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Sourcebook for Cultivated Living

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    After Christine and Sarah headed to Berlin recently, the city's vibrancy and eco-forward attitude excited them so much that we decided to devote a week to German garden design and outdoor spaces. Reports Sarah: "There is a collective sense of enjoying the day-to-day, not racing through time."

    Join us as we take it one story at a time:

    Table of Contents: Berlin Bound; Gardenista

    Above: Germany is the birthplace of the green roofs movement (thanks, Germany). For more, see our favorite Roof Gardens.

    Monday

    Light-Filled Courtyard House Remodel in Berlin | Gardenista

    Above: Meredith deconstructs the secrets of a light-filled courtyard garden in Berlin in this week's Architect Visit. For more of Meredith's favorite courtyard gardens, see The Cult of the Courtyard: 10 Homes with Amazing Interior Light.

    beer-garden-biergarten-tables-gardenista

    Above: For this week's installment of our Gardenista 100: Best of 2015, we round up our favorite German beer garden tables (practical and stylish, outdoors or in).

    Tuesday

    germany-karl-foerster-garden-gardenista

    Above: Born in 1874, German horticulturalist Karl Foerster was as much plant sociologist as nurseryman; his plant crosses resulted in some today's most popular perennial grass varieties. This week Kendra explores the tradition of Pflanzensoziologie and other Garden Ideas to Steal from Germany.

    Wednesday

    Berlin Florist Annett Kuhlmann balcony garden - Gardenista

    Above: We visit one of Berlin's star florists at home in this week's Studio Visit. Meanwhile, for more of our favorite European balcony gardens, see Tiny Terraces: 11 Small-Space Urban Gardens.

    Thursday

    Rainwater Hog Mill Valley, Gardenista

    Above: In drought-plagued California, we're collecting shower water in a pail; we use the graywater on thirsty houseplants. In the garden, there also are efficient ways to collect rainwater. We explore them in Hardscaping 101. In the meantime, see more eco-friendly suggestions in our Guide to Sustainable Landscape Design.

    Friday

    pop up recycled hotel room Mannheim Germany ; Gardenista

    Above: A freestanding pop-up hotel room made of recycled materials is our Outbuilding of the Week.

    Saturday

    Lila B. vase Gardenista Market

    Above: A handmade Wood Corset Beaker Vase is $38 from SF-based florist Baylor Chapman, one of the 42 artisans, makers, and floral designers who will be at the our spring Remodelista & Gardenista Market, from 9 am to 5 pm on May 9 at Marin Country Mart in Larkspur, CA. Hope to see you there!

    The Remodelista editors are also spending the week in Germany. See where they're visiting in their own Berlin Bound issue.

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    Three years ago, a pair of Berlin architects were hired to renovate a faded house and garden under strict architectural preservation—so strict, in fact, it's up for consideration as a UNESCO world heritage site.

    The architects are Stefan Flachsbarth and Michael Schultz of bfs-design in Berlin, and the house is a 1957 bungalow designed by Bauhaus architect Eduard Ludwig, whose career was cut short by a tragic accident soon after this project was completed. The house has a courtyard garden and covered atrium, and its location at the end of a block of five houses that abuts a Berlin park ensures that the views are fantastic.

    But by the time Flachsbarth and Schultz saw the house, it had been completely deformed, Schultz said. And preservation requirements slowed the remodel. Still, the architects figured out how to return the house and garden to a state that is a credit to its architectural history.

    Photography by Annette Kisling

    Light-Filled Courtyard House Remodel in Berlin | Gardenista

    Above: A view from the open courtyard through the living room and into the atrium beyond. 

    Eduard Ludwig was a disciple of Mies van der Rohe who was well on his way to making a name for himself before he died in a car accident in 1960, a mere three years after this house was constructed. The house sits in the center of Tiergarten Park in the middle of Berlin, built as part of the Interbau development for the Berlin International Building Exhibtion in 1957. At Interbau, 48 architects—including Walter Gropius, Arne Jacobsen, and Le Corbusier—designed a housing development with a wide range of multi-family and single-family homes.

    Light-Filled Courtyard House Remodel in Berlin | Gardenista

    Above: A view from the courtyard garden into the office space. The living room is through the windows to the right.

    Though the plants, including conifer and birch trees, were newly planted in the restoration, they were placed in the exact location of the original design. The architects used concrete slabs for the terrace and limestone gravel for everything else. There is occasional intentional tension between the boundaries of the limestone gravel and natural soil. 

    Light-Filled Courtyard House Remodel in Berlin | Gardenista

    Above: The living room is filled with light, sandwiched between the open courtyard and covered atrium. The black tile wall and windowsill radiator cover are original, and new additions include a Porro carpet, Rolf Benz sofa, and Focus fireplace. Focus also manufactures high-quality outdoor fireplaces. For more about one of our favorite models, see A Disappearing Act: The Sigma Focus Wall-Mounted Barbecue

    Light-Filled Courtyard House Remodel in Berlin | Gardenista

    Above: At left, a glimpse over the original black radiator cover into the covered atrium. 

    Light-Filled Courtyard House Remodel in Berlin | Gardenista

    Above: Though the Focus fireplace is new, it's reminiscent of one original to the house. The curtains are from Création Baumann, and the chair is Artek. Original linoleum flooring had been replaced by a cherry parquet floor by an intermediate owner, but the architects rejected both and settled on gray polyurethane flooring instead. 

    Light-Filled Courtyard House Remodel in Berlin | Gardenista

    Above: The original kitchen furnishings had all been changed over time, so the architects were free to enlarge the kitchen area and install new furnishings and appliances. They settled on a color scheme of pink, cream, and white to reference the house's midcentury origins. 

    The view from the kitchen window overlooks the public park. "Although the rooms are modest," said Michael Schultz, "with the many views out of the house one never gets the feeling of being enclosed." 

    Light-Filled Courtyard House Remodel in Berlin | Gardenista

    Above: Despite the large windows throughout the house, the home is actually quite private due to tall surrounding walls. The original garage door was stripped of paint and returned to a raw wood surface as Ludwig intended it. 

    For more from Stefan Flachsbarth and Michael Schultz of bfs-d studio, see The Ultimate Timesaver: DIY Dinner in Germany.

    For more courtyards and atriums, see:

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    Is there a more versatile dining table than a classic German biergarten table? Outdoors or in, a beer garden table is ideal for narrow decks, balconies, kitchens, work studios, or dining rooms. 

    For this week's installment of the Gardenista 100: Best of 2015, here are our favorite beer garden tables:

    Ikea folding table garden terrace ; Gardenista

    Above: From Ikea, a Folding Table ($129) and accompanying Folding Bench ($75) have a white, laminate top made to resist scratches and spills; on the terrace, consider it a potting table by day and a dining table by night.

    wood folding picnic beer garden biergarten table -gardenista

    Above: A sturdy Robinia Wood Beer Garden Table seats six and is held together by galvanized steel clasps which—you guessed it—enable it to fold flat. It's 398€ from Manufactum.

    vintage-biergarten-beer-garden-table-gardenista

    Above: One-of-a-kind Vintage Biergarten Table and bench sets come with painted pine tops and metal legs (choose from red tabletop with gray legs or yellow tabletop with green legs); $599.95 from Williams-Sonoma.

    beer-garden-biergarten-tables-gardenista

    Above: Long and narrow enough to fit on a skinny balcony, a Biergarten Folding Wood Table has black metal legs and comes with benches; $429 at Beer Garden Furniture.

    biergarten-beer-garden-tables-benches-gardenista

    Above: Dunton River Camp offers Safari-Style Camping in Colorado, where guests dine outdoors on beer garden tables and benches made by Roost; a pine and steel folding Biergarten Table & Benches is $690 from Modish.

    elefant-rectangular-beer-garden-table-gardenista

    Above: The Elefant Rectangular Beer Garden is made of galvanized steel and Robinia wood; €419 from Manufactum.

    galvanized biergarten beer garden table ; Gardenista

    Above: Inspired by vintage biergarten table and bench sets, a Vintage Galvanized Biergarten Table is made of 19th century pine and zinc (each is one of a kind). Two benches are included; $699.95 for the set from Williams-Sonoma.

