October 2020


Starting a garden at home is not easy, but with the right methods and discipline, you can reap the fruits of hard work in no time. Everything is now possible with gardening tools and the right gardening products, from floral gardens to vegetable farming. As a beginner, you can struggle to find the right methods to start gardening. But when you break down your gardening project into small tasks, it will ease your backyard gardening. If you are planning to start your backyard gardening today, it is only a matter of time that you can get good results when you follow these steps.

Know what you are planting

Decide what plants you want to and can grow in your backyard, from vegetables to flowers and herbs. Based on your choice of plants, you should see whether your garden meets the requirements to grow them. Understand your backyard’s topology to make sure that it is suitable for the type of plants you want to grow. One easy way is to start small, and then make changes in your gardening based on your results.

Pick a spot

Pick a spot

Are you planning to covert your entire backyard into a vegetable garden? Or you want to use only a space of it to try out your hobby? You need to make sure that the spot you choose for gardening has at least 6-8 hours of sunlight that most of the vegetables and flowers will require. It is not a  problem if your garden is shady. You can still grow herbs such as ferns and hostas that can grow without sunlight. Take the help of a local gardener to pick the right place for your garden.

Clear the ground

When you are ready to dig, check that everything around is cleaned properly and has a designated boundary. Clean up the weed and unnecessary sod that is covering the gardening area. Slice under the sod and create slices to make it easier for them to be removed. You can use this for creating compost later. When you are starting early, cover the entire garden area with five sheets of newspaper and cover it with compost at least five months before. Wait for the newspaper to decompose to give you a rich bed ready for gardening.

Treat the soil

Treat the soil

The vegetables can use as much fertile soil as possible. Sometimes the soil can be too acidic, alkaline, wet, or just poor quality. You can add more organic matter to it and fill at least 2-3 inches of layer (leaves, dry grass, old manure, and compost products). If you do not want to dig the bed to add the organic matter, simply spread it over and wait for it to settle down and become one with the soil. Earthworms will do most of the mixing of compost with the soil. Take samples from your soil for testing to find out how good it is for gardening.

Fashion is about clothing, but it’s also about conveying ideas, attitudes and personal style. The same can be said of our homes. In fact, when perusing fashion magazines, we often focus on the furnishings that set the stage, because every great outfit deserves a great interior. With those backdrops in mind, we looked to our friends in fashion—jewelry, clothing and accessories—for a little design inspiration. The result is a vanity room with sparkling walls, a tweedy lounge and a dark chocolate dressing room with a glamorous edge.

Wall Covering Maya Romanoff, available to the trade through Jane Piper Reid & Company. Box, Vanity, Chair available to the trade through Baker Knapp & Tubbs. Wall Mirror New Dimensions Frame & Mirror. Pendant Light Lighting Universe. Scarf, Nude Pearls Butch Blum. Pewter Cup Stuhlbergs Fine Home Accessories. Mirror, Tableware, Beauty Products Essenza. Home Perfume Anthousa Home Ambiance, Great Jones Home. Gold Rings Kimberly Baker Jewelry. Panel Ribbon Taffeta, Gretchen Bellinger, available to the trade through Trammell-Gagné. Cocktail Ring, Watch, Glass Pearls Fini, (206) 443-0563.

Coat Rack Retrofit Home. Jacket, Tie Butch Blum. Sneakers Gems Sneakershop. Scarf Mario’s. Chair, Pillow, Table Inform Interiors. Martini Glass Area 51. Bowl, Tray, Top Book Velocity Art & Design. Books, Coffee Press, Mug, Light Seattle Art Museum Shop. Rug Diva.

Curtain, Rug Diva. Mirror, Tables, Boxes available to the trade through Michael Folks Showroom. Screen Newman Studio, available to the trade through Trammell-Gagné. Lamp Base Piano Nobile. Lampshade Lit Shades. Ottomans, Tray Revival Home & Garden. Feather Wall Ornament Whimsy Home Décor & Unique Gifts. Women’s Fashions Mario’s.

Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend
Our elegant vanity was inspired by an ongoing fascination with lace, the popularity of the Swarovski Kiosque bag and other crystal embellished designs—mixed metals, dusty pinks and the return of classic glamour. Fashion loves these things, and we do too.

One of the best parts of going out is enjoying the ritual of getting ready. Barbara Barry’s ultrafeminine dressing table celebrates the experience with pure 1940s glamour, and her curvy tufted chair adds a perfect touch. Flexible glass-bead wall covering from Maya Romanoff’s Bedazzled collection in “Pearlie” echoes the quiet luster of beautiful nude pearls, while a Geode pendant light from the Geometrix collection by Schonbek shines with Strass crystal by Swarovski in rosy taupe. It’s a brilliant match with a glittering cocktail ring and the glow of gold. Reflected in a silver-framed mirror, Gretchen Bellinger’s ribbon taffeta reveals the rosiest point of view. Baker Knapp & Tubbs’ mosaic bone box offers a perch for an antique mirror, pretty bottles and other vanity-top decorations. For the finishing touch, Anthousa Home Ambiance Perfume graces the space with a fragrant infusion of vanilla, grapefruit and blood orange.

