Tueday’s Find…a rusty jardinere

As you are about to find out…there’s a ‘contained’ theme to this week’s posts…

Rusty and wonderful, this moss lined planter is just the thing.   I’d pile it with more moss and ferns and put it in the shade.  It’s from Nantucket House Antiques on that most summery of islands…Nantucket in Massachusetts.



NYDC Outdoor Roundup

On the final day of Blogfest2011 we visited the New York Design Center (NYDC).  It is the oldest of the four major New York design showroom buildings.  Here’s a small round-up (I need to go back) of things I liked for gardens, outdoor rooms, terraces and patios.  All would look better outside than in their respective showrooms…I’ll leave how to use them up to your imagination!

Whimsical metal chair from Profiles
Rustic planter from Century Furniture
Lanterns from Global Views
Lounge Chair from Century Furniture
Albert Paley Candelabra at 1st Dibs
Steel Letters at 1st Dibs
Crocodile at 1st Dibs

I Want Sexy Outdoor Pillows…

I spent a frustrating few hours on Tuesday scouring local sources who specialize in outdoor accessories for some throw pillows.  I needed them to spruce up  a client’s furniture for a photo shoot.

What I found was abysmal.  There wasn’t time for custom…which is what I would have done as part of a project.  What was available was either too cutesy (think teenage girl) or striped or boring earth toned tropical foliage prints.  No sexy patterns or luscious colors.  There are options…I want sexy pillows made out of some of these outdoor fabrics from Schumacher’s Trina Turk collection…not boring stripes!  My clients want beautiful outdoor rooms and accessories…not what’s been available for the past 20 years!  They’re hip and young and want outdoor style that reflects who they are and that’s as far ranging and beautiful as their gardens.

All images via Schumacher Fabrics

Garden Designers Roundtable: Rock Stars

Last week I was at an event where more than 100 designers went mad for their industry’s stars.  I mean paparazzi mad.  Photo ops, flashes everywhere, one on one moments and book signings for all who wanted.  I lamented that the U.S. landscape design industry doesn’t cultivate that type of celebrity. We should.  If we did, and our greats were famous, we might get some of the lucrative licencing deals that architects, interior designers and even fashion designers get for outdoor products.

Here are three who work with stone in the Northeast who are deserving of even wider celebrity status than they already have.   They are artists and dry stone wallers.  They make the most rigid of materials fluid.  Their work dances across landscapes and their craft is slowly disappearing yet their work will stand for centuries.   They are our Rock Stars.

Lew French works on Martha’s Vineyard.  He uses stone in unusual and surprising ways.  Here’s a link to a profile done several years ago on CBS Sunday Morning.  He, like the NYC designers I saw, has big name clients and a book.

All photos above via Lewis French

Dan Snow works from his base in Vermont. He has written two books and the first, In the Company of Stone, has been in my library since the day it was published. There is also a film about his work called Stone Rising, The Work of Dan Snow.  He is a master at bending traditional techniques and making them into something else entirely.

Photo above via The Gardener’s Eden

Two photos above via In the Company of Stone

Andy Goldsworthy isn’t a dry stone waller. He is an artist who sometimes uses stone.  Yes, he’s British, but much of his work is here–he spent three years as a visiting professor at Cornell.  There are films and books galore.  Wall details the project shown below at Storm King Art Center.  This wall is legendary among local artisan masons.

Photos above via Susan Cohan

If you’d like to see Goldsworthy’s  last lecture as a visiting professor at Cornell, click here.

If you’d like to read our other posts on stone…this month Garden Designers Roundtable is thrilled to have guest bloggers Deborah Silver and Sunny Weiler blog along with us. Everyone’s links are below.

Deborah Silver : Dirt Simple : Detroit, MI

Sunny Wieler : Stone Art Blog : West Cork, Ireland

Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT

Douglas Owens-Pike : Energyscapes : Minneapolis, MN

Ivette Soler : The Germinatrix : Los Angeles, CA

Jenny Peterson : J Petersen Garden Design : Austin TX

Rochelle Greayer : Studio G : Boston, MA

Scott Hokunson : Blue Heron Landscapes : Granby, CT

Tara Dillard : Vanishing Threshold : Atlanta, GA

A quick stop at Chelsea…

Here are five previews of the Show Gardens at Chelsea that look interesting this year…more will come later this week when I’ve had a chance to digest all of the ideas that always surface.  Next year I’m going in person and I can’t wait!

The Cancer UK Research Garden– designed by Robert Myers

The Homebase Cornish Memories Garden–designed by Thomas Hoblyn

Laurent-Perrier Garden–designed by Luciano Giubbilei

The Principality of Monaco Garden–designed by Sarah Eberle

The Daily Telegraph Garden –designed by Cleve West






Blogfest 2011–The Elle Decor Concept House

Earlier this week I attended Blogfest 2011 in New York with 120 design and lifestyle bloggers.  We attended to learn more about design, publishing, resources and each other.  I was the only landscape designer in the group and that’s why I went–it’s important for me as a designer to continually look beyond my own discipline and push and stretch those boundaries.

