Landscape Design

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Atlanta’s Beltline – The East Side Trail


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I have never been so excited about a project in my city as The Atlanta Beltline. Eventually it will be a 22 mile loop around the city (on former rail tracks), connecting intown neighborhoods. Right now, two stretches of the trail are complete, with ongoing plantings that wil make it a linear arboretum. Eventually, it is supposed to include transit lines, but I’m not holding my breath. No matter.

Right now on the Eastside Trail, one can walk from Piedmont Park in midtown through Virginia-Highland, Poncey-Highland to Inman Park and The Old Fourth Ward. This 2.25 mile trail is full of fun sites along the way, from art placed along the sides to the trees that are the start of the arboretum to the resident cat. On the portion through Virginia Highland, different species of magnolias dot the side of the path.

Paris on Ponce has opened up its doors to Beltline denizens, with water for dogs and people and use of the facilities. On the weekends I’ve spied the King of Pops hanging around selling refreshing popsicles at a quick rate.

What’s so cool about the Beltline besides being able to sail over and under busy streets like Ponce De Leon and Freedom Parkway, is getting in between and behind buildings you’ve passed a million times, been inside, but never experienced from this perspective, like the Ford Factory Lofts (above) and the old Sears building (below), formerly City Hall East and in the process of being turned into live/work/retail and a farmer’s market. This old sign is a favorite relic of mine, I hope they never get rid of it. And where else can you get a glimpse of The Masquerade from above?

After passing the new skate park that Tony Hawk has graced with his presence, one passes under Freedom Parkway and all of the great shops and restaurants of Inman Park are right there waiting for you. You can pop over to Parish for Sunday brunch …

or Fritti for some yummy pizza…

… check out some of the great new shops down Elizabeth …

And head back to the park …

It will be fun to see the wild grasses and flowers as they grow alongside the trail. This has been some of the best people and dog watching in the city during this beautiful spring weather. Last weekend I saw a dude with a monkey on his shoulder – not something you see every day.

Oh, and if you visit, be sure to say hello to the Eastside Trail’s unofficial mascot, Beltline Piper, the cat who lives in between North Avenue and Ralph McGill in the area shown above. Leave her a letter in her mailbox, bring her some water or food or send her a tweet.


Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Designer Interview: Oxford Garden


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March has come in like a lion but it’s time to start  thinking about outdoor spaces. Go to the garage or shed and dust off that garden furniture, figure out what you need to repair or replace, then check out the fantastic selection from Oxford Garden to fill in the gaps. The Louisville, Kentucky based company offers up styles from traditional classics to contemporary, inspired by a range of precedents from English cottage garden to Scandinavian modern.
Today we’re sitting down with the President of Oxford Garden, Randy Meek, to learn more about the brand and what they have available.

Where did the name Oxford Garden come from?
Oxford Garden began as Oxford Garden Designs and the name developed from the romantic, centuries-old English gardens that nearly always included a finely crafted sitting bench.

How did Oxford Garden come about? What are your goals for the brand?
Oxford Garden began in 1997 as the interest in outdoor living had huge growth in America and the availability of quality outdoor furniture was in short supply.  After establishing itself with high-quality wood benches during its first few years, Oxford Garden methodically expanded furniture collections, offering a wide range of items, styles and materials.
Our products are designed and produced to provide a well-styled unique visual appearance, while maintaining quality materials and workmanship.  Of equal importance is our goal to deliver these quality products at moderate prices.
How would you describe the Oxford Garden style and how does this help freshen up outdoor spaces? What inspired your current collection?
The Oxford Garden style is a refinement of comfort, shapes, simplicity and practicality.  We aim to produce outdoor furniture that is comfortable, applies practical use of materials through simplicity of design and delivers a captivating appearance.
For example, in one of our current collections, Siena Deep Seating, we use straight and simple shapes with just slight emphasis on key areas of the furniture; the subtle lines of the arms and angled legs add interest to an otherwise simple design, creating a striking and graceful piece.
Did you see a hole in the outdoor furniture market? If so, how are you filling it?
We believe we fill the narrow space where good design and practical pricing meet.
Where should homeowners begin when furnishing a patio, deck, balcony or garden?
The key question for homeowners is “What atmosphere do you want to create?” Think of space outside as outdoor rooms and work from there.
For example, some homeowners want a relaxing environment that brings their indoor living room to the outdoors. In this scenario, we would recommend a warm, comfortable conversation set such as our Siena Deep Seating group:
Others may love to entertain and desire a large dining group where they can enjoy parties and family dinners outside and need a versatile dining set such as the Travira or Hampton:
Thanks to Randy for taking the time to introduce us to Oxford Garden today!