Masculine Textures
Classically inclined lines are a dominant and growing trend in menswear, albeit with a brand new twist of cool—tailored attire with sneakers—or a dash of unexpected color. defines it as “Trad and True.” We just call it good-looking.

With menswear on our minds (and a Luciano Barbera car coat in our garment bag), the tweedy texture of Kvadrat’s Hallingdal upholstery by Danish designer Nanna Ditzel was irresistible—especially on Arne Jacobsen’s iconic Egg Chair, originally designed for the lobby of the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen in 1958. With a nod toward a traditional wing chair, the Egg’s molded shell offers a cocoonlike respite with a tilt mechanism that swivels.

For our haberdashery theme, pillows in British fashion designer Paul Smith’s “Bespoke Stripe” for Maharam look tailor-made. A Kasthall “Esther” rug completes the ensemble with a great-looking marbled effect in linen and wool. Combining ancient weaving methods with modern yarn techniques, the Kasthall ethos celebrates tradition while constantly moving in new and exciting directions. It’s the same attitude found in the snazzy pair of PF Flyers at the foot of the chair. This classic American sneaker brand is going on 70, but it isn’t standing still: Japanese houndstooth keeps it fresh—and we painted the walls to match the crinkled patent goatskin.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Will Never Die
In 2008, designers referenced everything from haute bohemian influences to refined rock ‘n’ roll. Whether in Paris, Milan or New York, embellishment was big: feathers, fringe and studded detail. And the most chic of the fashion flock wore brown with black.

For this sumptuous dressing room, our muse was a print dress by Dolce & Gabbana, its palette of chocolate, black and white inspiring layers of rich visual texture throughout, including a dramatic black fringe curtain by Ado and the beautifully mottled tonal variation of a hand-tufted linen rug by Kasthall working wonders on the floor. We love the play of color with the ceruse oak “New York” screen by Newman Studio. A Cortez mirror, supported by a pair of Carioca end tables, anchors the room with a handsome focal point. Studded ottomans complement the mirror’s embellished frame, adding a pop of bright white for visual punch.

Our final accessory? A feathered wall adornment for a fanciful flourish. After all, when your décor is inspired by fashion, there’s always room for a little fun.

Jenna and Jonas Sylvester moved into their 1951 Magnolia home in 2004. Eighteen months later, they had developed some clear ideas of what worked and what didn’t—and because they were expecting their first child, they knew they needed to expand their living space beyond the two-story home’s 2,300 square feet.

“We loved the house but never enjoyed the experience of being outside,” Jonas recalls. Even when he put time and energy into mowing and yard work, he says, the lawn still didn’t look good.

“We’re outdoor people,” Jonas says. “We wanted outdoor spaces we could really use.” For Jonas, that means being able to watch sports on TV without the guilt of being inside on sunny days: “When you have good days [in Seattle], you have to make the most of it.”

When they brought in landscape designer Scot Eckley, the Sylvesters had a lengthy wish list that included a modern, fresh design aesthetic (Jenna is a graphic designer), “straight edges and clear definition” (Jonas didn’t want to mow around meandering garden edges), and what Jenna calls a “lounge element.”

In addition, they needed a yard for their children; daughter Zoë is now 3 and son Chase is 9 months. “Zoë loves to play soccer, [so] we had a good grass requirement,” Jonas says. And they also needed to stay within a budget.

The Sylvesters had recently finished a kitchen remodel when they hired Eckley, and he says that project gave him a good appreciation for their bold use of color and modern sensibilities. “The renovation of the house really helped to set the tone for the garden,” Eckley says. In addition, he says the backsplash of narrow horizontal Small Zen Weave tiles from Ann Sacks inspired his decision to incorporate horizontal, linear elements in the landscape design. Another influence was a residential garden in San Francisco designed by California modernist Thomas Church that Eckley remembered from studying landscape architecture at the University of Washington.

Eckley managed to fit all of the couple’s desired elements into less than 1,800 square feet, including a trellised seating pavilion with a window to hold Jonas’ television, a spacious patio for barbecues and a 20-foot square of green grass.

To satisfy Jenna’s desire for a place for backyard lounging, Eckley created an 18-inch-high rectangular concrete platform with a recessed natural-gas fireplace. On sunny days, the fire pit can be covered with ironwood planks, and custom Sunbrella fabric-covered cushions turn the platform into a perfect spot for sunbathing.

An existing rockery that angled across the northwest corner of the property posed another challenge. To eliminate the expense of removing the rocks and excess earth, Eckley designed around them. “We turned the garden on the diagonal, so we could nestle the pavilion space and the patio space in and didn’t need to move the rockeries,” he explains. “That allowed us to shift the focus of the garden, and everything became about looking toward the lawn and the views outside the garden.” It also introduced the straight lines Jonas wanted.

“Scot created more energy by turning it on a 45-degree angle,” Jenna notes. “That gave it a more dynamic feel.”

