Household Tips for How to Clean a Vinyl Shower Curtain Liner

A plastic shower curtain liner helps to keep the actual shower curtain clean and tidy. The disadvantage is the liner itself becomes covered in soap scum, bacteria or even mold and mildew in the damp conditions in the bathroom. Instead of throwing the liner away, clean it up in the washing machine, but skip the dryer as the liner will melt in the heat.

Soap Scum Treatment

Soapy buildup is a vital concern in regards to the shower curtain liner, as this is often what causes it to seem dirty or grimy. Set the curtain liner in the washing machine with various towels. Add your favorite laundry detergent, along with a cup of vinegar, and then run the machine to a delicate or gentle cycle. Following the spin cycle stops, lift the curtain liner out and carry it so that it drips over the washing machine or clean tub for a moment or so. Hang the liner back to the curtain hooks together with the bottom of the liner in the bathtub or shower area, allowing it to air dry.

Fundamental Washing

Keep the shower curtain liner looking its best by running it through the washing machine with bleach added into the laundry detergent. Since the machine fills, add 1/2 cup of bleach, and 1/4 cup laundry detergent. Toss from the shower curtain liner and many white towels which may withstand bleaching. Run the washer on a delicate cycle using warm or hot water, then remove the liner after the rinse cycle and then hang up it on the shower curtain pole.

Mold and Mildew Treatment

Instead of adding bleach to the wash cycle — that will also get rid of mold and mildew — run a gentle wash cycle using 1/2 cup of baking soda added to the detergent in warm water. Add several blankets or towels to the load. Add a 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle. After rinsing, hang the shower curtain to drip dry in the shower curtain pole or outside in sunlight, which also kills mold and mildew. The vinegar helps eliminate stains and helps you to avoid mold and mildew.

Keeping it Clean

Mold, mildew and bacteria build up on the folds of this shower curtain liner over time. To help prevent this from happening, pull on the shower curtain liner over the room after using the shower — this allows the liner to drip dry, instead of creating folded regions that remain wet and damp for long periods of time. Open a window or leave the bathroom fan on near the shower, whenever feasible, so you can dry the liner quickly.

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How to Update Dark Wood Paneling With Chalk Paint

Dark paneling may make a room or a stairwell appear depressing and obsolete. Painting the timber is easier than removing it, and the look is richer and more textured with wood under the color than bare walls. Chalk paint is a natural once you want to update dark paneling, and it has the merits of good coverage and low VOCs to make it even more appealing. Preparation and painting are simple, and the result is a more light-filled space.

Clean out the wood paneling to be painted by wiping it down with mild soap and water. Wash with a clean, damp sponge and allow the wood to dry. Fill all gouges, nicks and holes with wood filler and allow the filler dry.

Sand the wood paneling. You just need to hand sand any rough places and timber filler patches, unless the panels are varnished or shellacked. If the wood is sealed with a finish, use a orbital sander to go over the entire section to be painted. Wipe the walls clean with a tack cloth to remove all sanding dust.

Mask the ceiling and baseboards at the very top and underside of the paneling, and some other molding you don’t need to paint. Use low-adhesive blue painter’s tape, which isn’t hard to remove without damaging new paint. Put it over any sections to be safeguarded from the chalk paint.

Apply the first coat of chalk paint with a brush, taking care to get from the grooves of their panels. Immediately go over the painted area with a small foam roller so you get smooth, even coverage. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly.

Give the paneling a second coat. Chalk paint has very good coverage, but a lighter color over the dark wood needs two solid coats to become opaque. As the second coat dries, evaluate the paneling in great lighting to find out whether you are going to require a third coat — usually not.

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How to Use Oyster Shells in the Garden for Moles

Although roots and lights aren’t favorite foods of moles, the precious crops can grow to be the rodents’ sufferers as they tunnel after grubs and insects. To prevent garden damage, homeowners sometimes move after the tunnels by packing their entry holes using oyster shells and other sharp things. Yet moles live in a intricate underground system that’s hard to eliminate or even detect. A better strategy is to protect individual garden areas and plants from the burrowing animals.

Dig a trench around the backyard bed you’re protecting. Make the trench 2 feet deep and 6 inches wide.

