Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Backyard garden: vegetable garden inspiration

My backyard garden wishlist included a potager style vegetable garden. While a few raised beds would do the trick, a potager style garden is certainly more attractive yet still functional.

I showed a few pictures of potagers to my landscape designer last year and when I got back the two possibilities for my vegetable garden, I thought they were amazing. Then I sat on them for a while and my thoughts started to wane some. The design captured the aesthetic quality of a potager but without the practicality.

Landscape designer Plan A: with 4'x4' stepping pads

I had questions such as: why are the vegetable areas not raised beds? Why would I put a vegetable garden against my house and against my lawn? It was obvious that our designer was not the most keen on raised beds nor veggie gardening.

I wasn't too upset, this gave me time to practice my own design skills and see what I could come up with. My original pictures were gone but thanks to Pinterest I resurrected some new inspiration.

Photo P.Allen Smith: 
 What I love about this is the simple potager plan, the multiple raised beds with a center focal point, and the peat gravel walkways. Simple, rustic, yet attractive and functional.

I love the square focal point in the center of the raised beds, the twig trellis (while beautiful) is probably not doable for me, but the herbs and plants below create beauty.

 This seems to me a perfect use of a small space - appears to be 2 4x8 beds together in a corner. 
 While not "potager," still attractive and good space for plenty of vegetables.

Now I just need to lay out my own design and see what we can make out of it.

Monday, April 08, 2013


I saw a picture of a terrarium in a Crate & Barrel magazine a few months ago and thought, "What a great idea, i have to make one of these!" Unfortunately I was not the only one inspired: I can't open a magazine without finding pictures of terrariums. Now I'm the last person to jump on any bandwagon; however, I can't let "trendy" stop me from getting my hands into the dirt.

Crate & Barrel Inspiration picture

I searched the Internet for the best way to make a terrarium -- the combination of soil, pebbles, moss, charcoal, etc -- and found that there wasn't any 'right' way. At least, there wasn't any 'one' way. So, as is the way I usually roll, I am playing around here and time will tell if I made these correctly and they live to see another day.

In the end I made 3 terrariums: two with succulents and 1 non-succulent.

For the succulents, I planted:
  • A layer of small pebbles
  • A combo layer of potting soil and succulent soil into which I planted my succulents
  • A top dressing of some stones and moss (or just moss)

For the non succulent, I planted:
  • A layer of small stones
  • A layer of potting soil in which I planted my plant
  • A too dressing of moss to retain moisture