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Sourcebook for Cultivated Living

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    Only $5.1 million stands between us and a perfect apartment in the Osborne. Oh, and the fact that Jessica Chastain beat us to the nine-room classic in one of Manhattan's grand old buildings, across the street from Carnegie Hall:

    Osborne Apartments Jessica Chastain ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Street Easy.

    More real estate envy this week:

    10 Barn Houses on Design-Milk | Gardenista

    Anna Jones' California Salad via 101Cookbooks | Gardenista

    • Above: After a week dedicated to West Coast gardens, Anna Jones' California salad looks good. Photograph by Heidi Swanson. 
    • 10 tips to easy gardening
    • Today, from 10 am to 4 pm Eastern: Roots of Resilience at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. 

    wtf-flower-chandelier-gardenista

    • Above: DIY flower chandelier. Photograph courtesy of HonestlyWTF. 
    • The allure of the flower
    • Too pretty to drink

    Instagram and Pinterest Pick of the Week

    Gardenista Instagram Pick of the Week: @wafflesoph

    Above: A snap of Argentina via @wafflesoph from #GardenistaTravels

    Gardenista Pinterest Pick of the Week: Frances Palmer

    Above: We're following ceramicist Frances Palmer on Pinterest. See her bud vases here

    See more posts from this week in our California Cool issue. Head over to Remodelista to see the latest in West Coast design.

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    Though there's green in nearly every garden, we love it when the color gets a solo show. Here, we gathered ten gardens from members of the Remodelista + Gardenista Architect/Designer Directory featuring shades of green, front and center.

    Green Garden in Brooklyn by Kim Hoyt, Gardenista

    Above: In this Brooklyn garden by Kim Hoyt Architect, a fieldstone walkway is planted with creeping thyme and other ground cover plants. See the entire project in Before & After: A Brooklyn Townhouse with a Double-Wide Garden. Photograph by Dan Wonderly.

    Green and Stone Garden by Gunn Landscapes, Gardenista

    Above: A stone pathway looks both ordered and wild in this Bridgehampton, New York garden by Gunn Landscape Architecture. Find more from Gunn in Expert Advice: 10 Best Low-Maintenance Houseplants.

    Green Garden by Doyle Herman, Gardenista

    Above: We love the layers upon layers of green in this garden from Greenwich, Connecticut-based Doyle Herman Design Associates. Another image from this extravagant project starts off our roundup in The Grandes Dames: 10 Stately Gardens from the Gardenista Gallery.

    Green Garden in Hudson by Susan Wisniewski, Gardenista

    Above: Beacon, NY-based Susan Wisniewski Landscape filled this sprawling Hudson Valley farm with gardens that look like they've been there forever. See more from the designer in The Grandes Dames: 10 Stately Gardens from the Gardenista Gallery.

    Green Garden by H Keith Wagner Partnership, Gardenista

    Above: A row of grasses divides the lawn from the terrace in this Vermont residential garden by Wagner Hodgson. Photograph by Westphalen Photography

    Robin Key Green Garden Landscape, Gardenista

    Above: For the garden of this Connecticut country home, NYC-based Robin Key Landscape Architecture chose green shrubs and perennials for their deer resistance. Photograph by Francine Fleischer.

    Green Garden with Ferns by Rumsey Farber, Gardenista

    Above: NYC-based Rumsey Farber removed hundreds of invasive plants on this Greenwich, Connecticut property and replaced them with native trees and shrubs to protect a nearby low-lying wetland.

    Green Garden by Stephen Stimson, Gardenista

    Above: Water flows through a woodland understory in this St. David's, Pennsylvania garden designed by Stephen Stimson Associates. Learn more about Stimson's work on Remodelista in Required Reading: Ten Landscapes by Stephen Stimson Associates. Photograph by Rob Cardillo.

    Green Garden by Hess Landscapes, Gardenista

    Above: Hess Landscape Architects embraced the woodland surrounding this Villanova, Pennsylvania home that was once the domestic quarters of an historic estate. The property transitions from house to woodland via a generously planted garden with meandering pathways. Photograph by Stephen Govel.

    Green Garden by Paula Hayes, Gardenista

    Above: NYC-based landscape designer and artist Paula Hayes filled this seaside garden with mostly native, monochromatic plants, designed in collaboration with Edmund Hollander Landscape Architects and Cook + Fox Architects. See more of Hayes' work on Gardenista in Let Twilight Linger: 10 Early Evening Gardens from the Gardenista Gallery. Photograph by Béatrice de Géa.

    Find more green in Seeing Green: Architects Pick the Best Exterior Green Paints; Fields of Green: 5 Favorite Lawn Substitutes; and, on Remodelista, Paints & Palettes: Modern Green.

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    Gardens have their drawbacks, Leopold Bloom was thinking as he set off to wander around Dublin in Ulysses. Allow us to respectfully demur. 

    We're confident you'll side with us after spending a week in Ireland, where we'll visit mossy modern gardens and garages gone green. (Plus, Kendra's come up with 10 garden design ideas to steal from Ireland immediately.) Join us:

    Table of Contents: Emerald Isle ; Gardenista

    Above: We're in the clover this week. See more at Fields of Green: 5 Favorite Lawn Substitutes.

    Monday

    june-blake-ireland-garden-gardenista

    Above: We tour Irish plantswoman June Blake's magical garden (and three-acre nursery) in this week's Garden Visit. (And did you miss our recent visit to Helen Dillon's Legendary Garden in Dublin?)

    piet-hein-eek-teak-plank-trestle-table-gardenista

    Above: In this week's installment of our Gardenista 100 guide to the best furniture and outdoor accessories of 2015, we've rounded up our favorite last-a-lifetime teak dining tables: round, square, farmhouse, and trestle styles.

    Tuesday

    irish-garden-wild-foxgloves-gardenista

    Above: Kendra heads to Ireland to find 10 Garden Ideas to Steal. In the meantime, see our earlier Roundups for more garden ideas to steal: from France, Greece, India, Canada, and California.

    Wednesday

    garage-annex-taka-irelend-gardenista

    Above: Tucked away on a quiet mews in Dublin, a garage gets annexed to create more living space (and a window box garden for ferns) in this week's Architect Visit.  And for more clever remodels on quiet lanes, see Good Mews: 11 Charming Carriage Houses.

    Thursday

    Foras Studio West Village NYC artificial grass ; Gardenista

    Above: Readers recently took Michelle to task, disputing her conclusion that artificial grass could ever be eco-friendly. To resolve the debate, Janet's on the case, investigating the pros and cons of artificial grass for this week's Hardscaping 101 post. (Bone up on the back story at 13 New Landscape Trends to Steal in 2015 and Hardscaping 101: Artificial Grass.)

    Friday

    curb-appeal-decomposed-granite-gardenista

    Above: In this week's Curb Appeal post, we explore nine ways ways Decomposed Granite can add a dash of style to a garden or landscape. 

    On Remodelista, Julie and her team have the DIY bug. Join them for Weekend Projects all week long.

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    Irish plantswoman June Blake used to be a jeweler, so it's perhaps no surprise that her garden, in the words of garden writer Fionnuala Fallon, "is startling in its beauty like the spilt contents of a jewelry box."

