1 Dozen Ways to Make the Most of a Small Yard Outdoor spaces can increase our enjoyment of our homes. When the weather is nice, it’s like having an extra room—or wing—of the house. Make the most of yours, no matter its size. Even a small backyard can be great for gardening, entertaining, and play. The trick is to use every inch of your property and find ways for spaces to do double duty. Choose furniture that is multifunctional and small in scale. Keep your gardening flexible by growing flowers, veggies, and trees in containers. And remember that no backyard is too small to play in. Portable pieces, such as fold-up tents, let you bring the fun wherever you want it, whenever you want it. Check out these tips and tricks that will help you make the most of your small backyard all year long.
10 "Best in Class" Patio Pavers Today's patio paving stones offer the look of natural, traditional stone products, but with the added benefit of variable sizes, colors and ease of installation.
10 "Style Setting" Garden Sheds Whether you are looking to house garden tools or create a workshop or studio, here are ten stylish sheds worthy of consideration.
10 Common Garden Problems—and How to Fix Them Summer is what gardeners dream of all winter—warm weather, flourishing flowers, and a bountiful harvest that's carried straight from the veggie patch to the dinner table. But along with the sun and fun of summer comes a host of problems that can frustrate even the most steadfast gardeners. Your plants suffer from too much water . . . or too little. Even if the rabbits leave your garden alone, the Japanese beetles will surely come after it. Don’t slug it out with the garden slugs all by yourself! We've got your back. Read on to learn how to combat some of the most common summer gardening problems.
10 Compost Bins for Backyard Gardeners From cedar and willow to polyethylene, today's compost bins come in a variety of designs, shapes and sizes; each one designed to help you manage the process more efficiently. Here are ten compost bins that offer smart options for backyard composting.
10 Easy-to-Grow Vegetables for Beginning Gardeners If you’ve always wanted to grow a vegetable garden, but have been too afraid to try, start by planting veggies that are almost guaranteed to succeed. Maintaining a large vegetable garden can be overwhelming for a new gardener, so start small, picking three or four crops you’d like to grow. Once you’re comfortable, add in a few more. Don’t have much space? Many vegetables, such as beans, tomatoes, basil, spinach, and salad greens, grow well in containers. Get a large planter or two, and start a garden in any spot that receives at least eight hours of sunlight a day. In fact, setting up a container garden is a wonderful way to experiment before you commit to digging up a portion of your yard. For veggies that germinate quickly, such as beans, peas, and zucchini, don’t bother with starter plants. Plant from seed directly in the soil. Save your money for tomato and pepper plants, which require much more time to reach transplant size. Whatever you grow and however you choose to do it, enjoy cultivating your first vegetable garden. By the time your harvest reaches your dinner table, you may find yourself hooked.
10 Energy-Wise Ways to Lower Your Pool Maintenance Costs Whether you're building a new swimming pool or retrofitting your existing one, be proactive in pursuing the many new methods and technologies that can help you keep the pool's often substantial operating costs to a bare minimum. Take the plunge!
10 Hydrangea Show-Stoppers Hydrangeas come in over a hundred varieties, varying in color, size, and shape of bloom as well as growth and seasonal habits. Here are ten of our top editor picks--starting with this new Everlasting Amethyst from White Flower Farm.
10 Natural Ways to Combat Summer Mosquitoes There's nothing more annoying than having your summertime fun ruined by the buzzing and biting of the season's peskiest foes—mosquitoes. Before they breed, congregate, bite, and drive you indoors, consider some natural ways to keep them at bay. Start by eliminating standing water wherever you discover it—from gutter spouts to birdbaths—and consider herbs like rosemary and thyme that are known for their insect-repellant scents. What about installing a bat house? We've included that and more in our 10 natural ways to keep you bug-free this summer.
10 Reasons to Reconsider the Aboveground Pool Aboveground pools have never been known for high style. Still, they remain a popular and budget-friendly option for those unable—or unwilling—to shell out a fortune for a cool-off spot. These days, however, with pool manufacturers and installers offering new shapes and surround designs, aboveground pools deserve another look. With thoughtful planning and a dose of inspiration, an aboveground pool can be every bit as lovely to the eye and welcoming to swimmers as the in-ground variety. Don't believe it? Click to see proof.
10 Rooftop Gardens That Bring Gardening to New Heights Gardening is a way to connect with the earth, and this connection becomes even more striking in a rooftop garden, where the earth sits closer to the sky. Rooftop gardens allow city dwellers to embrace their valuable outdoor space and interact with nature. While some rooftop gardens are created using potted plants, others are lawn-like environments, magically transformed by their urban owners. Whether your rooftop space is large or small, it has the potential to become a lush oasis. Click through our photo gallery to pluck some ideas for designing your own garden in the sky.
