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Sourcebook for Cultivated Living

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    Meet Eva Sommaripa, a farmer who grows more than 200 kinds of uncommon herbs, greens, and edible "weeds" that are highly coveted by Boston's best chefs. 

    What makes the harvest from Eva's Garden, her farm in Dartmouth, MA (about an hour's drive south of the city), so special? For one thing, most of her 22 acres are set aside for wild edibles. And on the 2 1/2 acres she actively cultivates, many of the plants she grows are rarely encouraged elsewhere because they're considered weeds or invasive species. But they're also delicious. Eva's organic purslane, juniper berries, lovage, sorrel, stinging nettles, autumn olives, wild roses, Japanese knotweed, cardoon, chervil, chickweed, and wild carrots—to name a few—make their way north to end up on the menus of many Boston restaurants.

    Eva is considered a pioneer in the farming world, and not just for her unusual plantings and the quality of her produce. It's also because of her firm commitment to a simple, sustainable life based on the principles of preserving, conserving, salvaging, and bartering. Here's what Eva was growing when I visited her the other day:

    Photography by Christine Chitnis for Gardenista.

    Eva Sommaripa organic farm Dartmouth MA Christine Chitnis Gardenista

    Above: Grapevines (L) and alliums (R), with Eva's winter greenhouse in the distance.

    Eva showed me around the farm, imparting some of her vast and intimate knowledge of the natural world. She knows the taste, season, and growing tendencies of every edible we encountered.  

    Eva Sommaripa organic farm Dartmouth MA Christine Chitnis Gardenista

    Above: At one stop, she plucked a fistful of bronze fennel and urged me to drop it into my water bottle. "It will give the water a sweet, slightly licorice flavor. Go ahead, try some," she encouraged while popping a bit in her mouth. By the time we'd walked through the entire farm, I had tasted many herbs and weeds that I'd never encountered before.

    With her lanky frame, mud-stained jeans, and wind-blown hair, Eva looks younger than her age (she's in her seventies). She credits outdoor work, fresh air, and a diet of farm-fresh whole foods—she visits a grocery store only once or twice a year. 

    Eva's organic garden larkspur ; Gardenista

    Above: Eva began farming more than 40 years ago in a small kitchen garden. The Dartmouth property she now calls home was her family’s weekend cottage back then, an hour’s drive from their main residence, in Cambridge. When her garden began producing more herbs than she could use, Eva took the extras back to sell to markets and restaurants in the city. At the time, fresh herbs were hard to find in the Boston area, so Eva’s business soon flourished.

    Eva's garden sorrel ; Gardenista

    Above: Treviso Radicchio, an Italian heirloom variety in Eva's garden.

    As interest in her produce grew, so too did Eva’s interest in horticulture. She began taking guided walks with foraging expert Russ Cohen, and quickly realized that many of the wild edibles they found were growing as weeds in her own garden. “Once I learned that the weeds I was battling were edible, and incredibly nutritious, I let them grow,” Eva says. “To this day, weeds are still an important part of our production. But it's always a balancing act to decide what to leave and what to pull so that they don’t choke out the other plantings.”

    Eva's garden peonies Christine Chitnis ; Gardenista

    Above: Eva makes room for peonies and other flowers in her organic garden.

    Eva takes a seasonal approach to both the growing and preserving of food. Spring finds the forest teeming with wild edibles, and the waking garden putting forth tender shoots. Summer brings a full harvest and bustling sales to restaurants and chefs across the northeast. (Any extra bounty is preserved for the barer months.) In fall, only the heartiest greens survive the dipping temperatures and first frosts. Finally, winter means relying on stored root vegetables, which find harmonizing flavors in juniper berries, a foraged winter treat. 

    Eva's garden farm lunch Christine Chitnis ; Gardenista

    Above: Lunch from the farm. Eva manages to feed her family and her farmhands, and to keep her customers supplied, year-round—not an easy feat in New England's harsh climate.

    Eva's garden peonies Christine Chitnis ; Gardenista

    Above: When her children were young, farming wasn't a full-time venture for Eva. Nowadays, however, the farm seems to run in overdrive, with multiple farmhands on staff, a busy delivery schedule, and a phone that never stops ringing as chefs from Boston and New York place their orders.

    I asked Eva to explain the current interest in wild and foraged edibles. She doesn't think it's just their superb nutritional value; she also credits the human love of discovery. “People are fascinated to learn there are things growing right under their feet, whether it's in the city or in the country, that are not only edible, but incredibly tasty and nutritious,” she told me. “It’s the same joy we get from pulling fresh vegetables from the soil. The thrill of harvesting our own food, whether cultivated or foraged, is one of life’s ancient, lasting pleasures.”

    Eva's garden Christine Chitnis ; Gardenista

    Above: Purple hollyhocks flourish in Eva's garden.

    After my day with Eva, I started to explore the uncultivated areas of my own community garden. I've already maxed out the growing potential in my modest 6-by-9-foot raised bed, so I'm tempted to supplement my production with foraged edibles. And now I feel compelled to examine every weed I pull. In fact, I believe that kind of attention is Eva's wish for all home gardeners. It's doubtful we'll cast aside our lettuce and spinach to snack on knotweed and purslane, but perhaps we'll give those weeds a second thought. And once in a while, we'll sneak a handful onto our dinner plates.

    For more, see Christine's own garden in DIY: A Family Friendly Vegetable Garden.

