Top 10 Unsung Organizing Tools

In our quest for fresh, beginning-of-a-new-year, organized perfection, it’s simple to find a little carried away in the organizing or office supply store. While technical sorters and doodads surely have their purpose, more often than not they simply add more clutter to our homes. Commit to getting it right this season (and saving a bit of cash in the process) by sticking with those 10 hardworking but often overlooked helpers that are probably sitting in your house right now.

Feldman Architecture, Inc..

1. 1 calendar. It does not matter if you want a digital or paper version; the most important thing is that you stick with one calendar program, preferably for everybody in the house. Google Calendar is a great, flexible, portable option you may access from home or on the road.

Washi Masking Tape 5 bits, by mt – $14.94

2. Washi tape. Never before has this kind of small thing (tape!)) Inspired the exact same level of obsession because of this vibrant Japanese paper tape. It’s easy to tear, removes easily from most surfaces, also comes in the most stunning colors. Use it to label everything from eyeglasses at a celebration to documents, pantry jars, storage bins and more. And when you are done labeling, use it to wrap a gift, tape photos to your inspiration board or make your own wall art.

Divine Design+Build

3. A magnetic knife strip. A wall-mounted knife rack may do much more than maintain your knives tidy and out of the way (even though it’s great for that, too). Use it to arrange spices in the kitchen, tools at the garage, keys from the front door and scissors and other essentials near your desk or crafts place.


Instax Mini 7s and Mini 25 Instant Cameras

4. Your camera. Snap photographs of the contents of storage containers and kids’ toy bins and record them to the fronts as visual labels. Photos are also ideal for documenting oversize art projects, and that means that you are able to give up the first in good conscience.

Kate Jackson Design

5. Tote bags. The humble tote bag can do the job equally as tough as a basket or storage box, but with the additional benefit of being portable and lightweight. Use bags to sort things you store temporarily, such as library books, work materials and workout clothes.

Atypical Type A

6. Binder clips. Using these tiny workhorses only for their intended usage could be missing — you may also hang art, corral wires, keep packed products fresh from your kitchen and keep rolls of ribbon and wrapping paper from unfurling. For extra credit, upgrade your binder clips with small lengths of washi tape (see number two) and label away.

7. Zip-top bags. One of the most flexible (and cheap!) Organizing tools around, baggies may be used to store components bits all together, type things in your junk drawer, maintain toiletries neat in your bag, suspend soup level or even pipe frosting.

The Container Store

Bright Stockholm Binder – $9.99

8. Fundamental binders. Paperwork gets lost easily when piled up in baskets or piles. Use three-ring or portfolio-style binders (with plastic cuff inserts) rather to file away instruction manuals, magazine clippings and more.

Melissa Miranda Interior Design

9. A smaller filing cabinet. Have a giant filing system? You are probably saving a lot of newspapers. Make things easier on yourself by going whenever you can and making sure you need to save each paper thing that you record. Most of us can get away with one or two well-tended drawers.

See ways to take Your House office paperless

simple thoughts

10. A gifts bin. It’s 1 thing to get organized — staying organized is another issue completely. 1 tool that has the potential to keep your house tidy and clutter free is really a permanent bin dedicated to giveaways. Keep it at a central place where you are able to throw things in whenever you think of it. After the bin is full, empty it at your favourite charity store; replicate.

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14 Ways to Make Better Use of Bedroom Corners

A lot people have bedrooms at which we need to produce every little distance work difficult, such as the corners. Check out these ideas for corner window seats, headboards, fireplaces, armoires and press closets, workspaces, bookshelves and chaises, in addition to some interesting designs for making good use of corners in kids’ rooms, also.

Chandos Interiors

Extend an upholstered headboard. This gives the bed a stronger presence. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get more mileage out of a cloth and generate a daybed texture in the corner.

Tommy Chambers Interiors, Inc..

The idea also works with a bigger bed plus also a leather headboard.

See how to style with dual headboards

Lori Gilder

Angle the bed in. According to feng shui principles, the bed ought to be placed where you can see the door. Angling a bed to the corner may figure out this issue, providing clear views to the doorways. From a practical perspective, in addition, it allows for a surface space behind the bed for lamps, reading materials and decorative accents.

Learn more about drifting the bed into a corner

Thrifty Decor Chick

Tuck in a small fireplace. This is a cozy way to incorporate a hearth to a bedroom, and it saves a great deal of precious wall space for windows, dressers, the bed and doors.

Designs Northwest Architects, Dan Nelson

Let your bookshelves form an “L.” This is an efficient way to extend bedroom storage and display space in a bedroom that is tight. You could also nestle the bed into precisely the same corner if necessary.

Designing Solutions

Extend window treatments. This gives continuity and enlivens possibly dead space with fabric and prints.

Denise DeCoster Architect

Insert a work nook. We’ve debated whether or not a desk is a restful item to have in the bedroom, but for many it’s a matter of necessity. The corner is a discreet spot that can help keep your relaxation and work spaces different. You can also use this idea for a dressing table; just add a costume mirror.

Tracery Interiors

Produce a reading nook. Put a chaise or overstuffed armchair in the corner that has a great lamp for settling in with a book or that pile of catalogs that have been calling your name.