10 Smart Ways to Bring Shade to Your Outdoor Space Outdoor areas don't have to be all about soaking in the sun. Sometimes it's nice to relax in a shady spot, shielded from the harsh rays. There are many ways to bring shade to an outdoor space. You can build a new freestanding structure or enhance an existing patio or pergola through the addition of a shade screen. Many such screens are made from fabric or canvas, but even materials like lattice and bamboo are popular options that cast delicately dappled light onto the outdoor living space beneath or behind. Best of all, there's no need to call in a contractor; most of these projects are simple enough for the average homeowner to complete easily and quickly, often within the space of a single weekend. So click through our gallery to see a selection of yard improvements that will have you made in the shade.
10 Steps to Paradise in Your Own Backyard Any outdoor living space, be it a compact apartment terrace or an expansive poolside patio, becomes much more inviting once it’s been outfitted with a few creature comforts. Designers Jeff Curren and Julian Calderon share outdoor room design tips to help you create a comfortable and beautiful refuge right outside your house.
11 Creatively Stylish Ways to Display Succulents If you don’t have a green thumb, then succulents might just be the plant for you. Succulents are a family of fleshy plants, including aloe vera and cacti, known for retaining water and standing up to harsh climates. Available in a variety of colors and textures, these hardy plants are known for their ability to thrive in unusual settings that can accommodate only small root systems, such as vertical gardens. Some species of succulents are considered “air plants,” which means they can live with little or no contact with the ground. Click through this gallery for fun ways to display succulents in your home.
12 Birdhouses We Love Bird houses come in all shapes and sizes and, in addition to adding interest to your yard or garden, they provide accommodations for fine feathered friends. Here is a selection of some ready-made and DIY kits.
12 Expert Tips for Eye-Catching Front Yard Landscaping Your front yard, regardless of its size, plays an important role in your home’s overall curb appeal. Attractive landscaping, however, requires more than just a beautiful lawn. A well-landscaped front yard should take into account the style and size of your house, how it’s sited on the property, the amount of sunlight the yard receives, and how it can best be enhanced by plantings, bushes, shrubs, and trees. Your front yard should also include hardscaping features, from walkways and driveways to raised beds, planters, and decorative containers. What are the best practices for front yard landscaping? To learn more, we reached out to Dorian Winslow, certified landscape designer and owner and president of Womanswork, an online retailer of gardening apparel and supplies. Here are her 12 tips for successful front yard landscaping.
12 Garden Sheds You Could Actually Live (or Work) In Whether you’re upgrading to a bigger building or find you no longer need your backyard shed to store lawn and garden tools, consider giving your old shed new life as a hobby room, guesthouse, or backyard retreat. With an ample budget, you can transform the space into a supplemental living area that rivals your own house, complete with electricity and luxe amenities. Yet even with a more modest budget, as some of these sheds show, you can cleverly transform an outbuilding into something beautiful and useful. If you crave more space in your house but an addition isn’t an option, a backyard shed with a few bells and whistles may provide what you need. Whether you’ll be upgrading, renovating, or starting from scratch, here are 12 outbuildings that prove that a backyard shed can be just as sweet as home.
12 Ways to Wake Up Your Tired Outdoor Furniture When spring is in the air and the weather starts to heat up, so does your outdoor entertaining. But after a long winter, your outdoor furniture might be looking shabby, particularly under the bright, unforgiving glare of the sun. Before you hop on the Internet to order new furniture, see if there’s something you can do to revive that patio set, picnic table, garden glider, or favorite pair of lawn chairs. If your furniture is actually falling apart, it may be time to retire it. If it's structurally sound, however, no matter what it's made of, there's probably a way to freshen it up. For example, spray paint is a panacea for wood, wicker, and metal. Most pieces can also be revived with a thorough washing, scrubbing, and sanding. If the finish is beyond saving, or if you're just sick and tired of it, you can recover it—by slipcovering or reupholstering. Or maybe all you need are the right accessories—a few throws and pillows—to bring your furniture back to life. Take a look at these smart ways to bring your old garden furniture to new glory.
13 DIY Lanterns to Illuminate Your Porch, Patio, or Garden When the weather gets warm, outdoor living heats up, and porches and patios become the place to be. As your sunny days shift to balmy nights, add some atmosphere to your garden and yard with lanterns. Whether you want to make one lantern for a dining table, or a whole string of lanterns for the deck railing, there is a DIY lantern design to suit your needs and style. Fanciful and frivolous, or simply elegant, lanterns don't require much time or money to make, and they delightfully elevate the ambience of your outdoor spaces. Take a cue from one of these great DIY lantern ideas, and bask in the glow of gleaming light this evening.
15 Plants Perfect for Hanging Baskets No matter how small your garden, there's always room for a hanging basket. Here are 10 plants that add color and interest to any porch, deck, balcony, or sunroom.
18 Ways to Color Your Garden This Fall Step away from the traditional cabbage-and-Mum routine this fall by introducing some new bloomers into your fall planting repertoire. Although the old stand-bys are hardy and give good, consistent color, these alternates choices will certainly set your pots apart from the Jones's.
6 Secrets to a Successful Container Garden When she’s not imparting advice in her role as an About.com guide, and on the days she takes off from photographing New England gardens (for a forthcoming book from Timber Press), you’re likely to find Kerry Michaels tending to the nearly 100 potted plants that surround her home in coastal Maine. “No matter how hectic life can be,” she muses, "I get such enormous pleasure from these pots!" Here, Michaels shares six secrets that can change your luck with container gardening.
