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Natural Swimming Ponds

swimpond's chemical free swimming pond

Jesper Larsson listed the swimming pond as one of his 2009 Design Top 5 trends on MoCo Loco. Still, finding a local expert and vendor in Canada or the United States for these chemical free swimming pools may be hard.

You must be aware that a natural swimming pond requires slightly more maintenance in time than a regular swimming pools. If you are interested by a natural swimming pond, read first those articles: Continue Reading


The Art of One-Pot Gardening Taught by Sunset Magazine

stunning garden pots by sunset magazine

Sunset magazine is a West Coast lifestyle magazine that I enjoyed reading every time I went to California. I love it so much that I became a subscriber a few months ago. The Sunset gardens are open to the public. The gardens are located at their headquarters in Northern California. I marked it down for my next trip to San Francisco since they are less than 1 hour from there. In fact, I like to go to their Celebration Weekend next year.

If you are lucky to live in a warmer climate, it is not too late to get inspired by these grouping of pots. They would make a statement on your front door. Every time you do a grouping, you must repeat elements. You can vary the heights and shape of the pots but it is usually best to keep your containers all in the same color, same finish.

If you wish to learn the art of pot planting, read:

+ Learn how create a wow factor with a triple decker composition.
+ An easy lesson on selecting pots and flowers that harmonize with the rest of your garden
+ Benefits from experience. Sunset tells you which are the 12 dwarf lavenders that they prefer from all the ones they test in their own garden.
+ Explore fall favorite hues. I love these aqua glass containers.

Putting plants in containers can allow you to rotate the plants that you put inside to create seasonal arrangements. If you are new to gardening, watch this 1-minute video that show you how to plant a container.

+ By Thomas J. Story for Sunset magazine


Etcetera Hanging Garden by Vincent Vandenbrouck for Edition Compagnie

etcetera hanging garden designed by vincent van for edition compagnie

One cool space saving garden accessory featured on the August 2009 issue of Living etc is Etcetera Hanging Garden designed by Vincent Vandenbrouck for Edition Compagnie. It holds vertically 3 rows of 3 terracotta pots. Perfect for plants or fresh herbs.

This design is a few years old. I like the concept behind Etcetera. It is also available as a pot holder set of 3 pots. The innovation resides in the opening that allows the pots to be hanged on sticks.

+ Etcetera Hanging Garden £199 at Lifestyle Bazaar


Gift Ideas for Gardeners from Jason Neufeld

bombus shelters by jason neufeld

I told you before about Fairmont Hotels initiatives to bring back bees in our cities to spread pollination. We can also do our part. And to do that in style, Jason Neufeld produced an outstanding collection of ceramic shelters to to attract bumblebees called Bombus Shelter. The nest of bumblebees are in ground. They often use tunnels built by other animals. Each Bombus Shelter artificially and artistically recreates an environment for a bee hive.

Housewarming Gift Idea for Apartment/Condo Dwellers

urban gardening kit by jason neufeld

If you are looking for a cute housewarming git ideas, here is something handy to carry to a friend’s home. Plus, you can bring the desired canvas bags inside when you are cooking. On drawback visible from the pictures is that you must accept that it will not stay perfectly clean. Therefore, it is not for everyone. In fact, it may be better suited for growing your plants inside.

Like I said for his Honeycomb Toast and Tea Set, contact the designer Jason Neufeld by email to order them since they are no other information on his Web site. There no price information either.

+ Jason Neufeld


The Landscape Room by LiD Architecture

landscape room by lid architecture photographed by christopher heany

Without going into details, I needed some relaxing views today; you may have noticed that my blog was down for a couple hours. It happens as I was sitting and live blogging at the Social Gaming Summit 2009 in San Francisco.

Therefore, I was glad when I came across this amazing modern architecture project done in Ireland by LiD Architecture. I found my dreamy moment for the day.

LiD Architecture created a lounging indoor space that opens up to a cool outdoor space. The fireplace, the in-ground flower bed and the small pond are beautiful. If it was my space, I would prefer a deeper outdoor space so it would be easier to put furniture outside. But otherwise, it is a great place.