    For more of our favorite outdoor dining tables, see:

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    Avant-garde ideas are met with less resistance in German gardens, perhaps because plant science is never far behind. Why do drifts of naturalistic perennials work so well in both public and private spaces? Because they have been clinically proven.

    There is also a wildness, particularly in Berlin, which our cities lack. "While there are many beautifully manicured parks, the streets of Berlin are overgrown and wild," says the founder of Mary Lennox Flower & Garden, Ruby Barber. This is to do with the divided history of the city. "Hopefully, as Berlin develops, it will maintain its unruly green charm."

    Green Roofs

    Berlin roof garden Klunkerkranich ; Gardenista

    Above: A roof garden in Berlin. Photograph via Colour Me Blind.

    We may think of green roofs as a recent trend, but they took off in Germany in the '60s and '70s with improvement to roofing technology. They are important for encouraging biodiversity in plants while providing a living habitat; they provide a natural insulation while absorbing rainwater and looking a lot more attractive than black felt. As with so many sensible ideas, green roofs made of turf were traditional in Europe before the Industrial Revolution. 

    Planting Everywhere

    Balcony garden Berlin ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Freunde von Freunden.

    Berlin is considered to be one of the greenest and most floriferous cities in the world. "The flowers on the streets and in the parks are fantastic," says Ruby. "In the first few weeks of spring Berlin is bursting with blossom and magnolia. Not long after, the whole city carries the scent of lilac." It is a fact that wildflowers are everywhere, with cultivated plants such as bearded iris popping up in unexpected places. Flowers are part of the culture; why would anyone use a balcony just to store a bicycle?

    The Mary Lennox Effect

    Wedding flowers Mary Lennox ; Gardenista

    Above: Mary Lennox, named after the young heroine of The Secret Garden, is a florist and boutique seed merchant run by Ruby Barber and Olivia Beattie. Their curatorial skills are on display at The Store x Soho House, featuring a large collection of unusual plants, including a 200-year-old Monstera.

    Mary Lennox are very keen on locally grown flowers, which goes against the grain in their native city. "The flower market in Berlin is heavily reliant on imports," says Ruby. "We are always trying to find new and interesting flowers to work with that aren't available at the average florist."

    Follow the Rules: Kleingartenkolonies

    Germany community gardens ; schrebergarten ; Gardenista

    Above: For more, see Germany's Rent-a-Gardens

    As well as the abundance of parks, Germany is home to the kleingartenkolonie. Traditionally bedevilled with rules (one third fruit, one third veg, one third lawn, etc.), they are slowly being liberated by younger enthusiasts. They also go by the name of: gartenkolonie and schrebergaerten.

    Break the Rules: Berlin

     

    Above: For more, see A Moveable Feast: Berlin's Portable Community Garden.

    In Berlin the old model has been overturned and the rules were thrown out of the window. The community garden at Prinzessinnengarten, 200 meters away from the Berlin Wall (in the heart of Kreuzberg) and a wasteland from World War II until this century, exemplifies this new attitude to community gardening. Volunteers can come and go on a regular or irregular basis; produce is for sale and is used in the on-site café. With an emphasis on growing locally and seasonally, it is hoped, among Berlin's florists at least, that this approach will filter into the nascient home-bred flower industry."Prinzessinnengarten is a huge triumph of urban gardening," says Ruby of Mary Lennox.

    Experimental Planting

    Germany experimental planting Westpark garden beds ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by JaBB via Flickr.

    Germans use municipal parks for experimental planting. While the "new perennial" style continues to feel new-ish in reclaimed urban spaces such as New York's High Line park, the Germans have been doing this for some time. The parks of Munich show a sophisticated approach to plant communities which has been developed since the middle of the last century (in Germany). Low-maintenance, low-cost, cheerful and yes, natural-looking. It is the opposite of what we usually think of as civic planting with its loyalty to artificial bedding schemes.

    Pflanzensoziologie

    Penstemon 'Andenken an Friedrich Hahn' ; Gardenista

    Above: Bred in 1918 in Germany, Penstemon 'Andenken an Friedrich Hahn’. Photographs via Van Appeltern.

    The behavior of plant communities is known as "planzensoziologies," translated as plant sociology. Plants need to suit their conditions; they need to be tough. It is an imitation of nature.

    See some happy communities of plants in: Dream Landscapes: 10 Perennial Gardens Inspired by Piet Oudolf.

    Ursula Wegener, Florist

    german-florist-ursula-wegener-2-gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Flowers to Arts.

    Ursula Wegener, master florist, is a classic case of the unusual being usual. A leading florist and lecturer whose work is anything but mainstream, her skills include the art of ikebana.

    Melbourne-based Loose Leaf florist and co-owner Wona Bae studied under Wegener, taking the Korean version of ikebana (kokozi) to Australia to set up the business. For more see: 10 Garden Ideas to Steal From Australia

    Urban Vegetation

    schoenaich-urban-vegetation-gardenista

    Above: The Hogarth Roundabout in its full glory can be found here: Throw it, Grow it: London's Guerrilla Gardeners. Photograph via Brita von Schoenaich.

    Landscape architect and German emigré Brita von Schoenaich went through the legal routes to green up one of London's most traffic-clogged areas. Trained in Germany and at Kew, she runs a practice near Petersham Nurseries and lectures internationally.

    Trees, Not Umbrellas

    German biergarten Berlin ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Zerega via Flickr.

    German beer gardens: often copied, never matched. You need trees and ideally, a river. Beer was traditionally cooled in river banks, naturally tree-lined. Add strings of lights and you might never stagger home. 

    See more of our favorite roof gardens (and German-inspired garden design ideas):

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    This spring I've been taking note of the resurgence of Bermuda shorts, and the appeal of their awkward coolness. When I think of Bermuda shorts, two images come to mind: a pre-teen skater with messy hair and my mom in her Southern California garden.

    Although gardening in a jumpsuit of sturdy workwear cotton sounds protective and quite clean, during the summer months, or in southern climates, full coverage is just not comfortable. Legs need to breathe and catch some sun after a long winter, and a little dirt on the knees never hurt anyone. 

    Here are 10 of our favorite gardening shorts pulled from fashion sources and outdoor stores alike.

    Guideboat Co. Women's Guide Shorts | Gardenista

    Above: From Guideboat Co. in Mill Valley, California, the Women's Guide Shorts have two large patch pockets and are made from natural Japanese sateen for $135.

    MHL by Margaret Howell Tennis Short in Grey | Gardenista

    Above: From Margaret Howell's diffusion line, MHL by Margaret Howell, the Tennis Short is made from garment-dyed vintage cotton canvas fabric; $235 at La Garçonne. The shorts in a deep khaki color also are available directly from Margaret Howell.

    L.L. Bean Easy Stretch Shorts in Twill Cotton | Gardenista

    Above: At true bermuda length, the Easy Stretch Shorts have a stealth elastic waistband for comfort; $39.95 from L.L. Bean.

    J.Crew Harbor Short in Scarborough Grey | Gardenista

    Above: J.Crew's Harbor Shorts hit flatteringly at mid-thigh and come in a selection of nine colors (shown here in Scarborough Grey); $55.

    Le Vestiaire de Jeanne Uniform Short in Black Linen | Gardenista

    Above: From Remodelista and Gardenista favorite, Le Vestaire de Jeanne, the Black Linen Uniform Shorts are ideal for the beach and the garden (even better if your garden is on or near the beach). The lightweight shorts are €115 ($128 USD) from Le Vestiaire de Jeanne. Read more about the brand in Effortless Dressing à la Française on Remodelista.

    Carhartt Sibley Denim Shorts | Gardenista

    Above: From classic workwear brand Carhartt, the Sibley Denim Short has a longer length with added stretch for movement in the garden; $29.99 at Carhartt.

    Snowpeak Flexible Insulated Shorts | Gardenista

    Above: The Flexible Insulated Shorts come from Snowpeak's unisex line of outdoor wear and are made with water-resistant Polartec Alpha fabric, which sounds fitting for dew-filled early mornings in the garden; $190 from Snowpeak.