7 Things to Do Now for a Greener Lawn Next Year Congratulations, you've managed to keep your lawn alive through the stifling summer heat. Now in fall—with winter on the horizon—you may be tempted to rest on your laurels and relax your routine. After all, the yard will soon be covered by snow, and as the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.” But the truth is that in many parts of the country, fall is a key season for lawn care. What you do at this time year largely determines the state of your grass in spring. So take these steps now to ensure a greener lawn all next year.
7 Tips to Keep Your Lawn Mower in Perfect Working Order You know how to care for your lawn, but how about your mower? Mowers need some TLC after sitting in a cold shed or garage all winter long. Before grass-growing season gets into full swing, show your mower some love by giving it a tune-up and blade sharpening. The results are well worth the effort—treat your mower right, and it will reward you with greater efficiency, better handling, and a fresher-looking lawn. We've compiled an essential guide for keeping your mower—and your grass—going strong all season.
8 Reasons to Love Azaleas From Southern roots, azaleas have grown into a countrywide favorite, prized for their beautiful blooms in so many colors.
9 Budget-Friendly Ways to Revive Your Porch for Summer Sunny days and warmer weather signal that summer is right around the corner. What better time to freshen up your front porch? Rest assured that you can create an inviting front veranda without breaking the bank. Start with one favorite item, theme, or color, and work out from there. For example, if you love the idea of a bold front door, paint it in your favorite dramatic color and let that shade guide your choices for lighting, draperies, planters, and accessories. Or, do you have an heirloom piece of furniture or decorative accent that you love, such as a planter, rug, or lantern? Take inspiration from its shape, color, or style, and search out flea market finds or attic treasures that may be polished, painted, or upcycled into frugal, complementary front porch accessories. Complete your scheme with decorative touches like welcome signs, hanging baskets of greenery or ferns, or unusual plants in distinctive planters. Need some examples? Here are 10 inspiring front porches that prove that it’s possible to design a welcoming front veranda on a budget.
9 Incredibly Cool Pool Houses Waterfront property sells at a hefty premium. But don't be discouraged if you're landlocked. You can create your own home-by-the-sea environment with a pool house. Come along and dream with us.
9 Natural Ways to Kill Weeds There are a number of children, pet, and environmentally friendly ways to rid your garden of pesky weeds— they're much safer and less costly than using harmful chemicals.
9 Ways to Extend Patio Season into Fall As temperatures drop in the fall, our outdoor activities start to dwindle, and the bustle of life moves indoors. But there are still beautiful days and evenings left to enjoy outside if only we have something to draw us out there. For example, a fire pit or spa can turn your yard into the place to be on a bracing autumn evening. Beefed-up outdoor lighting can make your property more inviting as the days grow shorter, and installing an outdoor kitchen will keep the food prep—and the party—humming away outside. And don't plow the garden under just yet! Plant fall vegetable crops and fruit trees to keep your green thumb nimble until the ground freezes. There are so many ways to prolong the season. We've gathered just a few of our favorites.
Anatomy of an Adirondack Chair Warm summer nights make me want to lounge back with a cool beverage and watch the sunset from our back deck after the...
Arbors: A Garden's Best Friend Few things can lend instant character quite as dramatically as the addition of an arbor. Vinyl, wood, and aluminum options abound, but the most striking arbors are altered to reflect the garden’s personality.
Artificial Turf: 7 Reasons to Consider the New "Grass" Alternative There's more to today's artificial turf products than just good looks. Made of polypropylene and featuring colorations and blade compositions that mimic real grass, they eliminate the need for mowing, watering and fertilizers and manufactured for lasting durability and beauty.
Axes and Hatchets Axes goes back into prehistory almost as far as the hammer. The axe, too, started out as a stone, but some clever Sto...
Blown Away: 12 Upcycled Wind Chimes You Can Make Do you want a unique set of wind chimes to add some personality to your garden, patio, balcony, or deck? You’re in luck—no need to go to an expensive home boutique to find what you’re looking for. Instead, take a look around your kitchen, garage, tool shed, or even your backyard. You'll find all sorts of items you can upcycle into a pretty and sweet-sounding set of chimes. When looking for the perfect pieces, choose items that make a pleasing sound when they hit each other. Note that heavy items will be slow to make contact unless you place the chimes in an area with high winds; delicate items made of glass or china could shatter in the same windy location. If the spot where you want to place your chimes doesn't get enough wind, hang one wide, flat piece lower than the other items—it will catch the wind and start the music! Here are 12 unique DIY wind chimes to get your creative juices flowing.
Dreaming of Daffodils I’m a beginning gardener. I have lots of ideas but little experience. The basic landscaping package that came with ou...
