug by the sink. At the end of a meal, if there's leftover water in glasses, pour it in the jug, then use this graywater to water plants. 

    5. Assign a different drinking glass to each person in the house (and refill as desired) throughout the day. This not only saves on water but also means there's less nightly dishwashing to be done—a win-win.

    Above: Add leftover ice cubes to graywater. (Check out our DIY on Making Rose Petal ice Cubes.) 

    6. Don't dump unused ice cubes in the sink. Somehow we (make that, I) forget that they're water, too. Ice should go in the jug by the sink, or in a bowl, and, after melting, be used as graywater (some people put the cubes directly on hearty plants). 

    7. Use less water for cooking. Vegetables retain more nutrients when prepared in a small amount of water. 

    8. Save the leftover water from cooking vegetables and use it to make stock. (This is a favorite M.F.K. Fisher practice that she wrote about in How to Cook a Wolf.)

    9. Use other cooking water to soak pans (or water plants).

    Above: All sorts of water is worth saving, including what's used to wash vegetables and produce. Photograph by Kristin Perers.

    10. Collect graywater from the kitchen sink in a tub beneath the faucet. I have a double sink and keep a washing bowl on one side. We all use that side to rinse hands and produce, so the water fills the bowl—and then it gets reused as graywater at the end of the day. 

    11. Invest in a low-flow showerhead, or create your own by not turning the taps on fully.

    Above: Keep buckets on hand for collecting and hauling water. We're fans of these dark galvanized metal Redecker Wash Buckets. (Note that they're from Father Rabbit in New Zealand, so a shipment to the US or UK carries a large carbon footprint. Basic metal buckets from your local hardware store work just as well.)

    12. While you're waiting for the shower to heat up, collect the running water in a bucket under the shower head—a tip from Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home. (We have yet to implement this one, but it's on my list). Read more advice from Bea in the Zero-Waste Challenge, an account of my family's attempt to live waste free (spoiler: it was an epic fail).

    Above: Opt for a smaller bathtub, like this one in a paneled London bathroom. Photograph via Light Locations.

    13. Take fewer baths. I love a bath at the end of the day, but they consume considerably more water than a shower: as a general estimate, twice as much. Knowing this, I've significantly reduced the amount of water I use in my baths, and since the tub in our new place isn't full size, it requires less water. I did once valiantly try using my dirty bath water for plants, but lugging a bucket through the house was a major pain. Solution? More showers. 

    14. Don't linger in the shower. Note to teens: Try to get in and out in five minutes (actually, 10 minutes would even help). 

    15. Be old-fashioned at the bathroom sink: Plug the basin and and fill it—and then use that water to wash your face, shave, etc.

    16. Don’t leave water running while you brush your teeth. 

    Above: The Geberit In-Wall Tank And Carrier conserves water thanks to its dual-flush feature.

    17. Invest in low-flow toilets (preferably Water Sense-certified). Toilets are estimated to be responsible for upwards of 30 percent of household water consumption. You also can create your own low flow by adding a large rock or brick to the water tank. And watch for leaks, the silent consumers. To test your toilet, add a little dye to the tank and if it seeps into the toilet bowl, get the leak fixed.

    18. Only flush what you must. Cotton, tissues, and the like should go in a trash can. (Bea of Zero Waste Home—forever ahead of the curve—uses the water collected from the shower to flush the loo.)

    laundry room michelle house remodel

    Above: Photograph by Michelle Slatalla.

    19. Wash only clothes that are dirty. My children have a habit of dumping clean clothes in the laundry basket because it’s preferable to hanging them. Sound familiar?

    20. Don’t use more water than you need in the wash cycle. 

    21. Finally, my personal favorite: Don’t wash your hair every day. Daily shampoos strip hair of its natural oils (ask your hairdresser)—and it wastes water, too.

    For more ways to save water, see:

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    When Houston-based designer Barbara Hill bought a former dance hall in Marfa, Texas, a few years back as a vacation house, the property was in a state of disrepair, and the landscaping was nonexistent (weeds had engulfed the entire yard). After tackling the interior, Hill moved outdoors, ripping out the scraggly undergrowth and installing drought-resistant native plantings like sage, yucca, and great white cactus. Using reclaimed materials, she created a series of paths and a fire pit focal point in the backyard; we pulled together a few ideas for recreating the look.