Fill the trench to just below the surrounding ground’s surface using crushed oyster shells.

Tamp the trench down firmly with the back of your rake, or by walking over it.

Cover the trench with a thin layer of dirt and tamp the soil down firmly. This top layer allows family members and pets to walk above the sharp trench without hurting their toes.

Surround vulnerable plants or plant groupings using a “moat” of crushed oysters, created by digging a shallow trench and filling it with crushed oyster shells. Cover the trench with topsoil or mulch. The depth of the trenches is going to probably be dictated by how deep-rooted individual plants really are.

Toss a handful of crushed oyster shells at the base of your planting holes when placing seedlings into mole-ridden places.

Add a last layer of safety by sprinkling oyster shells to the soil surface enclosing vulnerable plants. This won’t deter already-burrowing moles, but can put any moles off — not to mention other mammals, together with slugs and snails — which are roaming above-ground.

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6 Fantastic Ferns into Enliven Shady Garden Spots

Living and working in the Pacific Northwest, I’m regularly confronted with dark, moist sites that exist under a dense canopy of trees — ideal conditions for a garden accented with ferns. There are several other plants that are able to flourish in hard soil and light conditions and provide years of interest with minimal upkeep. Visually, they’re incredibly useful plants, using their fronds unfurling in the spring to reveal crisp new foliage that fills the gaps between hardscaping and plantings. In addition, a huge array of fern varieties is available, so that you may invent a palette using rich contrasts in colour and texture.

Listed below are a few of my favourite ferns to add interest to shaded sites.

A J Miller Landscape Architecture PLLC

Japanese Painted Fern
(Athyrium niponicum’Pictum’)

Always a fascinating feature in the color bed, Japanese painted fern provides much-needed colour to the dark corners of the garden. When you pair it with all the glowing foliage of Japanese forest grass (as shown ), the comparison in form and colour draws the eye to the floor and can accentuate paving stone. Its ease of expansion and ability to flourish in a broad array of soil conditions make it a fantastic addition to any backyard.

USDA zones: 4 to 9 (find your zone)
Evergreen/herbaceous: Herbaceous
Soil requirement: Demands moist soil to flourish
Light condition: Full to partial shade
Size: Slow growing to 12 to 18 inches

Cary Bernstein Architect

Soft Tree Fern
(Dicksonia antarctica)

a really prehistoric-looking plant, soft tree fern’s eye-catching form and imposing size make it a significant feature in the backyard. It functions well in small, enclosed courtyard areas, where its canopy can filter light to the space beneath. This siting has yet another advantage in colder climates (such as where I live): It makes it a lot easier to protect the plant from winter.

USDA zones: 9 to 11, will grow in zone 8 using protection
Evergreen/herbaceous: Evergreen (can lose fronds in colder weather)
Soil requirement: Demands damp soil to flourish
Light requirement: Full to partial shade
Size: fast growing to 15 feet tall

CYAN Horticulture

Royal Fern
(Osmunda regalis)

This big herbaceous fern is a dramatic improvement. Its distinguishing brown-tipped fertile fronds emerge through the mass of leaves in spring, giving a focal point worthy of its name. In addition, royal fern’s hardiness makes it well suited to harsher climates where ferns can’t survive.

USDA zones: 3 to 10
Evergreen/herbaceous: Herbaceous
Soil requirement: Demands moist soil to flourish; prefers acidic
Light requirement: Does best in partial shade; will tolerate Whole sun with ample water
Size: 4 to 6 ft tall

Matt Kilburn

Siebold Wood Fern
(Dryopteris sieboldii)

Siebold wood fern’s leathery, pale green foliage is reminiscent of tropical crops, but those wouldn’t be at home in colder climates. Planted en masse, wood ferns are an exotic alternative for boundaries in woodland gardens, and they contrast well with color grasses and other fine-leaved plants.

USDA zones: 6 to 10
Evergreen/herbaceous: Semievergreen
Soil requirement: Moist soil
Light requirement: Full to partial shade
Size: Slow growing to 18 to 24 inches

Matt Kilburn

Western Maidenhair Fern
(Adiantum aleuticum)

The lacy leaves of the distinctive fern provides a softness unequaled by another shade plant. In the spring dark stalks appear from the floor and glowing green foliage unfurls into widely reaching hand-like fronds, a stunning screen that gets more beautiful over the decades since the plant matures.