    Pointer Brand Carpenter Shortalls | Gardenista

    Above: Pointer Brand's Carpenter Shortalls are made of washed indigo denim with plenty of pockets for $55 at L.C. King Manufacturing Co. They also carry the style as Painter Shortalls, made from a light colored cotton canvas.

    Bed Buds Garden Shorts | Gardenista

    Above: The Best Buds Garden Shorts (the short version of company's gardening pant) are made of a stain-resistant and moisture wicking fabric; $49.95 at Gardener's Supply Company.

      Chimala Natural Indigo Narrow Tapered Cut Jean | Gardenista

    Above: Known for its small-scale denim production, Chimala makes a jean so cropped that it could qualify as long shorts (cuffed heavily) or a modern capri. The Natural Indigo Narrow Tapered Cut Jean is $475 at Mohawk General Store.

    For more gardening uniform essentials see:

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    To celebrate the 70th birthday of Dutch plantsman Piet Oudolf—whose romantic drifts of painterly grasses and perennials have made him the most copied landscape designer alive—The Monacelli Press is publishing a new book about his private garden.

    Hummelo: A Journey Through a Plantsman's Life goes on sale today and in partnership with The Monacelli Press, we will be giving away five copies of the book to Gardenista readers. Here's how to enter the giveaway:

    • Subscribe to the Gardenista Daily newsletter and leave a comment below describing how Oudolf's drought tolerant designs have influenced your thinking about gardens. (If you are already a Gardenista Daily newsletter subscriber, mention that in the comments field.)
    • Five winners will be selected in a random drawing and contacted through email. 
    • The contest ends on May 12 at 11:59 pm and the winners will be contacted by May 15. 

    Photography via Hummelo.

    piet-oudolf-hummelo-house-gardens-gardenista

    Above: When garden designer Oudolf and his wife Anja moved with their two young sons to an eastern Netherlands farmhouse on a one-acre plot in 1982, there was no garden and no nursery where he could grow plants for his business. "We had money to survive one year," remembers Oudolf.  "And at first we had no clients." And no heat in the house except a wood stove.

    In Hummelo, British garden writer Noel Kingsbury tells the story of how Oudolf and his wife managed, with hard work and her cut-flower business, to gradually create a garden that embodied the ideas of today's New Perennials movement. Along the way, Hummelo became so famous in its own right that the Oudolfs might wake up on any given day to find strangers tromping about (after the garden's much-photographed yew hedges died in 2010, some tourists from Brussels were so shocked and disappointed that without another word "they got in their car and drove away," Oudolf says).

    piet-oudolf-hummelo-garden-grasses-gardenista

    Above: Hummelo also has 300 color photos and biographical essays about a half dozen earlier gardeners, from Mien Ruys to Karl Foerster, who influenced Oudolf's work.

    p368-369-hummelo-piet-oudolof-gardenista

    Above: In 2010, Oudolf replaced his plant nursery with a meadow where late-flowering perennials compete with large sweeps of perennial grasses.

    The book describes how Oudolf developed his signature garden design techniques, from his early experiments with blending and intermingling perennials and grasses to his strategy of block planting in repetition to create unity throughout a garden.

    piet-oudolf-hummelo-wife-anja-garden-gardenista

    Above: Piet and Anja Oudolf at home.

    piet-oudolf-hummelo-winter-grasses-gardenista

    Above: In winter, Oudolf leaves perennial grasses standing to create moody textures and silvery color in the landscape.

    p166-hummelo-piet-oudolf-gardenista

    Above: Pennisetum viridescens is one of Oudolf's favorite grasses.

    Hummelo book by Piet Oudolf ; Gardenista

    Above: Hummelo goes on sale today ($31.70 at Amazon). To win one of five giveaway copies, subscribe to the Gardenista Daily newsletter and leave a comment below describing how Oudolf's drought tolerant designs have influenced your thinking about gardens. (If you are already a Gardenista Daily newsletter subscriber, mention that in the comments field.) The contest ends May 12.

    For more of Piet Oudolf's work, see:

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    Celebrity florist Annett Kuhlmann's stylish Berlin flower shop, Marsano, feels like the inevitable conclusion to a childhood spent picking flowers to make posies to sell on the road in front of her parents' farm in a small village near Hamburg.

    For her current roster of A-list clients, however, grander floral gestures are often in order. From creating curtains of flowers for a recent Dior Haute Couture runway show to procuring 27-foot-tall maple trees for the wedding of a CEO's daughter, Kuhlmann likes to "break those rules that have been pushed inside of you."

    Trained as a photographer as well as a florist, Kuhlmann arranges flowers with an eye toward scale and proportion as well as with strong ideas about color. Recently Freunde von Freunden writer Sarah Weinknecht visited Kuhlmann at home in the Mitte district in central Berlin, where her small balcony garden was in bloom:

    Photography by Anna Rose via Freunde von Freunden except where noted.

    berlin-balcony-garden-fannett-kuhlmann-gardenista-1

    Above: Amid the window boxes and flowering vines on her terrace, Kuhlmann described how the profession of being a florist in Berlin is evolving. "People are beginning to understand that this job is not a simple service but has a lot to do with creativity. This is already the case in places like London and New York," she says. "I want to surprise my customers and not only do what they had thought about beforehand.

    berlin-balcony-garden-fannett-kuhlmann-gardenista-1

    Above: Kuhlmann recently shared flower arranging tips with UK homewares site Urbanara: "Consider what furniture or statement pieces you have and select flowers to either match or contrast their colors and shapes Try to work with high and low proportions in the vases."

    berlin-balcony-garden-fannett-kuhlmann-gardenista-1

    Above: When you're arranging flowers, "the leaves on the lower portion of the stem should be removed from the cut flower," says Kuhlmann. "This will help the bouquet stay fresh in the vase for longer."

    berlin-balcony-garden-annett-kuhlmann-gardenista-1

    Above: Kuhlmann began her apprenticeship as a florist at Absolute Flowers in London, where owner Hayley Newsteadt taught her about color and form. "Back then, I was still grounded within the German flower apprenticeship. For instance, we would have never used tulips and hyacinths during the summer time," says Kuhlmann.

    berlin-balcony-garden-annett-kuhlmann-gardenista-1

    Above: On the wall in her Berlin flat is a wire hanger turned into sculpture.

    berlin-balcony-garden-annett-kuhlmann-gardenista-1

    Above: Fat black dahlias carry the day.

    "If one breaks those rules that have been pushed inside of you for so many years, something really wonderful happens… fat, full-blown parrot tulips combined with coral-colored peonies, dahlias, scented English garden roses, pink hydrangeas, and geraniums," says Kuhlmann.

    Annett Kuhlmann German Berli florist bicycle picket fence ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Urbanara.

    Kuhlmann founded Marsano with two business partners in 2006; at the shop in Prenzlauer Berg, employees are encouraged to work a 40-hour week in four days (rather than five) so they can find time to pursue their passions. Kuhlmann follows the same schedule, reserving Friday for her photography: "I really stick to that," she says.

    Annett Kuhlmann Berlin florist studio ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Urbanara.

    "I actually hate flower photography! Besides the pictures of Robert Mapplethorpe and a few others, it is so cliché," says Kuhlmann.

    Annett Kuhlmann Berlin florist peonies ; Gardenista

    Above: A bouquet of peonies. Photograph via Urbanara.

    That said, she recently shot a Polaroid series of bouquets that celebrities send to each other.

    Dior Haute Couture runway show flower curtains ; Gardenista

    Above: Curtains of flowers for Dior's Fashion Week runway show in 2012. Photograph via Dior.

    Dior runway show ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Shaadi Curry.

    At Dior's runway show, the walls are covered in peonies, dahlias, carnations, roses, delphiniums, and goldenrod.

    Annett Kuhlmann Berlin florist at home ; Gardenista

    Above: "It’s quite fantastic. In here, every flower possesses a personal language and a place to unfold," says Kuhlmann. 

