Tag Archive | "Sunset Magazine"

DIY Project – Living Walls of Succulents Make Beautiful “Natural” Art

Robin Stockwell created beautiful wall hangings made of frames and succulents. Unique, stylish and textural – these are sure to create conversation. In three easy steps you’ll have your own beautiful art.

From Sunset Magazine’s website:

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Instead of framing a picture, why not a whole garden? Here, cuttings of assorted succulents knit together to create colorful, textual living tapestries.

Buy a preassembled frame for your living succulent art. Add soil to your frame to hold your succulents in place. Succulent plant cuttings will need to take root so leave the frame lying flat.

1. Buy or Build a Frame
2. Add soil
3. Plant Cuttings

To make your own frame, follow these simple instructions:

  1. Find an old or used picture frame. It needs to be at least 2″ deep. Or make your own.

  2. Staple or nail 1/2″ hardware wire mesh to one side of the opwn frame. To hide the frame you can add molding. (If you’re up to the challenge and know how to work with wood, you can cut a channel into the sood and slide the mesh into the channel so the cut mesh edges don’t show.)
  3. Staple or nail a piece of exterior plywood or redwood on to the other side (the open back) of the frame. You will not need drainage holes.
  4. With the wire mesh facing upwards, lay the frame flat on a table. Will with a good soil up to the wire mesh.
  5. Work your plant cuttings into each wire mesh square.
  6. After you’re complete with the plantings and the desired look, you need to lay it in full sun and let the plants take root fully. Don’t water for the first 7 to 10 days. You’ll be able to display your new “picture” upright as soon as 4 weeks, but this can take up to 3 months so be patient. They will feel firmly rooted when you gently tug.
  7. Water when needed and enjoy your beautiful artwork. To water, you’ll want to lay the frame flat and let the soil drain before hanging it up again.

Idea: Try to incorporate a drip irrigation system behind the mesh to make watering easier.

If you’d like to discover 350 easy-care plants to use in these beautiful living walls and other container gardens, then pick up a copy of Succulent Container Gardens: Design Eye-Catching Displays with 350 Easy-Care Plants.

From Weekend Gardener’s website:

By simply using an old picture frame, you can make living outdoor wall art that will definitely become the focal point of your patio or deck area.

These’s picture frame hanging planters can be filled with succulents, but you can also get imaginative and  add in pieces of drift wood, interesting shells, bits of colored tile, or just about anything that grabs your creative interests.

If you want to buy one, living plant frames can be purchased at:

This frame is available from Robin Stockwell’s Succulent Garden in Castroville, California (800-632-0482). From $35 for a 6″ x 12″ frame.

Fun Succulent Facts

From the BBC Gardening Guide: Did you know? Cacti:

How do they survive?

Cacti and succulents have adapted to grow where there is not much fresh water, in places like deserts. Deserts get very little rain, are very hot during the daytime and often frosty at night. A prickly cactus stops birds and animals trying to eat them for their water!

  • Succulent Gardens Offer Visual Appeal and Textural Components for  any DIYerAll cacti are succulents, not all succulents are cacti.
  • The tallest cactus in the world, the giant saguaro cactus, can grow up to 67 feet high and 250 years old.
  • The ocotillo plant drops its leaves after the soil dries out and they regrow only after it rains.
  • The century plant, an agave, takes 25 years to grow a flower. Then it dies.
  • The spines of the Barrel cactus were used by local people for fishing hooks.
  • Cactus are only found in the North and South America.
  • Water is stored in the leaves of leaf succulents

Want to read more about succulents? Here are some posts from the archives you might like:

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Plant a Colorful Garden to Attract Helpful Bees and Beautiful Butterflies

Plant a Colorful Garden to Attract Helpful Bees and Beautiful Butterflies

A lot of space isn’t really necessary to create a beautiful and rich bee and butterfly garden in your backyard. This garden plan is for an area that measures only 8 by 10 feet.

To make the new garden area more appealing to butterflies add a small fountain that will give much needed water. Flat rocks give butterflies a place to bask in the sunlight. For easier gardening and less maintenance, all of the plants in this plan from Sunset Magazine are perennials.

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Nectar-rich flowering plants encourage regular visits from monarchs, swallowtails, and other winged visitors like helpful bees. Other plants offer caterpillar offspring food to eat. This garden plan is well rounded and pretty to look at.