    Blake, who lives in an Victorian steward's cottage on the outskirts of Blessington in County Wicklow (about 15 miles from Dublin), operates a rare plants nursery—and experiments in her own garden beds to test color theory and unusual combinations. Also on the three-acre property is the Cow House, a renovated stone building she runs as a guesthouse. (Read on for rental information.)

    Photography via June Blake except where noted.

    june-blake-garden-overview-gardenista

    Above: Since 2000, Blake has been working on the garden, creating its winding paths, a woodland grove, colorful perennial beds, and a peaceful reflecting pool.

    ireland-garden-nunan-house-june-blake-poppies-gardenista

    Above: The Gothic Revival-style cottage on a former granite farm was owned in the 1800s by William Henry Ford Coogan, a member of Parliament.

    june-blake-garden-poppies-gardenista

    Above: Poppies, perennial grasses, and a mix of exotic plants from around the world co-exist harmoniously in the borders.

    june-blake-purple-borders-gardenista

    Above: Wide gravel paths impose symmetry on the garden beds.

    June Blake garden Irelend closeup of lilies ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Ciaran Burke via Flickr.

    Lilium leichtlinii (tiger lilies) float above the garden and contrast with purple flowers and red foliage to dramatic effect.

    June Blake Ireland garden bergenia ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Ciaran Burke via Flickr.

    Large-leafed greenery is a traditional feature in Ireland's damp, misty gardens.

    reland-garden-blake-reflecting-pool-gardenista

    Above: Smooth rocks and gravel surround—and frame—the glassiness of a rectangular pool.

    June Blake garden Irelend pond ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Ciaran Burke via Flickr.

    The pool's surface reflects sky and trees.

    ireland-garden-nunan-house-june-blake-gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Michael Kelly Architect.

    Architect Michael Kelly oversaw a three-year renovation of Blake's property, creating two new courtyards.

    une-blake-cow-house-renovation-gardenista

    Above: Photograph via VRBO.

    During the renovation, a ruined stone farm building was gutted and renovated while preserving its historic facade. The polished concrete floor was made by mixing local Wicklow cement with the same gravel Blake uses on her garden paths.

    The Cow House is available for rent; for information and prices, see VRBO.

    ireland-garden-nunan-house-june-blake-gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Michael Kelly Architect.

    For more of our favorite gardens in Ireland, see:

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    Teak is not throwaway furniture. Its natural oils are the secret weapon that protect against weather, pests, and deterioration—and make the hardwood the top choice for durable outdoor furniture. It's also the most expensive wood. If you're looking for an outdoor dining table, buy teak if you want it to last a lifetime.

    For this installment of our new Gardenista 100 guide to the best outdoor furniture and accessories of 2015, we've rounded up our favorite teak dining tables—round, square, trestle, and farmhouse styles:

    Trestle Tables

    Skargaarden teak table ; Gardenista

    Above: A teak Djuro dining table from Skargaarden.

    djuro-dining-trestle-table-teak-gardenista.

    Above: From Scandinavian design house Skargaarden, a 79-inch teak Djuro Trestle Table has a slatted top and is $2,700 from Horne.

    piet-hein-eek-teak-trestle-table-gardenista

    Above: Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek, who typically manufactures his furniture in a studio complex on the edge of Eindhoven (about 75 miles south of Amsterdam, has enlisted Indonesian suppliers to make his teak collection, including a Plank Table in Teak available in two sizes from The Future Perfect.

    piet-hein-eek-teak-plank-trestle-table-gardenista

    Above: A Plank Table in Teak (available in two lengths, 47 and 98 inches) is available at prices ranging from $1,783 to $2,813 depending on size from The Future Perfect.

    Farmhouse Tables

    teak-farmhouse-outdoor-dining-tables-gardenista

    Above: From Les Jardins, a 78-inch-long Teak Stafford Extension Table is extendable to 96 inches with a table leaf (included); $3,944 from All Modern.

    teak-extension-dining-table-gardenista

    Above: The Teak Stafford Extension Table has a pullout panel pulls at the end of the has a built-in leaf.

    arlow-tyrie-monaco-extendable-dining-table-gardenista

    Above: From venerable UK-based teak furniture maker Barlow Tyrie (known for its high quality products); a 59-inch Monaco Dining Table is $1,499 at Didrik's.

    Round Tables

    round teak outdoor dining table ; Gardenista

    Above: Danish design house Skargaarden is known for high-quality, heavy duty outdoor furniture that stands up to the weather in Scandinavia. We like the simple symmetry of the four-legged Djuro Round Dining Table; 43 inches in diameter and $1,800 from Horne.

    Round outdoor teak dining table seats 8 ; Gardenista

    Above: A Buckingham Premium Round Table from Westminster Teak measures 72 inches in diameter and comfortably seats eight; $2,425.

    Square Tables

    square-teak-dining-table-gardenista

    Above: From Danish designer Povl Eskildsen for Gloster, a folding Teak Square Table measures 63 by 63 inches and weighs 110 pounds; for more information and pricing, see Gloster.

    square-teak-table-collapsible-gardenista

    Above: The Bristol Square Table folds for storage and transport.

    Barlow-Tyrie square dining table ; Gardenista

    Above: Added to Barlow Tyrie's line of outdoor teak furniture last year, a 68-inch-square Linear Dining Table is $3,099 at Didrik's.

    For more, see:

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    From the point of view of a plant, Ireland is heaven. Humans may as well abandon their instinct for neatness and symmetry; plants grow too well here. Whether tender or hardy, the climate (not too cold, not too hot, often wet) creates an enviable lushness, offset always by green.

    Dry Stone Walls

    rish-garden-dry-stone-walls-tierney0haines-gardenista

    Above: Dry stone walls in the garden of a former schoolhouse in County Tipperary, renovated by Tierney Haines Architects.

    Criss-crossing the globe from Greece to Connecticut, dry stone walls rise out of the ground as though they are part of the earth: and they are. Born out of necessity, with the philosophy "Use what you have." Like so many ancient devices, they serve the purpose on more levels than practicality and aesthetics. They are ecological—offering homes and hibernating opportunities—and like a good hedge they are permeable. (Concrete is not helpful in a deluge.) Dry stone walls also provide a good plant growing medium, given the opportunity (see below).

    Large Leaf Plants

    irish-gardens-gunnera-gardenista

    Above: Gunnera in the garden. Photograph by Fedelma Tierney via The Garden at Castletown. For more of Tierney's magical garden, see her book, The Garden at Castletown.

    When people complain that their garden is like a bog they are overlooking the large-leaved rhubarb family, which generously gives a bog a good name. The giant gunnera, growing slowly and luxuriously over a long season, dies down in winter and in many northern areas needs winter protection (economically done by covering the crowns with piles of gunnera leaves and staking them down). Adding manure in spring will help to produce the largest leaves, which are larger in Ireland than, say, England because the conditions are so heavenly.

    We have seen gunnera growing in a large tank in a town garden but there are smaller rheums available which give a similar effect but in miniature. Try rheum 'Ace of Hearts' for a grand yet compact effect. Protect from wind to avoid tattered leaves.

    Crevice Creepers

    erns-moss-garden-wall-gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Moss Acres.