Cravotta Interiors

If your space is tight, then look into corner seats for a comfortable fit.

You can also use two seats to make a spot for conversation and coffee. It can be a great refuge where parents may connect from the kids.

Griffin Enright Architects

Open that sucker up. OK, OK, I admit, this really is a dream-house scenario in a mosquitoless part of earth, but wow, this treehouse-like bedroom plus its own spacious corner are a damn great fantasy.

Zinc Art + Interiors

Nestle an armoire in. Based on how it relates to a mattress’s placement, this may also be an excellent spot for concealing a bedroom TV.

Alicia Ventura Interior Design

Get creative using a wall mural. This clever tree incorporates bookshelves on two walls.

Twist Interior Design

Conjure a special spot for curling upward. Bookshelves and an oversize ottoman create a wonderful kid-size nook. Note the way in which the designer has included a roof across the very top of this built-in. The same idea could be executed with beanbags on the floor and fabric across the top.

Carlyn And Company Interiors + Design

Put two single beds head to head. This bed setup is excellent for kids’ sleepovers.

Flea Market Sunday

Similarly, you might have the two beds back up to some shared nightstand.

More: Desire tips for taking advantage of corners in other rooms? Check out corners in the kitchen, corners in the house office and corners at the living room and family room.

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8 Gorgeous Trees for Winter Interest in the Garden

Winter is often thought of as the good time of year to escape the harsh elements and head inside to get comfy. Most plants are dormant, and the backyard is a far more subdued place than at the spring and summertime, when there’s all that vibrant and budding colour. But don’t discount your backyard at the off season. It is within this sedate atmosphere that tree form and structure take center stage, and a whole new level of attention can be gained.

Evergreen trees would be the obvious stars of winter landscape because they supply structure year round, but a lot of deciduous choices have interesting bark along with a gorgeous branch form.

When planning a website for your winter-interest tree, then think of an area of your backyard where the surrounding plantings are mostly herbaceous so that your characteristic tree can show its true colors and is not blocked by foliage.

Here are some of my favourite winter trees.

The New York Botanical Garden

Stewartia Pseudocamellia

Peeling bark carries several distinct forms, also Stewartia has one of the unique appearances. As old bark flakes off, a gray, brown and light reddish patchwork effect appears on the trunk of this tree, creating an intriguing contrast to snowy landscapes.

USDA zones: 5 to 9 (find your zone)
Soil condition: Prefers acidic soil
Light requirement: Best in partial shade; will withstand full sun with ample water
Size: Slow growing, to 30 to 40 feet

Matt Kilburn

Paperbark Maple
(Acer griseum)

The paperbark maple is another tree with intriguing peeling bark. This slow-growing tree is ideal for small gardens and can be an intriguing focus in winter landscape due to its rich colour and the tactile surface of its trunk.

USDA zones: 4 to 8
Soil requirement: All types provided that the soil is well drained
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade
Size: Slow growing, to 20 to 25 feet

Matt Kilburn

Monkey Puzzle
(Araucaria araucana)

Speaking of focal points within a backyard, a Monkey Puzzle tree can add unique texture to the landscape. The whimsical type of this tree will probably stand in sharp contrast (literally, due to the razor-sharp, scale-like leaves) into the snowy landscape, giving an exotic respite in the dog days of winter.

USDA zones: 7B into 10B
Soil requirement: Prefers well-drained acidic soil
Light requirement: Total sun
Size: Slow growing, to 30 to 40 feet

The New York Botanical Garden

Tibetan Cherry
(Prunus serrula)

The Tibetan Cherry is an intriguing tree year round due to its glistening, silk-like bark. The wealthy coppery-red, smooth surface of the trunk comes to life from the winter garden as other colors fade. Its ease of expansion makes it a great choice for beginner anglers.

USDA zones: 7 to 10
Soil requirement: All types provided that the soil is well drained
Light requirement: Total sun
Size: Slow growing, to 20 to 30 feet

Matt Kilburn

Japanese Maples
(Acer palmatum spp)

Japanese Maples are a great addition to any backyard due to the seemingly endless forms offered in various colors and dimensions. Several have an amazing trunk and branch form which can be viewed when all the leaves are all gone. I often enjoy these trees in winter because of their gnarly, contorted branches have so much character.

USDA zones: Varies, but generally between 6 to 9
Soil demand: All types provided that the soil is well drained
Light requirement: Varies, but generally full sunlight to partial shade
Size: Varies, but generally slow to moderate growth, to 15 to 20 feet

Photo from Scott Cutler; used with permission

Matt Kilburn

Strawberry Tree
(Arbutus unedo)

Strawberry tree is an excellent addition to sunny sites that flowers in the late autumn and then produces bright red, round fruit throughout the winter months. The fruits are actually edible (although they’re an acquired taste!) And are great for holiday wreaths and bouquets. This evergreen specimen is classified as a tree but over the years can be pruned to a small tree form.

USDA zones: 6 to 9
Soil requirement: All soil types
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade
Size: Slow growing, to 20 to 25 feet

Matt Kilburn

Colorado Blue Spruce
(Picea pungens)

The Colorado Blue Spruce is a popular addition to a lot of landscapes due to its vibrant gray-blue needles. This stately evergreen provides vertical structure to the garden year round but really stands out against a backdrop of snow and ice.