    For more of our favorite florists, see:

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    Last fall, I started collecting eggshells after I read an article on Realfarmacy.com that touted their usefulness in the garden, for everything from fertilizer to organic pest control. This spring, I'm using crushed eggshells in the garden five ways:

    Photography by Justine Hand for Gardenista.

    Egg Shell Mulch in the Garden, sving shells, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

    Above: During the winter, I saved the shells from all the eggs we ate by simply rinsing them and placing them in an open container where they could dry out. (No, they did not smell. Everyone who came to my house and saw them asked me this question.) After my containers were full, I set the kids to pulverizing them into little bits with wooden spoons, thus compacting the shells so that I could collect more.

    Eggshell Fertilizer

    Egg Shell Mulch in the Garden, soil enrichment, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

    Above: When tilled into the soil, ground eggshells provide your plants with calcium.

    Though nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are most vital for healthy growth, calcium is also essential for building healthy "bones"—the cell walls of a plant. Composed of calcium carbonate, eggshells are an excellent way to introduce this mineral into the soil. To prep the eggshells, grind with a mixer, grinder, or mortar and pestle and till them into the soil. Because it takes several months for eggshells to break down and be absorbed by a plant's roots, it is recommended that they be tilled into the soil in fall. More shells can be mixed into your soil in the spring.

    By the same token, finely crushed shells mixed with other organic matter at the bottom of a hole will help newly planted plants thrive. (Tomatoes especially love calcium.) For an exciting recycled garden cocktail: try mixing your eggshells with coffee grounds, which are rich in nitrogen.

    Finally, eggshells will reduce the acidity of your soil, and will help to aerate it.

    Eggshell Seed Starters

    Egg Shell Mulch in the Garden, seed starters, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

    Above: Because they are biodegradable, eggshells make excellent, no-waste seed starters. For this, reserve some of your deeper shell halves. Sterilize the shelves by boiling them or by placing them in a 200 degree oven for 30 minutes. (If you put them in a cooling oven after, say, you baked a roast chicken, you can sterilize eggs without using excess energy.)

    Next, with a nail or awl, make a hole in the bottom for drainage. Add soil and seeds according to the packaging. When sprouts appear, plant them—egg and all—right into the soil. See a complete DIY at 17 Apart.

    Eggshell Pest Control

    Egg Shell Mulch in the Garden, deer repellent 2, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

    Above: A coating of crushed eggshells in the garden is said to help deter several pests, both large and small. Deer dislike the smell of the albumen and will stay away. Apparently you can also use egg's insides to deter deer. See DIY: Homemade Deer Spray. Be aware, however, that though deer hate the smell of eggs, rodents love it. Therefore, it may not be best to use this deterrent near the house.

    Many gardeners also tout the use of crushed eggshells as a snail and slug repellent. But a recent test by All About Slugs in Oregon seems to have dispelled this as a myth. If you've had any success with egg shells as slug repellent, we'd be curious to know.

    Eggshell Bird Food

    Egg Shell Mulch in the Garden, for birds, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

    Above: Like plants and people, birds also benefit from a bit a calcium in their diet, especially the females who need extra before and after laying their eggs. To make bird food, start by sterilizing the shells by leaving them in a cooling oven after you bake a meal. Then crush them into fine bits and mix with your favorite seed.

    Eggshell Mulch

    Egg Shell Mulch in the Garden, Gardenista

    Above: Like oysters (See A Gift from the Sea: Oysters in the Garden), eggshells used as mulch provide a striking accent in the garden. If you gather enough, you can even apply a layer thick enough to deter weeds.

    Looking for more recycled garden how-tos? See:

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    New to The Future Perfect, one of our favorite sources for modern furnishings: The Weekend collection by French Studio BrichetZiegler for manufacturer OXYO.

    Based in the south of France, OXYO knows a thing or two about life en plein air. In 2012 the company debuted a series of lightweight, stackable furniture made of corrosion-resistant steel with a powder coating. The series is meant to be fun: it's available in 11 colors (including neutrals black, white, gray, and tan), and the oval backrest on each piece is meant to conjure a comic strip thought bubble. 

    In addition to the pieces here, a lounge chair, dining table, and chaise are also available. To order, visit The Future Perfect

    Colorful Outdoor Furniture from OXYO | Gardenista

    Above: The Weekend Bench in Strawberry; $630. 

    Colorful Outdoor Furniture from OXYO | Gardenista

    Above: The Weekend Bar Stool in Clover Leaf; $365.

    Colorful Outdoor Furniture from OXYO | Gardenista

    Above: The Weekend Bridge Chair in Sea Blue; $320. 

    Colorful Outdoor Furniture from OXYO | Gardenista

    Above: The Weekend Low Table in Black; $340. 

    Colorful Outdoor Furniture from OXYO | Gardenista

    Above: The collection debuted at Salone del Mobile in 2012. 

    Shop more of Gardenista's favorite Outdoor Furniture:

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    They say you are what you wear. This is also true of your house. Your front yard makes a strong first impression. Here are seven of our favorite landscaping ideas to dress up the place:

    Fairy Tale Flowers

    Front Yard Landscaping Ideas Flowers Path ; Gardenista

    Above: For more of this garden, see Garden Visit: The Hobbit Land Next Door. Photograph by Tom Kubik for Gardenista.

    My next-door neighbor in Mill Valley, California tore up the grass first thing when she moved into her house. The property is fenced, so it feels like a private world. The walk from the front gate to the stoop is only about 30 feet, but on the way you pass so much—a hydrangea grove, lemon trees, fragrant roses, Japanese maples, columbine, wisteria, herbs—that it can take days to get there if you stop to smell everything.

    Front Yard Landscaping Ideas Front Porch Flowers Pots Containers ; Gardenista

    Above: On the front porch, a potted orange begonia is all it takes to remind visitors of the flowers they've just walked past.

    Front Yard Landscaping Ideas Flowers Window Box ; Gardenista

    Above: A riot of color in a window box reinforces the theme.

    Gracious Living

    front yard landscaping ideas Los Angeles ; Gardenista

    Above: For more of this garden, see Before & After: A Grande Dame in LA's Hancock Park.

    The first time LA-based landscape designer Naomi Sanders saw the grand 1920s house in Hancock Park, it felt hemmed in despite its generous front yard. A maze of formal parterres and fussy plantings ("a million different plants") were to blame.

    She designed new hardscape elements (including a concrete front path to match the material of the stoop) and reduced the plant palette to three colors (green, white, and red). "I was really interested in looking at the work of Mark Rothko for inspiration, for that limited use of color for effect," Sanders said.

    Lucerne5-Hancock-Park-LA-garden-Naomi-Sanders-gardenista

    Above: By simplifying the plantings, Sanders made the boxwood parterres feel tailored instead of cluttered.

    Lucerne-Hancock-Park-LA-garden-Naomi-Sanders-gardenista

    Above: A front path of flagstone was replaced by concrete pavers. "It makes the hardscape feel more connected to the house," says Sanders.

    The Secret Garden

    Linsteadt Mediterranean edible kitchen rose garden California ; Gardenista

    Above: A mysterious front path invites visitors into Jean and Ken Linsteadt's Mill Valley, CA front yard. Two pencil thin cypress trees flank—and define—the walkway. For more, see A Modern Garden Inspired by the Classics.

    What makes it welcoming? No fence. No gate. And the high boxwood hedges look fluffy rather than fierce (thanks to gentle pruning).

    Linsteadt Mediterranean edible kitchen rose garden California ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Nicole Franzen for Gardenista.

    A the end of the path, wide stone steps (and Louis the springer spaniel) lead to a covered front stoop.

    Linsteadt Mediterranean edible kitchen rose garden California ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Nicole Franzen for Gardenista.

    Alongside the Linsteadts' path, cheerful pink and white clumps of Santa Barbara daisies signal that visitors are welcome.

    Elevated Thinking

    front yard landscaping ideas stoop garden ; Gardenista

    Above: In Philadephia, a steep grade change required retaining walls at a property's edge. To make the house feel accessible and welcoming to visitors, designers at Fieldesk planted a colorful, drought-resistant front yard garden on either side of the stairs.

    front yard landscaping ideas retaining walls ; Gardenista

    Above: Hardy perennials including coreopsis (R) and thyme edge the walkway.