Early Bloomers: 7 Spring Flowers Bringing Color NOW to a Yard Near You! Nothing heralds the coming of spring like perennial flowers. Their reliable return each season is one of the reasons gardeners love to plant bulbs; put in the ground in the fall, they will reward you with beautiful blooms during the earliest growing months. Every year, the dormant bulbs awake to send green shoots through the cold ground—even snow! Although a late frost can harm them, these early bloomers are generally of hardy stock and can grow in colder zones. If you don't already grow bulbs in your garden, a stroll through this gallery of lovely flowers might just be enough to make even the gardening-averse consider taking up a trowel.
Eating Out: 10 Essentials for Alfresco Dining With summer upon us, now is a great time to get yourself set up for celebrating a season of food and fun in your outdoor spaces. Once you've covered the basics, adding some no-fuss dinnerware, comfortable seat cushions, or special decorative accents can make your outdoor gatherings truly special. Ready to get started? Here are 10 alfresco ideas that will make you and your guests want to eat every meal outside.
Editor's Picks: 7 Tools to Wage War Against Leaves In fall, we love the crisp nip in the air, the taste of freshly picked apples, and of course the vibrant hues of the changing foliage. But our enjoyment of the latter quickly gives way to woe, as we spend hours on the weekend removing leaves from the lawn. So long as you’re armed with the right equipment, however, leaf collection doesn’t need to be a backbreaking chore. These clever pieces of gear can save you both time and effort—check them out now!
Fab Doghouses We dog owners are a strange breed. We obsess about the day-to-day comfort, happiness, and health of our pets. We own ...
Fence Styles: 10 Popular Designs to Consider With so many fence styles available today, it can be hard for homeowners to choose the one that best fits their property and needs. Fences generally fall into three categories: privacy, functional, and decorative. Whether used to define property boundaries, keep pets and children safe, or keep out unwelcome visitors (two- and four-legged), a fence can dramatically enhance your home’s curb appeal. Made of myriad materials, including wood, metal, vinyl, stone, and brick—you can be sure there is a fence style that’s right for you. And, since installing a fence is one of the most common do-it-yourself projects, you’ll find a wide variety of kits and premade panels to make assembly a snap. Here is a look at some of the most common styles of fences used today.
Fences 101 Through the ages, fences have been made from a variety of materials. Around my neighborhood, I see vinyl, cedar, meta...
Flag Etiquette On this Fourth of July weekend, we thought we would share some information on the proper etiquette for displaying the...
Great Entrances: 10 Welcoming Garden Gates A thoughtfully designed gate can make an already welcoming garden even more so, and give a much-needed decorative boost come winter. Whether integrated into a fence's design, overrun by wildflowers, or a standalone element, a gate is an extension of your home's (and garden’s) personality—but that doesn’t mean it can’t make a statement all its own. We found 10 examples of gates that serve as a barrier to the outside world while still saying "come on in." Even if your gardening prowess hasn't yet produced the landscape of your dreams, these fences will still make for a scenic and inviting welcome to your home.
Grill Options: A Buyer's Guide Nearly 8 out of 10 (or 77 percent) households own an outdoor barbecue grill or smoker, according to the Hearth, Patio...
Growing Up: 10 Inventive DIY Vertical Gardens Spring is in the air and it’s time to get growing! Whether you’re working within the confines of an apartment balcony, a modest backyard, or an expansive ranch, a vertical garden provides new opportunities for growth. Vertical gardens use a variety of methods to grow herbs, vegetables, and flowers in a structured environment. While there are numerous commercial vertical planters on the market, it is easy to make your own by upcycling items from your garage or attic—or hunting for affordable finds at your local flea market. The key ingredient is good-quality potting soil and a planting vessel that allows for consistent drainage. If you’re wondering whether you have any household items that could be used to build a DIY vertical garden, here are 10 creative ideas to get you started.
Growing a Bamboo Garden Clumping and Running BambooBamboo is a member of the grass family, with more than 200 species available in the U. S. ...
Instant Curb Appeal: 15 Fast Facade Fix-Ups "You don't get a second chance to make a first impression." While this phrase usually refers to people, it also applies to houses. The exterior of your home offers visitors and passersby their first hint at the people who live inside, so why not make it truly reflect your personality? A tidy, well-decorated facade and well-landscaped front yard speak volumes about your design style and maintenance habits. A few quick updates like those gathered here will get your home's facade looking its very best and ensure a great first impression!
Light Up the Night: 10 Enchanting Landscape Lighting Solutions Lighting the outside of your home is just as important as lighting the inside. And the same principles apply—you want to provide a combination of overall, task, and accent lighting. Overall lighting will illuminate general areas like driveways and entryways, enhancing safety and security. Task lighting is most important for your walkways and outdoor dining areas. Accent lighting helps bring to life great features of your home and landscape, such as architectural details and trees. You don’t need nearly as much light outdoors as indoors, but there are places that you can’t ignore, such as pathways, steps, decks, entryways, and driveways. Once you have those covered, move on to highlighting the parts of your property that deserve to shine, no matter the time of day. So, take a walk around your yard tonight and see how many of these types of lighting you can put into play.