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    With a pedigree that includes 15 years of working for Belgian master architect Vincent Van Duysen, Marc Merckx designs elegantly minimal furnishings and spaces with a quiet air of luxury.

    A dark, spare pool house reflects his design philosophy: "a constant search for the perfect balance between proportions, materials, and space."

    Photography via Marc Merckx.

    Pool House Marc Merckx ; Gardenista

    Above: Antwerp-based Merckx, who designs custom furniture for his interiors, last year launched a new line of garden furniture (in collaboration with Pieter Maes) for Tribù. 

    Pool House Marc Merckx ; Gardenista

    Above: The pool house has a black timber facade.

    Pergola Belgian pool house Merckx; Gardenista

    Above: A black steel pergola visually connects the pool house to the swimming pool.

    Belgium pool house Merckx ; Gardenista

    Above: Inside the pool house, a neutral palette and natural materials reinforce the connection to nature.

    Belgium pool house Merckx Gardenista  

    Above: A trough sink is a simple shape, but with exaggerated proportions that make it the focus of the room.

    Belgium pool house Gardenista  

    Above: Tongue and groove paneling covers a wall of concealed storage.

    Pool House Marc Merckx ; Gardenista

    Above: The pool surface is a dark, moody blue to reflect the sky and surrounding trees. For more dark pools, see The New Modernism: 20 Best Minimalist Swimming Pools.

    For more inspiring pool house design, see:

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    Hollyflora Market & Courtyard in LA makes you feel as if you've walked into a perfectly curated artist's loft; unique ceramics sit alongside art books you want to look through, and handmade chairs perfect for lounging are draped with the most beautiful textiles.

    The boutique, recently opened by Hollyflora co-owners Holly Vesecky and Rebecca Uchtman, sells their artist friends' work, along with seasonal flower bundles and arrangements, and accessories you might need for a dinner party. If you're lucky, you might catch glimpses of Holly and Becky creating designs for one of their events, since their floral workspace is just behind the shop. 

    Photography by Sophia Moreno-Bunge for Gardenista, except where noted. 

    Hollyflora Market | Gardenista

    Above: The market is housed in an old hangar building; the high ceilings and big windows give it a very airy feel. Plants of all sorts, perfect for the dry LA weather, can be found all over the space.

    Hollyflora Market | Gardenista

    Above: When designing and curating for the shop, Holly and Becky take into consideration time and place—they are inspired by '70s psychedelia and Canyon culture. 

    Hollyflora Market | Gardenista

    Above: Ceramics made specially for Hollyflora.

    Hollyflora Market | Gardenista  

    Above: These delicate beeswax candles are made by hand in the studio; other locally made scented candles and lotions are sold, as well. 

    Hollyflora | Gardenista

    Above: Art books for inspiration. Over the years, Hollyflora has collaborated with LACMA and the Hammer Museum. 

    Hollyflora Market | Gardenista

    Above: Linens by Heather Taylor are among the many special finds. 

    Hollyflora | Gardenista

    Above: Antique Indian hot pots, perfect for a dinner party. Or pine cones. 

    Hollyfloral Market | Gardenista

    Above: A Dada-inspired vase made by Holly's artist husband, Josh Beckman.

    Hollyfloral Market | Gardenista

    Above: Comfortable handmade chairs—and the coolest geometric side tables. 

    Hollyflora Market | Gardenista

    Above: An exotic arrangement made with nerine lilies, ligustrum berries, and proteas. Photograph by Jeana Sohn for LA in Bloom

    Hollyfloral Market | Gardenista

    Above: Intricately handmade plant hangers. Photograph by Jeana Sohn for LA in Bloom.

    Hollyflora Market | Gardenista

    Above: The market and workspace give way to an open-air courtyard in the back where Holly and Becky have planted unusual plants they can cut from to make arrangements. They'll also use the space for workshops, gatherings, and parties. 

    Hollyflora Market | Gardenista

    Above: Can't go without the classic California citrus. Holly's mother has an orchard in Ojai, a source of inspiration and special materials she and Becky use in their work. 

    Hollyflora Market | Gardenista

    Above: A shady area reserved for the begonias, abutilons, and the most wild bleeding heart vine I've come across (look this up immediately.)

    Hollyflora Market | Gardenista

    Above: Begonias (L) and abutilons.

    Hollyflora Market | Gardenista

    Above: A potting table covered in succulents. 


    Above: Hollyflora Market & Courtyard is located at 5046 W. Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90019. Hours are from 9 am to 5 pm from Tuesday through Friday, and by appointment.

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    Julie and the Remodelista editors spent the week assembling a stylish survival kit of summer essentials, from folding camp furniture to the perfect wine tumblers:

    screened porch screen ; Gardenista

    Above: Alexa is relaxing on The Perfect Screened Porch. See her tips to Steal This Look.

    Malfatti Glass glassware ; Gardenista

    Above: Julie is toasting summer on the East Coast this week. Join her with tumblers from Malfatti Glass in Beacon, NY.

    Foldable Peregrine Camp Furniture from Japan ; Gardenista

    Above: Form meets function with Foldable Camp Furniture from Japan.

    Folding wood beach chair lounger ; Gardenista

    Above: Izabella has a great view from her High/Low Folding Wood Beach Chairs.

    Ceiling fan ; Gardenista

    Above: Keep cool the old-fashioned way with 10 Easy Pieces: Ceiling Fans.