    Dance Hall Marfa, Texas, by Barbara Hill Design | Gardenista

    Above: Four Donald Judd-like concrete walls create a privacy screen. Photograph via Barbara Hill Design

    Barbara Hill Dance Hall in Marfa, Texas | Remodelista

    Above: Hill used reclaimed bricks from El Paseo with concrete borders to create pathways throughout the property. Photograph by Misty Keasler

    Barbara Hill Dance Hall Marfa Texas | Remodelista

    Above: In the open-air breezeway, a row of butterfly chairs.  The underside of the eaves is clad in aluminum/zinc Home Depot-sourced Galvalume panels. A simple polished-concrete slab serves as deck. Photograph courtesy of Barbara Hill Design.

    Dance Hall Marfa Texas by Barbara Hill | Gardenista

    Above: Hill used reclaimed bricks to create a path leading to a circular fire pit with built-in seating and a gas-powered campfire sculpture made of salvaged pipes by artist George Sacaris. Photograph by Misty Keasler via Dwell.

    The Elements

    Aluminum Cone Sconces | Gardenista

    Above: Made of spun aluminum, The Sconce is 7 inches wide, 13 inches high, and 9 inches deep and is $198 from Just Modern.  

    White Airborne Butterfly Chair | Remodelista

    Above: The French Airborne AA Butterfly Chair with black powder-coated metal frame and white canvas cover is £450 from Bodie and Fou. In the US, Circa 50 offers a black powder-coated metal Butterfly Chair with white canvas cover for $250 (minimum order of two). 

    Neutra House Numbers | Gardenista

    Above: Neutra House Numbers in Aluminum are $27 each from Design Within Reach. 

    Historical Bricks for Hardscaping | Remodelista

    Above: Gavin Historical Bricks, a family-owned company in Iowa, offers fired-clay brick salvaged from 100-year-old sidewalks; contact them directly for pricing and more information. 

    DWR Cast Iron Fire Pit | Gardenista

    Above: The Cast Iron Fire Bowl from Design Within Reach has two built-in handles for portability. The lower bowl collects ashes and elevates the fire to better dissipate heat; $465 from Design Within Reach (a grill-top accessory is also available).

    For more drought tolerant curb appeal, see:

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    We're traveling to some of the driest gardens on earth—from Australia to Texas to Greece—to round up 11 eco-friendly landscape design tips that won't force you to sacrifice style to save water:

    Gravel Ground 

    Gravel garden design low water drought tolerant ; Gardenista

    Above: Texas landscape architect Christine Ten Eyck designed an outdoor dining space with gravel underfoot. The neutral color blends with natural surroundings. It's a permeable paving material that feels good to walk on—and it captures groundwater. Photograph by Terrence Moore.

    Potted Plants

    Brian Fairey Peckerwood Texas garden shade patio gravel courtyard ; Gardenista

    Above: In Texas, architect professor John G. Fairey started work on his seven-acre Peckerwood garden four decades ago. For more, see A Texas Garden Where the Rare and Endangered Flourish.

    Fairey saves water with container plants that he can water efficiently. Groupings of potted plants also can create architectural interest in spots where soil conditions are inhospitable.

    Shady Spots

    Olive trees drought tolerant gardens Andrea Cochran ; Gardenista  

    Above: Photograph via Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture.

    In northern California, a tree with a generous, spreading canopy can create a focal point in the garden and provide shade in a sunny, arid climate. As a general rule of thumb, the diameter of a tree's canopy is an indication of the size of its root system underground, as well.

    Permeable Patios

    Drought tolerant boxwood balls Provence gravel ; Gardenista

    Above: In Provence, an enclosed courtyard garden has groupings of container plants to soften the look of stone walls and a crushed stone courtyard. Photograph via Wall Street Journal.

    A patio paved with crushed stone or gravel is an inviting, forgiving surface and creates a permeable surface to prevent water runoff. For more ideas, see Hardscaping 101: Decomposed Granite.