A colorful garden will be visited by butterflies and helpful bees.Bee and Butterfly Garden Planting Plan:

A. Trailing lantana (7 plants)

B. Aster cordifolius ‘Cape Cod’ (1 plant)

C. A. c. ‘Little Carlow’ (1 plant)

D. ‘Mönch’ aster (2 plants)

E. ‘Moonshine’ yarrow (2 plants)

F. Dwarf butterfly bush (1 plant)

G. ‘Midnight’ penstemon (2 plants)

H. ‘Sour Grapes’ penstemon (1 plant)

I. Black-eyed Susan (5 plants)

J. Pittosporum tobira (1 plant)

K. ‘White Swan’ coneflower (1 plant)

L. Asclepias ‘Silky Gold’ (4 plants)

M. Gaura lindheimeri (1 plant)

N. Asclepias tuberosa (3 plants)

O.  Leather leaf sedge (2 plants)

P. Creeping thyme (4 plants)

To save money buy trailing lantana and thyme in 4-inch pots. The other plants listed are sold in 1-gallon cans typically.

Did you enjoy this post? Here are some others from the archives:

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Raised Planting Bed

Weekend Project – Build the Perfect Raised Planting Bed in 5 Simple Steps

A raised garden bed makes it easier to garden. Filling it directly with a proper soil mix for the plants you are planting encourages the best growing and picture-perfect vegetables and flowers. You’ll find that raised garden beds provide better drainage that not using a raised garden bed. And by using rot-resistant wood it is beautiful in it’s natural state. That means no harmful chemicals.

This would even work for an ecological garden, instead of the more traditional vegetable garden.

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Remember to look at the amount of sunshine your location will be getting if you are going to plant vegetables. Veggies need a lot of natural light to produce mouth-watering and healthy edible crops. It’s best for the location of your raised garden bed to receive at least 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. You’ll want to ensure it’s close to a water source to make it easier on you when watering and close to your kitchen to easily pick dinner.

From Sunset Magazine‘s website:

A raised bed makes gardening easy. Filled with soil mix, they provide the excellent drainage needed to grow picture-perfect vegetables and flowers.

You can build the basic raised bed pictured here in a few hours, then add versatility by mounting PVC pipes inside to hold hoops that elevate bird netting or row covers over your crops. Orient your bed north-south for maximum sun exposure.

Use redwood or cedar – both are beautiful and rot-resistant. You’ll need a table or power saw to cut the wood. An electric drill is helpful, though not required.

Our total cost: $172

DESIGN: David C. Becker

A raised garden bed makes gardening easier and more enjoyable.

Most home improvement stores will charge a small fee to cut wood for you if you don’t have the tools or access to tools. The design below will create a raised bed about 8 feet long and 4 feet wide. Get started this weekend just in time for summer vegetables, herbs and flowers.

Raised Garden Bed Materials Needed:

  • One 6-foot-long 4-by-4 ($15)
  • Six 8-foot-long 2-by-6s ($75)
  • One 10-foot-long 1-inch PVC pipe ($3)
  • Two 10-foot-long ½-inch PVC pipes ($6)
  • 32 3½-inch #14 wood screws and 16 ½-inch #8 wood screws ($29)
  • One 4- by 10-foot roll of ¼-inch-mesh hardware cloth ($15)
  • Eight 1-inch galvanized tube straps (semicircular brackets; $3.60)
  • 32 cubic feet (1 1/5 cu. yd.) planting mix ($25 in bulk or $100 in bags)

Assemble your planting bed upside down.

1. Assemble Your Bed Materials Upside Down

Set a 4-foot 2-by-6 on its thin edge on pavement, and place a 16-inch post at one end. Secure the post with two 3 1/2 inch screws. Repeat at other end of board. Repeat with other short board. Join the short sides with an 8-foot board; and secure with two screws. Add other long side. Add second layer of 2-by-6s.


Flip the planting bed right side up and position in garden.

2. Flip the Bed Right Side Up and Position it In Your Garden

You might need the assistance of a friend to flip the bed right side up. Move it into position into your garden and marking with a trowel each corner post’s location. Move the bed aside; dig a 5 to 6-inch-deep hole for each post. Put the bed into place, with posts in holes; fill around posts with soil.


Install lining to protect garden from gophers and moles.

3. Keep Gophers and Moles Out By Installing a Lining

Rake the existing soil at the bottom of the bed to level it, then tamp it smooth. Line the bed with hardware cloth to keep out gophers and moles; trim the cloth with shears to fit around corner posts.