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    Here's a look at a few things we loved this week. 

    Terrain Petrified Wood | Gardenista


    • Above: An abandoned lot in Philadelphia gets a makeover for the summer. Photograph by Julia Lehman. 
    • Book Giveaways: Vote to win two signed books by Gardenista Considered Design Awards Judge David Stark and head over to Facebook to enter a chance to win a copy of Hummelo by Piet Oudoulf. 

    Near & Far by Heidi Swanson of 101Cookbooks | Gardenista

    Instagram and Pinterest Pick of the Week

    Gardenista Instagram Pick of the Week: @gudyherder

    • Above: The patio at the Cotton House Hotel in Barcelona captured by blogger Gudy Herder (@gudyherder). 

    Gardenista Pinterest Pick of the Week: FVF Outdoor Board

    • Above: Fruende von Fruenden's Outdoor pinboard is providing us with plein air inspiration. 

    For more Gardenista see our Height of Summer issue and head over to Remodelista to see their week dedicated to celebrating summer

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    This week we'll explore satisfying ways to landscape with less—less water, less fuss, less clutter. The result? More style, along with serenity in the summer garden. Join us:

    Table of Contents: Landscape with Less ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.



    Above: For more of this gravel garden, see Vineyard Haven: A Napa Valley Garden That Belongs to the Land.

    Izabella's Landscape Design for her 60-by-60-foot "neglected backyard" will create a simple, serene space defined by geometric gravel paths. She's gathered 10 photos of similar gardens with Gravel Paths to inspire us in this week's Roundup post.

    West Elm candle lanterns ; Gardenista

    Above: End-of-summer sales should offer excellent opportunities to stock up for next year. This week we're sleuthing the best of the best bargains on outdoor furnishings, outdoor entertaining accessories, and garden tools. Check in every day for another markdown. 


    Fitzwater Rain Barrel by Shift Design | Gardenista

    Above: Alexa rounds up stylish rainwater barrels in this week's 10 Easy Pieces.


    grass pavers landscape backyard ; Gardenista

    Above: In Austria, a modern house built on a budget, with a landscape featuring permeable grass pavers, is our Architect Visit post of the week. For more ideas, see Hardscaping 101: Eco-Friendly Paving Solutions.


    Picket fence natural red cedar ; Gardenista

    Above: Ellen finds out everything you need to know about picket fences in this week's Hardscaping 101 post.


    Writer's studio and canoe storage shed in Maine ; Gardenista  

    Above: A 190-square-foot writer's studio that does double duty as a canoe storage shed in Maine is our Outbuilding of the Week.

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    We've pondered over our neglected backyard for almost three years now. In other words, our garden deserves more than a weed-filled lawn and a few patches of dirt. This year we hired a landscape architect to help put our ideas to paper, and now we're finally ready to fix the landscape.

    The design is simple, manicured, and geometric; the 60-by-60-square-foot backyard will be lined in a horizontal cedar fence, following straight flower beds (think lots of boxwood plants), geometric gravel paths, and centered with a square lawn in the middle. Look at these 10 geometric backyard gardens with gravel paths, and you'll see what I mean. 


    Above: These garden paths are lined with pearly quartz gravel. The gravel also functions as a transition between the hardscaping of the terrace and the softer garden plantings. For more, see Landscape Architect Visit: A London Terrace Gets a Grownup Update from del Buono Gazerwitz.

    Luciano Giubbilei London townhouse garden gravel path I Gardenista  

    Above: Designed by Luciano Giubbilei, the Boltons garden in London has limestone gravel paths alongside evergreen shrubs that lend year-round structure and interest to the garden. Photography via Luciano Giubbilei. For more, see Garden Designer Visit: The Precocious Genius of Luciano Giubbilei in London.


    Above: Dutch garden designer Martin Veltkamp abuts a bluestone path with a gravel walkway with metal edging. For more, see A Classical Approach to a Minimalist Dutch Garden. Photographs via Martin Veltkamp.


    Above: Low hedges and a gravel path surround the square-shaped lawn. A seating area was added to one of the sides. The garden was designed by Louise del Balzo Garden Design. 

    Garden of- Troy Rhone I Gardenista  

    Above: The previous garden (and home) of Troy Rhone, of Troy Rhone Garden Design features a square design with gravel paths edged in bricks. 

    Architect Tong's Backyard in House & Home I Gardenista.  

    Above: The backyard of designer John Tong (founder of +tongtong, a Vancouver-based multi-disciplinary design studio), features patches of sod, concrete pavers, and gravel areas for low-maintenance and affordable landscaping. The cedar backdrop is used for plays and as a screen for projecting movies. Photography by Stacey Brandford via House & Home.

    Backyard Designed by Susan Welti of Foras Studio I Gardenista  

    Above: This geometric garden in a Brooklyn backyard, designed by Susan Welti of Foras Studio, features bluestone pavers, pea gravel, and square flowerbeds.

    Lafayette Home designed by Fab Architecture of Austin I Gardenista  

    Above: A simple backyard with concrete and lawn patches and gravel paths. Architect Patrick Ousey of Austin-based Fab Architecture designed the home. Photography by Coles Hairston.


    Above:  A square gravel pathway surrounds the  centered lawn. A small backyard building can be seen in the background. The landscaping is designed by architect Nick Harrell of Core Landscape Group in Atlanta. 