USDA zones: two to 7
Soil requirement: All soil types
Light requirement: Total sun
Size: Slow to moderate growth, to 40 to 50 feet

Matt Kilburn

Himalayan Pine
(Pinus wallichiana)

Many pine tree varieties create amazing flashes that add architectural interest to the landscape. This species is a walnut, a gorgeous tree known for the long needles and large, storybook-perfect cones.

USDA zones: 5 to 7
Soil requirement: All types provided that the soil is well drained
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade
Size: Slow to medium growth, to 30 to 50 feet

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A Home Comes Alive With Day of the Dead Decor

Melissa Love Tristan and her family go out for Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. At the end of every October, their Dallas home is awash in paper flowers, skulls, skeletons, sugared treats and Halloween decoration.

Melissa was introduced into Dia de los Muertos with her husband, Guillermo, whose family is originally from Mexico. This Mexican vacation comes right after Halloween — on November 1 to two — therefore the family unites the decor of both holidays in their merry, two-bedroom residence. “The civilization of remembering loved ones who’ve passed and celebrating them this way is indeed amazing,” she states.

in a Glance
Who lives here: Guillermo Tristan, Melissa Love Tristan, son Luca (age 4) and the spirits of previous generations
Size: 1,370 square feet; 3 bedrooms, two bathrooms
Location: Elmwood neighborhood of South Dallas

Sarah Greenman

Bright Mexican textiles, Fiestaware, candles and maracas set the mood. Tiny sombreros and paper flowers adorn the overhead lighting fixture.

Sarah Greenman

The Dia de los Muertos celebration focuses on food and family, which makes the dining room party central for the Tristan family. A pink hand-embroidered Otomi fabric hangs as a drape in the dining area.

Wall paint: Hearts of Palm, Sherwin-Williams

Sarah Greenman

Vignettes throughout the home honor the custom of producing little altars for family members that have passed away. “My decorating doctrine is, if it catches my eye and makes me grin, I need it around me,” says Melissa.

Sarah Greenman

Guillermo, a chef, typically spends his time preparing French cuisine at Boulevardier in Dallas. In the home that he keeps it easy with conventional dishes such as Dia de los Muertos. “If we are lucky his mama will make us some homemade tortillas,” says Melissa.

Sarah Greenman

Son Luca and his buddy Hudson shake maracas in expectation of candy bowls and kiddie mocktails being prepared in the kitchen.

Sarah Greenman

A vintage sideboard from an antiques mall in Gatesville, Texas, houses Melissa’s expansive group of sugared skulls, miniature coffins and skeletons dressed in formalwear.

Sarah Greenman

Melissa produced a spooky apothecary of doll parts, jarred innards and imitation fingers for her kitchen windowsill. “My taste leans towards the frightening and the bizarre,” she admits.

Sarah Greenman

An adult cocktail pub stands at the ready on a serving tray in the middle of the kitchen. This is only one of many small party stations Melissa has created throughout the home.

Sarah Greenman

A candy channel replete with lollies, candy corn and gummy pumpkins sits in the entrance to the kitchen. Melissa sets her extensive collection of glass jars and vintage containers to utilize during that season.

Sarah Greenman

“You can’t go out and buy your decorations at one time. Hunting and gathering is key for this type of party,” she states.

Sarah Greenman

Monster portraits, skulls and other spooky curios deck the living room. A classic trunk, found in Guillermo’s grandmother’s attic, serves as a coffee table. The sofas were a roadside discover that Melissa had reupholstered. “My key for finding furniture would be to follow along with the bulk trash signs,” she states.

Wall paint: Oyster Bay, Sherwin-Williams; rug: Ikea

Sarah Greenman

A Ouija board serves as a spooky coffee table tray, and a doll head onto a black candleholder keeps watch over the living room.

Sarah Greenman

Sarah Greenman

Luca and Hudson show their eyeball marbles during a holiday-themed card match.

No matter what the vacation, Melissa makes certain to generate a special place for kids from the living or family room which has a small dining table and chairs. “Kids should feel comfortable in their houses,” she states. “I also don’t need anything in our home which [Luca] can’t touch is afraid to be around.”

Sarah Greenman

Framed portraits of circus sideshow performers share space with doll parts under glass bell jars in a living room corner.

Sarah Greenman

Tall black and candles cat figurines flank the hearth. The vintage leather ottoman was a garage sale score. “Can you think I got that for $1?” asks Melissa.

Sarah Greenman

Is it a ghost, or is it Luca running throughout the living room on the way to his bedroom? A hand-me-down midcentury console from Melissa’s mother holds extra seasonal decoration. “I truly am inspired by lines, shapes, textures and anything from art deco to midcentury,” says Melissa.

Sarah Greenman

Publications, sturdy furniture and comic book paraphernalia fill Luca’s room. “The visual rule of eye level for kids is important,” says Melissa.

Sarah Greenman

Melissa put a great deal of thought to Luca’s bedroom. “I really wanted him to feel motivated in his room,” she states. “I think it’s important for kids to have a place in the home where they can have quiet time as well.”