Living Fences: 11 Boundary-Setting Solutions Natural fences constructed of shrubbery, trees, or flowering bushes are attractive and environmentally friendly havens for songbirds, butterflies, and other desirable fauna. These living fences also provide an eye-catching way to define your property’s boundaries, and they serve as effective and visually pleasing privacy screens—as the adage says, “good fences make good neighbors.” Here are 11 ideas for integrating a natural fence into your own property.
Make a Splash! 10 Stunning Backyard Ponds to Enhance Any Landscape Looking to add some personality to an underwhelming backyard? Maybe it’s time to add a water feature. Installing an outdoor pond or water hole can be a simple weekend project using a kit from your local nursery or building supply store, or it can be an elaborate landscaping job that requires professional services. Before beginning, think carefully about the purpose of your outdoor pond. A small water hole edged with a narrow perennial garden adds tranquility to a small garden area, whereas a multilevel pond with waterfalls and flowering shrubs becomes the main focus of a backyard. If you want fish in the water, you’ll need proper filtration and nutrition to create a healthy environment for them. Also consider the shape of the pond and the topography of your yard. These can affect the placement of rocks, greenery, and other features such as fountains or statues that you may want to include in the design. Not sure where to start? Take a look at these 10 outdoor ponds for inspiration—you may be able to fish out some ideas for your own yard.
Natural Swimming Pools: 10 Green and Gorgeous Designs It wouldn’t be summer without a trip to the pool—but those harsh chemicals can be a real turnoff. These days, eco-conscious and design-savvy homeowners are increasingly adopting an unorthodox means of pool filtration: plant life. Aquatic plants and naturally occurring bacteria not only filter the water, they also contribute to the landscaping. Yes, natural pools require more planning than the standard-issue variety, but you can—with a little know-how and not an overwhelming amount of trouble—build a fairly self-sufficient swimming pool (or give an earth-friendly upgrade to your existing pool). Besides being less costly to maintain, natural pools come with an additional bonus: They don't have to be shut down come winter. In fact, if temperatures drop low enough, your pool can double as an ice rink. So come take a tour of some of our favorite natural swimming pools, each more inviting than the next.
New & Notable: 12 Gadgets to Tech Out Your Garden If you want to put your best gardening foot forward this spring, it is important to take your first steps in the right direction. Decisions you make in early spring have enormous impact on the health and appearance of your garden later in the season. To help you plant smart, we've compiled a list of 10 tech gadgets that can make your thumb a little greener. These tools use the latest technology and science to help you analyze, monitor, and tend to your plants. Check out this collection of smart tech, from pollen extractors to weather forecasters, that can help make this year's garden your best ever.
New & Notable: 15 Lighting Solutions to Brighten Up Your Outdoor Decor Few activities are more relaxing than spending time outdoors with friends and family—and the fun doesn't have to stop when the sun goes down. There are plenty of fashionable outdoor lighting fixtures just perfect for a yard, garden, or patio that will hold up to adverse weather conditions without sacrificing aesthetics. Available in a variety of styles, including wall sconces, hanging pendants, and stake lights, today's outdoor fixtures also take advantage of energy-saving technologies like LED bulbs and solar power. With so many possibilities to choose from, you're sure to find the perfect light in a flash.
No More Mowing: 10 Grass-Free Alternatives to a Traditional Lawn Many of us have a love-hate relationship with our lawns. Although we enjoy the cool carpet of green grass to lie on and play on in summer, no one wants to spend hours every weekend mowing and trimming—not to mention battling weeds, insects, and fungus, and aerating, feeding, watering, and seeding. Turf lawns take a lot of time and money to maintain. They require the use of precious water resources to keep them alive, and the pesticides and herbicides we apply to them can damage the environment. More and more, people are turning to low-maintenance, no-mow lawn alternatives like meadows, rock gardens, and ground covers. These fresh options prove that you can have a beautiful yard without growing a single blade of grass. If that sounds right up your alley, check out these 10 no-mow alternatives to a grass lawn.
No Sweat: 7 Best BBQ Shortcuts Elevate your status from burger-flipper to grillmaster with these hacks for preparing, roasting, and minimizing cleanup at your next summertime barbecue.
On the Deck This year the deck on our summer place turns 11. The deck isn’t vast, maybe 10' x 30'—just the right size for evening...
Outdoor Lighting: 12 Products to Light Your Way Before you purchase outdoor lighting, consider the type of illumination that you are looking to create. Floodlights, wall sconces, path lights, and in-ground or recessed fixtures, all serve different needs. Determine what type of light you are hoping to create and then shop for the light-specific fixture that meets that requirement.
Outdoor Showers 101 Outdoor showers accent pool areas or backyards, providing a convenient place to clean off and a yard feature that is ...
Outdoor Wall Sconces: Lighting the Way with Style One of the easiest curb appeal updates for any home is to install stylish wall sconces. There are a wealth of styles to choose from at a variety of price points. Best of all, it's a project you can tackle on your own, should you choose to.
Pass on Grass: 7 Reasons to Landscape with Gravel Lower maintenance lawns are becoming more and more popular. Finding ways to decrease the amount of grass in the yard can reduce your reliance on watering, chemical fertilizers, and weekend mowing to keep it beautiful. Gravel and stone to the rescue! There are excellent alternatives to turf grass that you can incorporate into your landscape.
