Rustic wooden birdfeeders are perfectly charming in a country garden, but they can ruffle the feathers of urban outdoor spaces with contemporary design leanings. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of modern, quirky feeders that are sure to have friends – both of the human and feathered variety – all a twitter. These stylish options are on the pricey side, but would make a unique gift for new homeowners feathering their nest.
Canopy Bird Feeder Series from StudioLicious
Though made-to-order in Canada, this series of feeders has more of a Scandinavian sensibility. Available in various shapes and stain colours.
J Schatz Egg Bird Feeders
Want to add a little pop art pizzazz to your backyard? These candy-coloured bird feeders by NYC designer J Schatz will look like jewellery amongst backyard foliage. Bonus: they’re squirrel proof! Available in 8 colours.
Glass Birdhouses from Eva Solo and aHa! Modern Living
There’s not a chance anyone will throw stones at these sculptural glass houses. Not only will they add sparkle to the backyard, it’s easy to see when these feeders need filling.
+ Canopy Bird Feeder Series from StudioLicious, from $52
+ J Schatz Egg Bird Feeder, from $135
+ Glass bird feeder from Eva Solo
+ Roost Utopia Birdhouses from aHa! Modern Living, $75
I don’t know what’s worse: spending an otherwise gorgeous summer weekend attempting (and failing) to ward off pesky mosquitoes, or doing so surrounded in retro-in-a-bad-way tiki torches.
I wish I’d made time during pre-long weekend supply shopping trips to search out a few stylish alternatives. Pottery Barn has no shortage of pretty vintage-inspired lanterns just begging to disguise citronella candles, while German design company Blomus creates gorgeous, contemporary stainless steel torches that will last for years of hot summer nights.
Of course, not every outdoor occasion calls for fireside chic. These cheery Crate & Barrel citronella candles-in-a-can have portability on their side. Just stash a couple amongst your camping gear or with your evening picnic accoutrements so you’re primed to keep bugs at bay.
And, since there’s nothing stylish about scratching the evidence of a weekend out-of-doors, you may want to keep this list of home remedies handy too.
And if you are looking for more cool outdoor inspirations, revisit Kim’s Modern Style at the Cottage that she wrote for HGTV.ca.
+ Mercury Glass Lanterns, Pottery Barn, $8.40 – $89.13 CAD
+ Blomus Stainless Steel Patio Lantern, Lekker, $60 USD
+ Citronella Candle-in-a-Can, Crate & Barrel, from $1.50 CAD
+ 9 DIY Home Remedies for Relieving Mosquito Bites from Secret Tips from the Yumiverse
As much as I wish I could build a raised vegetable garden, apartment living means I’m limited to a windowsill herb garden this summer.
If, like me, your plot is limited to a balcony box, there’s no reason you can’t have colourful gardening tools to tend to your harvest.
With just a few twists, this refreshingly versatile attachment turns any glass or plastic bottle into a cool, colourful watering can. It’s also easy to imagine atop beverage bottles at a backyard barbeque. Your gardening friends will go green with envy for the ergonomic handle and perfect pouring spout. After all, who wants to lug around a hose?
+ Eco Watering Can Bottle Adaptor from The Balcony Gardener, £13.50
If you wish to grow your own vegetables this summer, remember that you increase your chances of success by planting your seeds in a raised garden bed. It is because raised beds provide better drainage. It is also easier on your back. A DIY tutorial from Sunset magazine even tells you how to drape the bird netting or row covers over your raised beds.
For a weekend project, you will have plenty of time to also build the perfect compost bin.
+ How to make the perfect raised bed – photo by Norm Plate for Sunset magazine
+ Build the perfect compost bin – photo by Andrew Drake for Sunset magazine
These DIYs are slightly more involved than just letting weeds and moss grow in the gutters on your home, but the pay off is worth it. These hanging gardens shake up standard hanging baskets by using horizontal space, and provide privacy should your neighbours be a little too close for comfort.
If you’re more of a minimalist, opt for the high gloss PVC and steel cable version on the left (we’re betting it will also be cheaper to DIY). Want something with a little more longevity? Martha’s version uses copper chains and gutters, which are sure to develop a pretty emerald patina after a season in the elements.
Check out the links below for full instructions. What are you planting this spring?
+ How to Make A Hanging Gutter Garden from aHa! Home & Garden
+ Copper Gutters DIY from Martha Stewart
I like the soothing flow that Obus creates. It is perfect for al fresco dining. The Obus is not your average outdoor light. It is an ambient light when placed on a flat surface that transitions to a direct light when held in hand. And you won’t have to be worried about losing light in the middle of dinner since the charge of its rechargeable battery can last up to 25 hours. The actual lifetime of a battery charge depends on the light intensity level you selected.
Obus comes from a JOBY | Peter Stathis Venture Collaboration. Their first collection will launch at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York (May 14-17, 2011). Sadly, you will not be able to enjoy Obus this summer since it is scheduled to hit the stores in August 2011. The suggested retail price of Obus is $250 USD.