    Drip Irrigation

    Drought tolerant lavender garden Australia ; Gardenista

    Above: In Australia, garden designer Peter Fudge used drought tolerant plants including lavender, olive trees, and Japanese boxwood to create a classically formal garden design. For more, see Garden Designer Visit: Lavender Fields in Australia.

    Designer Fudge recommends installing a drip irrigation system to efficiently direct water toward the roots of drought tolerant plants. Water deeply, but infrequently. Allow the ground to dry out completely between waterings. For more, see Hardscaping 101: Drip Irrigation.


    City townhouse garden design drought tolerant Gardenista

    Above: For more of this drought tolerant San Francisco garden by garden designer Beth Mullins, see A City Garden with a Spectacular View. Photograph by MB Maher

    Recycle laundry and shower water—known as graywater—to use in the garden. Keep a bucket in the kitchen sink to rinse dishes and at the end of the day use it to water container plants. For more tips, see Ask the Expert: 7 Ways to Use Graywater in the Garden.


    Spanish stucco house curb appeal shade awning ; Gardenista

    Above: A black awning provides shade and visual interest to a drought-resistant garden in Southern California. For more of this 2,100-square-foot stucco house, see All Era Welcome: A Spanish Colonial Update in LA. Photograph by Laure Joliet.

    Keep living spaces—both indoors and out—cooler by installing an awning to block the sun's rays. For awning styles and fabrics, see 10 Easy Pieces: Window Awnings.

    Crowd Control

    The French Laundry Edible Garden Yountville CA ; Gardenista

    Above: In Northern California, baby lettuces rare eady to be harvested at the French Laundry Culinary Garden in Yountville. For more, see Garden Visit: The French Laundry in California's Napa Valley.

    In the vegetable garden, plant edibles close together to minimize water requirements. For more organic edible gardening tips, see Gone Wild: How to Grow Vegetables in the Middle of Nowhere.


    boxwood drought tolerant gardens ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Paul Bangay.

    Extremely drought tolerant, boxwood is an evergreen that will provide color and structure year round in the garden. For more ideas about how to use the shrub, see 9 Ways to Create Curb Appeal with Boxwood.

    Drifts of Color

    Sedum Autumn Joy drought tolerant succulents garden ; Gardenista

    Above: In Australia, a colorful drought landscape of perennial plants. Photograph via Paul Bangay.

    Mass planting of a single variety of a drought tolerant plant can create a painterly swath of color in the garden. For a romantic combination (as shown above), combine Sedum 'Autumn Joy' (pink) with lavender (purple), and a silvery perennial grass (foreground). For more ideas, see A Garden You Water Four Times a Year.


    hens and chicks succulents in containers ; Gardenista

    Above: In an Australian garden, potted hens and chicks succulents create visual interest among a field of perennial grasses. Photograph via An Outdoor Life Mag.

    A particularly useful succulent in the garden is Sempervivum, of which there are more than 3,000 varieties. Commonly known as hens and chicks, low-growing dense rosette clusters of Sempervium can be used as a ground cover, in containers, or as an edging plant. They thrive in dry conditions in full sun and spread rapidly. For more on succulents, see DIY: How to Root Succulents from Leaves.

    Are you designing a new garden or just hoping to make yours more drought tolerant? For more ideas, see:

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    Are you sick of hearing that succulents are "easy" when the only thing yours do reliably is die? The solution is to get the right succulent for the job. 

    For instance. If you are trying to grow succulents indoors, buy plants with bright green leaves (instead of gray, blue, or purple leaves). When you pot succulents, remember they need better drainage and soil aeration than thirstier plants; use a cactus soil mix and add a layer of gravel to the bottom of the pot. If you put succulents in the garden, dig in some sand to improve the soil's drainage before planting.

    Here are ten of our favorite succulents (and the secrets to keeping them alive):

    Black Rose 

    Black aeonium succulent ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Gwen's Garden via Flickr.