USDA zones: 3 to 8
Evergreen/herbaceous: Herbaceous
Soil requirement: Moist, well-drained soil
Light requirement: Full to partial shade
Size: Slow growing to two feet tall

Matt Kilburn

Crispy Hart’s Tongue Fern
(Asplenium scolopendrium‘Crispum’)

Hart’s tongue ferns are a welcome evergreen addition to the shade garden and differ considerably in appearance from most other kinds of fern. Their broad, leathery fronds can be smooth or crinkly (as shown ) and therefore are an excellent comparison to the feathery foliage of other ferns. Hart’s tongue fern works well in modern and traditional plantings alike and is helpful for providing construction among herbaceous perennials.

USDA zones: 5 to 9
Evergreen/herbaceous: Evergreen
Soil requirement: Moist, well-drained soil
Light requirement: Full to partial shade
Size: Slow rising to 18 to 24 inches

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Local Colour: Souvenir Birdhouses Flock to Southern Homes

If you’ve ever traveled anywhere within a few hundred kilometers of Chattanooga, Tennessee, you’ve been bombarded with enchanting barn roofs and billboards telling you to “See Rock City.” What is Rock City? It is an wonderful appeal on Lookout Mountain where it’s claimed you can view seven countries: Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama. There are stunning rock formations, 140-foot falls, a suspension bridge and the Enchanted Trail. The painted barns are part of the charm of the country landscape and help create a long, boring drive down I-75 much more interesting.

Throughout those seven countries and more, many people have picked up a charming souvenir — the See Rock City birdhouse — and put it somewhere with pride. They’re more prevalent in the South than bottle trees. Here are a few I found across my Atlanta neighborhood this weekend.

This birdhouse was suspended with pride in this lovely urban garden in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward.

A few blocks away from the Studioplex (a former cotton warehouse), another birdhouse fits right in at a photographer’s art-filled contemporary attic.

In a bungalow bed-and-breakfast in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood, a See Rock City birdhouse sets the tone for a fun and relaxing stay.

One of my neighbors has this great fence with posts that are topped off with an eclectic assortment of birdhouses. Obviously, a See Rock City one is included!

Following my brother and his family visited Rock City, I told him he would better have brought me a birdhouse. I had never mentioned wanting him earlier, but sure enough, my sister and my sister-in-law know me there it was, all put together for me on my birthday.

I have not found the perfect place for it yet, so I have been moving it around and checking out what my neighbors do with them.

Tell us : What kind of items add regional or local color to your hometown?

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3 Ways Native Plants Make Gardening Much Better

Six years ago my wife and I married (on 7/7/’07, like so many others), and we immediately moved to our first home together. I told her I wanted a backyard, and when she said, “Go for it,” I’m not sure we understood exactly what that would imply. Neither of us had any idea just how madly I’d fall in love with gardening and also exactly what I’d come to learn about myself, our union as well as the environment like I got dirty in the Nebraska dirt.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

I remember the very first two summers of gardening just like I remember my very first kiss — it was a sloppy, goopy affair which only made me more curious. I loaded up carts full of perennials and shrubs at local independent nurseries, spending money like I was a rock star — one time nearly $1,000. On a single excursion. This was just rash, but I wanted a backyard. Badly.

I purchased whatever the nursery had and no matter what the plant label insinuated might do the job. Little did I know then that plant tags can frequently fail us and are targeted more toward marketing than sensible advice. I loaded up with irises to get a moist area but have found that few butterflies see them. My mother — that thankfully forced me to backyard as a child — said I should get as numerous coral bells as I could, but they burnt in my dry summertime clay dirt.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

The plants that thrived were happy injuries: coneflowers, liatris, milkweed, Joe Pye Weed. I knew nothing about these, but once I started doing online research and reading novels, I found that they had been native to Nebraska. Why they appeared to do much better than the eye candy that I flung in my cart as though they were mint cookies in the supermarket shop? After I started gardening more and more with natives my whole life changed, rather than just with issues of less effort. My emotional experiences in the backyard evolved; I was connected to my home ground in ways I never knew were possible.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

Here’s how natives can alter your experience also.

