Garden Trends in the Mall

Mall stores like Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel have made major investments in outdoor furniture and accessories, so I went to the mall to see what was new. Catalogs just don’t do it for me, I can’t see and touch the quality.

The only one of the three that had anything interesting was Crate & Barrel.  On trend as far as lifestyle and color, their selection made the neutrals at Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn seem dreary and tired. The pieces are very fairly priced for the level of quality. Here’s what I liked.

Vertical Pots Crate and Barrel

Colorful ceramic pots with iron hangers. Brightly hued ceramic bird houses.

Ceramic Birdhouses

From more of a merchandising perspective, bold pops of color combined with black and white.

Pops of colorAn entire gardening section with well designed tools and accessories.   I was disturbed though to find plant labels very similar to ones I had seen on Etsy. Not sure if the knock-off was intentional or not as it was a simple graphic idea.

Garden Tools and Potting Bench

My favorite piece of furniture this season is the classically inspired cast aluminum Union dining chair that comes in a matte charcoal finish or red!

Neutral color palette

union-red-dining-arm-chair-with-sunbrella-red-ribbon-cushionI can’t wait for things to warm up and get some pops of color outside!

Wear Your Veggies! Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2012

Rarely does an example of trends trickling up from gardens and landscapes include vegetable gardens!   Florals prints and patterns are common each spring– but veggies?  Timely and current with the uptick in vegetable gardening, Dolce and Gabbana’s Spring 2012 collection does just that.  Eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, onions and zucchini are bold faced prints on fun and pretty feminine clothes with a retro mid-century vibe.  Wear what you grow! Have fun! Mangia!

Photo credits:  All fashion photos via

Leaf Magazine…Design Outside

I have a HUGE announcement!  Rochelle Greayer of StudioG, Lynn Felici-Gallant of Indigo Gardens and I have been hard at work getting ready to launch a new digital magazine this fall!

LEAF will cover everything related to design outside and how we live our lives beyond our back (and front) doors.  Subscriptions are free and easy…just click the logo above and complete the two line subscription form on our homepage.

You’ll get an announcement in your emailbox with a link every time we publish…no spam–you have our promise on that!

You can also follow LEAF on Facebook and Twitter.


Garden Trend Watch: Rough Refinement

Last Thursday I scouted the Architectural Digest Home Design Show for outdoor furniture and accessories.  I wasn’t just looking for pieces, I was shopping the market for trends and innovations as well.  I found all three–great pieces, emerging trends and technical innovations that will ultimately result in new pieces and trends.  I will post what I found in all three categories over the next week or two, but today I’ll start with a trend forecast.

The most obvious of the emerging trends is something I’m going to call Rough Refinement.  It is the juxtaposition of rough hewn elements with sophisticated design and often other more industrial materials.  These pieces would be at home in a naturalistic garden as well as one that is cool and contemporary.

Douglas Thayer makes benches and other furniture from reclaimed materials and concrete.  The two shown here use ipe reclaimed from Coney Island’s boardwalk.

Reclaimed Ipe and Concrete

Board by Design had some beautiful rocking chairs, but I liked these Japanese inspired lanterns fabricated from blocks of elm and powder coated steel the best.

Japanese Lantern

In a similar vein, architect Eugene Stoltzfus’ Hercules IV table would be at home on a patio or in a secret woodland garden.

Hercules IV table

Last in this trend is the continuation of recycled fragments and industrial parts that are turned into furniture.  Although this has been popular for several years, Arms and Barnes twisted the Rough Refinement idea adding the natural after the industrial with tables made specifically for growing moss that incorporated found pieces and new concrete.

Moss tables

The NY Times alluded to this as a fashion trend this week which I read after I wrote this piece.  Next up will be some furniture and object picks…



In my Reader…Nowness

Just reading this uber-chic blog makes me feel cool.  Impossibly hip, Nowness is the daily blog from LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.  Well written and beautifully documented, its exclusive content comes from a wide range of contributors and is definitely luxury based.  Covering fashion, food, art, film, music, design, travel and sport it is surprising in it depth. Nowness aims to be an interactive hub for all things luxury NOW.  It’s totally unlike any other blog I’ve ever read and that’s hard to do since I read a lot of them–the images alone are worth a look.

All of the images below have are from Nowness in the past month.  How’s that for being current?

Sophisticated color outdoors
Winter Polo in St. Moritz
Fairy Tale Illustration by fashion designer Christian LaCroix

Tents and sky

The makings of mescal

2010 Top 5 Posts–Yours!

I’ve never done a “top”  list before.  I was interested in what everyone was here was reading so I took a look at the numbers.  As a landscape designer I’m interested in trends–self generated as well as user generated. The list below is a nod to the best of list tradition–not mine–yours.  Click each the first few words of each description to go to that post.