    Painterly Prairie

    curb-appeal-perennial-grasses-illinois-front-yard-garden-gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Adam Woodruff & Associates.

    In central Illinois, garden designer Adam Woodruff created a painterly mini prairie when he tore out the turf in his own front yard and planted a low-maintenance mix of perennials, ornamental grasses, and shrubs.  

    curb-appeal-perennial-grasses-adam-woodruff-illinois-gardenista.

    Above: Woodruff planted hardy blooming plants that will perform year after year. He created a crazy quilt of color (L) with Astilbe chinensis ‘Purpurkerze’; Helenium ‘Mardis Gras’; Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’; Eryngium yuccifolium; Origanum laevigatum ‘Herrenhausen’, and Perovskia atriplicifolia.

    At (R), plants include Perovskia atriplicifolia, Amsonia hubrichtii, and Salvia ‘May Night'.

    Victory Garden

    Front yard landscaping ideas vegetable garden; Gardenista

    Above: For more of this edible garden in London, see Garden Visit: The Little House at 24a Dorset Road.

    When London architect Sam Tisdall designed a replacement house to match the rest of a block's Victorian era homes (which had been built for railway workers), he sited the clients' vegetable garden in the small front yard to take advantage of available sunlight.

    london-edible-garden-front-yard-sam-tisdall-gardenista

    Above: Raised beds add another architectural element to the facade.

    Steal the Views

    scott-lewis-vineyard-retreat-grasses-northern-california

    Above: From a Napa Valley farmhouse, you can see vineyards from the house—if nothing blocks the view. For more of this garden, see Vineyard Retreat: A Garden That Belongs to the Land

    "Our goal was to make this garden evocative of the surrounding landscape, which is just stunning," said SF-based landscape architect Scott Lewis, who came up with a garden design for the one-acre property. "What we did was clear the clutter away to take advantage of those views."

    scott-lewis-vineyard-retreat-grasses-northern-california

    Above: On both sides of the front path are sweeps of perennial grass Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition'. In the fall, the grass turns gold, like the distant hillsides. 

    For more of front yard landscaping ideas, see:

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    Air raids destroyed the old Moritzplatz shopping district during World War II. Later the Berlin Wall hulked over the neighborhood. For decades, trash and rubble and graffiti looked right at home until, one day, a garden came along.

    In the summer of 2009, a non-profit company called Nomadisch Grun—which translates to Nomadic Green—got a lease and started clearing garbage. Now an oasis, the Prinzessinnengarten isa popular destination in downtown Berlin, with its own coffee shop, toilets, and bar (all housed in recycled shipping containers), and a fanciful children's playhouse built from metal and wood scraps. Fruits, vegetables, and flowers grow in portable containers; it all moves to an indoor market hall in the winter. Here's what an entirely portable organic garden looks like:

    Photographs via Prinzessinnengarten, except where noted.

    Above: On summer nights, community dinners; menus are decided by what's in season.

    Above: Filmmaker Robert Shaw got the idea for the garden in Cuba, where urban farmers create communities to grow food together. In Berlin, Shaw and co-founder Marco Clausen mobilized a cleanup effort at a bleak site. Image via Nuok.

    Above: Each April, the 20,000-square-foot garden and its cafe officially open for the season.

    Above: Vegetables grow in plastic crates, milk containers, rice bags, and recycled plastic bags. Image via Katers Hobby.

    Above: The produce is grown without artificial fertilizers or pesticides.

    Above: Lettuces planted in compost, in shipping crates.

    Above: in the garden: a wide variety of lettuces, 15 kinds of potatoes, 20 different varieties of tomatoes, and 3-inch-long beans from Africa. Image via Invisible Twinning.

    Above: No need to be a member; the Prinzessinnengarten is open to the public. Many families spend the day together in the garden.

    Above: One of the seven varieties of carrots grown in the garden.

    Above: The cafe is housed in an abandoned shipping container. image via Stadsjord.

    Above: On the lunch menu: hyper-local fruits and vegetables. Image by Katherine Tenneson, via Flickr.

    Above: Strings of colored lights in the garden's trees. Image by Katherine Tenneson, via Flickr.

    Above: When the weather turns cold, the whole garden moves down the block for the winter.

    Above: In the Markthalle, home during the winter, Prinzessinnengarten crops are for sale.

    For more garden inspiration from Berlin, see:

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    Looking for a Mother's Day gift? We're here for you. As we count down the days to Saturday—the date of our first Remodelista & Gardenista Market of the year—we're excited to announce that many of our artisans and makers will be offering exclusive merchandise or discounted prices (or both) to our shoppers. 

    Here's a sampling of the special deals on offer at our May 9 market, from 9 am to 5 pm at Marin Country Mart in Larkspur, CA:

    Studiopatro Tutto bag ; Gardenista

    Above: In addition to our favorite Studiopatro Tea Towels ($24 apiece), SF-based designer Christina Weber will bring her linen Tutto bags ("tutto" is Italian for "everything,” reflecting that they were designed and sewn in North Beach) for a discounted price of $40 for medium and $48 for large bags.

    Scout Regalia birdhouse kit ; Gardenista

    Above: In an exclusive offer to Gardenista Market shoppers, LA-based Scout Regalia's SR Birdhouse Kit made of laser-cut plywood will be $40 (a 30 percent markdown from its $55 retail price).

    Baylor Chapman Lila B florist SF ; Gardenista

    Above: Look for SF-based florist Baylor Chapman of Lila B. in the big white Gardenista Market tent next door to the farmers' market, where she'll demonstrate how to make living floral arrangements with succulents, moss, and flowering plants. Make your own Living Arrangement at a DIY Bar with supplies and tools or buy a take-home kit from Lila B.

    True Nature Botanicals anti aging kit ; Gardenista

    Above: Hillary Peterson of Mill Valley-based True Natures Botanicals will be offering a free Pacific Mist ($48 value) with each Pacific Anti-Aging Essentials Duet and a free Solid Perfume in any scent ($95 value) with each Pacific Advanced Anti-Aging Kit.

    Coyuchi Mediterranean towel set ; Gardenista

    Above: From Coyuchi, the Mediterranean Towel Set (including a towel, hand towel, and washcloth) will be offered at a 20 percent discount at $58. Online shoppers also will get free US ground shipping on Coyuchi orders from May 9 to16 with the promo code REMODELISTA.

    Million and Clark live edge charcuterie board ; Gardenista

    Above: Million and Clark will be offering their Live Edge Charcuterie Boards for $150 apiece (regular price $175).

    Cocoa Nib & Rose Petal Caramel

    Above: Little Apple Granola will be bringing an exclusive cocoa nib and red rose apple cider caramel, as well as Rhubarb & Raspberry & Strawberry and Strawberry & Pink Peppercorn apple cider vinegar shrubs.

    Petel Design scarf ; Gardenista

    Above: Known for beautiful West African textiles, Petel Design will have on offer one-of-a-kind pillows—numbered, in sets of 12—made from vintage material woven by hand in Sub Saharan Africa and designed and sewn in San Francisco, using hair-on-hide accents, and feather trim; and one-of-a-kind vintage scarves made of hand-loomed indigo textiles sourced from Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Mali.

    Rough Linen indigo pinafore ; Gardenista

    Above: Marin-based designer Tricia Rose of Rough Linen will debut a new Charcoal Gray Bedding Collection at the market—and look for this-market-only indigo Pinafores, while they last.

    Silvia Song cutting boards ; Gardenista

    Above: From Bay Area artist and designer Silvia Song, a limited-edition run of hand-turned figured sycamore cutting boards will be priced from $100 to $175.

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    Last year Berlin-based design collective Raumlabor rallied architects, students, and the make-your-own crowd to build 22 pop-up cabins from trash collected in Mannheim, Germany. The catch: no cabin could cost more than €250.

    Built of recycled wooden pallets, sheets of ridged fiberglass, cast-off lumber, and steel beams, the cabins started popping up in unlikely locations—from rooftops to riverside—throughout the city.