1. Less maintenance. My mother loves roses, but once I thought of her and planted a couple of, they expired. I wasn’t willing to baby them in any point. I believe in tough-love gardening — in fact, my mother taught me tough love as a parenting plan (one this mama’s boy sorely needed). If a plant doesn’t look after itself, I don’t have it in my backyard.

As I researched native plants, I found out that if properly sited, they ought to flourish. And when I recognized that when indigenous plants — for me personally prairie plants — went through drought, they may slow down, be bloom less, I might accept not getting a “perfect” backyard. In fact, not knowing precisely what the garden will look like from year to year makes it more exciting.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

Liatris, coneflower, rudbeckia, sideoats grama, Indian grass, mountain mint, ironweed, prairie dropseed, aromatic and easy asters, goldenrod, baptisia, prairie smoke, American senna, coreopsis. These perennials will be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to my rich backyard palette (you’ll find over 7,000 indigenous plants in North America). They’re adapted to my climate and clay dirt, and properly sited, and that I don’t bother with any of these. I water a couple of times per year — generally in the autumn, to assist them overwinter after a dry August. I cut them down into the ground in mid-March during a lengthy afternoon, using them as loose mulch. That’s it. No fertilizing. No pruning. No spraying. I estimate I invest one-quarter of this time “working” in my backyard than when I had to mow. Few men and women believe me.

The secret to low-maintenance gardening is always choosing native plants that are adapted, planting thickly to extract weeds and using a diversity of forms — these strategies will help produce a self-maintaining ecosystem which will bring in beneficial bugs to eat the poor ones. And if you don’t enjoy the “natural” appearance, that is OK — indigenous plants can be utilised in formal settings, in some other manner you can imagine. As origins mingle and discuss information regarding diseases and pests, the dirt information highway creates a mutually beneficial ecology. Soil fertility raises. Water penetration gets deeper. Weeds get packed out and starved.

Two areas to find out what’s native for you’re the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center as well as The Xerces Society.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

2. More wildlife. New plants sleep, creep, and then jump. In other words, the very first year they seem to do nothing, the second year they do a little something and the next year they burst.

After three years my apartment moonscape became my interpretation of a prairie. And you know what brought me the most pleasure, besides the pride of thriving plants and blossoms? Butterflies and bees and spiders and birds and cows all frolicking in my backyard.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

I feel any gardener wants a carefree space full of beauty, but alongside the list is a location attractive to wildlife. Winged animals are the fourth measurement of a backyard, the vertical echo of the attractiveness below.

In the nursery I purchased butterfly bush because of its title. But now, as my native plants have grown, 95% of the insects in my garden zoom right by butterfly bush in favour of indigenous blooms, making sense — indigenous plants and insects have coevolved.

Certain species of native bumblebees can pollinate only particular species of flowers, since each blossom has evolved to create nectar geared toward attracting one bumblebee. Butterflies of sorts — skippers, sulphurs, swallowtails, monarchs — create beelines into liatris and Joe Pye Weed and coneflower.

Often those butterflies also put eggs on indigenous host plants: baptisia for sulphurs, zizia for black swallowtails, milkweed for monarchs. On winter viceroys and mourning cloaks hibernate in leaf litter while birds eat seeds; the backyard is being used, even when there’s not a flower in sight.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

3. Healthful area for household. A native plant garden means you will not likely need to repaint or spray, which means a space welcoming to sensitive insects that, through pollination, are responsible for you in three bites of food that we take.

Without bugs we would exist in much fewer numbers. However, a chemical-free landscape is also safe for kids and pets. A recent USDA study analyzed 1,000 people for 20 common pesticides also found that the test areas had an average of 13 pesticides in their system. These pesticides are derived from the food that we eat and the environments we walk in and, then, bring in the house.

Utilizing native plants can mitigate and frequently negate the need for sprays in the landscape, and you’re helping develop a wildlife refuge out back.

sustainable garden design perth

Since native plants support more wildlife than nonnatives, with them generates a space of exploration and wonder for kids. Exposure to character has been proven to increase creativity, out-of-the-box thinking and confidence, while easing symptoms of ADHD. As soon as I was growing up I had more intense relationships with sticks and horns and dirt than that I could remember. Were you aware dirt includes microscopic organisms which, via contact with our skin, raise levels of serotonin? No wonder I’m glad when I’m digging into the dirt!