Rug, artwork above bed: Ikea; pub cart: thrift store

Sarah Greenman

Melissa made certain that Luca’s favourite things are in his fingertips from the playroom. “His distance is a reflection of him. And there’s nothing better then wooden toys, Legos and musical instruments to fulfill a day of exploration and imagination,” she says.

Sarah Greenman

An extra shelf keeps small collector’s things from harm’s way.

Sarah Greenman

There aren’t any holiday decorations in the master bedroom, to keep its serene and quiet feel. “I love everything girly, but since I’m the only lady in my property, I want to make sure there’s a balance of masculine and feminine,” says Melissa.

Wall paint: Lemon Verbena and Hearts of Palm, Sherwin-Williams

Sarah Greenman

A group of vintage suitcases and one antique portable record player make up a tower in the master bedroom.

Sarah Greenman

This coated side porch was the house’s main selling point. “I love sitting out here when it rains or to watch Luca play in front yard,” says Melissa. “For me it’s about a sanctuary. It is my retreat from the rest of the world.”

Sarah Greenman

A skeleton sits inside a twig wreath and greets guests and trick-or-treaters since they approach the property’s entrance. The legs clack against the door when it opens and closes.

Sarah Greenman

The front yard explodes with Halloween decoration and autumnal cheer. The Tristan family’s 1920s cottage is dressed with hay bales, gourds, pumpkins, black spiders and smiling skeletons.

Sarah Greenman

Luca and his neighbor, 10-month-old Jacob, are in costume and ready for a night of trick-or-treating. Melissa smiles as she surveys her handiwork. “That is definitely my favourite time of year,” she states.

Prove us Do you celebrate Dia de los Muertos? Please share a photo below!

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5 DIY Holiday Gifts to Start Early

Procrastinators, be aware: Start now on your DIY presents to save money and prevent stress afterwards. Although the holidays might seem ages away, we all know they have a tendency to sneak up and surprise us. So begin planning today! Research your crafty side and also make one of those gorgeous gifts for your loved ones in your life.

See more DIY projects

Erin Lang Norris

1. Scrap wood seat. A piece of handmade furniture out of a loved one will be treasured forever. Make this personalized seat (using a surprise secret compartment) for somebody truly special in your life — and also eliminate any scrap wood you have in the procedure. Give yourself a few weeks for this DIY; it could take some time to gather all your materials and get the dimensions right.

See how to make a scrap wood seat


2. Mobile container garden. Branch outside beyond the standard potted plant and make a container garden for the urban gardener in your life. It should not require more than an afternoon to complete, but find or you’re going to want to purchase your materials at least a week.

See how to make a mobile container garden

R. Olson Design

3. Cutting board. Another great method to utilize scrap wood, this sturdy cutting board produces a lovely and thoughtful gift for anybody who loves to cook (or eat). Do not have some scrap wood available? No problem — check out the regional lumber yard, purchase a couple feet of favorite lumber and have it hammered it to dimension. Beginning woodworkers will need a couple of days to pull this project together.

See how to create a custom cutting board


4. Vintage suitcase dog bed. Though this could technically be a present for a dog or cat, any pet owner will appreciate this bed’s cute design. Scrounge thrift shops for a hard-top vintage suitcase in a good colour and fill it with a fun cushion for a friend’s beloved pet. Although it might take time to discover the ideal suitcase (do not forget to look online also), this project should take less than a day to complete.

See how to build this dog bed

Erin Lang Norris

5. Side table with a spin. This table assists the friend who loves to couch do it easier. While this slick and easy side table will enhance any decor, it is also built to slide right over the arm of a couch — creating drinking, eating and working on the couch that a lot easier. Give yourself a few days to put this together — you’ll need to be sure to get the measurements just perfect.

See how to make this side table

Do you make your own presents? Share your favorite idea in the Comments!

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A Basic Builder Home Understands the Glam Remedy

Stacy Curran’s transition from attorney to interior decorator started when she moved into her new residence. Following September 11, 2001, Curran, together with her husband, Patrick, and their two children, moved from Washington, D.C., and into a new-construction house in Marshfield, Massachusetts. “The house felt like a complete blank picture to me,” she states.

Using color, texture and customized details to make this basic builder house her family, Curran took on the layout challenges herself — installing wall molding, picking color palettes and coming up with creative DIY solutions. And that hard work has paid off: Today the family has a home, and Curran includes a career at South Shore Decorating.

at a Glance
Who lives here: Stacy and Patrick Curran and their children, Bobby and Ellie
Location: Marshfield, Massachusetts
Size: 4,200 square feet; 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms

Mary Prince Photography

Curran chose another accent color for each room, although Gray, black and white dominate in the house. A piece of cloth is draped over each couch’s center — the rooms were carried throughout by a detailCurran.

Two gray curved loveseats in brushed cotton surround four 22- by 22-inch end tables, which can combine to make one big coffee table.

End tables: Lexington Furniture; paint: Iceberg, Benjamin Moore

Mary Prince Photography

“The house looked massive to us, coming from our four-story, 2,400-square-foot townhouse in Alexandria, Virginia,” says Curran. Color, fabrics and custom touches on furnishings help distinguish each room.