+ Photography by Christopher Heaney and LID Architecture
+ Via Comtemporist


BubbleTree Redefined the Hut for Adults

bubbletree\'s treehouse

Two years ago, I told you about Domaine des Ormes, an hotel in Brittany, France where you can rent a perched cabin for your family vacation.

Now, I am presenting you a hut concept developed by a French company called BubbleTree. A wooden platform is build around a big tree. The idea is to get the feeling to live in nature. The spherical canopy (bubble) is meant to be deployed only to shelter you for rain and wind. The rest of the time, you live without walls.

view of the inside, some accessories and deployed bubble by BubbleTree

This hut can be very sophisticated. BubbleTree sells hammocks, nets, long chair convertible, lighting system, solar shower, picnic basket and a lifting system to fit their construction. By adding hammocks or sleeping bags, you can transform, at will, the space into a summer guest house for 2 people.

As far as I can tell, BubbleTree’s products are only available in France. This is not inexpensive either. According to the article I read on Born Rich, you must budget EUR 11,000 (approx. $15,300) for the platform alone with the ladder. If you wish to add the bubble (canopy), the price starts at EUR 18,000 (approx. $25,000).

Still, you can still build your little oasis at your cottage. After you adapted and designed your own version, invite a few friends to build it this summer. It does not have to be perched into a tree. It can be a simple platform on a raised piece of land with a canopy system.

+ BubbleTree – Web site has an english version
+ Via Born Rich


The Art of Mixing Colors, Matching Forms in your Outdoor Space

mixing matching rule: set inspired by pattern

If there is a place in your house where you can infuse an array of colors is your backyard. You use mostly in sunny days and at night under candle lights.

Most manufacturer of outdoor tableware and accessories produce their products in 3 to 5 colors. Take advantage of that fact and mix colors. The key is to create a sense of repetitions. You can accomplish that through different methods.

next home outdoor furniture and dinnerware for entertaining

Here is a technique that produces a sophisticated look. Select a pattern with four or five distinctive main colors as the starting point and select the rest of the accessories or furniture in solid colors of the main colors in the pattern. This is what happen with the sun loungers and the paper lanterns.

mixing and matching rule: same number of items in every color

Getting the items in all colors will create a sense of continuity as long as there is always the same number of items per color. To make it easy for you if you are unsure of what goes with what, look at color packs.

I found all these affordable products that could transform your backyard in a festive oasis at UK-retailer Next Home. I wish they have a store in North America because I would visit them often.

+ Small wood parasol, director’s chairs and Panama dining table parasol £30, chairs and table £50 each
+ Mesh lounger and Floral Lounger £25 each
+ Patterned Paper Lanterns £10 for set of 3 – two floral and one green
+ Plain Paper Lanterns £10 for set of 3, orange, pink, green
+ Bright Mini Lanterns £12 for 4 color pack
+ Plastic tableware
+ Glass Votive Tealight Set £12 for 4 color pack


How to Quickly Design an Escape for your Weekend Guests

set the tone by styling the entrance

I have to warn you. If you do this, you are better to clear your agenda because all your friends will line up to stay over on weekends. This is one of the most adorable weekend decoration project I have seen lately.

backyard escape in Canadian House of Home, July 2009 edition

The idea is to convert a small garage or a big shed into a tropical guest room. And you will not break the bank to impress your friends. This design was accomplished with mostly inexpensive items found at IKEA and in Chinatown. The sources are in the July 2009 issue of Canadian House and Home.

beachfront terrace with a shaded daybed

The best deal was the daybed. Imagine reading a book or having a nice conversation there. The base is made by stacking several shipping crates that they painted. Ask your  local hardware stores, garden centers or lumberyards for similar unpainted crates – most stores give it for free. A sheet hanged on tree branches. They use a sheet but you could check out the dollar bin for fabrics to cover a foam cushion or a single bed mattress.

This setting calls for quick and simple cocktails. Serve gravlax canapes paired with a white wine or a refreshing Tom Collins for the apero. Lynda Reeves shares her Gravlax Recipe With Mustard Dill Sauce. This is one more recipes to try besides the two gravlax recipes I gave you this week. You could rotate them each weekend and see which one you prefer.

