4 tips for your outdoor oasis

Hey, there happy weekend!!  We have literally been outside all day today as it was a perfect Saturday!!  My favorite way to spend the weekend is out in our backyard as a family hanging out.  We did some yard work followed by sprucing up our patio and ending with a delicious meal outside. While being outside today I have discovered a few good tricks to really bring out the best in your outdoor oasis.

This is such a good idea and fun way to style a bench.  Using a blanket or even an old rug, as my favorite stylist Emily Henderson, has done in the picture above.  It adds such warmth and texture to any space.  This will also be so much more comfortable to sit on for time spent eating and sharing.

A fun and unique way to liven up your outdoor space is to add a festive umbrella.  I love the first picture up top with the fringed umbrella from Anthropologie.  If spending $$ on an umbrella isn’t an option, try buying an umbrella second hand from Craigslist or your local thrift shop.  Purchase some fringe at your local fabric or craft store and sew on your fringe.  If sewing isn’t your jam you could try using fabric glue.  The second picture gives you an idea of how amazing it can look to add some light at twilight under your umbrella.  Gives so much warmth and would be fabulous for a romantic dinner.

I found this idea from yet again Emily Henderson.  I seriously have such a style crush on her.  In the picture above she hangs a pendant from a tree.  If you have all your ducks in a row and can hang a pendant from a tree and have wiring capabilities then this idea is PERFECT for you.  If you don’t have any electricity nearby then try using a pendant with burning candles to give you your evening glow.

DIY an outdoor fireplace for those chilly nights.  The possibilities are endless, anything that is safe to withstand heat a.k.a. fire is a potential candidate.  Maybe an old iron cauldron like the second picture above.  Have you recently cut down a tree?  Hollow it out and line with metal for your next firepit.  Having a unique centerpiece such as a DIY fireplace really sets you apart from the rest.  A definite conversation starter.

 

Do you have any fun, unique ideas that bring out the best in your outdoor space?  If so please share!  Happy outdoor living!!

 

Best,

Jen

 

 

My Office Water Cooler

Happy Tuesday!!  Today I wanted to share with you my office water cooler.  With the weather warming up, spring in full swing, I decided my new office is going to be my beautiful backyard.  Every office needs a water cooler, right?  So in lieu of yesterday’s article of living green and eco-friendly, I decided to purchase and share this piece from Craigslist. I chose to buy second hand as this seemed to be perfect for the job and wouldn’t go to waste. It was a solid piece of wood that I knew would stand the test of time and wasn’t synthetic.  And let’s be honest the price fit well within budget.  It was extremely dusty and dirty but nothing a quick wipe down with warm soap and water couldn’t’ help.  When I brought home my prized piece with excitement (like my cat does with her dead mouse) to show my husband he thought I was crazy!!  I have to admit I wondered what the heck I was thinking as well but I had a vision and was going to stick to it.  After a quick clean up, I applied a seal over the wood to help protect against the outside elements.  Choosing a clear sealant, that was fast and easy to apply, made the wood look more conditioned and really brought it back to life. I am thrilled that I gave this piece a new home with a new purpose.  I love the character of the well-used wood with all its bolts and glory on display.

I am excited to get the season kicked off and to show this drink bar an eventful summer.

 

Enough water cooler talk for now.  Enjoy!

 

Best,

Jen

Happy Earth Day

Hey everyone Happy Earth Day!!  In honor of mother nature, I am writing about sustainable furniture today.  It is crucial that we all start taking better care of our home; Earth, as she has taken such good care of us.  If we continue to want to see her beauty and all she has to offer we need to be more mindful.  Mindful in just about everything we do every day all day.  Things like can you ride your bike instead of drive the car to work today? Or can you use and consume less?  The options are endless.

So today I want to choose the subject of sustainable furniture.  Choosing eco-friendly furniture is just one of many ways you can show love for Mother Earth.  I am sharing a list of companies with not only eco-friendly furniture, some of them finding ways to give back.

 

First I think I have to mention that re-using or recycling a piece of furniture is always a good way to go green.  By not wasting the furniture and then consuming more you are giving it and mother nature a second chance.  Another way to recycle or upcycle a piece of furniture is from your local thrift shop or flea market.  There are usually amazing deals to be found, and sometimes with a little DIY and creativity, they are better than before.  Great and easy suggestions for simply living eco-friendly

Now on to the sustainable brands:

  • Joybird: Eco-friendly, made-to-order, fair wages and health benefits for craftspeople, no harsh chemicals or flame retardants is what’s behind this brand. Plus, for each item sold, Joybird plants more trees than were used in the manufacturing of that item in an effort to help preserve the rainforests. Online store only.
  • VivaTerre: upholds sustainability and integrity throughout the design and manufacturing process of their truly globally-inspired, modern furniture. Online store only.
  • Stem: Eco-friendly, made in the USA, upcycled and organic materials, customizable. Their responsible manufacturing process takes place in the USA, cutting down on carbon emissions. Online store only.
  • ABC Home: Eco-friendly, ethically and sustainably sourced, fair-trade.  Online store only. 
  • West Elm: FSC-certified, made in the USA, Fair-Trade, eco-friendly. Online and instore. 
  • Crate and Barrel: Dining & home office collections featuring eco-friendly, FSC-certified, reclaimed wood, and sustainable bamboo. Online and instore. 