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Dropping Some Knit Bombs


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Oh lord, is saying “bomb” on the internet anything like it is at the airport? I hope not! So inspired by, of all things, the Design Public newsletter’s mention of Debra Folz Designs’s pieces, I set off on a journey to find some cool knit bombs.

What is knit bombing? It’s also called yarn bombing and crochet bombing, and it involves urban guerillas armed with knitting needles, who wrap objects like trees, stop signs, fences, parking meters, park benches and other street and park furniture in (usually) very bright-colored yarn. This phenomenon has been gaining in popularity and spreading from city to city all around the world for several years now.

Fun mixes of patterns and colors enliven these mundane objects, making us take a second and third glance at ordinary things we usually pass by without noticing every day. It’s a more textured and temporary form of graffiti.

I swiped all of these images from Pinterest, which can make it difficult to track down original sources, so if you know any of them, please let me know in the comments section and I’ll fill them in! I do know that if there is a good knit bomb image out there, it’s likely been celebrated on and perhaps originally designed by Knitta. Knitta, founded by Magda Sayeg, is in great part responsible for this international craze.

While we haven’t heard of any of these brave guerillas with the mad granny skills have not yet been arrested, their work is not always legal. In the case of this stop sign flower, they could not survive traffic laws. This project by knitting guy welcomed spring but according to his last post the city was going to have to remove them:

Finally, here is a knit bomb worthy of Comic-con, a charming litle R2D2 bollard:

This is such a fun trend to follow. Let us know if you’ve knit bombed anything.


Friday, May 11th, 2012

What We’re Clicking This Week


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What are you clicking this week? My colleague Janet shared this video with me and now I’m dreaming of treehouses and visiting Whistler.

I’m also dreaming about fantastic topiaries, because The Aestate rounded up a fantastic group of them. Also, I watched a whodunit show this week where the culprit was a topiary gardener, SPOILER ALERT! I think it was on Bones. Anyway, here’s a favorite from her collection:

What to you think of this list of the top 10 world’s ugliest buildings? I agree with most of them, but I actually like the pixel building, even if it is a bit gimmicky.

Do you subscribe to Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle newsletter, GOOP? I totally dig it, and this week’s feature on Food Hero Seamus Mullen has me dreaming of chowing down on some shellfish this summer. Just curious – what do you think of GOOP?

What are you pinning this week? I haven’t had a spare second to Pinterest much this week, but I did find my pal Leah Hennen’s amazing Indigo Board and now it’s the only hue on my mind. It’s making my beige walls bum me out, in fact, so know that might happen if you have beige walls and you happen to check it out.

Note: In trying to track down the credit for this image, I ran into a dead end, so if you happen to recognize where it originated and who the photographer was, please let me know in the comments section so that I can add it.

What caught your eye online this week? Please share a link with us in the comments section. Have a great weekend everyone!


Monday, March 26th, 2012

Design Notes for Today: Garden Gates, Boardwalk Waves and a T.D.F. Headboard


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Last week I had a chance to visit the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and I was so excited to see a series of gates by Atlanta metalcrafter Andrew T. Crawford. I had always admired (and I believe I must have shared on this blog at some point) his whimsical garden tool gate that is permanently installed at the gardens:

Right now through the end of April, you can get a big dose of Crawford’s work via the show Garden Gates at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.

photo via West 8

Another cool project catching my eye this week are the Wavedecks in Toronto. The Simcoe Wavedeck portion of the project, by West 8,  caught my eye via the Serenity in the Garden blog. The Wavedeck negotiates the space between the city of Toronto and its waterfront on Lake Ontario, landing somewhere in between. This section also serves as an amphitheater as well as a connection between diverse parts of the waterfront. Learn more here.

Finally, I’m so excited to see fabulous interior designer Rachel Reider‘s sneak peek at her new designs at The Attwater in Newport, Rhode Island. It’s a tease and I cannot wait to see with the rest of the place:

photo via The Attwater on Facebook

Don’t you just love what she’s done with the upholstered headboard? This is actually something you can do with your favorite fabric, and should you ever tire of your fabric choice, you can recover it. Mounting an upholstered headboard to a wall is a great way to save space in a tight bedroom.