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Gardens

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Stunning Vertical Gardens

Becky

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The vertical garden trend has gone from small painterly compositions on interior walls to giving modern skyscrapers a hanging gardens of Babylon look. We’ve been following it closely and pinning our favorites on our Vertical Gardens Board. Here are a few of the most stunning ones we’ve found, all using different ways to bring life up a wall.

Image via VertiGarden

This wall unit is by VertiGarden in the U.K. the composition of flowers and leaves in an array of purples and greens ties the exuberant arrangement together.

This otherwise blah concrete stairwell got a pop art-like treatment with colorful flowers in aluminum pots, arranged in a modern way (Even with image reverse searches, I haven’t been able to find credit for this photo beyond the Pinterest/Tumblr rabbit hole, please add the credit to the comments if you know where this is/who designed it/who took the picture!)

via rosenbaum.com

This ingenious system makes something useful out of otherwise discarded plastic bottles and turns them into something beautiful; a stunning installation that adds life to a stucco wall.

Hotel Ushüaia in Ibiza

This amazing wall of succulents in terracotta pots serves as a living wall and a sound barrier at a hotel in Ibiza. We especially like the way the curved wall works with the Vitra New Panton chairs, though those insects are a bit terrifying! Image via flores del sol

image via Urbanarbolismo.es

The Spaniards really have the whole vertical garden thing down. This one has the interesting look of typical horizontal garden plots. The grid makes it modern while the different textures and masses enlivens the wall.

Photo by Paúl Rivera

At the Tori Tori restaurant in Mexico City, diners sit at sunken tables in an abstracted urban jungle, beneath this massive and lush vertical garden.

by Fytogreen Australia

Finally, you can try this at home. Try a small framed out area using Wooly Pockets or hire a specialist for installation. If you are installing indoors, I recommend getting help from a pro so that you can figure out how to irrigate your living wall installation without damaging walls and floors.

Have you tried vertical gardening? If so, please let us know with a comment. We’d love to see a photo too!

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Friday, August 2nd, 2013

Guest Post: Designing a Succulent and Herb Garden on the Patio

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Elana Joelle Hendler of EJH Brand made it her summer goal to shape up her patio along her patio along the Venice, California canals just in time for summer. Here’s how it went down:

The goal: Decorate my beautiful flagstone patio with lively green colors, fresh herbs and fragrant aromas.
Theme: West Coast casual chic.
Additional goal: Appease my utter obsession with succulent decor by adding arrangements lining the house and in accent pots.

Succulents: When I moved to Venice, I was so inspired by the succulent decor you can find practically everywhere around here that I started incorporating it into the branded look for my business, including a live EJH succulent wall. I haven’t looked back since. They are an excellent patio choice because visually, they are fascinating, offering a variety of shapes, textures, colors, and sizes. They are also very low maintenance.

How I used them: First, I bought large pots in three different sizes to create a sense of high and low. This is a great way to break up the monotony of a space. I planted several different types of succulents with different shapes and colors to create elements of a dynamic dessert garden on my patio. Then, I used the same varieties and planted them on the border of the house and covered the dirt with red and white rocks to hide the dirt and add texture.

Herbs: By complete coincidence, I choose plants that are actually accounted for as essential oil candles in my EJH Signature Candle Collection. When shopping the nursery, I was immediately drawn to the Greek sage. From a distance, it looked like lavender but as I came closer I could see the beautiful soft and fuzzy texture of the leaves with pretty purple flowers.

Benefits of sage: Beautiful seasonal flowers, pretty leaves, medicinally used for centuries to cure so many ailments from skin to memory loss and is also great for culinary enthusiasts. Grab a few leaves and throw them into your fresh soups and meat dishes. If you’re not going to cook, you can always just enjoy how lovely they look on your patio on a warm summer day.

Next, I headed over the rosemary and lavender.  There is no better way to make your patio feel like a spa retreat like lavender. Not only does it add a chic rustic look, they smell wonderful and promote calm. Cut off a few sprigs and tie them together with a string and place them around the house next to the bathtub.

Table Top: Last, I planted some fresh oregano and chocolate mint leaves in shiny silver pots to decorate the patio table. I’m not one for overly ambitious patio table decor, so for me, the fresh herbs and a lavender candle to light on summer nights is all I need to enjoy the summer at home, in style, on my patio!

What’s on your patio this summer?

Shop all of Elana’s creations at EJH Brand

All photos by Elana Joelle Hendler

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Friday, April 5th, 2013

Make Weekend Plans That Celebrate Spring Gardens

Becky

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I know this has been a pretty wacky week for weather across the U.S. this week, but for some of us it will be warming up and it’s time to start planning some weekend activities to celebrate spring. Why not check out your local botanical gardens? If it’s too cold, check out the conservatory instead.