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

As soon as I began the backyard in 2007, I’d be outdoors for six hours every day; my wife would wonder exactly what happened to me personally. While the backyard has always been a place for me to work through complex ideas and feelings within my everyday life, it eventually brought my wife and me nearer, even though she doesn’t garden like I do.

I remember one day when, walking the backyard, she insisted on studying some Latin plant names. After some time it was too much to take in, so she sat on the seat while I putzed around neighboring enjoying a spider weaving a web.

I could hear my wife muttering the Latin title for Joe Pye Weed, Eupatorium. “You-pa-tor-eeee-ummmmmmm,” she was saying, with fun pulling the final syllables. I’d won her over in the backyard like I had won her over on our first date.

Together we thrive in our native plant garden, in the same way the butterflies, birds and bees glide overhead and property on sunflowers and prairie dock, hungry for a place of belonging, a wildlife refuge in suburbia, a place to call home.

Do you grow plants indigenous to your region? Please discuss your own favorites!

More: Planting for birds and butterflies

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2 Washington Studios Give Artists Somewhere to Produce

Artists need time to think, daydream and let new ideas to create — Henry Thoreau’s greatest work was done in isolation at Walden Pond, and Vincent van Gogh painted many of his masterpieces while still glancing at the lavender fields of Provence. But finding that period can be hard.

Cyndy Hayward purchased a 14-acre plot of land in Oysterville, Washington, with the intent of turning it into an artists-in-residence colony to assist artists find their creative spark. Understanding it’s going to take time and money to complete her eyesight, she has begun slowly, first creating a little structure containing two studios next to her house. Architect Geoffrey Prentiss worked closely with her, creating a stunning, durable and high-functioning location as the beginning of her dream.

Studio at a Glance
Who works here: Artists at the Willapa Bay AiR program
Location: Oysterville, Washington
Size: 280 square feet
Cost: $75,000

Photographer: Michael Datoli

Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects

The 280-square-foot structure consists of two independent studio spaces with a carport, bicycle storage and a little bathroom in between. The artists remain in nearby cottages at night and work in the studio throughout the day.

Hayward chose durable materials that would fit into her budget and still look great. “Since the building was to house spaces which would be splattered with paint and materials, I knew I needed it to be simple and relatively cheap,” she says. “But style and design were crucial. I like to believe all structures are works of art”

Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects

The two studios are extremely close to the main property. The main home’s corrugated metal roof fits the roofing and running-seam siding around the studio.

Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects

When ceramics artist Sandy Bradley completed her residency, Hayward asked her to design these habit hand-painted concrete tiles to the studio sunny patio.

Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects

Garage doors on both sides of the studio could be opened completely for light and air. The wide opening also allows artists to bring large items in and out.

Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects

Prentiss installed polycarbonate sheet siding (Polygal) within the studio’s vulnerable framing. The translucent walls have been an inexpensive solution to the demand for good all-natural light. Windows would’ve added to the budget substantially; Hayward also knew they would occupy a lot of wall space which would be used for working and displaying art, and that the view may actually be a distraction.

Each studio has its own door which leads out to the terrace, so performers can take gaze and breaks upon the meadow.

The Polygal wall panels also helped to cut back on the cost of drywall and insulation. The studio is not a fulltime residence, therefore this compromise in substances functioned. But it will get cold in the winter, therefore Hayward equipped each studio with electric heaters, in addition to exhaust fans, electricity outlets, sinks with paint traps and art-grade fluorescent light.

More: Strategies for getting the most creative area you crave

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Get Together With Less Lawn — Ideas to Save Water and Energy

Lawns work nicely as busy playspaces for pets and people, and as circulation corridors through landscapes. As a result of their uniform color and feel, lawns often serve as a place for the eye to rest inside an area of visual strength.

But yards can be a drain on water resources, and they need regular mowing and fertilizing, and of course weeding and aerating. Most home landscapes offer lots of chances to produce colorful, engaging and more sustainable options.

Curious in lessening the amount of yard to take care of? Below are some ways that will help you study your landscape with fresh eyes and continue beyond the yard.