    The results were charming—see below—and were rented out as Hotel Shabby Shabby lodging during the Theater der Welt festival last summer. Building on the success of the pop-up buildings, this year Raumlabor will sponsor Shabby Shabby apartments.

    Photography via Raumlabor.

    recycled cabin built from trash in Germany ; Gardenista

    Above: On the bank above River Neckar, The Hedonist by Portuguese architects Nuno Pimenta and Frederico Martins is an homage to the architecture of Mies van der Rohe.

    recycled-cabin-raumlabor-shabby-shabby-germany-river-bank-gardenista

    Above: This year's design-build competition for Shabby Shabby apartments is underway.

    recycled-cabin-mannheim-germany-grasses-river-gardenista

    Above: Raised on scaffolding, urban treehouse 3 Lichter Hotel, designed by a French team: Nathalie Fournier, Cécile Roturier, Camille Delaunay, Simon Durand, Benjamin Le Roux, and Mathieu Le Roux.

    recycled-cabin-mannheim-germany-grasses-river-gardenista

    Above: Living Room for the City by Alex Butterworth, Jennifer Gutteridge, Katherine Nolan, Claudia Fragoso, Felix Schaaf, from Berlin and London.

    For more design inspiration from Germany, see:

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    In California water is so precious that I'm considering getting a really fine outdoor faucet to remind myself of its value every time I'm tempted to use the hose. 

    For classic, last-a-lifetime outdoor hardware and fittings, the reproduction specialists Germany-based Replicata have just the thing:

    Replicata German outdoor taps faucets and fixtures ; Gardenista

    Above: A polished brass cross handle Water Tap is €75.

    Outdoor tap faucet brass ; Gardenista  

    Above: An unvarnished polished brass Water Tap is €68.

    Garden hose mounting hook ; Gardenista

    Above: A brass garden hose Mounting is €72.

    For more of our favorite outdoor hardware and fittings, see:

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    This week the Remodelista team sent scouts to Berlin to ferret out trends, tips, and sources for knitted wool pendant lights (seriously, they're gorgeous). Here's what they found:

    Before & After

    German barn Before and After renovation ; GArdenista

    Above: Still life with barn. Margot follows the progress of an amazing Before & After story of an unloved 140-year-old wreck that became a family vacation home in a small village in Germany. (See the "before" version below.)

    German barn remodel Before the renovation ; Gardenista

    Above: Say no more. See the barn's transformation at Before & After: A Renovated Barn in the German Countryside.

    Trend Alert

    black flatware ; Gardenista

    Above: Justine is eating off black flatware—and has sourced 9 Noirish Styles of Black Flatware.

    Shopper's Diary

    German cleaning staples and cult sink ; Gardenista

    Above: Have you seen how clean Izabella's house is? She reveals a few of her secrets in 10 Easy Pieces: German-Made Cleaning Staples.

    Remodeling 101

    Old fashioned German light switches ; Gardenista

    Above: Why can we not buy gorgeous light switches in this country? Join Margot's movement to banish plastic at Switched On: Classic Light Switches from Germany.

    Design Sleuth

    Knitted Pendant Lights ; Gardenista

    Above: Julie's new obsession? Knitted wool pendant lights. She went sleuthing and found the source in Design Sleuth: Knitted Wool Pendant Lights.

    Catch up with the rest of stories you missed this week on Remodelista at Berlin Bound.

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    Take a look at a few things we're obsessed with this week: 

    Style Me Pretty, Summer Garden Wedding | Gardenista

    How to Turn a Shed into a Studio, West Elm | Gardenista

    • Above: How to transform a shed into a creative space. 
    • Food by color. 

    Curbed NY, Treehouse and Lush Garden in Brooklyn Brownstone | Gardenista

    • Above: A Brooklyn brownstone with a wild backyard garden, treehouse, and living wall. Photograph by Max Touhey. 
    • A doghouse is not a bad place to be. 

    Primroses at Lila B. Design SF ; Gardenista

    • Today Only: SF florist Baylor Chapman of Lila B. will help you create DIY Mother's Day Living Tabletop Arrangements, and more than 40 other local artisans will be selling garden and home wares at the Remodelista + Gardenista Market at Marin Country Mart in Larkspur, California. We'll be there from 9 am to 5 pm. 

    Instagram and Pinterest Pick of the Week

    Gardenista Instagram Pick of the Week: @gardenista_sourcebook

    Gardenista Pinterest Pick of the Week: Remodelista, Entertaining

    • Above: Seeking tabletop inspiration for a Mother's Day meal? Follow Remodelista's Entertaining board. 

    Read more Gardenista in our Berlin Bound issue and head over to Remodelista to see week dedicated to Germany

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    There's always one guest who pushes to the front to catch the wedding bouquet. That would be us. This week we're celebrating the season, with expert tips—from brides who've been there—on foraged flowers, outdoor weddings, and staying sane if it rains:

    Table of Contents: Wedding Season; Gardenista

    Above: If you're looking for inspiration for a very special wedding floral arrangement, look no further; Justine's Ode to Spring Bouquet is perfection (step-by-step DIY instructions here). 

    Monday

    tips for planning a simple outdoor wedding | gardenista

    Above: We hear about love among the chickens—and other secrets to a happy life—from Reading My Tea Leaves blogger Erin Boyle, who shares her top tips for keeping an outdoor wedding simple in this week's Expert Advice post.

    White aster bouquet with Studio Carta ribbon, typewriter, by Justine Hand, Gardenista

    Above: Bride on a budget? No one will ever suspect if you follow Justine's advice for a $20 bouquet in this week's DIY post.

    Tuesday

    Wedding Emily Schuman Cupcakes and Cashmere outdoor ceremony ; Gardenista

    Above: Nothing is more elegant than an outdoor wedding carried off with confidence. Blogger Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere shares 11 Ideas to Steal she learned from her own outdoor wedding (heart-shaped lawn included).

    Wednesday

    Historic Hollywood Estate ; Gardenista

    Above: In this week's Garden Visit, we tour a historic Hollywood estate built in 1904 and saved from the wrecking ball by a remodel that transformed it into a hotel (and its barn into a romantic wedding venue).

    Thursday

    Kugel Gips House roof overhang ; Gardenista

    Above: Should every house have a roof overhang? We explore the pros and cons of roof overhangs in this week's Hardscaping 101 post. Meanwhile, delve into the nitty gritty of roofing materials with our posts about Wood Shake and Shingle roofs, Clay Roof Tiles, Standing Seam Metal Roofs, and Gutter Guards, Explained.

    Friday

    California Eichler Garden Remodel by Growsgreen | Gardenista

    Above: SF-based garden designer Beth Mullins creates a pitch perfect garden for an updated midcentury Eichler house—and is available all weekend to answers any and all questions. Catch up with her in this week's The Landscape Designer Is In post.

    The celebration continues on Remodelista, where the editors are throwing a Wedding Party all week long.

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    Coming up on three years ago, my husband James and I celebrated our wedding at Barberry Hill Farm, down the street from where I grew up in Connecticut. On what surely was the hottest day of the year, we gathered friends and family to declare our love, eat a farm-grown feast, and dance the night away.

    I always say that a little bit of luck, very kind neighbors, and extremely generous friends and family were more responsible for the day than I was, but in case you're embarking on summery outdoor wedding planning of your own, here are my best tips for ensuring the day goes smoothly, simply.

    Photography via Reading My Tea Leaves, except where noted.

    Embrace Rusticity

    tips for planning a simple outdoor wedding | gardenista

    Above: James and me and some very free-range chickens.

    If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, embrace the idea that there will be bugs and weather and dust to contend with. That’s half the fun! (Just plan accordingly.) I had a simple cotton dress made to wear on my wedding day, and I chose flat oxfords that I knew would keep me upright while navigating rocky New England farmland.

    Let the Setting Set the Tone

    tips for planning a simple outdoor wedding | gardenista

    Above: Mason jars strung up with bailing twine and filled with flowers from the farm.

    A wedding in the middle of a beautiful outdoor space doesn’t need much more than blue sky and green grass for décor. The day before my wedding, my dad and I lashed together cedar poles and strung them up with glass bottles to make a backdrop for the ceremony in front of Barberry Hill's rows of zinnias and sunflowers.

