New landscape lighting for back garden

June 24, 2020

Uplighting on an agave, path light near a yucca in the foreground, and existing string lights

It only took 12 years, but we finally installed path lighting and uplighting in the backyard, and what a big difference it makes. We already had two sets of string lights for parties, which are on manual switches. But now we have ground-level lighting that highlights plants and garden art and comes on automatically at dusk.

Uplighting on a potted agave and a tall yucca, plus a path light

Now, even when we’re inside, we enjoy the soft glow of the nighttime garden through windows and doors. And outdoors we have practical path lighting as well as the drama of uplighting on bold plants like agaves and yuccas, as well as a few trees.

Uplighting on a prickly pear and wall panel behind the house

It makes all the difference in the world in the feel and utility of our garden after dark.

A wider view of uplighting along the back of the house, plus string lights and agave uplighting at the far end.

Props to my DH for installing it! We were about to hire someone, just to get it

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30 Best Fall Flowers for an Autumn Garden

Susan GaryGetty Images

Of course, you know that your daisies and peonies won’t bloom forever. That said, you can look on the bright side by considering go-to fall flowers like pansies, mums, Japanese anemones—the list goes on. With eye-catching colors ranging from reds to blues, there’s no shortage of flowers to choose from to arrange the perfect autumn garden. But before you start shopping, be sure to consult with your local plant supplier or nursery to pinpoint the best time to plant each species, which tends to be late spring or early summer. You can also check with a gardening expert in your area to determine the best annuals and perennials that will flower through September and October. Additionally, it’s worth visiting the United States Department of Agriculture’s Plant Hardiness Zone Map before ordering any plants online. You’ll discover a helpful guide, highlighting different climates in the U.S. and the most suitable varieties for each location. Once you’ve done your research, take your pick of any of these autumn-blooming beauties to enhance your garden.

1 of 30

Balloon Flower


As its name suggests, these gorgeous flowers—which can be found in shades of

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How to Outfit a Small-but-Mighty Kitchen

Whether it’s a need for more counter space or the desire to knock out a wall to add an eat-in table, everyone wants a roomier kitchen. Thankfully, when it comes to even the smallest spaces, IKEA has solutions galore.

From wall racks and mobile islands to expandable furniture and dozens of drawer inserts, IKEA makes it possible to maximize every square inch of your kitchen, no matter how small. With these ideas, you may even have room to spare.

Lower cabinets often become catch-alls for every miscellaneous appliance and a mess of pots and pans. The things you use the most tend to stick near the front, while everything else gets lost in the back. Which means when you do need to pull out the waffle maker, everything else needs to be pulled out, too.

drawer of spices


Banish this problem from your kitchen forever by installing drawers instead of doors. You can easily see everything you have, and know if there’s a corner that’s not being used to its full potential.

If you like the look of one seamless panel on your lower cabinet, you can install interior drawers behind a cabinet door. IKEA’s SEKTION kitchen range allows for nine (!)

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Agave ovatifolia switcheroo – Digging

June 22, 2020

Aw, how fast they grow up! Agaves, that is. And then they start nipping at your shins every time you walk past.

…was only this big 3 years ago — the perfect size for this spot, but still with room to grow.

Recently we added to our front landscape lighting, and the technician asked me, as he delicately adjusted the light next to Vanzie, doging its terminal spikes, “How big are you going to let this get?” I raised an eyebrow and replied, “You don’t really let an agave do anything.” We both laughed, but it got me thinking.

What it got me thinking was that I needed a bigger agave over here in this container (a galvanized fire ring from Tractor Supply) in the island bed. I planted this little whale’s tongue last year to fill a gap where a trio of ‘Color Guard’ yuccas once grew. The yuccas had declined and I took them out, leaving a focal-point hole. An elevated agave seemed just the ticket. But then it looked so small! It bugged me.

So last weekend I pulled a switcheroo. I dug up the little agave and set it aside and hired a

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Easy Laundry Room Decorating Ideas

Doing laundry is never fun—and if you have a big family, it can be even more of a burden. So if there’s any way to make the process just a little bit easier, we want to know about it. That’s why we were blown away when we saw the genius tricks blogger Rhonda Batchelor used to turn a 7-by-6 ½-foot laundry room into a truly multi-purpose space. Armed with a $400 budget and a long list of ideas, Rhonda managed to utilize every square inch of the room in the most surprising ways.

Don’t believe us? Take a virtual tour of her laundry room above.

Take a further look around Rhonda’s laundry room at Houzz, and visit Rhonda’s blog, Batchelors Way, for even more brilliant decorating tricks.

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