    Above: E2 Homes, a Florida-based design firm built this project together with architecture firm Evergreen Consulting in Winter Park, FL. Their goal was to help improve the functionality of the outdoor areas and create a livable indoor/outdoor space. 

    For more backyards inspiration (and gravel), see:

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    End-of-summer sales should offer excellent opportunities to stock up for next year. But since the best deals often appear while summer is still in high gear, it's easy to overlook the best bargains while you're napping in a hammock.

    We're here to fix that. This week we're sleuthing the best of the best deals on outdoor furnishings, outdoor entertaining accessories, and garden tools. Check in with us every day for another end-of-summer markdown. 

    Today, tabletop candle lanterns that will complement any decor:

    West Elm candle lanterns ; Gardenista

    Above: Iron Candle Lanterns (in two finishes) have been marked down from $44 to $19.99 (for white) or $29.99 (for bronze) at West Elm.

    For more of our favorite styles, see:

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

    Gravel Ground 

    Gravel garden design low water drought tolerant ; Gardenista

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

    For more, see The New Gravel Backyard: 10 Landscape Designs That Inspired Me.

    Potted Plants

    Brian Fairey Peckerwood Texas garden shade patio gravel courtyard ; Gardenista

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

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

    Shady Spots

    Olive trees drought tolerant gardens Andrea Cochran ; Gardenista  

    Above: Photograph via Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture.

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

    Permeable Patios

    Drought tolerant boxwood balls Provence gravel ; Gardenista

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

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

    Drip Irrigation

    Drought tolerant lavender garden Australia ; Gardenista

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

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


    City townhouse garden design drought tolerant Gardenista

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

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


    Spanish stucco house curb appeal shade awning ; Gardenista

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

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

    Crowd Control

    The French Laundry Edible Garden Yountville CA ; Gardenista

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

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


    boxwood drought tolerant gardens ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Paul Bangay.

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

    Drifts of Color

    Sedum Autumn Joy drought tolerant succulents garden ; Gardenista

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

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


    hens and chicks succulents in containers ; Gardenista

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

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

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

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  • 08/11/15--06:30: 10 Easy Pieces: Rain Barrels
  • Rain barrels may not be the most glamorous of garden tools but with water shortages on the rise, they have quickly become a crucial component of the smart, sustainable garden. After you set up a system, it does the work for you (just attach a hose to irrigate your plants).

    If you're starting from scratch, we have some affordable solutions (primarily in plastic, though some are recycled). And if you're looking for a long-term investment, we've rounded up rain barrels made of stainless steel and wood. Have a look at some of our favorites.

    Sheet Steel Rain Barrel from Manufactum | Gardenista

    Above: The Sheet Steel Rain Barrel is made from galvanized and powder-coated green sheet steel. The rainwater barrel features a brass tap with a hose fitting and has a capacity of about 40 gallons of water; €464 from Manufactum.

    Rain Barrel from Frontgate | Gardenista

    Above: Rain Barrel USA's 80 Gallon Rain Barrel is lightweight with an insect screen at the top and brass spigot at the bottom; $259 at Frontgate.

    Exaco Trading Wood Rain Barrel | Gardenista

    Above: The Exaco Trading Wooden Rain Barrel is made in Canada from FSC-certified spruce wood with a brass tap; $244 at Eco-Outfitter.

    Algreen Madison Rain Barrel | Gardenista

    Above: The Algreen Madison 49 Gallon Rain Barrel Fountain is a sculptural option built of stone-colored plastic; $139.99 at Hay Needle.

    Tierra Garden Rain Saver | Gardenista

    Above: The Tierra Garden 82-Gallon Rain Saver is a straightforward budget option in a faded army green polypropylene; $108.06 at Amazon.

    Eco Square Wood Rain Barrel | Gardenista

    Above: The Eco Square Wood Rain Barrel holds 70 gallons of water and is $224 at Eco-Outfitter.

    55-Gallon Plastic Rain Barrel | Gardenista

    Above: The 55 Gallon Rain Barrel in a neutral lightweight plastic is $86.28 at the United States Plastic Corp.

    Fitzwater Rain Barrel by Shift Design | Gardenista

    Above: The Fitzwater Rainwater Tank, a 58-gallon tank with a slim, stainless steel profile is $999.

    Algreen Terracotta Rain Barrel with Brass Spout | Gardenista

    Above: Another stoneware lookalike from Algreen Products is the Athena 50-Gallon Rain Barrel with a Brass Spigot in terracotta-colored heavy duty plastic to withstand weather conditions; $132.89 at Amazon.

    Eco Rainstation Recycled Rain Barrel | Gardenista

    Above: The 50-Gallon Eco Rainstation is made in Kentucky of recycled plastic and connects to a downspout to automatically collect roof runoff. The barrel diverts 50 gallons of water at a time, sending excess water back through the downspout; $90 at Rain Brothers.

    Would you like to water your garden less often? See our posts:

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    We've had our eye on this sparkly doormat ever since Julie pointed out that every entryway deserves a bit of glamor. We're adding it to our Summer Sale wish list because this week it's being offered at a deep discount:


    Above: A Handwoven Doormat measuring 18 by 30 inches is on sale for $24.95, marked down from $88. Handwoven over an iron frame, it's available from Anthropologie.

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    If you live in a climate warm enough to make an olive tree happy, consider your landscape dilemma solved. One olive tree, dramatically situated, is all it takes to inspire awe—and poetic allusions to ancient boughs that sheltered Socrates and his students.