An exploration of India’s potential influence on garden styles.  The Raj ruled this post.

5 things that influenced me as a landscape designer in 2010.

Ideas on color in garden design…no I wasn’t talking to myself.

Thoughts and ideas about sustainability in garden and landscape design.

A love song to the amazing architecture in Buffalo.

Garden Inspiration | Garden Designers Roundtable

I graze across disciplines, media and firsthand experience to feed my ever growing habit. Here are five (of the many more) ideas from the past year that have inspired me.  Some have been included in previous posts, others on my FB page, and still others are new to this post.  All have contributed to the whole that is my constantly evolving design aesthetic that needs feeding, feeding, feeding.  After all, I’m a self proclaimed inspiration junkie omnivore.

French fashion icon Jean Paul Gaultier teamed up with green wall whiz, Patric Blanc to create a runway statement.  No longer flat, the idea of designing a garden for vertical, undulating and moving surfaces intrigues me.

Fashion and garden synergy

Great and inspiring retail was the subject of a post entitled They Give Great Shop after a trip to Berkley last winter.  I still find myself thinking about objects and textures I saw at Artefact.


Industrial and natural textures collide

Gardens don’t have to be a static thing or relegated to traditional containers.  Taking a garden along with you rather than going to your garden is a new way of thinking for me.  Here are two that inspired that idea.

Movable gardens from Urban Buds


French company Bacsac on the move

I have always loved the movies.  Inception was a visual feast and made me think harder and look harder to see beyond what I think I’m really looking at.   Oh, that spinning top.

Inception challenged perception

Travel feeds my inspiration appetite. The 1st was reviewed in Artiface and Artifacts.  The 2nd is from a trip to Dallas.  Right now I am inspired by juxtaposing traditional and contemporary with artifice and naturalistic design.



There is so much more…architecture, industrial design, interior design, graphic design, just about anything Dutch, plants, pop music, performing arts, museum shows, books, people, current events, pop culture…and then there’s augmented reality…but that would be a book instead of a blog post–wouldn’t it?

Want to be inspired by the other Roundtable contributors?  You can pick up their links…

Andrew Keys : Garden Smackdown : Boston, MA

Carolyn Gail Choi : Sweet Home and Garden Chicago : Chicago, IL

Douglas Owens-Pike : Energyscapes : Minneapolis, MN

Ivette Soler : The Germinatrix : Los Angeles, CA

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO

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

Pam Penick : Digging : Austin, TX

Rebecca Sweet : Gossip In the Garden : Los Altos, CA

Rochelle Greayer : Studio G : Boston, MA

Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : East Bay, CA



Garden A Go-Go

In an odd alignment of  things, one of the emerging trends in both fashion and landscape design is based on 1960s mod, so I thought I’d explore some of the possibilities for gardens starting with a groovy magazine cover as inspiration.

Harper's Bazaar Cover c. 1966
Harper's Bazaar Cover c. 1966

This is not a retro trend, we aren’t going to recreate Mad Men in the garden–although thinking about that idea is fun…60s Pop is clean and modern and draws from both vintage and contemporary sources.  Fun yet sophisticated color, shiny surfaces, and space age shapes for garden accessories are dominant  with plants adding texture and more complex layers of color.

Bertoia chairs from Knoll
Bertoia chairs
J. Schatz birdhouse
J. Schatz birdhouse
Bauer Pot
Bauer Pot

Since this is a trend for gardens, plants are still primary players.  I first saw these plants at the 2009 APLD International Landscape Design Conference in Portland, Oregon last summer.  The exuberant colors of these 2010 perennial introductions–all from Terra Nova Nurseries— illustrate just how up-to-the-minute and trendy  A Go-Go garden can be.

Yucca 'Bright Star'
Yucca 'Bright Star'
Echinacea 'Tangerine Dream'
Echinacea 'Tangerine Dream'
Geum 'Eos'
Geum 'Eos'
Heuchera 'Shanghai'
Heuchera 'Shanghai'
Heleborus Winter Jewels 'Golden Lotus'
Heleborus Winter Jewels 'Golden Lotus'
Pulmonaria 'Silver Bouquet'
Pulmonaria 'Silver Bouquet'

In all of this, I can’t ignore the gardener…there’s always, in my mind, other fashion decisions to be made in the  60s Pop A Go-Go garden so I’ll be wearing these.

Doc Martens
Doc Martens

Have a happy and safe holiday week.  Miss R will be back after dancing the mashed potato for Thanksgiving.

Photo credits:  Top to bottom:  Harper’s Bazaar cover | Harper’s Bazaar; Bertoia Chairs | Knoll Studio; J. Schatz Egg Birdhouse |J. Schatz; Bauer Pot | Bauer Pottery; Dutchtub | Dutchtub; All plant portraits: Photos courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.; Doc Martens | Doc Martens