Glowing front-yard gardens, plus Fearless Gardening winner

January 16, 2021

On twilight walks around the neighborhood I love coming to this house, the home of neighbor friends who deck out their front-yard garden with hanging globes of blue and white for Christmas every year. I’m in no hurry for them to take them down. The lights add such a magical glow that they could be used year-round.

One Instagram commenter said they evoke a midsummer night’s dream quality. Yes — or as it happens, a midwinter night’s dream! Others admired the live oaks, the arching-trunked native Texas trees that stretch out dark limbs like octopus tentacles. They are so ubiquitous — my own 1/3-acre yard contains about 20 — that I sometimes take them for granted.

Oh deer

What else is ubiquitous in my northwest Austin neighborhood? Herds of deer — including many melanistic deer, which are a rarity elsewhere — roam our neighborhood streets at dusk and dawn and often bed down on lawns or beds of sedge (in my yard). This relaxed herd was lounging across the street from the garden pictured above — another reason besides drought/flood cycles and extreme heat that gardening here is so challenging. But we LIKE a challenge, don’t

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30 DIY Spring Wreaths – Ideas for Spring Front Door Wreath Crafts

Nothing says “welcome home” like a well-dressed front door. Now that you’ve made it through the cold winter months, lean into all the much-needed cheer that the season has to offer — budding blooms, lively color hues, and vibrant greenery — by adding a spring wreath to your door. Keeping your time, budget, and crafting abilities in mind, take a look through these DIY ideas or store-bought options to find a seasonally-appropriate wreath that best matches your home’s overall spring decor. You’ll find classic boxwood wreaths embellished with garden-fresh florals, door signs offering well wishes, and inventive DIYs that call for watering cans or baskets instead of wreath forms.

While some of these ideas are better suited on particular front door colors (a sunny lemon wreath really pops against a navy door, for example), all of them are packed with the same level of charm that’ll usher in brighter, happier days. Best of all: Most of these wreaths can be left up through Easter (unless you’d prefer to DIY something specific to the holiday) and well into the summer months, so you can really enjoy your handiwork or Amazon buy for months to come.

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12 Best Laundry Hampers and Baskets 2021

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Laundry hampers may not be as exciting as other home buys (think: new mattresses and cozy duvet covers), but they serve an equally important purpose. They collect everything — clothes, linens, and towels — in one spot, so you don’t have to resort to dirtying your bedroom or bathroom floor with messy piles. Some clothes hampers even make for a more organized laundry day, dividing your colors, lights, and darks before you make the trek to the washing machine. But if you want to find a storage solution that is just as functional as it stylish, take a look at this list of laundry hampers and baskets in varying shapes, sizes, and materials.

When shopping, consider how much floor space you can spare (an empty corner, slim space between bedroom furniture, or a sizable portion of your closet), along with how much laundry your household gathers between washes. Then find a hamper with features that tackle a specific problem: wheels that reduce aches and pains after transporting heavy loads, lids that conceal unsightly piles, handles that make it easier to carry laundry to and from the laundry room, collapsible capabilities that save space, or shelves that

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11 Creative Bonus Room Ideas

You may already be content with the design of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedrooms, but there’s one space that’s likely been put on the backburner for far too long: your bonus room. While the other areas of your home are essential spaces, bonus rooms allow you to be flexible with your design approach. You can use your bonus room to practice a hobby, like crafting, have a dedicated space to boost your workout routine, or even design a relaxing retreat for an overnight guest or two (once it’s safe to do so, of course).

From kids’ areas to reading spaces, click through for 11 creative bonus room ideas to take your home to the next level.

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Guest Room

Welcome guests with all the essentials needed for an enjoyable stay: comfortable beds, great lighting, and a nightstand full of good reads.

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Home Office

Turn your bonus room into a dedicated workspace with a chic desk, colorful supplies, and just enough shelving for books and papers.

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Craft Room

Maintain a well-organized craft room to stow supplies and retreat to whenever creativity

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Yalamurra, a “garden of survivors” in South Australia offers Texas inspiration

January 14, 2021

Yalamurra garden, the creation of Australian gardener Kurt Wilkinson. Photo by Kurt Wilkinson.

Want to know what’s inspiring me this week? It’s the South Australian garden of Kurt Wilkinson, a professional gardener and topiarist in the Adelaide area. Kurt’s work came to my attention via a Danger Garden post about Gardening Australia, a TV show from Down Under with episodes viewable online. The “Yalamurra” episode about Kurt’s garden caught Danger’s eye, and boy, did it grab mine as well.

The first thing that struck me about Kurt’s garden is a feeling of sympathy with our own Texas Hill Country landscape. Hilly, rocky, scrubby, and hot, his property northeast of Adelaide presented him, he says, with the necessity of ditching familiar garden plants and experimenting with tough natives and roadside weeds to see what would live. Sound familiar, my fellow Texans?

The second thing that struck me is his use of clipped topiary to add structure and punctuation amid airier, dry-loving plants that grow in a meadowy matrix with native grasses.

Here in central Texas, with our sauna-like but drought-prone summers — unlike Kurt’s dry Mediterranean summers — we can’t always successfully grow the fabulous maroon

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