+ Obus Outdoor Light by JOBY | Peter Stathis
Thumbs a little green? If you’re lacking experience in the garden, it’s best to start small. Containers are a great way to get your hands dirty as you experiment with gardening, and can offer a lot of bang for your blooming bucks, especially if your outdoor space isn’t sprawling.
Re-purposing unexpected containers adds personality without dinging the green in your wallet. Scour your home for unused vessels, check out garage sales or shop thrift stores for creative options. We’ve rounded up a few that make an impact (just in case your garden doesn’t grow).
Above, vintage muffin tins are a beautiful contrast with fresh green moss, while a metal tackle box is a perfect home for low-maintenance succulents. Just remember to drill holes in the bottom for drainage.
For apartment dwellers with a small-space balcony, maximize your space by planting up. Using walls ensures you have plenty of room for outdoor furniture and other summer essentials. Here a shoe organizer is put to use as a vegetable garden. Each pocket holds a different lettuce or herb – a smart way to grow a variety of edibles.
If you’re just looking for creative containers you won’t see elsewhere in your neighbourhood, don’t miss this DIY project which re-purposes old tires as planters. It’s green in more ways than one!
+ Vintage Muffin Tin Planter from Country Living
+ Tackle Box Planter by The Potted Store
+ DIY Recycled Tire Garden Planters from Studio G
+ DIY Vertical Vegetables from Instructables
Folding and stackable furniture comes handy when you entertain a larger crowd. You can get a long table simply by putting side by side two dining tables. I read on Country Living that interior designer Lynn-Anne Bruns found this pair at Pier 1 and only paid $100 each. The story did not say if it was on sale or when she bought them. I did not find them on Pier 1 Web site.
One option that you can buy is the white MÄLARÖ table at Ikea. You can use it to set up an impromptu bar station by the pool or the lake.
Bring Your Own Furniture at the Park
Another usage for folding outdoor furniture for picnics in the park. The folding dining table, that can sit 6, would make your picnic more comfortable and more stylish. You will be envy of everyone. Maybe that I am getting old but I intend this year to bring my table and chairs to the park. If you are not convinced, look at the setting of this guy. I spotted it last Sunday. Ever since, I want to create my own version.
If you prefer some colors, Crate & Barrel carries a must-see summer collection in a choice of 5 colors: soft green (my favorite), warm yellow, aqua, blue and white. Beware that they are only available online and that we can shop there as Canadians (but the shipping fees can be hefty).
+ May 2011 issue of Country Living – photo by Lucas Allen
+ MÄLARÖ table at Ikea $89 CAD / $69.99 USD
+ Foldaway Green Dining Table $219 USD
+ Green Folding Aluminum Chair $54.95 USD
+ Backyard Green Stacking Chair $32.95 USD
As an hostess, I’m in awe with the Hopper furniture collection. I like the look of the furniture but what I truly admire are the practical accessories designed for entertaining outdoor or indoor. You can fit inside the table oil lamps, ice buckets, grilling surfaces and an awning. Tables can be linked together to create a long communal table.
The Hopper collection was designed by Belgian designer Dirk Wynants, who founded Extremis in 1994. You may know Extremis for IceCube, the coolest party cooler. The drink cooler comes with a lighting system. If it wasn’t that expensive, I would like to have one at home.
WoodStock is more than a fire wood rack. It is also a removable dolly that allows you to easy transport of a large amount of wood logs without breaking your back.
Qrater is a stylish campfire dish. Optional skewers and grills, held at the right position with a bracket system, let’s you easily grill you a snack. Fire dishes add comfort to an urban garden or the cottage.
+ IceCube by Extremis $2,046 USD at Unica Home
+ WoodStock $1,581
+ Qrater fire dish by Dick Wynants $2,279
+ Hopper collection via MoCo Loco
August is about Camping and Cottaging on Style Sheet, the blog of HGTV.ca. For my monthly column, I gave it a modern twist. I am particularly proud that every item shown on the article is available in Canada. With a little digging, you can find cool products in this country.
My biggest challenge with this post was to select items for my short list. I was surprised by all the good stuff that is out there. My two favorite items are the Kayu teak table and benches and the affordable Notebook Grill. This BBQ grill is a cheaper option to the Eva Solo Table grill. And I cannot ignore the beautiful Lighthouse oil lamps designed by Christian Bjørn.
+ Read more at Kim Vallee: Modern Style at the Cottage
This summer home is heaven on Earth. I do not know which view I prefer between the bathroom or the outdoor wood-fired hot tub. This is the summer house of a new star in the Swedish stylist scene (according to Emmas designblog), Katarina Grundströmer.
Do not miss the rest of her summer home, it’s a place where it should be great to go every weekend.
+ photos: Sköna Hem
+ via Apartment Therapy San Francisco