This 20- by 24-foot living room sits a step down from the eat-in kitchen. Nine framed sketches of rooms Curran hang on the wall.

White tufted couch: Robin Bruce

Mary Prince Photography

Curran used nonwashable horizontal paint on the walls. The bamboo flooring are alkaline dyed to a dark and uniform color.

Molding and trim paint: White Cloud, Benjamin Moore using Coventry Gray, Benjamin Moore; cherry dining table and credenza: eBay; hardwood flooring: Minwax in Jacobean; carpeting: Jonathan Adler

Mary Prince Photography

Cabinetry New countertops and built-ins added design. “After we moved, the house has been pretty much a builder’s basic,” Curran says. “Though it was not quite love at first sight, I saw the potential, and we spent the next few years getting it where we needed it”

Mary Prince Photography

A trio of a desk that is V-shaped and closets twist a kitchen corner room into a house office.

Mary Prince Photography

Curran set up this wall molding herself for custom detail. A mirrored backsplash attracts light and glimmer into the kitchen — one of the darkest rooms at the house.

Mary Prince Photography

She transformed tabletop lanterns located at HomeGoods into hanging candle chandeliers with chains and hooks.

Counter stools:

Mary Prince Photography

Until she devotes to selecting upholstery in this casual seating area, Curran is utilizing gray accents created with swaths of cloth on the white muslin chairs.

Chairs: Boston Interiors; rug: Rugs USA; coffee table: Horchow; paint: Cloud White, Benjamin Moore

Mary Prince Photography

Cording adds detail between entrance stair molding and the wall.

Wall paint: Winter Solstice, Benjamin Moore; stair railings: Appalachian Brown Semi-Gloss, Benjamin Moore

Mary Prince Photography

Images and colors continue from the second floor children’s rooms. A trundle bed could be transformed into a couch.

Rug: Pottery Barn; bookshelf: Pottery Barn Teen; paint: Stem Green, Benjamin Moore; sports prints: Etsy

Mary Prince Photography

Ellie spotted her desk at the city dump and needed to have it. In a bright pink that is new, it creates the perfect accent piece in her room.

Dresser, mattress: Ethan Allen; chair, rug: Pottery Barn Kids

Mary Prince Photography

In the guest bedroom, Curran produced a canopy in bright brown and green cloth to create hotel-style luxury to get an otherwise blank white wall.

Mary Prince Photography

An oversize picture zebra rug from the master bedroom warms up the massive area. “It was actually hard to get enough furniture here,” Curran says.

Painted black consoles serve as bedside tables. Curran monogrammed the lamps . She wrapped the pair of white lamp colors in black ribbon and did the same with the curtains.

Wall paint: Sleepy Blue, Sherwin-Williams; zebra rug: South Shore Decorating

Mary Prince Photography

Curran sits at a vanity from the master bedroom. The family spends a lot of their time. “It is the room we discuss the most as a family, reading to the kids at night and watching television together,” she states.

Mary Prince Photography

They found this jewel in Marshfield — equidistant between Boston and Cape Cod, though work requires meant the family had to select a house.

Mary Prince Photography

After moving in, the family included the backyard and a new pool.

Share your creative, colorful house with us.

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Fantastic Design Plant: Autumn Snakeroot

Black is a tone not to be used. Show up in head-to-toe black and you are guaranteed to be taken seriously. Paint your walls dark and people know design is the thing. Same holds for the backyard. While black plants may appear to go against every natural grain, there is nothing more elegant — and complementary. One, Autumn snakeroot, is a striking specimen plant that also elevates and highlights surrounding crops. It may recede into the background but keep only enough panache to add the perfect exclamation point to a planting strategy.

Botanical name: Actaea simplex ‘Hillside Black Beauty’ (previously Cimicifuga)

Common names: Bugbane, Fall snakeroot, black cohosh, fairy candles

USDA zones: 3 to 9 (find your zone)

Water condition:Regular; prefers moist, well-drained soil

Sun necessity: Partial shade

Mature size: 3 to 7 feet tall and 3 feet broad

Benefits and tolerances: Flowers attract birds, butterflies and bees; bull and rabbit resistant; salt and seaside tolerant

Seasonal interest: Beautiful foliage; fragrant, showy blossoms in late summer through fall

When to plant: Plant and split it into spring.

Distinguishing traits. ‘Hillside Black Beauty’ is as dark as they come when it comes to snakeroots. Dark, almost black, magenta foliage is what catches you. The leaves are highly divided and create an airy, understory feel.

Kingsbrae Garden

While its foliage occupies the show, do not dismiss its blooms. Early fall brings atop casting stalks, highly ornamental and pink blossoms. They top the leaves like tender wands.

Glenna Partridge Garden Design

The best way to use it. This plant doesn’t need any preconceived backyard use or design style, yet can make a powerful, sophisticated and individual announcement with it — it’s the perfect Little Black Dress of plants. Its soft texture, form and preferred growing conditions make it a natural addition to any modern woodland garden, a nod to the “brand new perennials” motion.

It would, however, be foolish to disregard the color of this plant, because the color is what makes it extraordinary. Pair it with foliage in a fall garden for color and contrast.