Phase One Landscapes

Eliminate yards where they struggle to survive. Get your yard from the deep shade or away from the dry slope.

Elevation Architects

It’s also a good idea to keep lawn away from the burning pavement — for example, the classic “hell strip” between the sidewalk and road, or the narrow space between the driveway and entry walk.

Goodman Landscape Design

Eliminate yards where they are hard to keep. Target narrow side yards, regions around shrubs and trees, and spaces smaller than 12 feet by 12 feet. Mowing, trimming, fertilizing and watering these small, awkward areas are difficult and time-consuming jobs.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

Remove yards where they aren’t used for active play or entertainment. Front yards are prime candidates for this treatment. These are typically smaller spaces which may get amazing no-lawn showcases.

Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture

The fashion of your own landscape that is no-lawn should reflect the design of your property.

Scott Brinitzer Design Associates

Replace small yard areas with a low-maintenance perennial ground cover. Small areas and the ones that are tough to access may best be served with this low-maintenance alternative. Once established, a bulk of ground cover has a simple, calming effect. Appropriate plant selection will eliminate mowing, decrease water consumption and radically reduce the need to fertilize — saving you time and money.

Choose a plant with multiseason interest: flowers, colorful foliage, winter feel. Some ground covers will tolerate a small amount of foot traffic, also. Creeping lilyturf (Liriope spp, zones 5 to 9), shown here, has a lush, grass-like look and can also be evergreen. Additional choices — depending upon your garden’s growing conditions — may consist of periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus, zones 4 to 9), creeping thyme (Thymus praecox, zones 4 to 9) or snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum, zones 3 to 9).

More crops to your pathways

The Garden Consultants, Inc..

Replace yards with bigger, decorative plants for even more visual punch and biodiversity. Larger spaces may go yard spare with mixed plantings of perennials, shrubs, grasses and trees. This kind of landscape renovation simplifies the monoculture problems that are inherent with yards. Greater plant diversity welcomes butterflies, birds and other wildlife, and promotes a more ordinary ecosystem in general.

Large yards are visual deserts. Replacing them with more varied plantings creates a feast for the eyes which creates attention and invites interaction with the landscape. Color, texture, form and fragrance — all of those backyard elements that we prize — can transform a boring lawn into a beautiful outdoor space.

Derviss Design

That is gardening on a bigger scale which takes planning and upkeep, certainly, but suitable plant selection can result in a joyful and more sustainable lawn substitute. Walkways or paths of stepping stone, as shown in this photo, can help organize these bigger spaces and invite exploration, also.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

Replace yards with edible plants to create your landscape more effective. You can not eat your yard, so why don’t you replace some of it together with vegetables, fruits and herbs? Yard areas which struggle to survive in warm, sunny areas may be excellent for food production.

Think beyond the 4-by-4 box and consider terracing and other structural enhancements to add visual weight and year-round interest to your backyard.

Paradise Restored Exterior & Landscaping Design

Huettl Landscape Architecture

Replace yards with collecting areas to enhance the way you live now. Not utilizing your yard for active play and gameswith? Create many different outdoor spaces in your landscape which take advantage of both sunlight and shade, are silent and intimate, or are big enough for the entire gang to enjoy.

Phase One Landscapes

Lush plantings, the sound of splashing water and the warmth of dancing fires are always welcoming. Comfortable collecting spaces are perhaps the very low-maintenance and water-conserving options for replacing your yard yet staying engaged outside.


Lawn Gone! : Low-Maintenance, Sustainable, Attractive Alternatives for Your Lawn: – $19.99

If you are inspired … Lawn Gone is a great resource to learn more on landscaping with significantly less yard, including how to eradicate existing yard areas. Additionally, it offers regionally proper plant ideas.

Tell us : Are you replaced part or all of your yard?

More: Are You Ready to Lose the Lawn?

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Basement of the Week: Family Friendly and A Man Cave Goes Chic

This formerly dark basement was kind of a guy cave, heavy on the cave. While the husband still wanted it to serve as his lair, he also wanted it to be a family-friendly spot he could enjoy with his wife, 12-year-old daughter, friends and extended family. “My clients wanted a room that was cool, modern and full of light, where they can hang out, watch movies, play games and entertain,” says interior decorator Arlene Lord. The basement also comprised their guest area, which needed to be more inviting for guests and brought up to code for security. Following is a glance at how Lord used light colors, light and reflective surfaces to brighten this up walk-out basement.