During the nicer weather a week and a half ago, I hit the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, and the tulips, crocuses and pansies were in full glorious bloom. So were camelias and Japanese anemones and a few more plant names I forgot to scribble down. It was a great way to get excited about spring gardening in the upcoming weeks.

Do a quick search for botanical gardens in your city and make plans. Also, check out how much a membership costs. If you plan on going two to three times per year, you usually save money, and many gardens that are open to the public have reciprocal memberships.

You should also start planning for Garden Tours. Many of these take place in the spring and tickets are available now. botanical gardens, garden clubs, museums and other organizations put together great peeks into some of the greatest gardens around. These are usually fundraisers and could be your only chance to see these spectacular gardens. Get online and start figuring out the best times to go. Often early birds or members can snag discounted tickets as well.

Finally, while you’re on your spring weekend field trips, take notes! Make plans for your next field trip to be to the nursery, so you can begin gardening season off with new inspiration.

photos by Becky Harris

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Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Designer Interview: Damian Velasquez of Half 13

Becky

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Today we’re sitting down with Damian Velasquez of Half 13 to learn more about his vibrant and sculptural line of outdoor furniture.


How did you wind up designing furniture?

I started my path of design and fabrication at 11 – I used to hang out with my father while he made silver jewelry. The time we spent together at the bench was when I started learning about the joinery of metals. I continued to make jewelry throughout high school and college, but it wasn’t until I returned from backpacking through Europe in 1989 that memories of Italian furniture design would unknowingly shape my future forever.

I embarked on a journey of self education from that moment on – I taught myself to weld, to work with wood, acrylic, glass and concrete. I continue to build on that base of knowledge 23 years later.

Half13 O Table

What is your studio like? How do your surroundings influence your designs?

My studio is 7500 square feet of machinery and tools. All aspects of fabrication including CNC plasma cutting, woodworking and powder-coating is done in-house.

I haven’t ever been able to attribute a direct influence from my surroundings to my work. I started back in the day when “Southwestern Style” was at its peak. Modern furniture was not very strong in New Mexico back then. I think what does influence me is the fact that I do live in a unique part of the country and that fosters my desire to be unique in my endeavors as well as my designs.

Where did the name Half 13 come from?

Half 13 is the term for the size of the diamond and guage of the expanded metal that is used in the construction of my outdoor furniture line.

Are there any furniture precedents or designers who inspire your work?

The Half 13 line came about from my love of the chair “How High the Moon” by Shiro Kuramata. Because I was not formally educated in furniture design I never really had any exposure to the history of designers before me to latch onto. I have always loved Shiro’s chair and never though of it as an influence until one day I decided to try my hand at using expanded metal as a medium for furniture. I soon appreciated the challenge posed by this material and the difficulty manipulating it. After much persistence, the current line was born, and adheres to my core values of function blended with aesthetics.

Did you see a hole in the outdoor furniture market? If so, how are you filling it?

I actually envisioned the Half 13 line as a way into sculpture, but soon realized after much feedback from clients that there was a lot lacking in the outdoor furniture market. I quickly addressed the issues posed such as comfort, durability and ease of maintenance; that is why these pieces are now fabricated from stainless steel.

Thank you so much to Damian for letting us get to know him better today.

Shop all Half 13

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Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Modern Pots and Planters and the Plants that Love Them

Becky

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Do you dream of getting into gardening but fear you have a black thumb or no outdoor design skills? Start small and before you know it you’ll be borrowing your neighbor’s till to plow a big plot, bringing heaps of vegetables to work because you couldn’t possibly eat all of that zucchini.

The way to go is to start small; try a simple planter or pot with one plant. It’s a little late in the season to have fun with seeds, so you’ll need to hit the nursery and pick up some plants. I love the life live plants add to a patio, deck or porch. If you’re feeling nervous at your first nursery visit, get some help from an employee, that’s what they are there for. They are happy to share their favorites and help you figure out what will work for you. In the meantime, I have a few suggested pairings.

I’m playing with Photovisi for the first time and yes, right now I am terrible at it, in case you couldn’t tell, but we all have to start somewhere, right?

By the way, if you’re clever with Photovisi, please leave a link to your collages in the comments section, as I can use all the helpful inspiration I can get. I’d love to see how you use it!

So, when you’re planning out your planter, think about the container and the plants as architecture. Figure out if you want to add height, rhythm, mounded shapes, spiky shapes, color and/or contrast. Or, you may not care, and simply want to have a few fresh basil leaves and fresh tomatos handy to  mix in with your fresh mozzarella. Whatever it is, now’s the time to get your hands dirty and have some fun with gardening, even on the smallest of scales. In the meantime, I’m going to try to get better at these collages. Happy planting!

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