Picture-Perfect Patios: 10 Outdoor Spaces to Love The patio, from the Spanish for "courtyard," is an open-air living space that creates a transition between your home and the great outdoors. Patios are wonderful places to relax, to gather, to socialize, to eat, to drink, to play... or perhaps do all of the above. In other words, your patio is what you choose to make of it, a canvas on which to paint your personal style and preferences. You can go for a bold, colorful statement or let nature take center stage—the choice is yours. To help you narrow down your options, here are 10 alluring patios, from retro to rustic to refined.
Roses: 11 Sensational Varieties to Consider There are countless varieties of roses available today, but it pays to familiarize yourself with the specific habit, care, and hardiness of the one you choose for your yard or garden.
Save Seeds, Save Money Many veteran gardeners save seeds almost compulsively. Why? Because if you harvest the seeds from your own garden, yo...
Screen Shots: 12 Seductively Serene Screened Porches The porch has long been the perfect gathering place for summer evenings. While some folks may favor an open patio, an elevated deck, or a year-round sunroom, screened-in porches have a lot of allure—and nostalgia as well. Protected from the elements by a sturdy roof, screened porches allow both light and breezes to filter through their insect-proof barrier. A screened porch is great for seasonal dining and entertaining, or simply quietly relaxing and enjoying the view. Here's a quick look at some of our favorite serene and inviting screened porches.
Sheds Reach New Style Status On the day that Mary Jane McCarty’s prefab shed was delivered, it was raining cats and dogs. But the Bucks County, PA...
The 12-Inch Farm: 10 Foods You Can Grow in Containers Edible plants can be every bit as pretty as traditional ornamental plants. To get the greatest enjoyment from these ornamental edibles, pot them up in large containers and keep them close to your kitchen door or deck. One advantage of keeping your edibles nearby is that you will have a better chance of protecting them from birds and other marauders. Another advantage is that you'll get to witness the plants' beautiful development up close. On fruit-bearing plants, such as blueberries, figs, and lemons, buds unfold into flowers, flowers turn into fruit, and the fruit ripens—displaying a rainbow of colors under your watchful eye. For plants like lettuce or kale, it’s all about leafy texture. Here are some of my favorite edible plants for containers.
The Bungalow Porch The Bungalow style developed out of the Arts & Crafts movement. With its generous and deep front porch anchored by tapered columns, the heft and earthiness of this form truly set it apart.
The Colonial Porch Symmetrical two-story homes with porches ranging from a mere portico to a full-width wonder are the norm for the Colonial style. Let’s take a look at the other design elements that create this distinguished style, the most classical of our featured porch aesthetics.
The Farmhouse Porch The farmhouse porch provides shade and plenty of opportunity for relaxing and entertaining. It also calls to mind an idyllic, slower-paced lifestyle. See what other design elements set this porch-style apart from the rest.
The Gazebo: At Home Everywhere Nothing says “summer” quite like a gazebo. Images of languid afternoons sipping ice-cold lemonade in the sheltering s...
The Good Guys: 8 Beneficial Bugs for Your Garden Roll out the welcome mat for friendly insects that will get on your garden's good side. While some insects like aphids and grasshoppers can wreak havoc on gardens, not all insects have a destructive bent. In fact, many of these good bugs help eliminate their garden-eating cousins by snacking on them. Insects can also help your garden grow by pollinating flowers. Here are 8 great bugs that will be a pleasure to have around your garden, and suggestions for encouraging them to pay you a visit.
The Great Deck Build: Part 1 Sundays can be a dangerous day in our household due to the abundance of home improvement circulars that arrive with t...
The Importance of Deadheading As your garden flourishes over the summer and your springtime planting efforts are rewarded with beautiful bursts of ...
The Plight of the Impatiens This year, many are struggling to find a beloved mainstay of the American garden: impatiens. Sought for the vibrant c...
The Queen Anne Porch Over-the-top decoration is the cornerstone of Queen Anne design. A gracious front porch ensures residents a shady spot on a hot day. Click through to see the details of what makes a Queen Anne and its porch stand head and crown above the rest and how to achieve this specialized style.
Top 10 Classic DIY Projects for the Outdoors It's time to embrace the warmer weather by tackling a couple of outdoor DIY home improvements. There's so much to be done, where do you start? How about right here! Browse our collection of ideas for easy outdoor projects that are perfect for a weekend—in fact, some can be completed in just a few hours. Are you thinking about an upgrade to your patio or deck? Are you itching to give your garden a new look? Well then, here's your inspiration. Who knows? If you're especially productive this weekend, someday soon you'll be able to sit in your newly spray-painted lawn chairs and admire the vegetables sprouting up in your DIY raised beds.
Vegetables On Demand: How to Grow Edible Plants Indoors—Starting from Seeds! Don't let a lack of fertile land prevent you from getting the fresh vegetables your body needs and deserves. By following a couple of vital guidelines, you can grow a slew of delicious edible plants right in the comfort of your house or apartment. In less time than it takes to learn how to drive a tractor, you can fill your home with tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and enough leafy greens to put the Garden State of New Jersey to shame. So pull on a pair of overalls, grab your straw hat, and get ready to grow vegetables indoors.