    A perfectly mulched bed is surplus to requirements for ambitious plants that will set seed anywhere. In this friendly, moist environment, colonization of walls and steps by weeds wind-blown crops is proof of the futility of too much nannying. Though foxgloves and poppies tend to put themselves into walls, it is possible to help things along by pushing in plugs. Alpine plants such as saxifrage and sempervivum will enjoy the crumbly drainage of a wall. 

    Anglo-Irish Decadence

    Mount Stewart House gardens ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Malcolm Bott via Flickr.

    A relaxed formality suits Irish gardens. Plants romp away because of the perfection of the conditions, threatening to turn a classical layout into a jungle. Since old-style teams of gardeners were decimated in the Great War followed by the War for Irish Independence, gardens have had to get along with less than a handful of gardeners. A classical layout showing only the bare bones of axes and avenues gives an atmosphere of romantic decline. Keeping the wilderness in check is about as much as one can hope for. 

    A Patina of Age

    Mount Stewart Ireland ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Braderhouse13 via Flickr.

    Assist your slow slide into decay by applying buttermilk to terra cotta or leaving stone and clay vessels in damp, shady places for a season. Clean the inside of pots to discourage disease but leave the outside well alone.

    For step-by-step instructions on how to achieve a mossy patina, see DIY: How to Transform Terra Cotta Pots Into Instant Antiques.

    Ferns Underfoot

    ferns-underfoot-gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Moss Acres.

    The evergreen Hart's Tongue fern provides a foil to wood anemones (Shown). Perennial ferns are great minglers in the watery sunshine of spring: situated between you and the sun, Shuttlecock ferns are particularly good when they are in the early stages of unfurling. Their preternatural glow seems to throb with spring. Later they provide an easy understory to the tall and wavy fern-leaved thalictrum.

    Mossy Moments

    Mossy garden stairs ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Barsanworld

    Moss is very atmosphere-friendly. Our parents may have been distressed by it (along with lawn daisies), but to what purpose? Moss in grass makes a lawn more springy; daisies and buttercups look cheery surrounded by a green monoculture which is just as vigorous—and dandelions will never go away. Acceptance is more relaxing. On a health and safety note, moss on stone can be slippery; judgment required here.

    Tame Flowers Gone Wild

    irish-garden-wild-foxgloves-gardenista

    Above: Wild foxgloves in a hedgerow in Ireland. Photograph by Catherine Drea.

    A walk along a lane in southwest Ireland is an education in botany as the hedgerow sports dark red fuschia, honeysuckle twirling overhead, and native purple foxgloves growing out of unlikely corners. They may not be named varieties like lonicera 'Graham Thomas' or digitalis 'Pam's Choice' but their exuberance shows us how plants grow, when they have chosen their location. Besides, wild Digitalis purpurea does not look monotonous in the wild. A hedgerow is never in itself dull: we make our gardens that way by fussing over them too much.

    The William Robinson Effect

    gravetye-manor-flower-beds-william-robinson-gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Rebecca Recommends via Flickr. For more on Gravetye Manor, see The Ultimate UK Getaway: 1 Hour from London, and a World Away.

    Though his friend Gertrude Jekyll is more well-known, the Irish-born William Robinson has a greater influence on the way we garden now. An early training on the Anglo-Irish estates of Ireland was crucial in developing Robinson's philosophy for a wilder kind of gardening, which he brought to England and to his very popular books The Wild Garden and The English Flower Garden.

    Gravetye mixed border York paving ; Gardenista

    Above: York paving divides the double borders at Gravetye Manor.

    Robinson made a successful career out of writing from fairly early on. The point about Robinsonian gardening was that it was easier and more natural than the rituals involved in bedding plants, then the fashion and still seen now in public parks. He was not against mixed borders but was keen to combine native plants with hardy exotics, bringing back the wildflowers in Shakespeare's plays and growing them next to other hardy plants such as giant lilies and candelabra primulas which were native to the Himalayas. Robinson spent the last 50 years of his life at his Sussex estate Gravetye Manor (Above). This kind of lush, wild planting does particularly well in Ireland.

    Pools, Ponds, and Waterfalls

    June Black garden Ireland pond ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via June Blake.

    When it rains for almost two-thirds of the year, as it does in the west of Ireland, water has to be embraced. Waterfalls and follies go together in dissipated pleasure gardens but a smooth geometric style is more likely to be found now. Irish planstwoman Helen Dillon replaced her perfect lawn in Dublin with a rectangular pond, pushing green to the background, for once.

    For more garden ideas from Ireland, see:

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    As much as I like working in my garden, what I really love is watching others work—squirrels furtively ferrying nuts to hideouts, bees on a tight schedule in the lemon tree, ants with plans. A comfortable garden bench is key to my surveillance efforts. Here are 10 wood garden benches (with deep seats and armrests) to keep you in the garden all afternoon:

    piet-hein-eek-wooden-garden-bench-gardenista

    Above: From designer Piet Hein Eek, each Wooden Garden Bench made from recycled materials is one-of-a-kind. At 44 inches long and 20 inches deep, the bench is a versatile two-seater for a small balcony or terrace; $859 from The Future Perfect.

    Slatted teak garden bench ; Gardenista

    Above: From Solpuri, a 59-inch-long slatted teak Liberty Bench With Back is 27 inches deep and has an angular design that complements the soft wood material; for information and pricing, see Solpuri.

    swedish-lanscape-bench-gardenista

    Above: A Swedish Landscape Bench inspired by a Gustavian antique is made of untreated teak and will weather to a silvery patina (unless you oil it). The bench measures 77.5 inches long and 24 inches deep and is $1,498 from Terrain. 

    Teak Notting Hill garden bench ; Gardenista

    Above: Made in Italy by Ethimo, a teak Notting Hill Garden Bench is €765 from Howbart and Mays. For more information and US distributors, see Ethimo.

    two-seater-teak-sofa-outdoor-furniture-gardenista

    Above: An untreated teak Falsterbo Sofa by Skargaarden is 65.75 inches long and approximately 35.5 inches deep; upholstered cushions are available separately; the two-seater sofa is $2,652 from All Modern.

    wooden-scandinavian-style-outdoor-teak-bench-gardnista

    Above: From Scandinavian designer Skagerak, a teak Drachmann Bench with a cross-back design is available in two sizes (shown is the larger, 65-inch-long bench); depending on size, prices range from $1,299 to $1,499 from Horne.

    Wood garden bench ; Gardenista

    Above: From Danish designer Povl Eskildsen, a Kingston Teak Bench is 52.5 inches long and 24.5 inches deep; for more information and pricing, see Gloster.

    Barlow Tyrie teak garden bench ; Gardenista

    Above: With simple, modern lines, a Monaco Teak Outdoor Garden Seat from British designer Barlow Tyrie measures 47.25 inches long and is $1,929 from Didrik's.

    Teak wood garden bench ; Gardenista

    Above: A teak Block Island Garden Bench is available in three lengths, from 48 to 72 inches long; a 48-inch bench is $679.99 from Wayfair.

    Preserved teak garden bench ; Gardenista

    Above: At 58.5 inches long, a preserved teak Garden Bench can be used indoors or out; $798 from Terrain.