Inmod: Bedroom, lighting, storage, and children’s featuring eco-friendly, made in the USA. Online store.

My goal is to strive to do a few green things every day.  Little steps to make a big difference.  Happy Monday and Happy Earth Day!!

Best,

Jen

 

Tips and Tricks for Showstopper Planters

Spring is here and it is the perfect time to start thinking about planting your pots outside.  Whether for added curb appeal or a quiet retreat to your patio or deck, I have you covered with all the tips you’ll need.  Gone are the days of simpling picking out a few red Geraniums or pink Begonias.  The pressure is on to have your planters on point!  So in prep for getting my hands dirty this weekend (literally) I have done a little research on just what to do.  I always show up to the garden stores wandering isles, picking pretty plants and flowers, not knowing exactly what I was doing and hoping for the best.  Instead of holding my breath and praying it all turns out, I have made lists and armed myself with the knowledge to knock this project out of the park.  Check out all I have dug up so that you too can have sensational planters this season.

 

 

    1. Instead of filling your large planter with soil try filling your pot with some recyclable items first. This will help with cost as less soil is needed.  Making sure there is a hole in the bottom of the pot, along with using a “filler” (recyclable item) 1/4 to 1/3 of the way up, will ensure the weight of the soil doesn’t compress and compact, affecting drainage and root growth.  Other items to use besides your plastic containers would be soda cans or really just about anything you can recycle.

    Here is the secret recipe: a planter should have three things. A thriller, a filler, and a spiller. In this picture you have a Golden Sword Yucca as your thriller, typically thrillers are vertical. Your Filler would be the pink Geranium and purple Petunias as they are a weaving plant that can “fill” in. The spiller in this picture is the Creeping Jenny as it flows off the edge and down the side “spilling” over. When making your list, take into account the overall growth structure when they are full grown.  Combine plants that need the same amount of moisture and sun otherwise they can’t live together in harmony. Make sure to include enough texture and color into your overall design.

Here is a list of Thrillers, Spillers, and Fillers.

THRILLERS

    • Agave
    • Angelonia
    • Bamboo
    • Banana
    • Canna
    • Corydalis
    • Dahlia (upright varieties)
    • Dracena
    • Elephant ear (taro)
    • Fuchsia (upright varieties)
    • Grasses
    • Hibiscus
    • Millet
    • Papyrus
    • Phormium (New Zealand flax)

FILLERS

    • Argyranthemum (Marguerite daisy)
    • Begonia
    • Caladium
    • Coleus
    • Diascia (twinspur)
    • Euphorbia (especially Diamond Frost)
    • Impatiens
    • Nasturtium (mounding types)
    • Nemesia
    • Osteospermum (African daisy osteospermum)
    • Pelargonium (geranium)
    • Petunia
    • Salvia (small-flowered types)
    • Verbena

 

SPILLERS

    • Callibrachoa
    • Dichondra
    • Helichrysum (licorice plant)
    • Ipomoea (sweet potato vine)
    • Lobelia
    • Torenia (wishbone flower)

 

Here is a bit of inspiration along with what is used.  I always like a little visual stimulation to get a project going.

This arrangement with a neutral tone and texture brings out its natural beauty. Boasting String of Pearls with all its drama through its unique shape all the while purple Calibrachoa and blue Ageratum add just the right dose of brightness to add depth to this subtle arrangement.
Loving this evergreen arrangement. Living in the North West you can’t get away from an authentic evergreen. Having that as a base choose something like a cast-iron plant, and then add in some Caladiums, some Impatiens, and even a creeping Fig.
Succulents are both heat and drought tolerant, so they’ll look great all summer long. There are many ways to plant succulent containers, particularly since they are so resilient. They also share a desert color palette with succulents, making the two appear as if they were always intended to go together. Making sure to water carefully and selectively.
We will all be planting window boxes everywhere you can once you see how beautiful and simple this arrangement is. ‘Aaron’ Caladium, Holly Fern, ‘Key Lime Pie’ Heuchera, ‘White Nancy’ Lamium, Ivy, and light pink Periwinkle come together in this eye-catching window box. This arrangement adds depth and color and lives in harmony where shade permits.

There you have it, enough information that you can head to the garden store isles with a list and idea of what you are doing.  I am excited to start this project as planting pots is one of my favorites!  Happy planting!!

Please share any of your spring plantings with me as I am always eager to learn and see more tips and tricks for my yard.