Basement at a Glance
Who lives here: A family of 3
Location: Portland, Oregon
Size: Around 1,700 square feet

Before Photo

The basement was a location where the family’s left wing furniture stagnated. “You will find five distinct stripes on the walls, and the space was dark, funky and had an unusual layout,” Lord says.

AFTER: The biggest room in the basement has three windows and a doorway to a terrace outside. Lord made the most of the pure lighting with light paint colors, and supplemented the daylight using a chandelier, recessed lighting and a mixture of table and floor lamps.

Lord made a custom sectional couch and comfortable leather wingback chair for film watching and relaxing. She commissioned photographer Steve Eltinge for its massive piece over the couch; it shows that a flock of birds flying over nearby Cannon Beach.

Sofa fabric: Kravet; side table, floor lamp: Arteriors

A visit to Pratt & Larson to pick out tile for the fireplace surround was rather fortuitous. “We wanted something fluid and organic here; I was pricing tile that turned out to be way too expensive and ran across this gorgeous slab of Calacatta marble,” Lord says. The shop had made a decision to quit carrying rock slabs and’d slashed the costs; Lord picked up this gorgeous slab for a once-in-a lifetime bargain price.

The husband is a techie and played a massive role in designing the wall of press built-ins, alongside the audiovisual pro, the cabinetmaker as well as Lord. Digital components are wired into a vented cabinet under the TV. The four drawers on the left are for bulky toys and games, while the upper drawers shop DVDs and CDs.

Side tables, table lamp: Arteriors; seat: custom made by Lord Designs; carpets: habit; window treatment fabric: Kravet

Lord Design

One piece of leftover furniture that the family has owned for years is that this lovely dining room table, which now serves as a game and puzzle table. The girl has dubbed the custom-designed banquette “The Arlene” after Lord. She likes to sit and watch movies while doing different things.

The Asian art on the walls and the statue are a nod to the 12-year-old’s proficiency in Mandarin, which she’s learned through a college immersion program.

Banquette fabric: Loose Leaf, Candace Olsen for Kravet; chandelier: Kravet; ancestral Asian art: Antiques and Oddities

Before Photo

Walls initially closed off a little room (about 7 by 12 ft) into the right of this staircase. Nobody wanted to invest time in here.

AFTER: Lord knocked down the wall and used the space for a fabulous wet bar. Because this area is nowhere near the pure light, she utilized artificial lighting, metallic reflective flooring tiles, Calacatta marble, white cabinets and a large mirror to maintain the light shifting around.

Painting: Stars Antiques, pub stools: West Elm, bar cart, table lighting: Arteriors; tile: via Pratt & Larson, stopped

She also scored this remnant piece of creamy Calacatta marble for another bargain at Pratt & Larson.

Along with the microwave and sink, you will find built-in refrigerator closets.

Before Photo

The clients have family on the East Coast and desired a guest room for cross-country visitors. In the previous guest room, “a giant, wonky closet [left] hardly left enough room to walk around the bed,” Lord says.

AFTER: Two built-in wardrobes on both sides of the headboard take the place of this closet. Drawers beneath the platform bed provide plenty of storage for linens. Now there’s also enough room to walk around the bed.

As it turned out, the prior guest area was also prohibited as a result of egress issues. Lord added a step concealed as a shelf beneath the window to bring it up to code, then additional floating shelves to help camouflage it.

Without room for nightstands, Lord made the bed to have a shelf behind the top of the headboard for reading lamps, publications and glasses. “I made a heavily tufted headboard to balance out the sleekness of this room,” Lord says.

Throw pillows: West Elm

The clients picked up this series highlighting Portland’s bridges at the Portland Saturday Market.

Before Photo

The husband is in a group, and this is his music room, which was quite dark and disheveled before the redesign. It also serves as an overflow guest room.

AFTER: “I upholstered the mattress to the daybed to give it more of a couch appearance,” Lord says. She also lightened the walls up and additional new window treatments, new carpeting and a brand new desk.