Viva La Outdoor Fireplace It’s January and, while some of the country is buried in snow, people in more moderate climates are still enjoying th...
Window Boxes That Raise the Bar Window boxes are a great way to add curb appeal to your house, or gain more ground for creative gardening for the avid backyard do-it-yourselfer. Finding a model that is both easy to use and compliments your exterior should be the goal when shopping for your boxes.
Winter Care for Houseplants Over the winter, when your outdoor garden has little to boast about, the greenery inside your home lifts spirits and ...
Winterize Your Lawn and Garden in 7 Steps You may practically live in your yard all summer long, but once the cool weather sets in, it's time to pack it in and get busy winterizing your lawn to protect it for next year. Autumn is a crucial season for yard work. It's the best time of year to lay down new grass seed and repair any damage to your lawn that may have occurred over the summer. Tasks like weeding and pruning are important, and they're much more enjoyable in these cooler fall days than they will be in a few weeks, when you'll have to wrestle with frozen and dead foliage. The earlier you start your autumn maintenance, the more manageable your lawn will be come spring. Click through our online gallery for a step-by-step guide to winterizing your lawn.
Sustainable Landscaping in Florida Angela Polo and Ken Micklow shows Bob how to work with native plants, discuses fertilizers and pest control. They also discuss how to plant to protect from high winds.
Sustainable Planting for Florida Landscape Ken Micklow and Trent Culleny talk with Bob about native, storm-resistant gardening. Then Carm DiBella shows Bob an environmentally friendly termite protection system.
A Sustainable Yard and Landscape Bob does a walkthrough of the finished Punta Gorda home. He discusses sustainable gardening, water conservation and low-maintenance plants. Then he joins Leslie Chapman-Henderson from FLASH -- Federal Alliance for Safe Housing -- to review all the storm-resistant features of the house.
Roof Deck Construction Bob and Chris Vila meet with David and Jed Walentas of Two Trees Development on the top of a nearby building to get some ideas for the project building's roof deck.
Safety Railing Installation An ironworker secures the rooftop deck's safety railing to its footings. Then, Bob meets with the window installer who is putting frosted thermal glass walls on the head house (the structure surrounding the stairs that lead up from the penthouse). Bob points out that three separate building trades have worked to secure the fence: the roofers, ironworkers, and masons.
Composite Deck Installation Jim Precht from Advanced Environmental Recycling Technology (AERT) shows off a recycled deck material that uses no "first use" materials.
Discussing the Landscape Design and Living Amenities Bob talks with landscape architect David Raphael of Landworks about his approach to designing the grounds surrounding the Vermont farmhouse. General contractor Ted Riley tells Bob about some of the amenities that come along with the house.
Building the Backyard Deck Bob observes as general contractor Charlie Tomaszewski finishes up the picture framing for the mahogany deck.
Working With Unilock Tumbled Concrete Pavers Bob joins Brian Kallmeyer (from Unilock) to talk about concrete pavers. Unlike natural stone, these pavers are made in a mold, so they are easy to work with. In tight areas, there's handwork with mallets. In larger areas, it's done by machine.
Building a Porch Railing Carpenter Bob Ryley and George (from Crosswinds Enterprises) collaborate to build a porch railing for the accessible home. Looking on, Bob discusses the building codes that pertain to the rail and the materials used.
Installing the Hot Tub Bob joins contractors Ed Weller and Laez Wilent to observe the installion of a custom-made hot tub.
Tiling the Patio Bob joins contractor Ed Weller on the patio, where the crew from Agreda Brothers Tile and Marble is setting cement-based tile over sanded white thin-set mortar. Where the tile bends around the spa, the squares must be custom-cut.
Installing a Sod Lawn Bob meets with landscape architect Juan Capote to discuss the installation of a sod lawn. Juan talks about the types and grading of sod used in this project.
Constructing a Patio Lanai Bob meets with Ana Bolanos to watch the lanai built. Ana reviews the construction process and Bob joins in to help raise the walls.
Framing the Back Porch Bob reviews progress on the joist system being constructed for the new back porch. The concrete has been poured and framing has begun.
Swimming Pool Construction Larry Long (from Anthony & Sylvan Pools) explains the excavation and preliminary work of building a new pool. Reinforcing rods are used to help the concrete hold its shape, and to form the outer steps. And Larry shows off the filtering system.
Laying Redwood Decking Bob confers with carpenter Cortney Lofton, as he lays the redwood decking for the back porch.
Plastering the Swimming Pool In the final step of the pool's contruction, the basin is washed and vacuumed before plastering begins. Bob discusses the materials and the mixing ratio used in the plaster, and watches as the plaster is applied.
Discussing the Zen Garden Design Bob meets with Donald Young for a tour of the home's Zen garden. Donald discusses the plant choices and lighting requirements in a garden of this size. Slate tiles are also added to create a rock garden.