    We used bailing twine to string up Mason jars filled with flowers along the fence posts. Simple white tablecloths and jars filled with a rainbow of flowers from the farm dressed up plywood-topped folding tables. On the morning of the wedding, my sisters cut Queen Anne’s Lace to tuck into Kraft paper place cards that we placed on top of white cloth napkins—and that about sums up the decorative elements we added to the scenery.

    Work with the Seasons

    Tips for Growing Cutting Flowers from Barberry Hill Farm | Gardenista

    Above: Zinnias at Barberry Hill Farm in Madison, Connecticut. (See 12 Tips for Growing Cutting Flowers from Barberry Hill Farm for ideas on how to grow your own.) Photograph by Erin Boyle.

    Let the time of year guide the majority of your decision-making.You might really love peonies and asparagus, but if you’re planning your wedding for July or August in New England, you will be hard-pressed to find them. Don't drive yourself crazy with a pre-determined color palette or menu. Work with what’s in season instead.

    Zinnias and raspberries and cornflowers and Queen Anne’s Lace were growing in abundance when we got married, so we used those in our flower arrangements. A few days before the wedding James and I sat down with our caterer and worked out the menu based on what was fresh that week, and at dinner we gobbled up ripe peaches and tomatoes and fresh-caught fish.

    Basic Amenities

    tips for planning a simple outdoor wedding | gardenista

    Above: Roosevelt Dime playing an acoustic set during our wedding ceremony.

    You'll need to think at least a little about boring things such as electricity, plumbing, and basic amenities for an outdoor wedding. We asked our band to play an acoustic set during our ceremony and borrowed our caterer’s quiet generator to run speakers for the reception (he used it to power his kitchen-on-wheels and power strings of lights).

    We also needed a portable toilet to accommodate guests. We didn’t rent a super fancy one—though rest-assured such options abound if you decide you want to go that route—but we did stick a bouquet of flowers in there and make sure that it was clean. 

    Have a Backup Plan

    tips for planning a simple outdoor wedding | gardenista

    Above: White tablecloths and wooden benches under a canvas tent.

    It doesn't have to be an entirely new location, but if you're planning an outdoor wedding it's wise to have a backup plan in case the weather doesn't cooperate. It might be a barn that you can move into in case a storm blows in, or a tent that you rent to dine under in case there's an evening shower.

    For me, planning a simple wedding also meant relying a bit on luck. I didn't want to expend a huge amount of resources—of either time or money—to make sure that every last element of the day would go off without a hitch, so I embraced a little quirkiness (and said a little prayer to the rain gods).

    Go Without

    Tips for Growing Cutting Flowers from Barberry Hill Farm | Gardenista

    Above: The long driveway at Barberry Hill Farm that served as an impromptu dance floor. Photograph by Erin Boyle.

    The wedding industry will tell you that you need about a million things to pull off an outdoor wedding (or any wedding). But if you are willing to go without something "necessary," you often can save time, stress, and most important, money. We didn’t want the expense of renting a dance floor for our wedding, so our guests danced under the tent on a patch of dusty, gravely driveway. No one batted an eye. Everyone danced. Even my grandmother.

    Ask For Help

    A Botanical Tablescape with Crab Apple Branches and Queen Anne's Lace | Gardenista

    Above: A nearby field of Queen Anne's Lace. Photograph by Erin Boyle.

    When planning a wedding—or any large event—you’re much better off putting some things in the hands of capable hands of professional (or familial) helpers. I had visions of making every single tabletop bouquet at my wedding and picking my own Queen Anne’s Lace from a nearby field on the morning I got married. But I realized pretty quickly I would need to delegate. I left the bouquet making to the very capable Kelly Goddard of Barberry Hill Farm and enlisted my sisters to cut buckets of Queen Anne’s Lace in my stead.

    Skip the Minutiae

    A Botanical Tablescape with Crabapple Branches and Queen Anne's Lace | Gardenista

    Above: Simple greens might be all that you need to set a pretty scene. For more ideas, see Foraging a Midsummer Tabletop. Photograph by Erin Boyle.

    Your guests will remember the moment that everyone got up to dance. They’ll remember the kind words that your dad spoke about brand-new husband. They might remember the super delicious blackberry margarita that they sipped before dinner, but the tiny hand-painted signs, the labored-over party favors, the custom-printed somethings or other, will largely go unnoticed. Allow yourself to just skip some altogether. Exactly no one will notice except for you, because you’ll be breathing easier.

    Borrow What You Can

    tips for planning a simple outdoor wedding | gardenista

    Above: Borrowed glass bottles hanging from cedar poles at our wedding.

    Our caterer, the very talented Jonathan Rapp of the River Tavern in Essex, Connecticut, has been doing farm dinners for years now and we benefited tremendously from his expertise (and supplies!). He made his own rustic benches to use at his farm dinners, and we borrowed those even though there was some discussion about whether they’d be comfortable enough for all of our guests. At the end of the day, ease and savings won and we even used the same benches as makeshift pews for our outdoor ceremony. Similarly, I hadn't planned on making this cedar backdrop until a few days before the wedding, so we called in a favor and a friend of my mom's dropped off a box full of vintage bottles for us to use.

    Buck Tradition

    tips for planning a simple outdoor wedding | gardenista

    Above: James and me on our wedding day.

    Weddings often get complicated because we have an idea of what they're supposed to include. Allow yourself to stray from tradition a little bit. Choose what feels right for you, but don’t feel as if you need to choose everything just because you read it on a checklist somewhere.

    James and I decided to simplify our wedding by not having a traditional wedding party (which also meant forgoing all of the planning decisions that go along with that). Ditto a bridal shower. Ditto a wedding cake. Ditto escort cards. Ditto favors. (I could go on, but you get the idea.)

    For more of Erin's ideas for celebrating outdoors, see:

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    Wedding flowers are expensive. But they don't have to be. Sometimes all you need to make a special arrangement are simple flowers and some outstanding ribbon.

    With this idea in mind, Boston-based designer Angela Liguori and I set out to make a simple wedding posy using her imported Italian ribbons. All it took was a bunch of tiny daisy-like clusters (white asters or feverfew), several yards of Studio Carta ribbon, and about 10 minutes time. The cost? Under $20. The results? An inspired springtime bouquet, perfect for any special day.

    Read on for materials and step-by-step instructions:

    Photography by Justine Hand.

    Simply Wedding Posy for Under 20 dollars, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

    Materials

    • Any small daisy-like cluster flower. Angela and I wanted feverfew, which will be abundant in my garden next month. (Note: if you pick the flowers from your own garden, the cost is even less!) Until then, white asters from the florist possessed a similar demure charm.
    • 1 yard each of Studio Carta Italian cotton ribbon, including loose weave in peach, metallic loose weave in peach and gold, and calligraphy ribbon, featuring the fine lettering of Maybelle Imasa Stukuls. (Here's a peak at a calligraphy course I took from her at Angela's last year.)
    • Floral shears, ribbon scissors and pins (optional).

    White Aster Posy with Studio Carta Ribbon, ribbon, by Justine Hand, Gardenista

    Above: Our ribbon palette, featuring warm peachy pinks, jet black, and glittering gold, is perfect for all seasons. We also think that the black provides a striking and unexpected accent to a wedding bouquet. At the same time, Maybelle's calligraphy, which is reminiscent of invitations, is right on theme.

    Step 1

    White Aster Posy with Studio Carta Ribbon, cutting flowers, by Justine Hand, Gardenista

    Above: Remove the lower leaves and blooms from each stem. Then gather the flowers into a bunch and trim the ends to an equal length, about 7 inches from the base of the flowers.

    Step 2

    simple posy with Studio Carta ribbon, tying ribbons 2, by Justine Hand, Gardenista

    Above: Tie your first yard of peach ribbon around the stems, near, but not right up against, the base of your flowers. Don't worry if you don't have equal lengths of ribbon on each side of the bouquet. It actually looks better if they are slightly askew. Also you want the bunch to be secure, but you also don't want to tie the ribbon so tightly that the flowers squish together. Then tie your second, metallic peach ribbon right over the first.