The wooden piece onto the side table is some sort of instrument — anyone want to hazard a guess about what kind or where it is from?

Before Photo

“The bathroom walls had a hideous texture. Smoothing the partitions made the largest impact in here,” Lord says.

Lord Design

AFTER: The metallic tile from the hallway and wet bar room stretch into the restroom, and newly smoothed white walls bounce the light around. The art over the commode also pays homage to Portland’s bridges.

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Basement of the Week: Amenities and Character Produce a Comfy Lounge

A creative couple wished to finish their walk-out basement using their own personal stamp and use it every single day. They desired an industrial vibe and plenty of room to enjoy the distance using their three college-age sons and their friends.

The finished basement features a bar, a sitting room, billiards, darts, a film room, a bathroom with a shower and a workout room. “I am friends with these clients, and I have been able to enjoy the basement since we completed it,” says the architect, Daniel Martin. “No one wishes to go to anyone else’s house!”

Basement at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple with 3 college-age sons
Location: Atlanta
Size: Around 1,250 square feet

Daniel M Martin, Architect LLC

The homeowners wanted the industrial appearance of stained concrete floors. And with a pool out back, concrete proved to be a sensible option, also.

A hallway leads to a movie room on the left along with a workout room on the right side.

Wall paint: Quietude, Sherwin-Williams

Daniel M Martin

From the film room, a large sofa offers enough room for the entire family to watch TV together. A rustic bricklayer’s coffee table and metal cabinets add industrial design.

Martin transferred ductwork into the border of the room and emulated the appearance on the opposite side for symmetry. The bottom ceiling height is about 7 feet, 4 inches; the greatest will be 10 feet. The ample cellar ceiling peaks were part of their 1990s house plans that are original.

Buzz, the Georgia Tech mascot, is a personal touch. One of the owners is a professor and bought one of those decorated mascots in an auction.

Daniel M Martin

“My clients are very inventive, and they like to do projects,” Martin says. They made the artwork on the wall with the school colours of all of the schools in which immediate family members have earned levels. The blank rectangle is holding a place for one of the sons while he picks a grad school.

The room also has a large window into the exercise room, which makes both spaces feel larger.

Daniel M Martin

The couple exercises each morning before work, and a bathroom with a shower lets them rinse down, also.

The dartboard (left) is in the end of the hallway between the film room and the exercise room.

Daniel M Martin, Architect LLC

Another window at the exercise room looks out to the bar area and beyond to the view outdoors. Again, Martin made a more cohesive ceiling by falling a soffit around the entire room to match the ductwork.

The floor in here is the original concrete slab, polished and coated with polyethylene.

Daniel M Martin, Architect LLC

“Working with a couple who had strong opinions about their likes and dislikes made things so much more interesting,” Martin says. “You can see their personalities and their taste throughout the space.”

Daniel M Martin, Architect LLC

Case in point: “Your husband is an engineer, but he is a real blue-collar man at heart,” Martin says. Originally from Philadelphia, he desired the bar area to have a corner-bar type of texture, thus the neon Pabst Blue Ribbon sign and reclaimed wood facing.

Daniel M Martin

Martin discovered the heart pine countertop from a reclaimed wood dealer; it’s from an old mill. The husband discovered much of the accent timber by a Dumpster. While out searching for furniture, he spied lost scrap timber supporting the store. He combined that with painted beam edges and other reclaimed boards to make the facing round the bar.

The bar contains a beverage cooler, a sink, an ice maker and a microwave drawer. The door on the right leads to the bathroom.

Daniel M Martin, Architect LLC

Across the room by the bar, the husband constructed a complete accent wall from the reclaimed boards; it warms up the space and adds to the industrial vibe. Track lighting highlights the wall socket.

Daniel M Martin, Architect LLC

Martin opened as much of the basement as possible into the windows, and only to the left of the border of this shot is really a sliding glass door. Swivel chairs make a comfy sitting area, and built in shelves hold books and board games. The couple’s collection of record albums is another touch.

“What’s great about celebrations in this space is that individuals can collect in smaller groups throughout the basement but still be collectively” Martin says. In a new Super Bowl party he attended, die-hard lovers watched in the film room while other teams gathered in the bar, played pool and chatted in the cushioned seats.

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