    Ikea wood garden bench ; Gardenista

    Above: An acacia wood Applaro two-seat bench is 48 1/8 inches long; available in brown or white from Ikea for $90.

    For more reasons to lounge around outdoors, see:

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    Green is hard. I heard this refrain over and over while interviewing architects and designers about their favorite exterior green paint colors. Olive greens can quickly become yellow drab, and lighter shades can look cartoonish.

    Luckily, our architects and designers have made the mistakes, so you don't have to. Here are their nine foolproof green paint choices:

    Swatch photographs by Meredith Swinehart

    Best Exterior Outdoor Green House Paints, Gardenista

    Above: Top row, left to right: Pratt & Lambert Olive Shadow; Cabot Solid Stain in Sagebrush; Farrow & Ball Studio Green; Benjamin Moore Cedar Path; and Benjamin Moore Central Park. Bottom row: Benjamin Moore Mohegan Sage; Sherwin-Williams Yew Hedge; Benjamin Moore Black Forest Green; and C2 Paints Toadstool.

    Best Exterior Outdoor Green House Paints, Sherwin-Williams Yew Hedge, Gardenista

    Above: San Antonio architects Lake | Flato chose Sherwin-Williams' Yew Hedge for exterior features at the Hotel San Jose in Austin. Says project architect Bob Harris, "We were looking for an old-school hill country green. The green you see painted on the back porch screen doors of old country limestone homes.” The shade has been discontinued but can still be mixed at most paint stores.

    Best Exterior Outdoor Green House Paints, Benjamin Moore Mohegan Sage, Gardenista

    Above: Blogger Freckles Chick chose Benjamin Moore's Mohegan Sage for the exterior of her Colorado cottage. She notes, "If you were to take all the saturated colors of a rainforest and mix them together, this would be it." She chose Benjamin Moore White Dove for the trim. 

    Best Exterior Outdoor Green House Paints, Benjamin Moore Cedar Path, Gardenista

    Above: Architect Amy Alper painted the trim of her creekside cabin in Benjamin Moore's Cedar Path, the truest green of those recommended here. Read the full story in The Ultimate Creekside Cabin, Northern California Edition.

    Best Exterior Outdoor Green House Paints, Benjamin Moore Central Park, Gardenista

    Above: Marin County, CA-based Pedersen Associates used Central Park from Benjamin Moore on the green half of this definitively modern home. 

    Best Exterior Outdoor Green House Paints, Benjamin Moore Black Forest Green, Gardenista

    Above: We featured Burr & McCallum's Worthington Barn paint in our roundup of the Best Exterior Black Paints, because Benjamin Moore's Black Forest Green is just about as black as green can get. (The color is discontinued but can still be mixed at many paint stores.) The architects added more color with trim in Benjamin Moore's Essex Green

    Best Exterior Outdoor Green House Paints, Farrow & Ball Studio Green, Gardenista

    Above: Says architect Jon Handley of Pulltab Design, "Our favorite exterior color for painted steel is a very dark, almost black, green." On a recent rooftop penthouse addition, the designers chose Farrow & Ball's Studio Green for the steel frame of the entry door and the exterior light. (The shade was also one of our recent Moody Paint Picks over on Remodelista.)

    Best Exterior Outdoor Green House Paints, Cabot Solid Stain in Sagebrush, Gardenista

    Above: Silver Spring, MD-based Gardner Mohr Architects used Cabot solid stain in Sagebrush over custom-milled cypress siding for this modern, Japanese-inflected house. 

    Best Exterior Outdoor Green House Paints, C2 Paints Toadstool, Gardenista

    Above: Seattle-based JAS Design Build used Toadstool from C2 Paints on this exterior, with trim in C2's Amazon. Toadstool is a medium shade of sage, darker than Sagebrush but lighter than Mohegan Sage

    Best Exterior Outdoor Green House Paints, Pratt & Lambert Olive Shadow, Gardenista

    Above: JAS used Olive Shadow from Pratt & Lambert on this Seattle home. For more work from JAS Design Build, see Architect Visit: Lake Washington Boathouse

    Are you trying to choose an exterior paint color for a facade or front door? Let us help:

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    Dubbed America's first "Notable Pedestrian" in the 19th century, Edward Payson Weston popularized the activity of walking—and declared after 50 years of criss-crossing the country that the surface that feels finest underfoot is humble decomposed granite. "The best that I have walked upon," he wrote in a travel journal. He should know.

    What Weston didn't mention was that decomposed granite also is one of the best-looking surfaces. Here are nine ways to add style—and low-cost luxury—to a landscape with decomposed granite:

    Dress Up a Driveway

    Decomposed granite ribbon driveway curb appeal ; Gardenista

    Above: A ribbon driveway in Belgium has stone-paved parking strips bordered by decomposed granite. Photograph via Vlassak Verhulst. For more, see Hardscaping 101: Ribbon Driveways.

    Decomposed granite (or DG, as it's nicknamed) is a fine gravel formed from the weathering of igneous rocks such as feldspar, quartz, and mica. To earn the DG label, gravel has to have small particles (typically no bigger than 3/8 inch). 

    Decomposed granite is a low-cost alternative to stone, brick, or tile. For a large hardscape project such as a driveway, decomposed granite is also a low-profile material that blends well with other materials. It's a natural-looking surface that quietly recedes into the background, ceding attention to more dramatic landscape elements such as stone or turf.

    Widen a Walkway

    curb-appeal-decomposed-granite-gardenista

    Above: Designer Jenni Kayne frames a garden path with decomposed granite. Photograph via C Magazine.

    Decomposed granite is a low-cost material—from $40 to $50 per cubic yard is the typical price range—and can be used as a border for a more expensive paving material. Its soft, natural coloring visually widens a space without competing with other hardscape elements.

    Replace a Lawn

    Decomposed granite front lawn Malibu, CA; Gardenista

    Above: In Malibu, CA a decomposed granite "lawn" replaces turf grass, complementing the colors of the cedar entry gate and the stucco privacy wall. Photograph via Fiore Landscape Design.

    Decomposed granite is a permeable surface that will prevent rainwater runoff and (unlike grass) requires no water, making it an eco-friendly choice.

    Choose a Complementary Color

    Decomposed granites colors sizes ; Gardenista

    Above: A few different colors and sizes of decomposed granite. For more, see Hardscaping 101: Decomposed Granite.

    Decomposed granite is a local product and its color range typically mimics that of nearby landscape rocks. The range of colors varies from buff to brown, and also includes shades of gray, black, red, and green.

    The variety makes decomposed a versatile hardscape material; choose a color to match or complement other stone or brick hardscape materials.

    Pave a Patio

    The Capri Marfa TX ; Gardenita

    Above: Landscape architect Christine Ten Eyck designed a decomposed granite surface for The Thunderbird hotel in Marfa, TX.

    Notable pedestrian Edward Payson Watson was by no means the last person to notice how soft and forgiving decomposed granite feels underfoot. It's an inviting surface underfoot.

    Define a Dining Spot

    decomposed-granite-patio-france-gardenista

    Above: Photograph via A+B Kasha.

    Use decomposed granite as you would an area rug, to define the perimeter of an outdoor room or seating area. 

