Site rain gardens wherever they fit best in your yard, as long as it’s at least 5 to 10 feet away from your home’s foundation. Ideally, try to locate it in a spot where it will collect rain water runoff from nearby hard surfaces, like the walkways surrounding this corner garden. Rain gardens work in sunny or shady spots, like this one. Shade-loving plants including Japanese blood grass, red-flowered crocosmia, the feathery blooms of red astilbe and green arrowhead plant adapt readily to the fluctuating moisture of a rain garden and ensure season-long interest.
In a sleek, contemporary kitchen, texture can be the best way to add dramatic interest. In this space, designer Laure Antonetti Schutze of L. Antonetti Design chose a rich metallic basket weave for the area behind the cooktop. "Our client wanted a kitchen backsplash with a 'wow' factor,” she says. “We used a woven copper that's not only beautiful but a conversation piece for the space." Over time copper will naturally develop a rich patina; to maintain the original shine, apply sealant, as the designers did in this project.
Start with a 120-grit pad on your sander; if it doesn’t get through the grayed surface of the wood immediately, change to 80. 80 grit will sand off a lot of material, so err on the safer side and start with 120. Make sure to sand with the grain as best you can. Once you have finished sanding all surfaces, wipe the piece clean with a damp cloth to get all of the dust off.
Keep an eye on trick-or-treaters with a googly-eyed wreath. To make it, pick up two to three bags of white Ping-Pong balls online or at a sports store. Use hot glue to attach them, in layers, to a foam wreath form with hot glue. Once all visible parts of the wreath form have been covered, attach small and large googly eyes. Tip: It's best to hang the wreath with a door hanger, rather than wrapping ribbon around, so the layers of Ping-Pong balls remain undisturbed.
Thyme, including red creeping thyme (shown), possesses excellent mosquito repelling properties. The secret is to crush the leaves to release the volatile oils. You can simply place crushed stems around outdoor seating areas or rub the leaves on skin or clothing. Burning thyme leaves also shows skeeters the door, providing 85 to 90 percent protection for up to 90 minutes. Lemon thyme, silver thyme, English thyme, creeping thyme—all types offer some degree of mosquito protection. Tuck them into pots, or use them to edge planting beds.
Steam ovens cook food much faster than conventional ovens do and help food retain its nutrients and flavor. This Wolf oven combines steam and convection modes with a series of pre-set programmed recipes so that all you have to do is put the food in — the oven does the work of figuring out which modes to apply to get the best results. You can even tell the oven what time you want your dish to be ready, and it will turn on and adjust the cooking process as necessary to finish at exactly the right moment.
Mountain laurel is a go-to favorite when it comes to shrubs that thrive in shady conditions. This native shrub grows as an understory plant in forests east of the Mississippi River. The true native form opens white flowers. ‘Pink Charm’ brings on spring color with bright pink blossoms that attract hummingbirds. Evergreen leaves add to the landscape year-round. Plants grow 8 to 10 feet tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 4-9. Good to know: Light shade with some sun coaxes best flower color.
In the garden, mint can be a thug, growing aggressively and invading surrounding soil rapidly. It spreads by above- and underground stems. Planted near stepping stones or pavers, mint quickly grows around, beneath and between them. The best way to keep mint contained in the garden is to plant it in a submerged container that is at least several feet below soil. Allow a few inches of the container to extend above soil to keep mint from wandering out. This mint is effectively contained in a half-buried plastic trash can with drainage holes drilled in the bottom.
Use mint with fruit to create memorable desserts, salads and salsas. Combine it with honey and lemon juice for a go-to dressing that blends well with summer’s best fruits, from peaches, to watermelon, to berries. Whip up delectable fruit salsas like cherry nectarine (shown), featuring chopped mint for a zingy bite. In the salsa department, craft your own one-of-a-kind dip like roasted tomato-mint salsa, mango mint salsa with ginger, or pineapple mint salsa with red onion. Mint helps cool any spicy peppers in a salsa, which gives your tastebuds a hot-cooling sensation that’s delightful.