Alternatively, combine it with leaves to get a soft and magnificent tapestry. Here, ‘Hillside Black Beauty’, implanted alongside Astilbe and Eryngium, evokes the colours of autumn.

Planting notes. ‘Hillside Black Beauty’ grows well in a woodland setting, so emulating those conditions will make growing this plant simpler. Site it in partial shade and maintain soil moisture that is consistent. Grow it into well-drained soil that is full of organic material. Although this plant can tolerate full sun in warmer climates, a lot of intense sunlight could scorch and burn the foliage. Search for flowers the next year.

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The Indoor Gardener: Crazy for Cacti

Cacti are for Southwestern locales. You can develop these prickly succulents everywhere that has plenty of sunshine and maintains a temperature of at least 65 degrees, making them a good candidate for a houseplant. Besides full sunlight, cacti like to grow in areas where the humidity is reduced.

As they hail from the desert, cacti don’t need much water : Give them only when they have completely dried out, and do so sparingly when you do. While cacti are tough to kill, overwatering is a certain method to do just that.

Cacti can mesh well with all sorts of interiors, from country-cute houses to supersleek high end flats. They also are available in many sizes and shapes, from a tiny specimen to Carnegiea gigantea, a sizable, tree-sized species. Here are nine photographs of cacti to inspire you to bring these spiky plants to your backyard.


Vintage Cactus Garden – $45

VivaTerra sells this mini cactus garden already planted in a white ceramic urn. Even the succulents that are tiny could make a lovely alternative to a bouquet as a hostess gift.

Kailey J. Flynn Photography

An unusual draping cactus adds to the diverse mix within this modern living room. Its flesh is similar to that of this classic cafe sign supporting it.

Julie Smith

A globular cacti sits on the left of a leafy houseplant within this West Coast sunroom, proving that there’s no reason not to combine cacti with deciduous plants.

Elad Gonen

A pair of cacti flank this unique antique table. The cacti echo the space’s Southwestern décor without feeling such as stage props.

Studio Marcelo Brito

A tall cacti accents the corner of the sophisticated living area by Marcelo Brito Interiors. It is a welcome touch of lifestyle in a room full of neutral tones.

Tip: Wipe pests off cacti using a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.

Natalie Blake

A pair of big cacti grow from the corner of the bright room. Stretching greater than the doorframe, these impressive specimens have definitely had many years to reach these heights.

Architectural Pottery

Walnut Wooden Stand – $190

A midcentury-style planter using a wooden stand is an elegant way to display a tall cactus. Here a coating of gray rocks covers the dirt — a simple way to give your planted cacti a more polished appearance.

Design West

Here three modern planters are full of pen cacti. These tall, slender plants are a modern approach to bring a little greenery to an interior.

Modern Outdoor Planters – $72

A tiny prickly plant rests within this mod wall planter. The pot features holes for a powder-coated finish suitable for both inside and out.

See How to Grow Cacti in Glass

The Succulence of Succulents

Drought-Tolerant Landscapes

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Center and front Color

Green is more popular than ever for house interiors and accessories, but have you considered it to your home’s exterior? A green front door, whether in a daring chartreuse or a more neutral shade of green, is a fantastic way to welcome people. The green on your front door may select up on the various green colors found in your landscape, softening — or enlivening — your own entrance.

These houses with a selection of green front doors, along with sample palettes, can enable you to get a similar effect.

Steve Zagorski

1. Green Door With a Blue-Gray Exterior

With a glowing leafy-green door and cool blue-gray siding, this is one happy, contemporary palette. The stone cladding and the timber fence function as neutrals, and since the siding shade has so much gray in it, it also functions as a neutral, allowing the bold green shade of the property’s entrance to pop.

Jennifer Ott Design

Example palette: To get a similar look, you could go with white trim, as shown in the photo, or select up on the siding colour and move a bit darker to the trim colour. Suggested paints (clockwise from top left, all from Pratt & Lambert): Green Blitz 17-9, Lava 28-17 and Confederate 27-21.

Vinci | Hamp Architects

2. Green Door With a Brick Exterior

This handsome, elegant house is resplendent with its ultramarine-green front door and soft sage-green trim. Green doors really stick out against red brick since both colors are opposite each other (or complementary) about the colour wheel. If the door were in a warm shade of red or orange it would blend in with all the brick.

Jennifer Ott Design

Example palette: If you enjoy this look, attempt (clockwise from top left, either from Benjamin Moore) Steamed Spinach 643 and Nantucket Gray HC-111.

helena barrios vincent aia leed ap

3. Green Door Using a Cool-Neutral Exterior

If you favor softer, more succulent greens, try pairing them with a dark, cool exterior shade. It grounds and contrasts nicely with a light, almost light, doorway shade .

Jennifer Ott Design

Example palette: Get an identical look with (clockwise from top left, all from Pittsburgh Paint) Bleached Spruce 208-4, Pegasus 517-1 and Volcanic Ash 555-6.

Maria Hasenecz Garden Design

4. Cool Green Door With a Stone Exterior

Houses with neutral-colored stone siding may sport just about any colour on front door. But again, remember that if you want the door to take centre stage, you are going to want to paint it a shade throughout the colour wheel from the colour of the rock.