    Native to the Canary Islands, aeoniums thrive outdoors in similar Mediterranean climates—with hot, dry summers and rainy winters. Aeoniums come many colors—including green, striped, and gray—but we particularly love the black varieties such as Black Rose (above). They create a dramatic counterpoint to blue- and gray-leafed plants in the garden.

     Aeonium 'Zwartkop' has long, delicate leaves that taper to a point; a plant in a 1-gallon pot is $12 from Cycadpalm.

    Burro's Tail

    Burro's tail succulent plant drought growing guide ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Cereal Magazine.

    Extremely delicate leaves will fall off at the slightest touch, so place Burro's Tail in a spot where it won't be disturbed. A Sedum morganianum has bluish green leaves and, when it blooms, tiny red flowers. A bare-root Burro's Tail in a 4-inch pot is $7.25 from Succulent Babies via Etsy.

    Aloe Vera

    Aloe vera plant, Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Justine Hand for Gardenista.

    Hardy indoors or out, aloe is your friend. Of more than 250 species of aloe, the one known as "true aloe" is aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis). Probably because of its amazing ability to cure sunburns. Aloe vera's leaves ooze a soothing substance that makes a fine hand lotion. An Aloe Vera Medicine Succulent Plant is $7.50 from Cactus Limon via Etsy.

    If you, like Justine, keep a potted aloe indoors and snip off the tips of leaves to use for medicinal purposes, you can make your supply go further by propagating the plant's offsets. Follow Justine's lead in DIY: Propagate the Plant of Immortality.

    Pencil Cactus

    the new "it" houseplant | gardenista

    Above: We have good reasons for calling the pencil cactus The New 'It' Houseplant. Photograph by Erin Boyle.

    Happy to be a houseplant, Euphorbia tirucalli hails from Africa and earned its Pencil Cactus nickname for the shape of its branches. Give it a sunny spot and don't over-water it, and this hardy plant could grow as tall as 6 feet. A Euphorbia Tirucalli in a 4-inch pot is $12 from Pernell Gerver.

    String of Pearls

    String of pearls succulent hanging house plant ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via A Home Full of Color.

    A good choice for indoors where you can control its climate, slow-growing String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) likes bright, indirect light—and to be left alone. Let the soil dry thoroughly before watering. Its trailing stems can reach lengths of up to 3 feet. A 6-inch hanging pot of String of Pearls is $12.99 from Hirt's.

    Paddle Plant


    Above: A pink-tinged paddle plant. For more, see Steal This Look: An Indoor Succulent Garden.

    An exception to the "bright green leaves only" rule, kalanchoe will thrive indoors in indirect, bright light. One of my favorite succulents, a Kalanchoe Luciae looks like it's wearing lipstick on the edge of its leaves. The rosy edge makes it a good candidate to combine with other red or purple-leaved succulents. A rooted cutting of Kalanchoe Luciae is $9.95 from Bkyard Paradise via Etsy.

    Hens and Chicks

    Hens and Chicks Sempervivum succulents ; Gardenista

    Above: A variety of Sempervivum. For more, see Steal This Look: An Indoor Succulent Garden

    Growing in tight clusters that look like rosettes, Hens and Chicks spreads quickly to fill a container or a bare, sunny spot in a dry garden. There are thousands of varieties of sempervivum with leaf colors ranging from deep green to pale blue to purple-tinged; a large assortment of 84 Sempervivum Succulents is $149 from via Etsy.

    String of Bananas, Lady Aquarius, and Perle Von Nurnberg

    Succulents to mix in a container garden ; Gardenista

    Above: Three hardy succulents for a container garden. For more, see DIY Container Garden: 3 Tough Beauties That Won't Die.  Photograph by Meredith Swinehart

    For a container garden that won't wilt in the heat, we consulted our favorite succulent expert, Robin Stockwell, who owns Succulent Gardens nursery in Castroville, California. The recommendation: combine trailing blue-green String of Bananas (Senecio radicans); the ruffled rosettes of 'Lady Aquarius' echeveria (Crassulaceae echeveria cv. 'Lady Aquarius') that are blue edged in pink, and smooth rosettes of pale lavender 'Perle Von Nurnberg' echeveria (Crassulaceae echeveria cv. Perle von Nurnberg).