    Control Weeds

    decomposed-granite-edible-garden-raised-beds-gardenista

    Above: LA-based garden designer Lauri Kranz creates a weed-free perimeter of decomposed granite in the vegetable garden. Photograph via C Magazine.

    Like mulch, decomposed granite deters weed. It last longer than mulch (which breaks down in a season or two) and is a stable surface that won't wear away.

    Flameproof a Fire Pit 

    Decomposed granite fire safe patio ; Gardenista

    Above: SF-based Arterra Landscape Architects created a spark-resistant setting for a backyard fire pit in Woodside, CA. 

    Create a safety perimeter free of combustible materials with a surface of decomposed granite.

    Blur Boundaries

    Decomposed granite patio with verbena; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via June Scott.

    Decomposed granite is a soft material that will blend in with the borders of planting beds. Because the gravel particles are small, edging material can be flush to the ground.

    For more on paths and garden design, see:

    Hardscaping 101: Decomposed Granite.

    Design Guide for Paths and Pavers.

    Hardscaping 101: Pea Gravel.

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    On a quiet mews in Dublin, built-in garages face the street on all the carriage houses. Except for one. TAKA Architects converted a single-family house's parking spots into indoor living space, creating a sunny kitchen—and a front-to-back view through the house to the garden:

    Photography via TAKA.

    garage-remodel-dublin-taka-architects-gardenista

    Above: The single-family house is on a corner lot. With parking available on the side street, the clients wanted to put the unused garage to use as a kitchen.

    garage-remodel-dublin-taka-architects-gardenista

    Above: To replace the rolling garage doors, TAKA designed a large grid window that looks like a folded steel screen, with angled panels to create privacy and a window box for ferns.

    garage-remodel-dublin-taka-architects-gardenista

    Above: From inside, the ferns in the window box add privacy without blocking sunlight.

    garage remodel Dublin ; Gardenista

    Above: Light from the new front window brightens the house from front to back.

    garage-remodel-dublin-taka

    Above: The back of the house opens onto a backyard and views of neighbors' gardens.

    garage-remodel-dublin-taka-architects-gardenista

    Above: A picture window and window seat replaced two sliding doors, drawing the eye upward to the trees. 

    garage-remodel-dublin-taka-architects-gardenista

    Above: A pair of shutters open onto a ledge where the owners scatter bird seed.

    garage-remodel-dublin-taka-architects-gardenista

    Above: A new garden shed houses the washer and dryer. 

    garage-remodel-dublin-taka-architects-gardenista

    Above: The shed's mirrored surface reflects the garden and intensifies the feeling of greenery.

    For more garage transformations, see:

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    Some people crave jewelry. I crossed off my wish-list "diamonds" and wrote in "utility cart" after I saw this beautiful, well-made wagon from Belgium.

    From garden accessories designer Atelier Tradewinds comes a last-a-lifetime garden cart. Constructed of weather-impervious materials, the 33-pound wagon can haul loads that loads that weigh up to 10 times as much.

    Black canvas garden wagon ; Gardenista

    Above: Rustproof, rotproof, and waterproof, The Wagon is made from lightweight aluminum, polyester, and marine grade plywood; it has 12-inch pneumatic tires and is available in eight colors (including black as Shown) for €840 from The Van.

    Black canvas garden wagon ; Gardenista

    Above: The heavy duty canvas cover resists abrasions and will not fade in the sun.

    Black canvas garden wagon ; Gardenista

    Above: Easy to assemble (no tools necessary), the wagon can be stored flat in a shed or garage—or a car trunk if it's heading to the beach.

    For more garden basics, see:

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    To make the backyard feel like an extra room (and make it tempting for his children to play outdoors in all kinds of weather), Irish architect John McLaughlin designed—and built himself—a house for his family with walls of glass that open to the garden:

    Photography via John McLaughlin.

    dublin-backyard-indoor-outdoor-garden-house-john-mclaughlin-gardenista.

    Above: From the backyard, you can see through the whole house (which has a mirror-image front facade). The walled backyard is surrounded by neighbors' mature trees which create a green screen.

    After hiring a contractor to build the shell of the house, McLaughlin finished the interior timber-framed details himself.

    dublin-backyard-indoor-outdoor-garden-house-john-mclaughlin-gardenista.

    Above: The first floor of the house is an open living space with full-height timber-framed windows serving as both front and back walls.

    dublin-backyard-indoor-outdoor-garden-house-john-mclaughlin-gardenista.

    Above: Interior wood trim and window frames are made of iroko.

    dublin-backyard-indoor-outdoor-garden-house-john-mclaughlin-gardenista.

    Above: On the second floor, four bedrooms have sweeping view of green foliage through the large windows.

    dublin-backyard-indoor-outdoor-garden-house-john-mclaughlin-gardenista.

    Above: McLaughlin's plan for the house.

    dublin-backyard-indoor-outdoor-garden-house-john-mclaughlin-gardenista.

    Above: The front facade mimics the back of the house. Bluestone pavers and crushed gravel create a forecourt.

    For more of our favorite Dublin gardens, see:

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    Artificial grass has been gaining ground—and a reputation for being eco-friendly because it doesn't need water, fertilizer, or to be mowed. Plus, the newest generation of artificial grass often looks good enough to fool us into thinking it's real. 

    But have we been too quick to extol the virtues of artificial grass? After Michelle included it on a list of 13 Landscape Design Ideas to Steal in 2015, some readers revolted: "It might be better to grow something, rather than smother the living soil beneath it," Susan Krzywicki wrote. Another reader pointed out, "Artificial turf is extremely hot. Ask any child who plays soccer in the D.C. region. On a bad day, the turf can burn through your cleats."

    Our readers got us thinking. Does artificial grass offer salvation to drought-prone climates—or it is one of those inventions that will eventually end up in the too-good-to-be-true file? Here's a close look at the pros and cons of live lawns versus artificial turf:

    Where do you stand on this issue? Tell us in the comments section below. 

    London garden Christine Hanway backyard tree fern artificial grass turf ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.

    Our London editor Christine Hanway's backyard has lush green grass—real or fake? Read on to find out. But first, the back story:

    The Case Against Live Lawns 

    Lawn Irrigation System, Gardenista  

    Above: Velvety green lawns come at a steep cost to the environment. They account for one-third of all residential water use and pose an environmental disaster in dry climates. Our efforts to maintain lawns—mowing, blowing, and trimming with gas- and electric-powered tools—create air pollution that far outstrips the oxygen-producing benefits of grass. If you use fertilizers on grass, the chemicals pollute the groundwater.

    The issues surrounding the environmental impact of real turf have caused some municipalities to restrict the size of lawns in new projects. For instance  in Mill Valley, CA regulations allow only 500 square feet of real grass for a new home or major remodel. Will we soon have grass police?

    The Case for Live Lawns

    London backyard garden Christine Hanway artificial grass ; Gardenista

    Above: An aerial view of Christine Hanway's London garden. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.

    "A lawn is a beautiful, emotional thing, like a pool, and it has an emotional value. It makes a garden look beautiful and serene," says environmental crusader Sally Dominguez, who invented the Rainwater Hog rainwater catchment tank.

