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Dream Home News, Issue #028: Tiny Garden Special (European Edition)
August 02, 2012
Hello ...

And welcome to your new (or your first!) issue of Dream Home Decorating News. This month's issue is a bit of a 'look book': a creative mix of mouthwatering mini-gardens and DIY ideas, easy & fun to create. Enjoy!

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Thanks for joining me today, and enjoy this issue!
Renate Hering-Shepherd

PS) If the newsletter is difficult to read as an e-mail,
read this issue online.


1. Olympic Greetings From London!

2. Fun Ideas For Tiny Gardens:

3. Gorgeous DIY: Coin-Tiled  Gifts & Interiors!

4. Legal Stuff

Olympic Greetings From London!

If you've seen the Olympic Opening Ceremony (or at least our sensational new Bond Girl), you'll have a pretty good idea of the brilliantly bonkers Britishness surrounding these Games.  For more photos and some cool design, check out the London Festival website, and especially my fave, the Hatwalk :-)   One of the nicest moments was the bell ringing - not just in London, but all across the country - to welcome the Olympics to our small Island.

The Olympic Torch Relay came right past our home. Here are some of the pics I shot in Kew Gardens:

So you see, we're all excited over here!  And we hope that ...

a)  everyone will have a safe, enjoyable stay in London;
b)  the weather holds, and
c)  your  team wins a few medals!

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Fun Ideas For Tiny Gardens
(European Edition)

1. Doorstep & Stoop Gardens

A few plants by the front door can make such a difference, as these two doors in Harley Street, London, show. Plants 'invite' and welcome those who enter, and they add immense curb appeal to your home, should you be looking to sell.

This sunbaked wall in Assisi, Italy, would look stark and forbidding were it not for the gorgeous blossoms that are stacked at different heights for effect. (You'll see more of Assisi further down!)

If your front stairs are wide enough, you can really go to town with bulky container plants, like potted olive trees, oleander, laurel, or bamboo. (Add lower containers with colorful flowers at their feet.)

A narrow entrance will look much larger and more impressive with sculptural plants either side of it. You can add incredible amounts of grandeur and gorgeousness to an otherwise nondescript entrance!  (Door left: Amsterdam, Netherlands; right: London, UK.)

If you have a bit of front yard space, see if there's enough room to plant a tree (as long as it doesn't take sunlight away from your rooms). Place a garden bench underneath for some Old-World charm :-)

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2. Balcony Gardens

This is a typical balcony in Northern Italy - check out the exterior window treatments for more balcony & windowbox ideas from this glorious part of the world!

If you want more space for plants on a small balcony, build shelving out of weatherized planks up to rail height. That way, your plants will do double duty as a screen for your balcony.

For even more plant space on your balcony, use trellis: Stand lengths of trellis upright at both narrow ends of your balcony, and top them off with a third piece of trellis for a 'roof'. Fasten securely. This is a great construction for

  • hanging plant pots at different/irregular heights;
  • training climbing plants up the sides of your balcony;
  • hanging lanterns for atmospheric lighting
  • attaching sailcloth for sun protection!

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3. Wall Gardens

No space too tiny to indulge a green thumb! A wall trellis doesn't just serve as a climbing help and a place to attach plant pots, its also great for adding visual structure to a boring, bare wall.

For more of a 3-D impact, either use a trellis with some depth - as in the photo right (Hampton Court Flower Show, UK) - or lean  a trellis against the wall rather than bolting it to the masonry.

Back to Assisi, Umbria (Italy): Here's what you do if you want to take the 'wall garden' concept to the max!  Install shelves on your outside wall, and pack them tightly with flowerpots. Add some trailing plants to diffuse the effect of straight horizontal lines.

Okay, so you don't really  want to go to the length of installing trellis or even shelving up and down your house?  I do understand.  But how about a single wall planter ... or maybe a few? The ones above, left, are in Tuscany (Italy) and right, in the Marylebone area of London.

Finally, here's an idea for you if you have a little space to the front or side of your house: install a lean-to bower.  Use it as a climbing help for roses, train ivy or wild wine over it as they do in France and Italy and Greece, and place some lovely summer seating underneath.

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4. Windowsill Gardens

If it's possible to attach windowboxes below your windows, you have an incredible array of style options. Here are two ideas from central Switzerland.

  • (right)  Make the windowbox a feature in itself by using color and/or pattern, and it will provide year-round interest.
  • (left)  Mix decorative objects into your plant display, like these elegant nesting boxes, for a highly personal mini-garden!

It doesn't always have to be a colorful display.  Box and similar evergreen shrubs that can be shorn into sculptural shapes will give your windowbox gardens a low-key, 'aristocratic' look.

On the other hand, why not have fun trying a few whacky styles, too!  How about this idea from a Cornish fishing village (left): Plant your flowers into colorful vintage teapots! Or mount a painted trellis in front  of your window for a splash of color.

When it comes to windows, how small is too  small for a flowerpot or a windowbox? At the Lago Maggiore in Italy (photo right), there is no such thing as 'too small'. This tiny window is covered with a rectangle of metal-framed chicken wire that holds not one but two lavish flowerpots in place.

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5. Off-The-Wall Gardens

You can create a great little garden at surprisingly low cost if you recycle all kinds of odd containers into plant 'pots'. Here's an entire balcony vegetable garden full of weird and wonderful planters!

Check out the close-up: Cut-off plastic bottles, drink cartons and old boxes. Those little pink wellies are my favorites, though.

And it gets curiouser and curiouser:

Ahem ... old handbags. Yep.  And ... a 'mobile garden' from Amsterdam!  Lots of Dutch bikes have a shopping basket with flower adornment (and these flowers are fake, so require zero maintenance!)  But I've left the most off-the-wall garden for last:

This one's from Holland, too. And it's not the little guys in the foreground that are the most interesting. You need to look behind them.

Potted garden gnomes!  Priceless!  (I may have lost you there, huh?)

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DIY Idea: Penny & Nickel Tiling

You may have already come across this craft idea, but I hadn't, so I thought I'd let you know ... this is great! And pennies make extremely cheap tiles, too.

You can use this technique to tile anything from small household & gift items to entire walls and floors, and it will look fantastic:

  • coasters
  • trivets
  • trays
  • box lids
  • small tabletops & side tables
  • desks
  • picture & mirror frames
  • splashbacks
  • countertops ...
  • ... and so on!

The best DIY instructions are here and here.

Someone also created a bathroom floor out of nickels (which, of course, bumps up the price by a factor of almost 5!)

Here it is:

And that's it for this time! Enjoy the Olympic Games - and 'see' you again on October 1, 2012!

All the best for you & your loved ones,

Get Answers:

Looking for specific home decorating information, or want a question answered? Search Dream Home Decorating and the 'net here!

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Here's to a gorgeous home – yours!

"See" you again on October 1, 2012 -
Renate Hering-Shepherd

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