    Step 3

    Simple Posy with Studio Carta Ribbon, tying ribbons, by Justine Hand, Gardenista

    Above: Gently thread the calligraphy ribbon under the first two. Pull one end through so that it hangs about the same length as the stems, leaving the other end long. Secure with a small pin pushed towards the center of the bouquet.

    White Aster Posy with Studio Carta Ribbon, finished, by Justine Hand

    Above: That's it! It couldn't be easier to achieve this simply elegant wedding posy.

    We also think this arrangement would be especially charming as bridesmaids' or a flower girl bouquets. Add a dash more of Maybelle's calligraphy ribbon to a smaller cluster, and you could even make striking, matching, boutonnieres for your groomsmen. Continue the theme right down to the wrapping on your guests' favors.

    simple posy with Studio Carta ribbon, by Justine Hand, Gardenista

    Above: A closeup of the Studio Carta ribbons.

    White aster bouquet with Studio Carta ribbon, typewriter, by Justine Hand, Gardenista

    Above: The posy on Angela's antique typewriter.

    Want more tips and inspiration for beautiful wedding flowers on a budget? Visit:

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    By the time blogger Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere dived into wedding planning, she already knew she wanted to get married in her "favorite place on earth," her hometown of Mill Valley, CA.

    The rest of the details—when, how, where—fell into place after she saw the Ralston White Retreat, a grand turn-of-the-century mountainside mansion built a hundred years earlier as a wedding present (complete with a heart-shaped lawn) from a real estate developer to his wife.

    Emily and her husband, Geoffrey Fuller, decided to have the wedding ceremony on the grand lawn, and the elegant outdoor wedding went off without a hitch—thanks to careful planning. 

    We asked Emily (whose newest book, Cupcakes and Cashmere at Home will be published later this month) to share her best ideas for planning an outdoor wedding. Here are 11 secrets to steal:

    Photography via Cupcakes and Cashmere.

    Wedding Wardrobe

    wedding-emily-schuman-cupcakes-and-cashmere-outdoor-shoes-gardenista.

    Above: Don't be afraid to wear a Cinderella-worthy dress outdoors. After all, it's a fairy tale setting.

    Says Emily: "I had a floor-length gown and crystal-encrusted shoes, neither of which were particularly good for the setting. I think the most important thing is to embrace the fact that your dress won't be in pristine condition at the end of the night and your shoes won't look brand new. But that's part of the fun if you're going to incorporate an outdoor element to your big day."

    Flowers

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    Above: The trick is to make your wedding bouquet and floral arrangements complement the natural surroundings; don't try to compete with the greenery.

    With the help of Mill Valley-based florist Gayle Nicoletti of Bloomingayles, Emily limited the color palette of her bride's bouquet to pink and white peonies, roses, and jasmine—all flowers that could have been cut from her mother's garden.

    For table arrangements, Emily says, "Instead of large bouquets that can overwhelm the setting, choose smaller floral arrangements in similar colors that aren't too tall so that you can still see everyone at the table."

    Weatherproof the Guests

    wedding-emily-schuman-cupcakes-and-cashmere-outdoor-decor-1-gardenista

    Above: "If an invitation mentions an outdoor wedding, you should remind guests about the elements," says Emily. Share the details: "Will there be grass for women to walk in while wearing heels, shade so hats aren't necessary, et cetera.

    "But as with every party you throw, it's better to be more prepared than necessary," says Emily. "Keep a small stash of paper umbrellas, throw blankets (in case it gets cold), or a little basket with some sunscreen—it's always appreciated."

    Tent or No Tent?

    wedding-emily-schuman-cupcakes-and-cashmere-tent-gardenista.jpg

    Above: One big expense at an outdoor wedding is a tent. Do you need to invest in one in case it rains?

    "I think this comes down to a few things: where you're getting married, the time of year and how much you tend to worry," says Emily. "We didn't get a tent and it rained the entire week leading up to the wedding."

    Emily decided to have dinner and dancing indoors, inside the Ralston White mansion, so "I figured we could probably shift things around last minute if need be, even though I was really hoping for good weather. And sure enough, on the actual day, it was absolutely gorgeous."

    Bottom line: Renting a tent certainly isn't necessary, but it can help you avoid any potentially disastrous situations if the weather doesn't cooperate on your wedding day.

    Hydrate the Guests

    Wedding Emily Schuman Cupcakes and Cashmere outdoor ceremony ; Gardenista

    Above: It's a good idea to set up a "water station" to keep guests hydrated on a hot day. "We had a lemonade stand at our wedding and it was such a fun element," says Emily. "People enjoy being able to grab a drink right when they arrive; it makes them feel as if they're being tended to immediately." 

    Set a Minimalist Table

    wedding-emily-schuman-cupcakes-and-cashmere-outdoor-place-cards-gardenista

    Above: Emily got married at a turn-of-the-century mansion, a setting that inspired vintage touches.  

    "Since the outdoor elements add such a lovely backdrop for a dinner, keeping the table as minimalist as possible is key," says Emily. "No need to overdo it!"

    Concentrate on "little details—a simple tablecloth with another fabric layered on top (like burlap) for depth, pretty flowers in apothecary jars, and nothing that will blow away in the wind," says Emily. 

    Cocktail Hour

    cupcakes-cashmere-outdoor-wedding-emily-wchuman-bar-cocktails-gardenista

    Above: Consider crowd flow. It's a good idea to set up multiple place where guests can get a drink to avoid having the grass in front of the bar table turn into trampled mud.

    "Multiple places helps you to avoid having a long line and enables the party to maintain a nice flow," says Emily. "Having a few signature cocktails listed (ours was typed up and in a frame) is a great way to add personality to the bar and helps people make a decision quickly. And having those signature cocktails passed around on a tray is a nice option for those who don't want to have to keep heading back to the bar."

    The Caterers

    wedding-emily-schuman-cupcakes-and-cashmere-table-decor-gardenista

    Above: When you're interviewing caterers, ask if they specialize in outdoor events and if they have all the necessary equipment to prepare food and keep it warm on the fly.

    "Since we had an indoor space where our caterers set everything up, we were covered. But if I were to do it again at a strictly outdoor location, I think hiring caterers at the top of their game is key," says Emily. "They should have all of the necessary equipment, plenty of help, prepare food ahead of time that doesn't need to be warm and do everything else on site. One of my friends had food trucks for her wedding, which was such a fun idea, but since they rarely did those kinds of occasions, the company was really ill prepared for the wedding. The line of people waiting for food snaked through the entire reception for the whole time."

    Manage the Menu

    wedding-emily-schuman-cupcakes-and-cashmere-outdoor-tables-gardenista

    Above: "For the most part, I associate outdoor weddings as a bit more informal, so make sure not to serve any food that's too stuffy," says Emily. "I think room temperature appetizers are easiest, as well as things that can be easily eaten while balancing a drink in your other hand.

    "And for the main courses, I like the idea of serving things family-style at the table (in dishes that can be covered). We did that instead of a typical buffet and it really creates a warm, friendly vibe at each table when people are passing around the food."

    Wedding Cake

    wedding-emily-schuman-cupcakes-and-cashmere-table-decor-gardenista.jpg

    Above: How do you protect a tiered wedding cake from the elements (and sugar-crazed bees)?

    "There are plenty of really pretty options for covering cakes these days - I like the ones that are either glass or made of a really fine mesh screen," says Emily.

    Music and Dancing

    Above: Acoustics are different outdoors. Discuss this with the band or DJ ahead of time so speakers can be placed strategically.

    "One thing we ran into multiple times when deciding on a location was certain noise restrictions and cut-off times for parties, so the more information you can find out ahead of time, the better! There's nothing sadder than realizing the party has to stop at 8 pm right when things are getting fun," says Emily.

    book-cover-cupcakes-and-cashmere-at-home-gardenista

    Above: Emily Schuman's new book, Cupcakes and Cashmere at Home, goes on sale May 19. Preorder it for $12.55 at Amazon.

    Planning a wedding? For more of our favorite ideas, see:

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