    A transplant from drought-plagued Australia, architect Dominguez says, "Don't give up your lawn—my take on it is this: when we moved here from Australia, we went to a house for a cocktail party and saw this lush lawn. My kids and I couldn't believe it. It looked so rich and inviting we all immediately took off our shoes and walked in it."

    Rather than get rid of real lawns, Dominguez recommends recycled laundry and shower water—known as graywater—to water our lawns. If you stick with organic fertilizers and can tolerate a less-than-perfectly-green lawn, you don't have to feel guilty about having a patch of real turf, she says.

    Rainwater Hog Mill Valley, Gardenista  

    Above: The Rainwater Hog water recycling system installed in a Mill Valley home by Geoffrey Butler Architecture. Photograph via AIA.

    For more of Dominguez' tips, see Ask the Expert: 7 Ways to Save Water in the Garden, from a Graywater Crusader.

    The Case for Artificial Grass

    A true outdoor carpet, artificial grass directly addresses the primary environmental concerns of real turf. It requires no watering, no mowing, and no feeding. Some manufacturers use recycled materials, such as old tires or plastic bottles. And, while expensive, the life expectancy of artificial turf can be upwards of 25 years, making it a less costly alternative to real turf over its lifespan. For a crash course in artificial turf, see Hardscaping 101: Artificial Grass.

    Artificial grass London ; Gardenista

    Above: We can't ignore the aesthetic value of synthetic turf. Available in an array of blade lengths, colors, and textures (including variegated strands), the new generation of synthetic grass can fool most. 

    Barbara Chambers Artificial Lawn, Gardenista

    Above: A lawn of artificial grass in SF-based architect Barbara Chambers' garden. Photograph by Liesa Johannssen for Gardenista.

    "I would never had thought I would be a fan of fake anything, but I'm sold," says Chambers. For more of her garden, see Architect Visit: Barbara Chambers at Home in Mill Valley.

    "I love my artificial grass. They have come a long way with the design, texture, and color," says Chambers, "There is no way you can tell my lawn is fake unless I confess."

    How has the synthetic grass fared in Chambers garden? "I’ve had my artificial grass for almost two years and it still looks like new, no maintenance, no fuss, no gophers, and no water," she says. "While the cost was very high to install, I’m certain it's paid for itself by now. Best of all, it looks amazing all the time." 

    The Case Against Artificial Grass

    While it may look and feel like the real thing, synthetic grass some simply can't get past the fact it's plastic. While it is hailed for its water-saving benefits, artificial turf has its own environmental drawbacks. It is a petroleum-based product that creates pollution and waste in the manufacturing process. And, while it is often made partially with recycled materials, it is not biodegradable. Despite a long life of from 15 to 25 years, it will, ultimately, end up in a landfill.

    Foras Studio West Village NYC artificial grass ; Gardenista  

    Above: Photograph via Foras Studio.

    Critics point to synthetic turf as an environmental heater. It absorbs heat and feel hot to the touch in direct sun. Pet owners give synthetic grass a mixed review. It does not absorb animal waste (but is permeable so liquids pass through to the ground underneath).

    Alternatives to Both

    Non-plastic alternatives to real turf that will stand up to heavy foot traffic and offer soft landing for kids' play areas include: wood mulch (sometimes called "playground chips"), ground covers that require little water and maintenance (see Fields of Green: 5 Favorite Lawn Substitutes), decomposed granite (see Low-Cost Luxury: 9 Ways to Use Decomposed Granite in a Landscape).

    Flowering Ecolawn Mix, Gardenista

    Above: Fleur de Lawn is a flowering eco-lawn mix with low growing perennial flowers that change color and texture through the seasons. It was developed at Oregon State University through research on eco-friendly landscapes; $29.95 for a 1-pound bag at Pro Time Lawn Seed. Photograph via Oregon State University Department of Horticulture.

    The Envelope Please...

    London backyard garden Christine Hanway artificial grass; Gardenista

    Above: Christine's backyard terrace is carpeted with artificial grass, a surface that stands up to pets, teenage boys, and variable English weather. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.

    For more environmentally friendly ways to live with a lawn, see:

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  • 03/19/15--09:00: DIY: Wild Lawn
  • My brother-in-law's mother, Molly, has a house in Oregon on a cliff overlooking the ocean (if ever there was a place you do not want to wrestle a mower...). She came up with a recipe for a low-maintenance lawn of native plants and wildflowers that needs little water, stands up to wind and weather, and looks attractive year-round. Here's how:

    Photography by Erin Boyle.

    a low-maintenance lawn perfect for a beach house | gardenista

    Above: My brother-in-law's family beach house is part of a compound of connected cottages constructed to replace a previous house that nearly tumbled into the sea because of erosion in the 1990s.

    In the decade or since since the new beach house was built,  Molly has been nurturing its wild lawn. with advice from her friend, garden designer John Brookes.

    a low-maintenance lawn perfect for a beach house | gardenista

    Above: Brookes' first piece of advice: "Just see what comes." The truth is the advice was partly an admission that he wasn't willing to take on the task of designing a garden by the sea. Salt air, constant wind, and the added complication that beach homes aren't often a primary residence can make designing a beach house garden something of a challenge (just ask Justine).

    So Molly decided to create her own low-maintenance lawn, using native seeds collected from seed savers in the area. Molly relied on lawn mixes developed by local nurseries. Nichols Nursery in Albany, Oregon, was the first she found. The nursery's Northern Ecology Lawn Mix includes Colonial Bentgrass, Strawberry and Dutch White Clover, Wild English Daisies, Roman Chamomile, Yarrow and Baby Blue Eyes; $11.65 for a 1/8 pound bag.

    More recently, Molly has used a mix from Hobbs and Hopkins in Portland; a 1-pound bag of Fleur de Lawn is $29.95. As Molly explains, "My 'lawn' is a humble mix of whatever has survived."

    The process was a slow one—with many of the seeds taking up to three years to germinate. Ten years in, the meadow largely takes care of itself. The family mows the lawn just twice a year, in the spring and fall, to make sure that the plants have ample opportunity to self-seed between mowings. 

    a low-maintenance lawn perfect for a beach house | gardenista

    Above: Maintaining a uniform height is a challenge in a meadow. The dwarf yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a solid addition that doesn't overpower the grasses, but adds a pleasant variation.

    a low-maintenance lawn perfect for a beach house | gardenista

    Above: In late summer the meadow is filled with grasses, clover, and yarrow. In the springtime, it's full to bursting with bright blue baby blue eyes (Nemphila menziesi) and buttercups.

    a low-maintenance lawn perfect for a beach house | gardenista

    Above: Stretching out in the yard in front of the beach house, the meadow might not be the best spot to play croquet, but its soft grasses are still pleasant to walk on in bare feet. You can take my word.

    a low-maintenance lawn perfect for a beach house | gardenista

    Above: Gratuitous sunset shot? Maybe. But just look at that sweet flowering lawn.

    For more lawn alternatives, see:

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    Bold green shutters against a neutral-colored house is a look that has stood the test of time. The combination varies widely, so we sourced ten of our favorites. If you're considering the color combo on your own home (and you should), here's where to start: 

    Swatch photographs by Meredith Swinehart.