Staying within a budget led to several other creative decisions. A new wooden fence panel at the west side of the lot masks the rockeries and serves as a backdrop for the patio, fireplace–lounger platform and lawn. A fiberglass planter painted vibrant red sits at the end of the lawn against the fence, serving as a focal point from the window above the kitchen sink. Rather than replacing an old wooden fence along the south side of the property, Eckley covered it with metal panels that have rusted to a rich reddish brown. Subtle, raised horizontal ribs on the panels continue the lines that keep the eye moving around the garden.

Instead of excavating the backyard, Eckley’s construction crew built up about 6 inches for the new patio and lawn area. They jackhammered the old concrete patio and took the pieces to Bedrock Industries to be recycled.

Eckley’s crew built a panel to cover the electrical meter, cable box and downspout on the back of the house so it blends with the garden’s architecture. A large, custom-painted fiberglass pot holding a silk tree (Albizia julibrissin) and Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ also helps buffer the house. Recycled glass in the fireplace is from Bedrock Industries.

Though the yard is relatively small, the family has hosted outdoor parties for as many as 50 people, and most of their friends are as excited about the design as the Sylvesters are. “Almost everyone comments on it,” Jenna says.

“The project came off almost to the inch what we had planned,” Eckley says. “We were really careful with our initial measurements and dimensions for the site. It doesn’t always happen this way, but there weren’t any big surprises.”

In September 2008, the landscape earned Eckley first place in the Outdoor Living category in the 2008 Northwest Design Awards from Seattle Design Center. More importantly, the designer couldn’t have been happier with his working relationship with Jonas and Jenna. “They were dream clients,” he says. “It was so cool that they trusted me and the whole process.”

It is thrilling to receive a gift that feels truly special, wrapped just so and tied with a bow. We cherish memories of past presents chosen for us with thought, love and care. And wouldn’t we all like to treat our friends and family to gifts just as grand?

In that spirit, we looked to the unexpected for inspiration, from the warm glow of a Macassar ebony-wood oil lamp to the exquisite delicacy of a hand-sculpted Klimenkoff porcelain flower. We gathered ideas to delight the discerning, the dear—and even the downright difficult-to-buy-for people. Our motto: fewer fruitcakes, more fabulous.

Armed with eclectic holiday opulence, our gift-giving expectations are great and slightly outside the box. We hope you’ll have fun wrapping up some of these unexpected gifts.

The Challenge:
In 2007, interior designer Jann Placentia was brought in to do a partial remodel of a 1947 Magnolia home, focusing on the family room. “We needed a conducive area for enjoying ourselves,” homeowner Lana Davies says. The space had no identity, and Placentia wanted to convert it into a relaxed eating and entertaining room that maintains a sense of continuity with the adjacent kitchen.

The Solution:
To improve flow between rooms, Placentia created a double-sided fireplace with a travertine hearth on the nook side. “It opens up visually to the kitchen but also integrates the kitchen and eating area,” Placentia says.

For maximum light, multiple lighting fixtures, including a pair of sconces and a pendant, bathe the room in warm gold hues. A custom L-shaped banquette upholstered in Perennials “Origami” all-weather fabric sits atop the new exotic hardwood floor. Its easy-to-clean surface is ideal for the homeowners’ young daughter and also for occasional “grown-up messes” such as spilled wine.

Side chairs covered in sumptuous chocolate Ultrasuede provide additional seating, and the expandable wood table allows the owners to comfortably seat as many as 10. “We needed to utilize more of our living space,” Lana recalls. Instead of a single-purpose family room, the Davies now have a room for everything from doing homework to dining to entertaining.

Placentia chose a hand-blown pendant by Steven Dale to complement the sconces.

A floor-to-ceiling fireplace draws the eye up to the vaulted ceilings, making the room feel spacious.

Lee Industries armless dining chairs allow for more mobility and make the seating area feel open rather than restrictive.

“The bathroom is much more than a place where we clean our bodies,” writes Alberto Alessi in the concept statement for Stefano Giovanni’s Il Bagno Alessi One, a tub and fixture collection defined by sensuous curved forms. As Alessi describes it, the bath is also a room that belongs to dreamtime and play.

Captivated by the idea of an oasis for the imagination, we look to faraway destinations for creative design ideas for the bath: a royal suite in Ubud, Bali; an urban hotel “pod” in Rimini, Italy—featuring Il Bagno from Alessi; and a spa room in Paris, France.

While these hotel bathrooms differ dramatically in style, all of the designs embrace simplicity, and every aspect appears considered with care. Although we couldn’t jump on a jet to test the tubs ourselves, we did call on local design experts for materials, fixtures and furnishings similar to some of the design elements shown in these sumptuous spaces.

Get the Balinese Retreat Look

At Shambhala Estate at Begawan Giri in Ubud, Bali, the Royal Suite of the Umabona residence (House of the Earth) beckons with a luxurious stone tub with a hand-carved pergola arching gracefully above it. Designed by interior architect Koichiro Ikebuchi, the room displays an artful mix of Asian and European influences. Earth-toned paint and tile accented with the warmth of wood are perfect in an atmosphere made for rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. According to Shambhala Estate owners, the COMO Group, Ikebuchi took inspiration from the Majapahit palaces of ancient Indonesian kings.