Tuesday, May 12, 2015

10 inspirational window boxes

When I started this blog, my very first post was on inspirational window boxes. I love window boxes because they allow you to be so creative. Whether they are hanging on your home or on your deck, I think they are a lot of fun to work with.

Unfortunately, I don't have a house that lends itself to window boxes and I don't have a deck in my hard. Consequently, I have to indulge my love for window box planting by looking at other people's boxes and I just dream.

Here are a few more inspirational window boxes that I've come across.

1. Basically, this one is filled entirely with greenery. 

2. This one uses the window box for a fairy garden. More more fairy garden ideas check out 13 inspirational fairy gardens you can plant.

3. Here's another window box fairy garden.

4. This one uses a lot of different elements.

5. I love hydrangeas but never would have thought to put them in a window box.

6. Another fairy garden flower box. This one is show on a deck.

7. Here's another deck flower box, which uses more green plants than flowers.

8. I like the idea of adding some tropical plants to the flower box.

9. This window box features 50 shades of green.

10. This box combines a little bit of everything from plants to flowers to a little green friend.

Share your favorite window or flower box.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

8 creative architectural features to add to your backyard

If you are looking to raise the bar on your backyard this year, try adding an architectural feature like a water feature, light feature or hardscape.

Here are a few ideas I picked up from the recent Chicago Flower & Garden Show.

1. This is an enormous water feature but you won't have to go that big if you didn't have the space or the budget. Just take a portion of this idea as your inspiration and go form there. The takeaway here is that you have a large fountain that pours water into a large bowl that overflows into another, etc. You can use use one portion of the idea and create a nice waterscape in your yard.

2. Here is an innovative take on a fire pit. It is almost a hardscape sculpture garden combined with a fire pit, so let's call it a firescape. Small, creative and not too difficult or pricey to replicate.

3. If you have a tiered yard or a raised flower bed or planting bed, you can create this water feature without too much difficulty.

4. We all have seen people climb rock walls, but how about using a real rock wall as an outdoor "room divider"? Perhaps you want to block off unsightly garbage cans from the rest of the yard or perhaps you want to have a backdrop to your grilling area or bar. If so, consider creating a rock wall using chicken wire and large river rock. 

5. Raised flower beds and decks. The two just go together beautifully. This example isn't on a deck, but it could be. Flower beds are easily added to deck designs and when you integrate a bench, you create a cozy, tranquil setting.

6. You usually use wood chips, like above, pea gravel or pavers for garden or backyard walkways, but when I saw this treatment of faux split logs, I loved it. They are faux logs so they will last a long time but they look like a rustic wooden walkway.

7. Here's another war feature that is big on plants and rocks. The water feature is actually quite minimal in this example. Can you imagine this in your backyard?

8. Whether you have a large yard or a small one, remember to use light to your advantage. Colored lights, color-changing lights, spotlights or strung party lights can all create a wonderful ambience in your yard for evening entertaining.

Here you can see how a very large water feature uses light to create a different atmosphere.

Please share your ideas for creative backyard architectural features.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

6 space-saving planters for container gardening

It is planting season and if you are looking for unique containers to plant your garden or if you don't have much space and need to consider a vertical garden, check out these that I found at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show earlier this spring.

1. I think this is one of my favorites...old tree stumps, if you have them, make great planters.

If you don't have an old tree stump, you can use the next best alternative. A faux log, which I found at Wayfair.

2. I like the idea of planting an herb garden in a raised planting box or window planter. It is roomy enough to have several herbs and it is convenient because you don't have to do a lot of bending to harvest your herbs. Plus, it just looks cool.

 3. I like these vertical gardens from Lil' GRO. They are compact and will make a statement in your yard or on your balcony. They come in all different sizes depending how much gardening you want to take on. The planting trays come in different colors, too, so you can match them to your decor.

4. Here's another one from Lil' GRO that is just a single planter. Even the small unit looks nice so if you just want to try an herb garden or plant a few flowers you can do it, even if you live in the city on the 10th floor and only have a small balcony.

5. Lil' GRO is all about vertical gardening so even if you don't have a lot of space, you can still garden with flowers or veggies and herbs.

6. This planter is cute and creative and it uses a small charcoal grill. I'd start with a relatively clean one, however. I think my old Weber kettle may be a bit too rustic for a design on this.

What are your best ideas for container gardening in small spaces?

Friday, May 1, 2015

Decorating with glass: infinite possibilities throughout your home

If you think of glass, specifically art glass, as something only for windows, lamps and coffee tables, think again.

Sheri Law Art Glass, located in the Chicago suburb of Homer Glen, can do anything with glass. Law has been in business since 1980 and you can tell she knows her craft. Her work is magnificent and her creativity knows no bounds. Do I sound like a fan? Well, I am and I'll tell you why.

If you read this blog, you know that I asked Law to create privacy in a bathroom window and then, later, add some pizazz to a window on a stair landing. So impressed were we with her work that we called on her again for two more windows...decorating a front bedroom window and adding some privacy to the lower half of another bedroom window. (I may write more on that later.)

Now, reading this, you might get the impression that Law does just stained glass for windows, but that's not the case. In fact, her world of expertise is art glass; the term "stained glass" is too limiting for what she does. My taste runs more traditional, so I opt for more traditional stained glass applications, but if your taste runs more contemporary, modern or transitional, she has dozens more applications that will amaze you.

Applications for Law’s art glass are limited only by your imagination. She has done everything from glass doors including theater, pantry, cabinet, refrigerator and shower doors to bar mirrors, tabletops and countertops, backsplashes, wall art, fireplace art and much more. 

Her showroom and her home above it are works of art and while there, you can see exactly what she can do, along with her talented staff, with a simple piece of glass.

Here are some photos of her own home that she shared with me.

Here's her bathroom. Notice the edged swirl on the mirror. The countertops are carved and back painted. The shower door is a sliding glass barn door. Inside the shower is a panel of dimensional fused glass. It is all so elegant.

Copyright Sheri Law Art Glass
Law's kitchen is a work of art. We'll start at the left of the photo and move to the right. First, you see carved and backpainted metallic leaf doors (one on either side of the stove, which we'll talk about later); these doors hide the refrigerator. On the right side of the photo, those gray glass doors are actually carved and backpainted glass doors that hide her pantry. The island overhang is a sheet of glass on top of wood that has a backpainted gray border to match the pantry doors.

Copyright Sheri Law Art Glass
 Here's the kitchen from another angle.

Copyright Sheri Law Art Glass
Look at the backsplash above her stove. She used dimensional fused glass to get this look. Instead of a simple tile backsplash, hers is a work of art that becomes the focal point of her kitchen.

Copyright Sheri Law Art Glass

And that's just the beginning! Her dining room floor is glass as is her coffee table and fireplace mantle. Her windows feature art glass and the list goes on and on.

To fully appreciate it all, you just have to pay Sheri Law a visit at her Homer Glen, Ill. showroom. If you decide to pursue a project, you'll sit down in her studio and start designing your masterpiece with Law.

It's a fun process and you won't be disappointed.