    Legend has it, in fact, that the actual olive tree that shaded the philosopher still stands in Athens, as gnarly and cankered as you would expect of an old man who has lived more than 2,500 years. The story may well be true, as olives are one of the longest-lived of all trees (keep this in mind when choosing where to plant one as the spot you pick will be its home for centuries).

    Olea europaea (of which there are hundreds of varieties, each with its own distinctive fruit) hails from ancient Mesopotamia and Persia and is a ubiquitous feature of the landscape in warm regions surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. You can grow on olive tree of your own if your winters don't get too cold—it will tolerate a freeze, but not temperatures that dip below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Not everyone likes to have olives raining down on the front walk; if that describes you, plant a non-fruiting variety. For the rest of us, Sarah has a recipe for DIY: Home-Cured Olives

    Here are 10 of our favorites ways to use an olive tree in your garden:

    Anchor a Courtyard

    Olive tree courtyard garden fountain ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.

    A single olive tree in a Texas courtyard needs no further embellishment to carry the landscape (although the sound of burbling water from a small nearby fountain is always nice).

    Shade a Space

    Outdoor kitchen Italy ; Gardenista

    Above: For more of this garden, see Steal This Look: A Romantic Outdoor Kitchen in Puglia.

    Cooking outdoors creates a conundrum: you don't want the sun beating down on your head but a canopy or shade umbrella can trap smoke and make you feel as if you are the meat sizzling on the grill. A strategically situated olive tree creates shade and allows air to circulate. 

    Create a Canopy

    Olive Trees Morabito France butterfly chairs ; Gardenista

    Above: For more, see Landscape Architect Visit: Jacqueline Morabito on the French Riviera.

    If you want to create an outdoor room without having to build anything, pull some chairs outdoors to sit beneath the generous boughs of an olive tree. Suddenly you have a roof over your head (and can still see the stars).

    Promote Privacy

    Olive tree front yard landscape Linsteadt garden ; Gardenista

    Above: For more of this garden, see Garden Visit: A modern California Garden Inspired by the Classics

    Olive trees grow ver-r-r-y slowly, a fact that prompted Jean and Ken Linsteadt to buy a large specimen tree for their front yard in Mill Valley. If you want to screen the neighbors' house, invest in a large tree. "We're hidden from the street, and my husband sits in front and smokes a pipe a lot," Jean says. "It's amazing the conversations he's overheard from people passing by."

    Soften a Fence


    Above: For more of this garden, see Before & After: A Jet Black and Jasmine Garden in London.

    A row of small olive trees against a fence does the same job as a clump of shrubbery, adding a layer of texture and softness to the landscape. (An olive tree's airy gray-green leaves look particularly good against a black backdrop.)

    Add an Allée

    Olive tree allee Australia lavender ; Gardenista

    Above: For more, see Garden Designer Visit: Lavender Fields in Australia.

    Add drama and formality to a path by planting identical rows of olive trees on either side. 

    Honor the Horizon


    Above: Photograph via Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture. For more of Cochran's work, see Stone Edge Farm: A Peaceful Retreat in Northern California.

    The twisted trunk and gnarled branches of an olive tree will, like sculpture in the garden, focus attention both on itself and on a distant view.

    Frame an Entryway


    Above: For more, see Vineyard Haven: A Napa Valley Garden That Belongs to the Land.

    Twin olive trees on either side of a front path create a pleasing symmetry to frame a facade.

    Play Off Gray


    Above: For more, see Before & After: A Malibu Garden for Grey's Anatomy Star Patrick Dempsey.

    The soft gray-green shades of an olive tree's foliage looks particularly good when set against both neutral colors (such as natural gravels) and deep, velvety greens (such as the waxy leaves of boxwood).

    Hold a Hammock

    Finca es Castell hammock olive trees Mallorca ; Gardenista

    Above: For more, see Off the Grid: At Finca Es Castell, Mallorca

    You don't need a straight trunk to hold up a hammock, for centuries.

    For more, see:

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    First spotted in Australian magazine Vogue Living, a Melbourne apartment with a minimalist terrace decked out in high style. The home was designed by award-winning studio Hecker Guthrie and architects Woods Bagot). We've sourced the key design elements to recreate the look.

    Photography by Eve Wilson

    Melbourne patio outdoor rug ; Gardenista

    Above: The gray-hued minimalist patio features a couple of Stanley side tables by Melbourne-based Jardan, a Tio Lounge Chair, an indoor/outdoor rug from West Elm, and a large black planter with a Japanese maple tree.

    Melbourne Apartment and Patio designed by Hecker Guthrie I Gardenista  

    Above: Two eye-catching Gandia Blasco Tropez Lounge Chairs add a relaxed feel to the sparse terrace.

    TIO Lounge Chair I Gardenista  

    Above: The TIO Easy Chair, designed by Magnus Elebäck, Chris Martin for Stockholm-based furniture company Massproductions, is stackable and made from steel wire. The lounge chair is available in white, moss green, wine red, and black; $540 from Finnish Design Shop. 

    Jardan Stanley Stools I Gardenista  

    Above: The Stanley Side Table by Jardan is hand-turned from reclaimed timber and suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Contact Jardan of Melbourne for retail information. 