In this example, the rock has both warm and cool tones, so the enchanting arch-top door with its cool green stands out while also picking up on a number of the stone’s cooler colors.

Jennifer Ott Design

Example palette: If you enjoy the look of this blue-green door but do not have rock siding, then you could try this case palette (clockwise from top left, all from Martha Stewart Living): Hummingbird Blue MSL135, Bedford Gray MSL246 and Magnetite MSL278.

Continuum Tile Co..

5. Green Door With a Warm-Neutral Exterior

If you live in a hot climate, it is a fantastic idea to maintain the exterior of your house light in colour to limit solar heat gain. But lighter colors do not have to be dull. Liven up beige and white with a fairly grass-green front door.

Jennifer Ott Design

Example palette: Clockwise from top left (all from Sherwin-Williams): Lounge Green SW6444, Snowbound SW7004 and Classical White SW2829.

Kettelkamp & Kettelkamp

6. Bright Green Against Bright White

Consider your garage door when choosing a paint palette to the exterior of your property. The nice thing about a white house is that you can paint your door any colour you want, including this fabulous and glowing gecko green.

Jennifer Ott Design

Example palette: White or light gray siding serves as a nice background for vivid green doors. Here are a few options, clockwise from top left: Tequila Lime 2028-30 and Whitestone 2134-60 (both from Benjamin Moore), and Chinese Chartreuse 074-6 and Misty Windowpane 144-2 (both from Mythic Paint).

HartmanBaldwin Design/Build

7. Green Door With Warm Terra-Cotta

Here’s another light exterior palette that’s ideal for a house in a hot climate. Terra-cotta pavers can be complicated to work with because of the extreme pinkish-orange colour. A warm yellow siding colour and a light jade-green door work nicely with the terra-cotta.

Jennifer Ott Design

Example palette: Clockwise from top left (all from Kelly-Moore Paints): Gardening Girl KM3278-2, Beachcomber KM3844-2 and Christi Cream KM3577-1.

RW Anderson Homes

8. Lime Green Door With a Dark Gray Exterior

Although dark gray is a neutral, it is superdramatic as an exterior color. If you want your front door to have any attention, it requires its dramatic color — like this bright lime green. If you go for a palette like this, maintain the trimming simple in either white or black.

Jennifer Ott Design

Example palette: Clockwise from top left (all from Valspar): Awakening 6006-10C, Muted Ebony 4008-2C and Almost Charcoal 4008-2B.

Michael J. Lee Photography

9. Yellow-Green Door With Wood Siding

If glowing lime green is simply not the front-door hue for you, try this soft shade of yellow-green instead. This hue works especially well if you have cedar shingle siding, stone or brick. These materials can sometimes read as busy in colour and layout, so the softer color on the entrance offers a nice contrast.

Jennifer Ott Design

Example Shade: Clockwise from top left (all from Glidden): Soothing Green Tea GLG21 and White on White GLC26 with cedar shingles.

Jennifer Ott Design

Example palette: Listed below are a few options to get a dark sage-green door and cut against a light, neutral house shade. Clockwise from top left: Sage Saga 156-4 and Garden of Eden 156-1 (both from Mythic Paint), and Sage Green Light SW2851 and Nuance SW7049 (both from Sherwin-Williams).

Tell us Did you dare to paint your door green? Share a photograph below!

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9 Low-Growing Hedges That

When we think of low-growing hedges, we’re most likely to think of boxwood (box) hedging, Buxus spp, utilized in knot gardens and also to advantage herb gardens and herbaceous borders. But now there are different sorts of non hedges — such as “step over” hedges. Step-over hedges are reduced hedges, generally under 2 feet, created by restricting the growth of larger shrubs through pruning.

This tendency could be seen in fresh British housing estates, where the usage of step-over hedges generates a milder visual barrier between properties while mixing in with multiple landscape schemes. These low hedges could mark the border of your house without losing much space or reducing light the way traditional hedging can. This low hedging can also be utilized as a characteristic in other plantings or as a characteristic against fencing or walls. It can give a sculptural sense better compared to tall, naturalistic hedging we are utilized to.

Many shrubs are suitable, but for optimal step-over hedging, they should be:
EvergreenSlow growing and tolerant of trimmingHappy to be implanted alongside additional shrubsDisease resistantI believe you can see in the subsequent examples just how appealing and effective these hedges can be.

Troy Rhone Garden Design

Boxwood or Box
(Buxus spp)

Boxwood hedging has ever been the traditional plant used in dwarf hedging, and though it has its own drawbacks, it’s still the best general-purpose plant for this type of hedging.

Boxwood can be more prone to the fungal infection Cylindrocladium buxicola, or box blight. This is prevalent in the U.K. and dispersing in the U.S.

USDA zones: 5 to 9 (find your zone)
Water requirement: Drought resistant; necessitates well-drained soil
Light demand: Prefers partial or full shade; can be scorched by sun
Mature size: 18 to 36 inches tall
Planting tips: Plant in well-drained soil. Boxwood benefits from an application of fertilizer and a mulch after clipping in spring.

