Gilded Garden

Trend Watch: The Gilded Garden

Opulence isn’t a dirty word.  After years of frugal garden and DIY design options ie. the pallet craze and other recycled madness, many (including me) are ready for a sense of luxury.  Small and large, these indulgences give hope to dreams and aspirations inside and out.  An emerging trend points in that direction for outdoor details and can be realized by those who prefer  DIY options as well as those who don’t.

Gilded Garden

The Gilded Garden is about gold surface treatments.  Aged with the patina of use and slightly rustic, its roots are in other design disciplines, notably architecture, fashion and furniture.

Gilded Garden Inspiration 2Natural elements take on a completely different look when gilding is applied.  They are jewelry for the table or garden.  This can be done with paint, gold leaf, or other products such as Rub and Buff which are readily available online and in craft stores with easy to follow instructions.Gilded Garden Pots

Pots and other vessels are the easiest thing to give the Midas touch.  Fences, statuary and other garden accessories become more than supporting players when given a bit of gilding. The difference in this look is its restraint.  Even when a large element is a glittering focal point, the Gilded Garden has accents of gold that delight, rather than taking it over the top.

Gilded Garden Inspiration 3

If you are looking for some more inspiration, try my Pinterest board, Gilt Complex.  I’ll see you after the holidays. Enjoy them with friends and family!

Image Credits (top to bottom/left to right) Givenchy –Trek Earth
Neiman Marcus –
Martha Stewart Weddings-
Abbey & Morton/
Ellen Johnston, APLD-
Design Sponge/
VXLA via Flickr-Red Online-Ethnically Chic



Garden Designers Roundtable: A Fashionable Address

I’ve often said the least expensive way to spruce up or create a dramatic space is with stain and paint. It’s so inexpensive that if you don’t like it, you can afford to change it. Pair that with one of the most neglected areas of the landscape–house numbers–and there’s a multitude of fun, frugal and fashionable solutions.

Here are a few of my favorites. There are scores of DIY hints on how to do this yourself, so follow the links if you want specific instructions.

I love the addition of the No. in these two examples.

The image above is from Nesting Notions, but really great, easy to follow instructions with pictures can be found here.

There are lots of variations on the pots above. Easy to follow instructions can be found here.  Martha Stewart also has some for non-painted terra cotta planters.

For a more contemporary look, super graphics can be fun and can add to what otherwise might be stark architecture.

painted house numbers

Australian architects ODR broke up the monotony of these courtyard walls with a bold super graphic house number.  The choice of a traditional serif font here is important.  There are many, many choices for letter styles…choose carefully!

 An otherwise drab urban wall in enlived by this super-sized yellow digit!  via new focus

Large numbers can also work in a more traditional setting, but the font has to be appropriate to the place, so remember to choose carefully and  if you don’t like it you can always paint it over.  This one from Shelterness uses the same techniques found in the first set of numbers, but uses a much larger stencil.

If you’re really, really brave and the setting is appropriate, this uber sized address is a possibility. On the Offspring store in London.  The image is from Pinterest.

Super graphic address number

More inspiration for house numbers of all kinds can be found on my Pinterest board What’s Your Number and other designer’s Cheap and Chic ideas for your garden can be found on from these other Roundtable designers:

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK\

Andrew Keys : Garden Smackdown : Boston, MA

Deborah Silver : Dirt Simple : Detroit, MI

Rochelle Greayer : Studio ‘g’ : Boston, MA

Leaf Magazine

The State of Garden Things

December is a strange month – a holiday cocktail blended from the current year, the past year, and the next.  It’s hard to ignore, so I won’t.  This year I have revealed my Dirty Little Garden Secret, finished a large and glorious landscape design project that will be photographed next year (you have to be patient), and continued to work with a fabulous group of people to grow Leaf magazine into a publication that has been embraced by design enthusiasts everywhere.  Since I already wrote about the first, and will write about the second next year, that leaves Leaf.

Of anything I’ve worked on in the past several years, and most of my projects are somewhat collaborative, Leaf has been the most satisfying and simultaneously the most challenging.  Rochelle and I started out to make the magazine that we wanted to read never really thinking that hundreds of thousands of others (92K this month so far…) would also!  The warm embrace of the design community has been driving us forward to make each issue all that it can be, and more than the each of the previous ones, but there is so much potential for more.

Leaf Magazine
Leaf makes a great holiday gift!

We started Leaf on a shoestring, with a super small, super enthusiastic staff (shout out to Lynn, Marti and John) with a virtual office and have grown to the extent that we realize we can’t do it all by ourselves—we need more help! (Remember the super mom syndrome? That’s me.)  There is so much more we can do to grow Leaf into the must use platform for all things related to ‘Design Outside’ but we have to grow and stretch and grow to do that.

So we are actively looking for possible financial partners/publishers/audience builders/tech gurus who want to ride along with us on this remarkable journey.  Know someone with expertise?  We’d love to hear from them.  Just email me at scohan at leafmag dot com.  I promise I’ll answer!

Oh, and if you’re looking for a great holiday gift…subscriptions to Leaf are still free!

Garden to Table DIY

Garden to Table- Simplfy the Holiday DIY

I have so little time this year for holiday DIY projects that I’ve been looking for super simple ideas.  I always lean to those that can use seeds pods, cones and whatever else I already have on hand.

Here’s one that could be done with a huge variety of berries and napkins…I have some handwoven ones a friend made and some berries just outside the window…

Garden to Table DIY

This also makes me think I need to plant more things just for this season…things with berries and seed heads that will persist into the winter. The berries above are Charming Fantasy Snowberries from Monrovia.  The napkin image is from Pinterest.