    Eric Trine's Ocrahedron Side Table in White via West Elm I Gardenista  

    Above: As an alternative to the coffee table, consider LA-based designer Eric Trine's Octahedron Side Table. It's made from powder-coated steel and can be used both inside and outside. Seen here in white and also available in black; $300 from West Elm.

    Gandia Blasco Tropez Lounge Chair I Gardenista  

    Above: The Gandia Blasco Tropez Lounge Chair (designed by Stefan Diez) is made of thermo-lacquered aluminum and water-repellent fabric. The adjustable frame comes in three finishes (white, sand, and black) and the cushions are available in various colors. The lounge chair costs $4,450 from Switch Modern. 

    Chevron Outdoor Rug from Terrain I Gardenista  

    Above: The rug from West Elm is no longer available; consider the Chevron Outdoor Rug from Terrain as an alternative. It's woven from recycled plastic and coated with UV protectant to prevent fading; $58 for the small size, $70 for the medium, and $148 for the large. For more outdoor rugs, see 10 Easy Pieces: Striped Outdoor Rugs

    Wire basket planter ; Gardenista

    Above: A York Stackable Wire Pantry Basket can be used as a planter; $21.99 from Organize It. 

    Round Black 20-inch Planter from West-Elm I Gardenista  

    Above: A black 20-inch Round Planter from West Elm costs $149. More sizes and colors are available.

    Oscar Hi Gloss White Herb Planter from CB2 I Gardenista  

    Above: The Oscar Hi-Gloss White Herb Planter from CB2 is made from galvanized steel and costs $6.95.

    Indu Outdoor Wall Sconce in black I Gardenista  

    Above: An Indu Outdoor Wall Sconce comes in black, gray, and white finishes; $238 from YLighting. 

    For more Steal This Look-inspiring patios, see:

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    Do you fear the complications of plumbing? We've found a freestanding outdoor shower that requires nothing more than a garden hose. And it's on sale.

    N.B.: We're shopping the sales this week, looking for end-of-summer bargains. See more markdowns in Summer Sale.

    Outdoor shower freestanding garden hose ; Gardenista

    Above: An Aquart Lux freestanding outdoor shower has a copper shower head and a heavy concrete base to keep it steady. Marked down to €189 from €249, it's on sale this week at LEF Living.

    Outdoor shower copper showerhead ; Gardenista

    Above: A copper rain shower head screws onto the pipe.

    Outdoor shower hose connector ; Gardenista

    Above: No plumbing required; connect a garden hose to the shower.

    For more of our favorite outdoor showers, see:

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    When Remodelista's Justine Hand and her husband, Chad, bought a wonky 1807 house on Rock Harbor, she already knew every cobwebby nook: With their two young kids, they'd rented the place for several summers (and her grandparents' house is right across the street). Ownership meant that Justine, armed with little more than paint and fistfuls of greenery, could finally create the "not too cottage-y cottage" she envisioned. 

    We featured the Salt Timber Cottage, as it's known, in chapter one of the Remodelista book. But we could only start to show its many corners. Today we're touring the family side of Justine's DIY remodel. 

    Photographs by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.

    Above: The yellow kitchen was the one room Justine left much as is—she simply touched up the paint and accessorized well. Justine and Chad's daughter, Solvi, is shown here. Note the black band on the screen door for masking fingerprints, an old idea worth replicating. 

    Above: The vintage stove, painstakingly refurbished by the previous owner, works, though Justine finds it finicky: “I’m happy with the way it looks, if not the way it cooks.” 

    Above: On arrival at the house, Justine grabs clippers and heads out to gather flowers and leafy stems. "I keep getting more and more minimal with our furnishings and instead decorate with flowers. Every room has a floral accent—not a bouquet, just some sort of life." These nasturtiums are in a cordial glass on top of an icebox (now used for storage). Coin silver, restaurant ware, and other cutlery is stowed in stoneware jars. For polishing silver, Justine swears by the ease of Connoisseurs Silver Wipes, but appreciates a slight patina.

    Above: On a side wall, a favorite pan, cutting board and bread knife, and onion basket hang from nails. To source a similar basket, see our recent 10 Easy Pieces.

    Above: An old roller shade serves as a cover for pantry shelves.

    Above: The dining room is in the center of the cottage—and has seven doors leading off it. Justine had the table custom built for $700: “Since the space is small, I wanted it to be drop leaf, so it could be very narrow. It’s made from old wide-plank barn boards, and each leaf is one board. I love the old-fashioned detailing on the hinge.” The mismatched chairs are unified by several coats of Benjamin Moore Linen White paint.

    Above: One of the cottage's most winning features is its original spatter-painted floors. "They're a wonderful way to add texture and interest while still keeping the overall look minimal and clean—and not having to constantly sweep sand," Justine notes. Re-creating the look is surprisingly easy (and an economical alternative to refinishing wood floors): Read Justine's DIY: New England Spatter-Painted Floors.

    Above: The room is painted in Tidewater, a pale blue from Martin Senour Paints, that Justine says “makes the space feel like you’re inside a robin’s egg.” Over the gas stove, the mantel displays "a flea market painting subtly suggestive of the sea" and wild Queen Anne's lace in a Vaseline glass vase that was a wedding present to Justine's parents.

    Above: A pantry off the dining room displays a well-edited selection of tableware. The bisque hand-shaped vases and black Wedgwood coffee pot came from Justine's grandmother's packed china cabinet.