Install pipe supports for hoops in next step.

4. Attach Pipe to Hold the Loops

To hold hoops for bird netting or row covers, attach four 12-inch pieces of 1-inch PVC pipe inside the bed: On the long sides, space pipes 4 feet apart, 2 feet from each end; screw on two tube straps to secure each pipe. Fill the bed with planting mix; rake it smooth, and moisten with a gentle spray from the garden hose.


Install hoop structure for bird netting or row covers.

5. Insert the Hoops

To cover newly planted seedlings with bird netting or season-extending row covers, simply bend two 6-foot pieces of 1/2-inch PVC pipe to form semi-circles, and slip their ends into the 1-inch pipes inside the bed. Then drape the bird netting or row covers over them.



For a quicker raised planter project, try this neat idea: Take an old bed frame and paint it a bright color for a pop of freshness in your garden. This blue bed frame certainly adds life to this garden bed in a whimsical way.

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You Won’t Miss Grass with this Low-Water Garden Front Yard Design

Before the Earth Friendly Curb Appeal Transformation After the Earth Friendly Curb Appeal Transformation

An original rock landscaping made it difficult for homeowners Ken and Beverly Behymer to plant anything in their new front yard. That’s when landscape architect Jim Love came up with a solution for their new Oregon home. Low-water plants saved the Behymer’s a large increase in their water bill and provided a beautiful and inviting front yard with grasses, perennials, trees, shrubs and groundcover. In the summer, black-eyed Susan bursts in brilliant yellow blossoms, while the fall brings rusty brown blooms from the Autumn Joy. Love made sure this front yard offered curb appeal for every season.

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Source: Sunset Magazine

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Capture rainwater

Rainwater Offers Precious Runoff that Can be Captured and Stored in Your Garden

As annoying as this is, some places don’t allow residents to capture rain water. Apparently rain water is owned by the state or something. I better get back on point, because that is ludricrous and can really get me going on a tangent. All Western states in the US, except Colorado and Utah, give you the freedom to catch and use rainfall. Some jurisdictions even require it in some cases. Look into your area’s legislation.

Sidenote: If you live in Arizona look into income-tax credits that might cover up to 25% (up to $1,000) of the cost of rainwater-capture systems.

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Okay, for those of you wanting collect rainwater there are several options available depending on where you live, what you hope to accomplish and how you plan on using it.

Pure Copper Ring Rain Chain - Most Popular On AmazonReplace Your Ugly Downspout with a More Pleasing Rain Chain

Rain chains originated in Japan hundreds of years ago. In addition to being functional as it helps rain follow a course in efforts to catch rainwater, rain chains are also attractive alternatives to raingutters and downspouts. You’ll have the opportunity to listen as the water “dances” down your 6′ double link rain chain. The sound of rain is truly a serene sensation.

Rain chains can easily be installed into pre-existing rain gutters on most American homes. You’ll first need to remove the existing rain gutter downspout. And don’t forget to secure the bottom of the rain chain to avoid it blowing when raining.

With the many benefits of rain chains, it’s no surprise these have lasted the centuries and have finally become popular in the United States.

Install a Rain Barrel to Capture Rainwater

You’ll have plenty of rainwater collected to irrigate houseplants or pots on your deck with a rain barrel. These tend to hold between 50 and 60 gallons each. You can use a recycled wine barrel like the one shown, and add an intake line, spigot, overflow attachment, screen cover to keep leaves out, and removeable solid cover.

Recycled wine barrels can make a wonderful rain barrel. This convenient pop-up rain barrel can store up to 60 gallos of water.

Add a Cistern to Capture up to 1,200 Gallons!

Texas Metal Cisterns - $380 for 200-gallon size to $1,070 for  1,200-gallon size.Did you know that 1″ of rain puts about 600 gallons of water atop a 1,000 square foot house? That’s a lot of rainwater to capture and a cistern can do the trick. Captured directly from a downspout, or rain chain, a cistern will have your garden water ready.

These cisterns collect rainwater from a nearby roof and when the tanks are full water is dispersed through a gravity-fed drip system that irrigates crops.

The cisterns pictured to the left are from Texas Metal Cisterns.

$380 for 200-gallon size to $1,070 for 1,200-gallon size.

Source: Sunset Magazine

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