    A String of Bananas in a 6-inch hanging pot is $7.99 from Hirt's. An Echeveria 'Lady Aquarius' in a 4-inch pot is $8.95 from Annie's Annuals. A collection of three Perle Von Nurnberg Echeveria plants is $22.45 from Succulent Babies via Etsy.

    For more, see:

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    When the original version of The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden was published in 1975, supermarket cauliflower cost 98 cents a head (the nerve!), and most tomatoes you could buy tasted like cardboard. Author Duane Newcomb's suggestions to turn any little patch of dirt into a growing ground and to plant vegetables close together to intensify yield were empowering enough to sell 500,000 copies to people sick of choosing between iceberg and iceberg in the lettuce aisle.

    We have come a long way. One in three US households grows food nowadays—and the rest of us want to. Food you grow tastes better, is better for you, and costs less. So a new edition of The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden that goes on sale today (updated by Newcomb's widow, Karen), is a welcome guide. In addition to a new section on heirloom vegetables, the book offers step-by-step instructions to make even the tiniest vegetable garden a huge success.

    herb garden bed design kitchen garden ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Erin Boyle.

    Whether you want to grow a single pot of herbs on a balcony or dedicate a 10-by-10-foot garden bed to the endeavor, this book will take you from seed to harvest, capably. Karen Newcomb offers simple suggestions about where to site a planting bed (in a spot that gets a minimum of six hours of sun a day) on soil preparation, as well as how to plant (scatter seeds rather than planting in rows to maximize use of the space).  

    The book, which recommends planting closely to cut down on weeds and water use, also offers nearly a dozen sample planting plans for garden beds of various shapes, ranging from 4 by 4 feet to 10 by 10 feet in size.


    Above: A planting plan for a 10-by-4-foot spring garden. 

    Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden Book ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Michelle Slatalla.

    For my own 3-by-15-foot edible garden, I am taking Newcomb's advice on companion plants. She for example recommends planting basil near tomatoes (makes them grow bigger) and lettuce (to repel whiteflies and aphids).  

    All plants exude chemicals through their roots which can have either a positive or negative effect on other plants; a helpful list of companion plants is included.

    Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden Book ; Gardenista

    Above: A paperback copy of The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden is $13.57 from Amazon. 

    For more tips on starting a vegetable garden, see:

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    In a drought-prone climate that gets an average of 22 inches of rain a year (50 percent less than the average US city), LA-based architect Bruce Bolander decided to experiment with color. Outdoors and in.

    Bolander designed a house for his family in a Malibu canyon, using the natural landscape as a backdrop to intensify the colors in the garden and on the facade:

    Photography by Elon Schoenholz via Bruce Bolander.


    Above: Clad in corrugated steel, the house reflects the colors of the canyon.


    Above: A poured concrete terrace overlooks the canyon.


    Above: A trees acts as a windbreak at the edge of the garden.


    Above: Indoors, Bolander used paints with a low-sheen finish. The look is similar to a flat finish but easier to clean.


    Above: Varieties of aloe, a low-water plant that thrives in hot, sunny garden beds, frame the view. In the foreground are the orange spikes of Aloe aborenscens, nicknamed Torch Aloe (a plant in a 4-inch pot is $8.95 from Annie's Annuals). 

    In addition to being a hardy evergreen plant that deer hate and hummingbirds love, Torch Aloe is widely used for medicinal purposes (its leaves secrete a substance useful to relieve burns and inflammation). Learn more about it in Aloe: The Plant of Immortality.


    Above: Concrete pavers set in a bed of river rocks create a permeable walkway to capture and filter rainwater. A bright orange door echoes the color of the flower stalks alongside the path. 

    Orange paint can be difficult to get right. We've done the legwork on orange front doors. See 8 Best Orange Paints for a Front Door.


    Above: A deck of concrete pavers, a low-cost option that complements many styles of architecture. If you're considering concrete pavers, see Hardscaping 101: Concrete Pavers, the Pros and Cons.


    Above: With both shaded and sunny outdoor spaces, the garden is a destination at all times of day.

    For more, see:

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