    Above: The favorite hangout, the screened-in porch, is where books are read (shown here, Chad with Solvi and Oliver), lemonade is poured, and bathing suits hang to dry. The walls are Benjamin Moore Linen White offset by Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray on the floor—a classic Scandi combination that Justine used in several rooms to inject lightness into the gloom. The wooden fish came from a weathervane on the garage.

    Above: The porch has its original wicker chairs. Note the ceiling, painted a yellow inspired by the kitchen.

    Above: In Oliver's room, the eagle kite is a gift from his great aunt Sheila's trip to China. 

    Above: Oliver's bedside table is a $15 flea market find. The seaside painting and lamp are placeholders borrowed from a family friend. 

    Above: "It's so hard to find good orange pillows," says Justine. A friend stitched this one from an old French linen tea towel.

    Above: Because the house almost entirely lacked closets, Justine bought a cedar-lined cupboard from a local antiques shop. It holds the family’s towels and linens, but very little else: “Lack of storage space forces you—in a good way—to think about every single thing that you allow in.”

    Above: The first-floor guest room has a green spatter-painted floor and old wallpaper that seems to improve with age (in several other rooms, Justine had a professional strip the wallpaper, "a bear of a job" that she says was her biggest remodeling expense). The iron bed frame was purchased on eBay and the simple tab curtains are from Ikea.

    Above: Wild Rosa rugosa and lilac leaves, or bay leaves, are Justine's favorite bedside combinations: "Rosa rugosa smell divine, and I always like to have a bright green that jumps out. This house is so relentlessly cottage-y, but the right acid green tempers that."

    Above: The chest is a $50 Cape Cod antiques store piece. Solstice Home, the source of the candlestick light, and one of Justine's favorite local vintage dealers, has since moved to Portland, Oregon; it's now part of the Maven Collective (and also operates as Solstice Home on Etsy).

    Above: Robin’s egg blue carries over from the dining room into the pocket-size living room, where Norwegian peasant prints from Justine's grandmother hang over an old Pottery Barn sofa. The coffee table is a workbench that happened to fit. The flower arrangement—lilies and lilac leaves—are in an old glass baby bottle.

    Above: Rosa rugosa, Queen Anne's lace, and white lilac leaves—"white lilac leaves have a better light green than purple lilacs"—greet visitors in the front entry. 

    Above: To draw in the famous Cape light, the public rooms are curtain- and shade-free. Like a bride, Justine likes to mix, old, new, borrowed, and blue. Here, under a light on "permanent loan" from a friend, an antique wicker chair sits aside an ottoman purchased long ago from Pottery Barn. The throw rug, from West Elm, replaced a seagrass rug deemed “too quaint”—part of Justine’s job, as she sees it, is keeping her house’s undeniable charms in check. The linocut print, Mark's Dog, is by Hugo Guinness from John Derian, in Provincetown.

    Above: Stairs off the dining room lead to the master bedroom tucked under the eaves.

    Above: The room is just big enough for a double bed. The hanging light came with the cottage and is a ship's lantern, one side red, the other blue.  

    Above: A $15 whitewashed chair serves as a bedside table—"someone sawed off the legs, so it's unusually low." The light, Justine says, is "just a hardware store clip-on that I spray-painted white."

    Above: On the second-floor landing, the painting of a house is by a woman who lived in the cottage in the 1950s. It's a portrait of Justine's grandparents' place, and the children out front are Justine's mother and aunts.

    Above: Solvi's room under the eaves has gray floors and a newly painted bed to match—it had been a dark wood that Justine says took courage to cover (but she's glad she did). 

    Above: A crucial bit of color is supplied by an orange-striped pillow and a 1970s Gladys the Goose lamp.

    Above: A backyard laundry line and hammock hang by the garage.

    Above: The cottage dates to 1807 and was owned for many years by two sisters from Boston who had given it its last major remodel in the 1940s.

    Above: The exterior is painted a pale purple-gray called Weathered Wood with White Lace trim, both from Martin Senour Paints.

    Justine contributes regularly to both Remodelista and Gardenista—and writes her own blog, Design Skool. Have a look at her DIY: Razor Clam Pendant Light and see her DIYs on How To Turn Flotsam and Jetsam into Wall Art and Pressed Seaweed Prints. We're all still talking about the Bayberry Candles she and her kids made last fall.

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    Wondering where to start when it comes to fencing? If you're planning to build, design, or install a fence, start with our Fence Design Guide:

    We've explored the pros and cons and design details of picket fences, hog wire, wrought iron, painted fences, and deer fencing. Maybe privacy is your greatest concern. Or deer proofing. Or matching the style of your house.

    For fence facts and prices—and design tips to maximize curb appeal—we've rounded up 10 of our most popular fence posts: 

    trend alert: black fences | gardenista

    Above: An elegant fence. Yes, if it's black. See our favorite dark backdrops in Trend Alert: Black Fences.

    How high should a fence be? For privacy, make it 5 or 6 feet tall. If you're installing it to add curb appeal and don't care about privacy, a fence that's from 2 to 3 feet high will draw the eye and frame a view.

    Curb Appeal black horizontal slat fencing ; Gardenista

    Above: Make a small yard look more expansive with a horizontal slat fence. See our favorite examples in Fence Fashion: 11 Ways to Add Curb Appeal with Horizontal Stripes.

