Raised Garden Beds

One thing I’ve always wanted was a raised bed garden.  I think they are beautifully compact and organized.  They make maintenance easy and allow for limitless creativity.   You can design them in various shapes and configurations.  They can be for flowers, herbs, garden vegetables, succulents, etc.  You can make them small and portable for city gardens or large with ungulating pathways through which to wander.  Whether perfectly groomed or simply practical (like using old tires, gathered pots,  or a kiddie pool), raised beds can make a garden special.

I love the look of the steel.  The beds are slightly taller due to the standard size of the steel making the beds that much easier to access.

 

 

Here is a gallery of raised beds I gathered.  If you want more inspiration,simply search raised bed gardens on Flickr for an abundance of inspiration and how to.

Grow 4 It - raised vegetable bedsRaised Garden Beds on June 20th, 2009Raised GardensKitchen GardenDSC_0066raised beds
National Gardens Scheme - Ladywood, Eastleigh, Hampshire - 33Driveway Salsa GardenKitchen garden at Bolen residenceThe Modern Courtyard GardenStrawberries in Raised BedP.F.1
Community GardenVeg Bed CornerRaised veg bedsTiered Herb GardenRaised bedsIMG_7903

Wallpaper is BACK but with a twist!

Gone are the days of stuffy Victorian wallpapers – here are some twists on the traditional, transforming wallpapers using Victorian wallpaper or retro wallpaper designs into modern wallpaper ideas. These great wallpaper ideas can make a space feel really exotic –  and unexpectedly refreshing. You don’t have to cover an entire wall – just do one wall with Victorian wallpaper as a feature, or use retro wallpaper to create a divider or cover a cabinet to create a wow! factor in your rooms.

35536284529197122 9vpSdDOZ c Victorian Wallpaper With a Twist! Eight Great Feature Wallpaper Ideas

The trick is to rethink how you decorate using Victorian wallpaper or retro wallpaper. The aim is to make a splash by applying feature wallpaper ideas and mixing it up so your retro wallpaper  looks totally fresh and modern. Think over-sized patterns, interesting scenes or colours and using them in unexpected places.  Here are some very cool  modern wallpaper ideas from HomeEdit.com.

wallpaper ideas for decorating walls1 Victorian Wallpaper With a Twist! Eight Great Feature Wallpaper Ideas

Still the wallpapers can be a wonderful option to get more color in a room, to create a different ambiance which can change your entire mood or sometimes they can be perfect in order to hide something ugly that has appeared on your wall. The combinations of colors are various, the images are so different and you can definitely find something that can please you. You may choose a vintage model, a floral wallpaper, a print with animals, an abstract variant or a wallpaper that invites you in the middle of nature showing you a beautiful beach or mountain landscape.

 

wallpaper ideas for decorating walls Victorian Wallpaper With a Twist! Eight Great Feature Wallpaper Ideas

wallpaper ideas for decorating walls2 Victorian Wallpaper With a Twist! Eight Great Feature Wallpaper Ideas

wallpaper ideas for decorating walls4 Victorian Wallpaper With a Twist! Eight Great Feature Wallpaper Ideas

wallpaper ideas for decorating walls5 Victorian Wallpaper With a Twist! Eight Great Feature Wallpaper Ideas

If you had not decided yet, you might be lucky and see some example here. There are some beautiful wallpapers that complete the interior design of some living rooms, dining rooms or bedrooms so that they create a perfect symmetry and harmony together with the other items from these rooms.

wallpaper ideas for decorating walls6 Victorian Wallpaper With a Twist! Eight Great Feature Wallpaper Ideas

wallpaper ideas for decorating walls7 Victorian Wallpaper With a Twist! Eight Great Feature Wallpaper Ideas

These photos are quite impressive – even the simple cupboard above has been given a new life using an over sized  retro wallpaper  – that is, using the same wallpaper as the wall behind it. You can read the full article atHomeEdit.com. for more wallpaper ideas using Victorian and retro wallpaper to step up your decorating.

Cheeky wallpapers can transform rooms if you use some of these wallpaper ideas. These can be  particularly effective if you are hiding less than perfect walls, highlighting feature walls ordecorating white walls. Read more in the article Is White The Best Wall Color? to get ideas on how to decorate your walls.

Container Garden Inspiration

Handy tips for designing a container garden:

1. Mix it up.A basket full of one kind of flower is pretty. A basket full of tastefully selected flowers of different shapes and colors combined with interesting foliage and textures can be breathtaking.