Deck Demolition Bob and carpenter Bob Ryley begin demolition work on the deck. The supporting beams are cut and the deck parts are carried away, and Bob notes the flaws found in the existing footings, a result of frost heaves.
Budget Landscaping Landscape designer Ruth Foster explains her choices for the foundation plantings and her cost-saving measures.
Landscaping for Energy Efficiency Landscape designer Ruth Foster explains her selection of plant material and flowering shrubs for the backyard and directs the planting of a Sephora Japonica shade tree.
Plant Shopping With Martha Stewart When shopping for plants at Haskell's Nursery, the homeowner gets some professional help from Martha Stewart, who transforms the greenhouse into an elegant setting for "tea for three".
Installing the Outdoor Speakers Bob talks over the installation of the outdoor speakers with Daryl Foster. The Bose speakers in question are made specifically for outdoor use-- they can stand up to the elements and still sound good.
Planting Palm Trees in the Courtyard Bob and the landscaper discuss planting five fully grown Queen Palm trees in the courtyard, partly in order to hide unsightly features of a neighbor's home.
Landscaping Plans Landscape designer Ruth Foster explains a few techniques for promoting drainage and keeping weeds under control, respectively. She also discusses the plants she has chosen for the garage property, all of which are expected to thrive in Cape Cod.
Removing Trees from the Project Site Bob joins contractor Bob Ryley and the tree removal specialist to discuss clearing the site. Special tips on chainsaw use and safety are provided.
Victorian House Landscaping Landscape designer Ruth Foster visits the project site to explain her choice of plantings for the formal courtyard garden.
Constructing the Concrete Walkway Bob and the contractor discuss the concrete walkway, with the contractor giving Bob tips on how to make concrete cure harder and have less cracks. Also discussed is the crushed, aggregate granite that will be added to the standard concrete.
Landscape Design Bob talks with landscape architect Clara Bachelor about the condition of the yard and the final landscape design.
Planting a Shrub Bob, landscape architect Clara Bachelor, and contractor Bob Marzilli review how to plant a balled and burlapped shrub.
Touring the Exterior and Entry Bob tours the exterior of the project home, focusing on the architectural detail and final landscape design. He then moves inside to review the custom stair railing in the entry area.
Reviewing the Landscape Bob meets with a landscaper to discuss the existing plantings, some of which will be removed or cut back to maximize the amount of interior light. Trees, shrubs, and a trellis are recommended to create a barrier between the yard and the road.
Building a Trellis A trellis-- the frame and lattice of which have been built in the workshop-- is installed in the front yard.
Altering Landscape Plans With Bob having decided to alter the landscape design, shrubs are transplanted and perennials are planted. Plus, sodding goes down to create a grass lawn.
Building a Free-Floating Deck Due to flood plain regulations, the deck cannot be attached to the house-- it has to be free-floating. Bob helps the contractors set up the posts and joists, and assists in laying down the tongue-and-groove pine floor material.
Plans for the Swimming Pool Bob and Pete, the foreman of the swimming pool construction crew, survey the property and review the installation plans.
Discussing the Landscaping Bob discusses landscaping with specialist Susan Hofer. Topics include sod, a gravel driveway, brickwork, fences, and perennials.
Installing an Authentic Iron Fence Bob finds an authentic iron fence for the front yard and watches as the welder installs it using the arc welding process. Next, Bob heads inside to join general contractor Ron Gan, who demonstrates how to install kitchen cabinets correctly.
Landscaping the Coach House Bob goes outside to observe a tree being planted and to see the little garden beyond the entryway landscaped.
Expanded Outdoor Living The expansive new outdoor deck brings indoor living outside. Meg Tarvin (from FrontGate) joins to describe the furnishings that create this outdoor living room, and Bob looks over the new barbecue station.
Landscape Design on a Sloping Bank A sloping bank descends from deck level to the yard. Landscape designer Ruth Foster explains her choice of plantings for this garden: It will be green, with junipers and yews for low maintenance, varying height, and good coverage. Also, Foster shows Bob the batch composter, used for making rich mulch.
Planting Bulbs and Seeding the Lawn Bob meets with landscape designer Ruth Foster, who explains the correct method of planting bulbs. For turf, Foster suggests a relaxed approach, with perennial rye and fescue planted, mown high, and over-seeded, both in the fall and at the tail end of winter.
Landscaping with Hedges, Trees, and Perennials Landscape designer Ruth Foster joins Bob to review the landscaping plan. Foster has selected a hedge and evergreens to screen the yard from street traffic and neighbors. Closer to the deck, she has created a flowering border.
Facing the Retaining Walls with Cultured Stone Retaining walls, foundation work, and curving stairways are faced with Cultured Stone from Owens Corning. These cast cement, pumice, and iron oxide products are made in molds taken from real field stones to look like regional stones, in both shape and color.
Building a Western Red Cedar Deck Bob reviews the structure for the new deck. Paul Mackie (of the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association) joins to discuss the benefits of building with western red cedar, a sustainable product. The wood is naturally stable-- it will not warp, crack, check, or chip-- and it's insect-resistant. General contractor Tim Berky is busy nailing down the decking planks.