Good alternatives to box are Japanese holly (Ilex crenata) and box honeysuckle (Lonicera nitida).

Cherry Laurel
(Prunus laurocerasus)

Common laurel is just another tamable low hedging plant. It’s an evergreen shrub that could quickly grow to 20 feet tall and wide. But here you can see how it has been controlled by judicious clipping and has formed a superb low formal hedge.

USDA zones: 6 to 9
Water demand: Drought resistant
Light demand: Sun or semi shade
Mature size: 25 to 30 feet tall
Planting tips: Requires feeding in poorer soils, where the leaves can become chlorotic

(Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’)

Laurustinus is just another big, bushy evergreen which you wouldn’t believe could be controlled enough to make a step-over hedge

Here the variety ‘Eve Price’ generates a stunning dwarf hedge, since it’s more compact than some of the other varieties of Viburnum tinus. The blossoms, blooming in late autumn to early spring, are very appealing, with carmine buds and pink-tinged petals.

The hedge shown here is cleverly underplanted with glowing pink geraniums, which contrast beautifully against the lush summer foliage of the Viburnum.

USDA zones: 7 to 10
Water demand: Drought resistant
Light demand: Full sun to full shade
Mature size: 8 to 10 feet tall
Planting tips: Grows well in moderately fertile and humus-rich soil, but soil needs to be well drained

JMS Design Associates

(Lavandula stoechas)

Spanish lavender, also called French lavender in the United Kindgom, has odd blackish-purple flowers surmounted by a tuft of purple bracts.

For dry, sunny spots, lavender may create a fantastic low hedge. Though it can be short lived, it is still the best of the low-growing aromatic shrubs.

USDA zones: 6 to 9
Water demand: Low; gains from additional watering
Light demand: Full sun
Mature size: 18 to 36 inches tall
Planting tips: Prefers well-drained soil in full sun; if grown in containers, it is going to require frost protection.

A fantastic alternate to lavender is rosemary — that also adores a hot, sunny spot. Perhaps the best variety to use for non hedging is the compact Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Severn Sea’, that has citrus leaves and vibrant blue flowers in the summer.

(Hebe x andersonii)

Hebes, primarily from New Zealand originally, differ widely in height, leaf size and flower color. Some of the lower-growing varieties make superb step-over hedges.

I was always taught, “The bigger the foliage on Hebes, the hardier the variety.” While I’m not sure whether that is true, it has ever worked for me.

Hebe x andersonii is a vigorous grower, but with careful pruning it makes a low hedge that provides a summer of gentle lavender-blue flowers fading to white in fall.

USDA zones: 9 to 10
Water requirement: Moderate
Light demand: Full sun or semi shade
Mature size: 6 to 8 ft tall
Planting tips: Grows best in moist but well-drained soil.

(Elaeagnus x ebbingei)

Elaeagnus x ebbingei has lovely dark green leaves with silvery-pewter undersides and little fragrant flowers.

Even a few of the open-growing shrubs can be formed into appealing low evergreen obstacles. Evergreens such as Elaeagnus must be pruned in spring just before growth starts.

USDA zones: 7 to 11
Water demand: Drought resistant
Light demand: Full sun or semi shade
Mature size: 9 to 12 feet tall
Planting tips: Grow into well-drained dirt; good for exposed and coastal situations

Box Honeysuckle
(Lonicera nitida ‘Baggesen’s Gold’)

Box honeysuckle is a small-leaf evergreen that is perfect for clipping. It is very good for hedging, as it is quick to regrow — although it is going to attain a height of 7 to 8 ft if not included.

Lonicera nitida ‘Baggesen’s Gold’, shown here, has the extra benefit of bright yellow foliage in summer which turns out a yellow-green in autumn.

USDA zones: 6 to 9
Water requirement: Drought resistant
Light demand: Full sun to partial shade
Mature size: 7 to 2 ft tall
Planting tips: Prefers well-drained soil. Its glowing yellow foliage can become greenish-yellow in colour.

Daisy Bush
(Brachyglottis greyi)

For a gorgeous gray hedge that is pretty hardy, it’s a challenge to beat Brachyglottis greyi. The plant is sometimes marketed as Senecio greyi or Senecio ‘Sunshine’.

One thing which you will almost certainly miss with judicious pruning would be that the glowing yellowish daisy-like flowers that cover the plant in the summer. This hedge will have to be pruned at least twice a year to keep it in shape.

USDA zones: 8 to 10
Water demand: Low
Light demand: Full sun or semi shade
Mature size: 3 to 5 ft tall
Planting tips: Grow it into well-drained soil, rather than full sun.

Mountain Holly
(Olearia ilicifolia)

Mountain holly is just another massive evergreen shrub from New Zealand. It could reach 6 feet in height, however once more, with timely pruning spring it could be restricted to develop into a step-over hedge.

The gray-green leaves are narrow and spear formed, with undulating and toothed edges which make it ideal for deterring dogs from entering your garden. If unpruned it will flower in spring with fragrant white blossoms.

USDA zones: 8 to 10
Water requirement: Minimum, particularly in winter
Light demand: Full sun
Mature size: 6 ft tall
Planting tips: Grow it in a fertile, well-drained soil in full sun and shelter it from chilly winds.

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