+ Canadian House and Home July 2009 – Photography by Stacey Brandford


Liven Up my Terrace with Flowers and Cooking Herbs

flowers and cooking herbs on my terrace

Today, my husband and I went to the farmers’ market to get our flowers and cooking herbs. For me, my terrace is not ready for summer until I put plants on my garden pots. I opted for low maintenance flowers: marine blue Riviera, white Diamond Frost Eurorbia. I did not keep the tag for the yellow flowers. On each side of the step between decks, I simply put a purple fountain grass.

planting on my terrace

Cooking herbs are acclimated to the arid sunny Mediterranean climate. This means that do not require a daily watering. In fact, you are best to wait until the soil is pretty dried before watering them. Use a soil that drains well.

What are my Must-Have Cooking Herbs?

Wait until the last minute to cut the herbs. I promise you that will taste the difference especially if you are preparing a salad.

winter thyme

Thyme: The most exquisite is the lemon thyme. It smells like lemon. Most leaves are yellow but you will get green ones once in a while. For times where the citrus flavor will not be desirable, I bought a big bunch of winter thyme.

Parsley: I always both kinds: the curly leaf parsley and the flat parsley.

Rosemary: I love this herb. You can use rosemary sprigs as a skewer for cooking on the barbecue.

Chives: Super easy to grow. The plant can withstand several winters in a pot. For that reason, do not remove it from your pot this fall.

Sage: I buy the green one.

Moroccan Mint: Perfect to prepare mojitos this summer.

My other favorite herbs are basil, origano and summer savory when I can find it. Otherwise, I will buy winter savory.


Vote for Your Favorite Weekend Project at BHG 48-hour Challenge

the 48 hour challenge with 5 bloggers on Better Homes and Gardens

If you are curious about what 5 talented home and garden bloggers can create in their own home with a $500 outdoor weekend project, check the 48-hour Challenge organized on Better Homes and Gardens and sponsored by Home Depot. I am showing you my top 3. I let you chose which one you feel is the best.

You can vote for your favorite. The recipient will get a $5,000 bonus! The talented Nicole of Making It Lovely! is one of the contestants. I like her green and white divider. She explained on her blog how to paint this lovely green leaf rug.

I am sure that many of you will get inspire by the grill cart designed by Marc Spagnuolo of  The Wood Whisperer. Easily to build, the cart features a removable porcelain tile work surface, a raised shelf for storing condiments, a light for evening grilling, a paper towel holder, and hooks for cooking utensils. Charcoal, a chimney starter, and a small refrigerator sit on the bottom shelf.

Each year building a gardening working station like this multi-task potting bench. We never seem to find the time. Jen Kershner from The Cottage Nest did a great job on hers.

Good luck to each contestant! Go encourage our bloggers and vote at the BHG 48-hour Blogger challenge right away.


The Feminine Side of Outdoor Furniture and Fermob

pink and blue garden furniture :: tablabri by fermob

French people, like many residents of European countries, are not afraid to infuse bold colors in their decor. They also do it in a tasteful way. The latest example is the April-May 2009 issue of Coté Sud, which is dedicated to the feminine side of summer. The mood of the cover says it all.

Another reason the cover caught my eye is Tablabri by Fermob. Tablabri was designed as a twist on the classic outdoor dining table and a parasol. It is practical too since you can store the poles and the canvas when not in use in a space situated under the tabletop.

fermob colorful garden furniture

Many dining tables and outdoor chairs from Fermob can be folded. It is practical when you like to host sit-down dinner for 20. Furniture, which likes gardens, which like colors is the motto of Fermob. Therefore, you will not surprise when I tell you that all the outdoor furniture pieces are available in 24 colors.

More Outdoor Design Ideas for Spring-Summer 2009

The outdoor space does not show sign of fatigue. Do not restrict your backyard accessories to the traditional look of outdoor furniture. Outdoor lights is one area where they are so much options than in the space. I will explore outdoor lighting on another post. For now, take a look of these photos from two backyards in France.

colorful gardens :: cote ouest and  cote paris

Consider the background surfaces before selecting the colors of your furniture. You can color block one wall and keep the other walls and the deck neutral to support your decor. See how great it looks on this Parisian terrace. Mixing shades of pink and purple works well against a green foliage backdrop and a sandy deck.

+ Talabri £1120 at Made in Design
+ Fermob
+ Images from Coté Sud, Coté Paris and Coté Ouest