At the end of the first day, we were invited to the Elle Decor Modern Life Concept House.  I headed out to the terrace before anyone else to get some beauty shots.  I was able to get some photos and speak with Todd Nickey, the designer.  Nickey partnered with Restoration Hardware to create a long and narrow urban terrace.

Long view of the terrace

Part of the space was contemporary and featured Extremis furniture (which I’ve written about here before) and the rest was much more traditional.  It didn’t work as a unified space.  It was overcrowded and chock- a-block with stuff.  Try and have a party out there and the humans would be squeezed.   The scale and flow outdoors is different than inside–even on a terrace.  That’s why  landscape designers need to work together with interior designers and architects to create seamless and appropriate spaces for total residential living–inside and out.

Opposite view of the terrace

I did like the contrast of the contemporary planters with the wood table,  Irish moss (Sagina subulata) and Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum) are a combination I wouldn’t have thought of.  I also liked the shots of sunny yellow throughout which did help to unify the long view.

Contrast of texture and color

I  flipped for these wing chairs from Restoration Hardware.  They were whimsical and fun.  I hadn’t seen them yet in person yet…although I might be tempted to paint them if they were mine…

Wingback Chair

I’ll probably post some more ideas from this experience next week but for now I have to catch up on work with clients and projects that I missed…




Tuesday’s Find…Brimfield Antiques Show

Last Friday I headed to Massachusetts to meet up with some designer friends at the Brimfield Antiques Show.  I was also shopping for garden furniture for a client and hunting.  I could have easily spent three days there was so much to see..and buy.  Beyond the obvious ironwork fragments, furniture and containers there were some really interesting and unusual things for gardens.  Here are three of my picks.

I really loved this table, but it was beyond my budget for the day.  The galvanized steel added an interesting textural element to it’s classic style.

Galvanized Steel 'Beidermeier' Table

The rusted industrial exhaust housings would make incredible wall sconces or…flip them upside down and use the brace for a pot and make them into wall planters.

Wall planters perhaps?

This one didn’t get away…I bought a painted steel and wood bench and matching chair.  They’re not in the garden yet, but they will be by the end of the week!

Yes, there's a matching chair!





Blogfest 2011

For the next three days I will be participating in Blogfest 2011 in New York.  It’s a behind the scenes event for design and lifestyle bloggers hosted by Kravet and Lee Joffa.

Kravet Outdoor fabric designed by Barbara Barry

Each day we will be treated to highly focused events focused on residential design. Monday will be spent with editors and publishers of some of the most recognized shelter/lifestyle titles in magazine publishing at their headquarters in the Hearst building.  It’s interesting to note that the tower was the first (2006) building in midtown Manhattan to achieve LEED Gold status from the USGBC.

Hearst Tower in NYC

I will probably be the only landscape/design designer, but all of the information translates easily outside.  Here’s what we’ll be doing on Monday…just click on each topic to see the details…and then on to two party events in the evening.

If you follow my Tweets @susancohan then you can follow along.  I’ll be posting here regularly on Tuesday (Tuesday’s Find…) and Wednesday (Foliage Partners) since technology allows me to appear to be cloning myself.  There may be some extras if I’m not totally exhausted!

Random or Not? Garden Inspiration

As usual inspiration comes out of the blue when I least expect it.  These two images were next to each other in a collection of random outdoor images I save.  At first glance they are two seemingly unrelated ‘garden’ spaces…or are they related after all?  You decide.

First an urban intersection…


Next a contemporary garden…

Contemporary Garden via Vulgare.net

To me the juxapostion speaks visual volumes.

Tuesday’s Find…wood strap finial

One of the many things I like about my weekly hunt for something interesting for gardens is that I always find something.  I never expect to find anything.  It’s what keeps me hunting.  Later this week I’m going to Brimfield for the first time since I was a kid, so next week expect some firsthand finds!

This week I’m intrigued by the sculptural quality of this wood finial.


Orb detail--lovely

It’s from the Scott Estepp Gallery in Cincinatti.

House and Home – Raffia End Page

The Canadian shelter magazine, House and Home got it almost right.  On the very last page of the May 2011 issue is a feature titled ‘Raffia’.  Picking up on multiple trends from several design disciplines–handmade, natural materials, neutral beiges and tans as well as lean modern design– it features them together.  What they could have also done was add a few plants and/or outdoor specific accessories for a total living trend. Here’s the post and some additions of my own…


The sedges are particularly suited to this idea….

Carex testacea

Peeling and exfoliating bark is another way to add plants to this idea.

Heptacodium miconiodes (Seven Son Flower)

Probably this easiest match would be many of the ornamental grasses…


Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'

I didn’t think that was so hard…did you?

Tuesday’s Find…garden swag?

This pair of architectural fragments caught my eye this week. These are not what you would typically think to use in a garden.

They’re carved wood so they would need a sheltered place to last any length of time, but I think they’re really crazy cool. Two immediate ways to use them could be as funky decoration on the front or bottom of a rectangular window box or wall hung planter.  OR I could use them on the outside of the two windows that face my patio from the garage…outdoor faux draperies?  The detail is extraordinary and they’re just so much fun!  They’re from Polly McArthur and Associates in Seattle…I’ll have to stop in when I’m there in July with the Garden Bloggers Fling!


Carved wood swags