    Best paint colors for green house shutters, Benjamin Moore Lafayette Green, Gardenista

    Above: Benjamin Moore's Lafayette Green is a close approximation of the window frames and shutter doors in this tropically themed house. Photograph courtesy of Bellan and a Blog.

    Best paint colors for green house shutters, Farrow & Ball green smoke, Gardenista

    Above: Farrow & Ball calls Green Smoke "an uncertain green/blue/gray color" and notes that it was popular in the latter half of the 19th century. We like it as a match for the color of these aging green shutters. Photograph courtesy of BlokkStox.

    Above: We suggest Ace Paints in Easy Green to recreate the look of the green shutters on Blackwell's bookstore in Oxford. Photograph courtesy of Anna Espinal-Rae.

    Best paint colors for green house shutters, Pratt & Lambert Clover, Gardenista

    Above: The olive green shutter and demi-johns in this image make for the perfect French vignette. We suggest Pratt & Lambert's Olive Shadow to recreate the look. Photograph courtesy of Un Coeur en Provence.

    Above: Ace Paints' apropriately named Shutter Green is our pick for these dark green shutters against a white colonial. Photograph courtesy of Brooke Ryan.

    Best paint colors for green house shutters, Sherwin-Williams Yew Hedge, Gardenista

    Above: For the shutters on this Santa Barbara house by architect Marc Appleton, try Sherwin-Williams' Yew Hedge. The color has been discontinued but can still be mixed on request. Photograph courtesy of Architectural Digest.

    Best paint colors for green house shutters, Benjamin Moore Cedar Path, Gardenista

    Above: These full-height shutter doors in the French Quarter of New Orleans are painted in a hue similar to Benjamin Moore's Cedar Path. Photograph courtesy of Tara Bradford.

    Best paint colors for green house shutters, Benjamin Moore Central Park, Gardenista

    Above: For the paler green shutters on this Mediterranean facade, try Benjamin Moore's Central Park. Photograph courtesy of The French Tangerine.

    Best paint colors for green house shutters, Pratt & Lambert Clover, Gardenista

    Above: Pratt & Lambert Clover could approximate these shutters in Monbazillac, in the Aquitaine region of France. Photograph courtesy of Mufidah Kassalias.

    Best paint colors for green house shutters, Farrow & Ball Arsenic, Gardenista

    Above: We like Farrow & Ball's Arsenic to mimic the tropical green shutters on this cottage at Carillon Beach on Florida's Gulf Coast. Photograph courtesy of Southern Hospitality.

    Looking for more exterior paint inspiration? See our posts on the best exterior paints in Red; Green; Black; Gray; and White.

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    Nearly 200 years after British civil engineer Henry Robinson Palmer came up with the idea to crease thin sheets of metal to make corrugated metal siding, architects still come up with new ways to use his invention. Here are nine stylish ways to use the lightweight, low-cost, sturdy material on facades:

    corrugated-metal-siding-texas-facade-gardenista.

    Above: Austin, Texas-based Mell Lawrence Architects designed a low-energy galvanized metal guest house that sits on a bluff above a lake.

    barn-remodel-corrugated-metal-siding-gardenista

    Above: A remodeled 19th century barn in upstate New York has a timber frame wrapped in a corrugated siding product known as SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels), a composite building material, which acts as framing, insulation, and exterior sheathing, all in one. For more, see A Rural Barn Transformed for Modern Living on Remodelista.

    corrugated-metal-summer-house-outbuilding-gardenista

    Above: A summer house designed by architect Mats Fahlander has a corrugated metal facade that is maintenance free on the northwest coast of Sweden, where the weekend retreat sits atop rocky terrain near two fjords. Photograph via Dezeen.

    Neal-Schwartz-Hydeaway-Pool-House-Sonoma-Gardenista

    Above: In Sonoma, Schwartz and Schwartz Architecture wrapped the facade of a 500-square-foot pool house in corrugated metal siding. For more, see Outbuilding of the Week: Tiny House, Big Views in Sonoma.

    Corrugated Metal Siding facade ; Gardenista

    Above: In Denmark, Lendager Arkitekter designed an experimental Upcycle House constructed of recycled materials, including corrugated cladding made from aluminum soda cans.

    Portable shipping container holiday house ; Gardenista

    Above: A portable holiday house (which in a former life was a shipping container) has a corrugated metal frame. Designed by New Zealand-based Atelierworkshop, a side wall open, Barbie Dream House style, to create an outdoor patio. for more, see Outbuilding of the Week: A Shipping Container Transformed into the Ultimate Holiday House.

    Galvanized garden shed ; Gardenista

    Above: A galvanized garden shed sided with corrugated panels salvaged from old chicken coops in Napa Valley sits poolside in a St. Helena garden. For more, see Outbuilding of the Week: A Recycled Garden Shed in Northern California.

    Corrugated Barn with Red Painted Barn Door, Gardenista

    Above: A 100-year-old farm in central California boast a barn clad in corrugated siding and a barn door painted lipstick red. For more, see California Coast: A Visit to Harley Farms.

    corrugated-metal-siding-porch-houses-texas-gardenista.

    Above: Made from a simple kit of factory-built parts, Porch House buildings by San Antonio, Texas-based Lake|Flato Architects are made of corrugated metal and wood.

    For more ways to use corrugated or galvanized metal in a landscape project, see:

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    Julie and the Remodelista editors spent the week gearing up for spring with mini-maxi (minimal effort, maximum impact) DIY projects. Here's a few we might try this weekend if it rains:

    Cat litter box ; Gardenista

    Above: Love your cat but not the litter box? Julie came up with 12 Ways to Hide the Loo, Feline Style.

    Remodeling 101: Painted Plywood Floors; Gardenista

    Above: What if you pull up that ugly carpet only to find plywood underneath? Christine says paint it. See her report in Remodeling 101: Painted Plywood Floors.

    swedish-kitchen-brass-bin-pulls; Remodelista

    Above: Add a warm gold moment to soften the look of all that stainless steel in the kitchen. Izabella has rounded up 10 Easy Pieces: Brass Bin Pulls.

    Dumbo-loft-Robertson-Pasanella-living-room-art-Remodelista

    Above: The Art of the Art Wall, Deconstructed. Thanks for showing us how to break the rules, Meredith.

    Alessandra Tacci's house, leather handle diy ; Remodelista

    Above: For a door that needs a knob, this DIY Leather, Lace, and Wooden Ball Door Pull is an easy half-day project. (We timed Julie.)

    Did you miss any of our favorite new DIY outdoor projects? See DIY: Painted House Numbers and DIY: Wild Lawn.

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    The first day of spring went pretty well. (For you too?) Here's how we celebrated:

    Interior courtyard ; Gardenista

    • Above: A house without windows on the exterior walls makes up for it with an interior courtyard. Photograph by Masao Nishikawa. 
    • Another convert.
    • Oregon's tulip season starts now. 

    Brittany Asch Brooklyn florist bouquet ; Gardenista

    lonny-lemon-cocktail-gardenista

    Instagram and Pinterest Pick of the Week

    Gardenista Instagram Pick of the Week: @nicamille

    • Above: Another Brooklyn florist (@nicamille) to add to your Instagram feed. 