You know Tiffani Thiessen best for her roles as Kelly Kapowski in '90s sitcom Saved by the Bell and as Valerie Malone in drama series Beverly Hills, 90210. Now, step inside her home for its festive holiday makeover. Since Tiffani's home has a rustic, open charm, designer Bobby Berk wanted to accentuate it with lots of greenery, colorful wooden animals and bulbs. He also wanted to ensure it was kid-friendly and fun for Tiffani's three-year-old daughter.
The best way to judge the quality of a sofa—as well as its comfort—is to spend some time with it in person. Sit on it for several minutes. Try different positions: Lean against the arm to see if it digs into your neck or back uncomfortably; test each end of the seat, as well as the middle; bounce a bit on the seat to see how firm and supportive it is; stand up and see how much fluffing the pillows require after you’ve sat on them. Hold onto a corner of the sofa and wiggle the frame: It should feel solid and firm, with no give in the joints. Lift up one leg to feel whether the sofa is heavy and substantial or lightweight. Examine all the stitching and upholstery from top to bottom. “The fabric should lie smoothly across the frame, without puckering, and the seams and any decorative welting or trim should be tight and straight,” says Bar-Nahum.
It’s a common misconception that DIY is the best way to save money, but it isn’t always the case. You'll want to evaluate whether or not you have the skills, time, budget or supplies to complete certain DIY projects for your big day. For example, don’t take on woodworking projects that require expensive equipment and experience if you’ve never done any wood cutting before. Instead, leave the difficult projects to the professionals or purchase from an artisan on Etsy!
Sometimes, the architecture of your home is the best guide for the style of the furnishings you fill it with; other times, its surroundings will direct you. When choosing furniture for this living room, designer Kristen Rivoli took the latter tack. “This space is in a building right next to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), in New York City, so our inspiration was the classic midcentury modern furniture you might find at the museum,” she says. “We found the side table at a vintage furniture store, but the sofa is new—it’s available through KRID but it has the lines of a classic tuxedo-style sofa. The Brittania light fixture is also new but adds to the midcentury style, and the toss pillows are custom-made in a mellow color palette typical of the ‘50s and ‘60s.”
Rain gardens earn their keep, catching rain water runoff from roofs, driveways and lawns. A well-designed rain garden holds runoff long enough so it can soak into soil, instead of running into storm sewers. It also helps clean rain water runoff by removing up to 90 percent of fertilizer nutrients and up to 80 percent of sediments. Best of all, a rain garden can look gorgeous while effectively handling storm water runoff. This rain garden design features strong summer and fall color, with gold black-eyed susan, purple Russian sage, purple coneflower and rose-pink ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum.
David Austin English Rose 'Vanessa Bell' is a top-performing rose of delicate beauty with an alluring freshness and grace. Its soft lemon-yellow flowers are held in large open clusters, accented by rounded buds tinged with rich pink. It blooms with abundance, being nearly covered with flowers from early summer till frost. Its compact growth habit is ideal for planting in the front of garden borders. The medium-strength fragrance is best described as green tea with aspects of lemon and, at times, honey. See davidaustinroses.com.
Apply fertilizer to your lawn in early fall. Look for a fertilizer with a formula designed to meet your lawn's needs and follow application instructions on the product. The numbers on a fertilizer bag, in N-P-K order, indicate the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, respectively, on weight basis. If you aren’t sure what your lawn needs, consult with a lawn care or landscape professional. A soil test can determine what ratio is best for your lawn. Be sure to check with your local agricultural extension office, as some locations regulate the time of year that fertilizer can be applied to reduce runoff.
Evergreen clematis bring year-round color to gardens, and the variety known as Avalanche is no exception. This beauty offers an avalanche of snow white blooms in spring. Also known as Clematis x cartmanii ‘Blaaval,’ this clematis grows best in part to full sun. Vines grow 12 to 15 feet tall with support and belong to Pruning Group 1. This means plants don’t typically need pruning, but if you must cut stems to help contain growth or reduce height, make cuts immediately after blooming. Hardy in Zones 7-9.
Sweet corn is difficult because you need to understand how corn is pollinated—by wind. This means that growing long rows of corn won’t give great yields. Planting in a patch or rectangle brings the best results. Some of the super sweet corn types can also cross-pollinate, so if you’re growing more than one type, do your homework. Two sweets often yield a field corn—starchy and tasty to cows, not people.