    Ornamental Aluminum Fencing, Gardenista

    Above: Wrought iron, the ultimate in fence materials, is stately, strong, and secure. And pricy. Get the details in Hardscaping 101: Wrought Iron Fencing.

    paint colors ; Gardenista

    Above: Before the 20th century, ironwork was not black. Find out what color the Sissinghurst Castle gates (and other British iron fences) were painted in Victorian times in Paint Colors for Iron Fences and Gates.

      Green stained fence ; Gardenista

    Above: If you install a wooden fence, you can stain it instead of painting it. For more ideas, see Curb Appeal: Wooden Slat Fences.

    8 Favorite Exterior Stain Colors, Gardenista

    Above: Looking for the perfect color of stain? See our favorites in Palette & Paints: 8 Colorful Exterior Stains.

    Nantucket cottage with picket fence in Siasconset via Gardenista

    Above: For a New England seaside cottage look, nothing beats a picket fence. See our favorites in 10 Picket Fences That Remind Us of Summer.

    Heritage Fencing picket fence styles ; Gardenista

    Above: Shopping for a picket fence? Find out everything you need to know about picket fence styles, heights, and prices in Hardscaping 101: Picket Fences.

    10 Easy Pieces: Instant Fencing ; Gardenista

    Above: For a quick fix, try panels or rolled bamboo fencing or other instant fences. See our favorite choices in 10 Easy Pieces: Instant Fences.

    Hardscaping 101: Hog Wire Fences | Gardenista

    Above: An attractive option for a tight budget is a hog wire fence. Hog wire keeps varmints out and keeps costs low. For tips on how to install one to keep deer away, see Hardscaping 101: Hog Wire.

    Elegant deer proof fencing edible kitchen garden Hamptons ; Gardenista

    Above: Hamptons-based garden designer Lisa Bynon designs stylish deerproof fences for kitchen gardens. She reveals her secrets in The Landscape Designer is In: Elegant Deer Fencing, Hamptons Edition.

    For more of our Hardscaping 101 guides to fences, see:

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    A lightweight fire pit with a mesh lid to corral sparks is our Summer Sale pick today, marked down just in time for August clambakes and portable picnics.

    N.B.: See the rest of the Summer Sale bargains we found this week, including a Freestanding Outdoor Shower, a Summer House Doormat, and Candle Lanterns.

    Portable firepit powder coated iron ; Gardenista

    Above: A portable powder coated iron Firepit with a mesh lid is on sale for $169, marked down from $199 at CB2.

    Portable powder coated iron firepit CB@; Gardenista

    Above: For more of our favorite portable fire pits, see 10 Easy Pieces: Portable Fire Pits.

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    It is certainly possible to write a great novel while sitting in a tiny writer's studio in Maine, looking out a window that overlooks a landscape of blue, blue water. (Charlotte's Web comes to mind.)

    Can it be done again? We're eager to read the book, after visiting this stylish 190-square-foot writer's studio a couple of hours' drive south of where E.B. White used to live.

    In the meantime, let's look around at the built-in bookshelves and clever louvered windows in the workspace designed by New York-based architects Cheng + Snyder:

    Photography via Cheng + Snyder.


    Above: With a peaked roof and built-in canoe storage, the writer's studio sits at the edge of the Sheepscot River on Westport Island in Maine.


    Above: Louvered windows act as sun shades, filtering bright light when necessary.


    Above: "The monolithic form with concealed corner doors and punctured corner windows adds a mysterious quality to this tranquil retreat," the architects say.


    Above: The door folds open, shed-style, to welcome breezes.


    Above: Inside, the built-in shelves have plenty of room for books including, one hopes, a copy of The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White and a bargain at $5.18 from Amazon.


    Above: "The windows and awning are arranged to maximize views and allow passive heating and cooling," the architects say.


    Above: Legroom and canoe room co-exist under the desk.


    Above: Doing double duty as a boathouse and writing studio, the tiny building's two functions blend seamlessly.


    Above: Two salt-water rivers separate Westport Island from the mainland.

    For more of our favorite spots in Maine, see:

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    Designed by Koray Ozgen and made in France of hand-turned natural stone with a leather handle, the Borne Doorstop will keep a screen door from slamming.

    Above: A Borne Doorstop measures 13.5 centimeters tall and 10 centimeters wide and is available in Anatolian stone (gray) or in Burgundy stone (beige); from €50 at ODC.

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    Julie and the Remodelista crew are bracing themselves for the last wave of summer house guests. Join them as they plump up the pillows in the spare room:

    bunk beds catskills guest house ; Gardenista

    Above: Is it possible to remodel an entire guesthouse in one month on a #30,000 budget? See Built-in Bunk Beds on a Budget in a Catskills Guesthouse.

    The Citizenry blankets and throws ; Gardenista

    Above: Win a $1,000 gift card from global home decor brand The Citizenry. Enter here.

    rules for house guests summer homes ; Gardenista

    Above: Are you expecting more summer guests this weekend? Before they arrive, read 10 Essential Tips for Surviving House Guests (tip no. 1: If they ask if they can "bring something," say, "Yes, very dry white wine.")

    Chequit Inn Shelter Island guest room ; Gardenista

    Above: Had it with house guests? Treat yourself to a night at the inn. See The Chequit Inn: A Grand Dame Reopens on Shelter Island.

    silverware insert kitchen drawer ; Gardenista

    Above: Meredith travels to Stockholm to discuss the finer points of silverware drawers in The Best Modular Kitchen System from Sweden.

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