Pansies, begonias, astilbe, petunias, and Japanese hakone grass. Photo courtesy of Green Connection.

Don’t be afraid to mix upright plants with cascading ones, or spiky plants with soft, billowing varieties. It’s okay to add some plants that don’t flower; grasses and other foliage plants can make an average arrangement into something spectacular. Add color variety in flowers or foliage for even more interest.

2. Mix it up…but not too much.

While variety is the spice of life, it’s important to keep things unified so they don’t appear chaotic and disorganized. This can be done by repeating some elements, like texture or color, throughout the design. In the picture below several colors are unified by the repeated use of daisy-like blooms.

A symphony of daisies. Photo courtesy of Green Connection.

Note the repeated use of chartreuse foliage in the photo below. (I loooove limey foliage! Drool.)

Dracaena spike, two pelargonium varieties, verbena, and lysimachia. Photo courtesy of Green Connection.

3. Keep things in scale.

Because nothing looks stoopider than a little tiny plant in a ginormous container, or vice verse. Most flowers come in several different flavors, so be sure to read plant tags and seed packages closely for size information.

Begonias, calibrachoa, and lysimachia. Photo courtesy of Green Connection.

The small planter in the picture above would have looked decidedly odd if filled with overly large plants, such as 3′ tall snapdragons or a dinner plate dahlia. Luckily for the mailbox planter, it was filled with appropriate (and adorable) small-scale plants.

4. Choose the right plants for the right place

No matter how lovely your design is, the finished product won’t look good if you use plants that don’t grow well in your specific area. Is the site shady? Windy? Cool and moist? Hot and dry? For lush and vibrant plants, match the type of plants to the surrounding environment. Here in Alaska it’s best to stick with cool-season plants. Lucky for us, there are a lot of annuals that do well up here.

Dogwood, scented geranium, dahlia, snapdragons, osteospermum, and petunias. Photo courtesy of Green Connection.
Osteospermum, bacopa, and helichrysum. Photo courtesy of Green Connection.

5. Have fun!

The most important thing to remember when designing a container garden is to have fun! Don’t feel like you have to stick to what’s currently featured on HGTV. So what if some people don’t care for pink and orange together? If you like it, do it. (I personally love hot pink and tangerine together.) The best part about garden design is coming up with something that is uniquely yours and then being able to share it with others.

Sambucus, ageranthemum, pelargonium, calibrachoa, and lysimachia. Photo courtesy of Green Connection.

Steeply Beautiful Slope Retention

Slope retention is critical for many homes. Retaining a slope may mean protecting the very structure of your home or preventing mud from overwhelming your landscape. While the term “slope retention” naturally evokes images of sandbags and huge cement walls, there are some strikingly lovely ways to encourage hillsides to stay put.

Terracing small walls is a great strategy for shoring up slopes. It uses the drama of a steep slope, adding dimension and layering to an otherwise uninviting hillside. Staircases not only create stability and accessibility, they make the area more visually inviting.
While the walls featured above are fairly formal and contemporary, here the look is more rustic. I like this wall, which appears to be dry stacked. This look can often be achieved with recycled or reclaimed materials.
This property’s depth keeps its steep retaining wall from overwhelming the view. The natural rock provides an interesting contrast to the modern architectural lines.

Climate matters. In California and other dry-climate areas, a lake like this would not be sustainable unless it was a collection pond holding and filtering water for irrigation.

Of course, some slopes simply need very strong, very steep support. Variation in depth and the addition of items that create visual interest soften what might otherwise feel like a tall, imposing or hard vertical surface.
Foliage is also an incredibly beautiful and effective method for retaining slopes.

It’s important to understand the root structures and water needs of the plants used. If a plant requires lots of water to thrive in your climate, the application of the water might undermine your goal of slope retention.

For gentle slopes like this, I adore native grass meadows.
In steeper areas, more substantial focus can encourage those walking the space to take a particular path. The more substantial root structures of vertical foliage may also be useful in retaining the slope.
Smart, sustainable plant spacing is key. While large plants may look instantly lovely, they don’t provide the slope-stabilizing benefits of foliage whose root system grows naturally in a space.

It may be necessary to use coco fiber to prevent surface erosion while plant life establishes. In a year, the area above this ledger stone retaining wall will look like a vertical wall of foliage, and the railroad-tie-supported hiking trail will be substantially softened by ample foliage.

If done strategically, your effectively retained slope may just be your favorite view!