    Concrete planters Garden Design Pinterest board ; Gardenista

    • Above: We're following Garden Design Magazine's Container Gardens board on Pinterest. 

    See the best Irish gardens in our Emerald Isle issue and head over to Remodelista to read up on life-changing Weekend Projects.

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    British gardening and cookery writer Sarah Raven is fortunate in being scientific as well as artistic. She is also a busy person who likes to eat so her kitchen garden is organized in a way that gives maximum output while avoiding the look of a messy market garden. Quite the opposite. She shares her logical yet aesthetic ideas with us from East Sussex. Seeds are available in the UK from Sarah Raven; for US gardeners, good sources are Johnny's Seeds and Baker Creek:

    Photography by Jonathan Buckley except where noted.

    Sarah Raven vegetable garden ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Sarah Raven.

    The vegetable bank at Perch Hill, the home Sarah Raven shares with writer Adam Nicolson and their family. Shown here, from the background to the foreground: lime green clouds of Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii (£7.95); Tulipa 'Gentle Giants'; Mustard 'Red Frills' (£1.95 for 250 seeds); Mustard 'Red Giant' (£1.95 for 250 seeds) mixed with Tulipa 'Compassion'. Tulip bulbs are available from Sarah's shop in autumn.

    Following are Sarah's top ten tips for bounty, ease, and good looks in your kitchen garden:

    1. Grow as much of what you like as possible. Clear as big a space as you can and think about maximum productivity per square inch.

    2. Skip the fancy frills. A vegetable patch divided by mini hedges, potager-style, means more work and less food. Rows of boxwood will encourage slugs and snails, and perennial weeds tangle themselves around the roots. Instead, try edible edging: rows of hardy alpine strawberries and nasturtiums will do the trick.

    Sarah Raven's kitchen garden: Jonathan Buckley photos. Gardenista

    3. Combine ornamentals and edibles. In an unexpected partnership (Above), Mustard 'Red Giant' mixes with Tulipa 'Compassion'. Bonus tip: green-flowered tulips are more perennial than the standard colored ones.

    Sarah Raven's Kitchen Garden_Photo by Jonathan Buckley. Gardenista

    4. Layer. Sarah planted this area (Above) near the drive more than a decade ago, greatly reducing labor while keeping the bed full over a long period. Perennial artichokes mix with bulbs and tubers in three layers: dahlias in trenches at the lowest level; Allium hollandicum 'Purple Sensation' (£8.50 for three plants) plus earlier and later allium varieties in the middle level; artichokes at the top level. The artichokes shown here are a mixture of 'Green Globe', Artichoke 'Violet de Provence' (£1.95 for 30 seeds), and Artichoke 'Gros Vert de Laon' (£1.95 for 30 seeds). 

    Sarah Raven Kitchen Garden, photo Jonathan Buckley. Gardenista

    5. Grow edible flowers all year. The following can all be harvested in the UK in winter and early spring: Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis 'Indian Prince', Above, £1.95 for 125 seeds), viola, polyanthus and primula. Conversely, vegetables such as kale are not just for eating. Green and purple kale look great in flower arrangements and are a good foil for flowers in an ornamental border.

    N.B.: For further tips on kale in flower arrangements, see Required Reading: The Surprising Life of Constance Spry.

    Sarah Raven's Kitchen Garden: Jonathan Buckley photos. Gardenista

    6. Plant the unusual. Planting heirloom or heritage varieties in unusual colors—including the purple French Bean 'Blauhilde' (£1.95 for 25 seeds) and the yellow 'Rocquencourt'—is proof to the world that you've grown them yourself. As is the size: greengrocers and supermarkets providing mainstream produce often sell vegetables harvested after they have grown too big. Beans taste better when they are younger and smaller and, it goes without saying, fresher.

    Sarah Raven's Kitchen Garden_Photo by Jonathan Buckley. Gardenista

    7. Sow heavy croppers. Tomatoes, zucchini, and beans all produce abundantly. Salad leaves (Above) also crop more heavily if you cut and come again. Start cutting non-hearting lettuce such as Mizuna or Oak Leaf lettuce at one end of a row and by the time you get to the other end, you can start again. Harvest by twisting off leaves around the edges: don't bulldoze the whole plant.

    8. Avoid gluts. Too much, then too little, leaves bald patches in the garden. Successional sowing of salad leaves every few weeks, for instance, will ease this pattern of feast or famine. Succession planting can also be applied to beans and peas.

    Sarah Raven kitchen edible vegetable garden ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Sarah Raven.

    9. Build good bones. Raise your vegetable patch to another level in the middle as well as around the edges. Teepees, arches, and walkways in Sarah's small (and private) kitchen garden at Sissinghurst greatly increase the growing space in a smallish area. They can be covered in sweetpeas followed by the cup and saucer vine (Cobaea scandens) or morning glory. A sturdy arch will support squashes and zucchini.

    Sarah Raven's Kitchen Garden: Photo Jonathan Buckley. Gardenista

    10. Don't grow everything. Tricky plants such as celery are best bought, as are mainstream vegetables including cabbage, parsnips, and main crop potatoes. This still leaves plenty to choose from as Sarah Raven (Above) demonstrates.

    For more kitchen garden design, see:

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    Remodeling a period townhouse means confronting the past, indoors and out. Layers of history get uncovered—along with awkward floor plans, evidence of earlier ill-advised remodels, and horror-movie overgrowth in the backyard.

    One of our all-time favorite remodels in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood is architect Julian King's thoughtful update of a Victorian townhouse, which uncovered character-filled historical details and created a sunny back garden.

    N.B.: For the interiors, see Minimalist Moves for a Chelsea Townhouse.

    Photography via Julian King Architect except where noted.

    Chelsea Townhouse garden Julian King ; Gardenista

    Above: Recycled bricks and stones found on the property during the remodel pave the garden and edge the garden beds.

    Before

    Chelsea Townhouse garden Julian King ; Gardenista

    Above: Overgrown vines, bamboo, and a cramped patio signaled years of neglect in the garden.

    After

    Chelsea Townhouse garden Julian King ; Gardenista

    Above: The rear elevation was replaced; a new second-floor balcony overlooks the garden. King moved the master bedroom to the ground floor, where a wall of glass slides open to connect it with the garden. The kitchen he moved upstairs...

    Chelsea townhouse garden duplex ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via New York Times.

    On the top floor of the duplex, French doors swing open to connect the kitchen and dining area with the outdoors.

    Chelsea Townhouse garden Julian King ; Gardenista

    Above: A new staircase leads from the kitchen balcony to the garden.

    chelsea-townhouse-bedroom-garden-gardenista

    Above: The master bedroom has full-width sliding glass doors set in a recessed track in the concrete patio.

    Chelsea Townhouse garden Julian King ; Gardenista

    Above: The cantilevered stairs are made of ipe wood. A generous bluestone slab serves as a landing at the base of the staircase.

    Chelsea Townhouse garden Julian King ; Gardenista

    Above: In his remodel, King honored the proportions of the townhouse's Victorian design while updating the floor plans to create an intimate relationship between the garden and indoor spaces.

    For more NYC townhouse gardens, see:

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