Guest Bath

Remember this little guest bath re-do?

 Well, after using this room a bit,
I deceided that the wood top was just not practical
While sorcing stone for my kitchen I thought we should 
put a marble top on the vintage table 

The carrera looks great with all of the other tile 
and now the vanity seems more finished

There is also a 4 inch backsplash across the back which is better for clean up 
and any problems with splashing water

The ogee edge is a nice touch too.

I used this same ogee on the Carrera in the kitchen

The new top gives us a little more surface area to put things on 
while getting ready for work

This little guset bathroom is a really nice space 
and I'm happy with all of the details...especially the new marble top!

Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by!

More summer projects to come...


Garden Notebook Ideas

 Here is a peek at my Garden you can see it is a working diary

It is my road map...
it tells me what  actually went into the yard
and the main structure of the garden

It includes notations on irrigation, french drains,
 conduit stub outs for lighting etc.
as well as the planting guide

By the way,
 I am not a Landscape Architect
 nor do I have any formal training in landscaping or horticulture

I am a self taught gardener...
I read and I work hard

so guess what?  
anyone can do this too!!!

*note to self...get a good manicure STAT

 All of my drawings are included in the front part of the binder
with the initial lists of what I wanted to plant....
obviously this changed quite a bit as we progressed
but essentially the plan remains intact

These photos show my planting guides
divided into 5 main areas... this is just the front half of the property

 What I love about this reference guide, is that I can now re-work the beds as needed 
but still look back on the initial planting and see how we did.

 Actually we have lost very few plants and are now in the editing process.....what I mean is we are removing and dividing plants that just got too huge.

That is not a bad problem to have!

Our mantra this fall will be: divide and conquer

 Many landscape Architects 
really don't like to over crowd a garden 
and plant
 " can to can" 

But I purchased plants 
that I knew we could divide later
 in other parts of the garden 
as they matured
 Plant lists and
new purchases are all included
 My master plant list was huge 
and I worked on it for about a month before 
we actually ordered anything
 We actually had two phases of plant orders 
for the front 
as the main areas of the garden were finished
and ready to plant

Nothing ever sat around and got neglected or dry

Actually even today when I go tho the nursery...I only buy what I can plant in a day or two 
never much longer than that
Included in this binder are lots of visual references as well
I need to add some of my own photos too...which I think will be a nice addition

I hope this helps you to get a start on your own garden projects....


off to the garage for my pruners!

....yea it never ends


Ten Things to a Better Garden: Part Two

 Hey there fellow gardeners...thank you for the great comments on the last post!

Did any one notice that I left out #4? 
Obviously my head was in the compost bin while I was writing ....

 So here is # 4
Biodiversity and Sustainability

Essentially what that means is, when you create your garden you should give some thought as to how you can offer support to the Eco system by means of the variety of plants that you choose and creating  more diverse habitats for plants, insects, birds and other species. 

 The sustainability part is to choose plants that will grow for a very long time with out using tons of water, fertilizers and require a huge amount of effort.

I can't tell you how different my yard is now from three years ago...just by counting the number of different bird species that nest in my it's working!

 Now on to #6
Match the style of your garden to your house

I know this sounds really simplistic but we have all seen it right?...the house down the street that is a colonial style house but has a garden with 
a pagoda
 and a Buddha statue

You get the point!
 #7  Break it down

Create distinct areas or zones that you can manage and work on them until they are looking really great. 

It helps when you are shopping for plants'
 to know exactly where the plants will go 
and how they will be arranged,
 if you are thinking about just a specific area of the garden 
and not the whole yard.
 #8.  Create a garden that fits your lifestyle

Not everybody has the time, 
space or energy to have a big huge veggie garden or an orchard. 

I have gotten more joy from a tiny patch of front yard on a 30 foot lot...just planting and clipping and enjoying  a sunny day.

I never felt bad when I didn't have a big grassy back yard or a chicken coop....just garden with what you've got, even if its an apartment balcony!
 #9  What you don't see matters
 Drainage, soil prep and proper irrigation....
really boring stuff but it really is the key to a great garden.

We are constantly tweaking or irrigation system...I mean like every week, as the weather changes!

 Take the time to get your beds in good working order before you plant.  
Don't forget to use lots of organic amendments too! 

 If you have a vegetable garden,
 each time you start a new bed you will need to add soil boosters and compost to replenish the soil for really healthy vegetables.

 #10  Plan for the future

 Even if you don't know how long you will be in your current home it's nice to know that you did your best and that the things you did will be there years from now and enjoyed by others. 

When I am long gone I know this garden will still be here...that's really nice to know!

 I decided to add more more thing to the list....#11

Plant some thing to eat!


It is so fun to eat what you grow 
even if its just a little cherry tomato or an herb!

 So those are some of my ideas on how to create a really great garden!

On the next post I will show you how I have my binder set up and a few ideas that might help you set up one of your own!

Have a great day....and happy gardening!


Ten Things to a Better Garden: Part One

So many neighbors, friends and blog followers ask me what are the key things that  you have done to make your  garden so healthy and abundant.....
that's a  good question?!

So I thought about the top 10 things 
that I have done lately and actually over the last 15 years, 
that have made me a better gardener 
and why using those things have made 
  this  garden easier to manage
   more beautiful

here they are:

1.  Keep a master plant list

Throughout the process of this extensive landscape design
 I have kept lists of what we ordered, 
 how big the plants were & when we planted them,

ie. 1 gallon, 5 gallon, 24 inch box etc.
The list is organized by
 genius and species and also common name

I keep this list with my drawings of the landscape design in a binder 
and add little notes 
and ideas now and then.  

I continue to add things like bulb orders, 
notes on veggie seed packets that have worked well and when I planted certain specialty items that I wanted to bloom at a certain time during the year

 It sounds sort of silly, but I actually refer to my design binder
many times throughout the year 

It keeps me reminded as to what is actually working...
And how big certain plants have gotten 
and what I may want to change next year

I also read and re- read the Western Garden Handbook 
as well as many other great  books and publications from Master Gardeners, Fine Gardening and Garden Design

2.Use a Color Wheel

Just with interiors, color, texture and variety are key to a beautiful garden

If you're stumped about which colors work well together look at a color wheel. 

The color wheel shows you the most basic Primary, Tertiary and Secondary colors

Colors to the left or right of one another tend to work well together as do colors directly opposite of one another.

 And don't forget about playing up the beauty of  spectacular foliage like bronze tones and lime green, as well as variegated leaves.

My garden in Ojai has a distinct color pallet and I planned it that way
I never stray from it...ever

3.  De -Clutter

I love the messy  English style beds 
but I love an orderly mess

Let your plants do their thing and then clean up...
kind of like dealing with kids after they get going with boxes of play things
What we have found is that if we don't really stay on top of what needs to be done it gets away from us....really quickly

Today we cleaned out three large beds
We typically do a first of summer trim and clean out, 
after the big spring bloom starts to fade,
and then another big prune in the fall

We usually take  at least 2 full pick up loads full of garden debris and clippings 
to the organic re-cycle center each month
in exchange we get a discount on great compost!

We also have a triple bin composter which yields 
about 6 cubic feet of compost every month

TIP:  Get some good flexible buckets like these here...these are invaluable

Next to my felco prunners these tubs are my best buds

5. Outside of the neighborhood thinking

Go on as many garden tours, beautiful home drive-by's, 
nursery walks etc. 
as you have the time for 

And don't for get to use your parks, trails, wonderful hotels 
and garden shops 
as your inspiration

Many of these gardens are designed by our best and most famous landscape Architects and we can learn so much from them

Five more to come.... have a wonderful Weekend



New things in the shop here