The design trend away from solid concrete to permeable walking surfaces has opened the door to fresh paving options. Smaller homes and yards make it possible to explore alternative, sometimes truly unique surfaces without breaking the budget. One of the most exciting is pebble mosaics, which utilize naturally rounded stones in various colors to create patterns and images. This technique predated Roman mosaics by a thousand years.
Inspired by ghost town bottle houses, the newest old idea in the modern landscape is building with bottles instead of recycling them. One of the most doable ideas is creating built in seatwalls. These are freestanding bottle walls that top out at about 18 inches tall, with bottles laid in mortar just like masonry units. This contemporary example not only demonstrates how tidy bottle work looks in the garden setting, this one is a carefully though out design. First they utilized only identical cobalt blue bottles. This allows them to be stacked as shown here, wi
Margaret Joplin’s work has a definite elemental appeal. Its celebration of steel and stone speaks of earth and industry and craftsmanship. You can almost hear the sounds of forge and fire, hammer and chisel. And the studied awareness of water apparent in her landscapes is simpatico with the Southwestern surroundings that trigger Joplin’s creative muse.
Charles Conn is a patient man. Others might have rushed to the garden center for a cartload of quick-fix annuals to tide them over until their new garden matured. But Conn has watched his native-based landscape gradually come into its own over the past four years, reveling as tiny columbine seedlings volunteered and a family of foxes set up housekeeping in the rock wall.
Garden expert Trisha Shirey of Lake Austin Spa Resort shares recipes from the herb garden.
Herbal Scouring Powder
A gentle and fragrant way to clean in the kitchen and bath.
½ cup baking soda
½ cup borax powder
¼ dried herbs, ground in a mortar and pestle
(Suggested herbs: basil, bay laurel, chamomile, lavender, peppermint, spearmint, scented geraniums, thyme)
Global warming is a hot topic these days, so to speak, and data and predictions continue to accumulate. Though a handful of scientists still debate the issue, an overwhelming majority of researchers say climate change is not only coming, it's already well underway. What can we expect? It won't be the same for everyone. A general overview of regional issues in the United States include a shortage of water in the West, warmer winters and less-frequent but more-violent precipitation events in the East, northward creep of hardiness zones and disruptions to habitat communities.
When Maryellen Hockensmith bought her home in the hills overlooking Portland, she considered it the chance of a lifetime. The house was a true gem — a midcentury Modern designed by Pietro Belluschi, which appeals particularly to Maryellen’s fiancé, Michael McCulloch, who is an architect. And the surrounding property was a pastoral 40 acres, literally — the former owners were sheep farmers, and the herd grazed just yards from the back door.
Landscape designer Jim Martinez has been creating water-wise, environmentally friendly gardens in Dallas and Marfa for more than 30 years. Surrounded by mountains, at an elevation of almost 5,000 feet, the Marfa plateau is subject to extreme temperature variations. “In winter, it can be 60 degrees in the day and drop to 15 at night,” Martinez says. “Selecting plants that are adapted to these conditions is the key to success.”
A Pennsylvania state representative and his wife wanted to test their theory that sustainability and style can go hand in hand. Seven years later, they have their proof.
In arid northern New Mexico, the climate can be a hard row — 300 days of virtually cloudless sunshine, blistering summers, freezing winters and a temperature difference between night and day of as much as 40 degrees. Not to mention the mere 12 annual inches of rain and snowfall combined, which makes water a precious commodity and much on the mind of even the average, non-gardening citizen of the state. Runoff might be a nuisance in some places, but in Santa Fe, every drop counts. Yet the tough, natural beauty and distinctive Southwest character of the region are spellbinding.