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Guest Groups: Valentine's Day Presents for Men

Buying Valentine’s Day gifts for men can be tricky; I know how hard it is to search for my husband, at the least. To make the task easier, I have put together a selection of 20 creative gift ideas that I feel any man might like. — Beth from Home Stories A to Z

Etsy

The Butler by Micklish – $170

Telephones Keys and eyeglasses end up scattered on the kitchen counter tops. This storage system that is adorable seems like the gift that is perfect to keep the man in your life tidy.

Etsy

Hobbit Viking Beard and Hat by Holy Noggins – $60

This made me laugh out loud. I have observed a good deal of “blossom hats” on Etsy, but this one is perfect for the Lord of the Rings nerd on your own household. My husband would love to live vicariously as a dwarf in one of these hats.

Purchase

CRKT Guppie 9-in-1 Multi Tool – $20.99

I sent my husband to the home improvement store to pick up some construction supplies, and he arrived home with this on his key chain. Needless to say, this multitool gadget makes a fantastic Valentine’s Day present. It’s a multibit screwdriver, a mini-wrench, a blade and an LED flashlight. I think I might need one for myself.

Alexandra Ferguson

Let’s Make Out 22″ – $125

I have a good deal of typographic pillows in my house, and most of them say things like “nest” or “sea.” When I showed this pillow to my husband, his reply was, “Ultimately, a typographic pillow with a message I could get behind!”

Etsy

Man Candle, Kentucky Bourbon by Chicago Candle Co..

For the man that enjoys the smell of alcohol, these candles would make the perfect present. Get the sensory experience of bourbon with no calories (or even the buzz).

Co Co.. Sala

Chocolate-Enrobed Bacon

Steak and bacon is a bizarre mix, but it seems perfect for the man this Valentine’s Day. I think this deal could easily be DIYed for the event. Shaping your bacon to hubs before baking would allow it to be extra adorable.

Amazon

The Person Could – $48.99

I really don’t think many men will readily admit it, but I think they like to be pampered with fun spa products created for them. This “Man Could” stuffed with pampering pleasantries looks like a fun Valentine’s Day gift to give.

Amazon

101 Things Every Man Should Know How to Do – $9.55

With chapter titles like “Fight a Bear,” “Make a Superhero” and “Grow a Successful Beard,” 101 Things Every Man Should Know How to Do seems funny. I think my valentine would love getting this publication.

ThinkGeek

Star Trek Enterprise Pizza Cutter – $29.99

I love this Valentine’s Day gift idea for the Trekkie in your lifetime. My nerdy father would have loved this Star Trek Enterprise pizza cutter. Pizza night only got a whole lot more fun.

Etsy

Men’s Latitude and Longitude Personalized Leather Bracelet by Gunmetal Gems – $35

Commemorate that the latitude and longitude of the very first date, first kiss, set of proposal, wedding, honeymoon, conception of infant, etc. on this bracelet that is customizable.

Etsy

Hand-Stamped Guitar Pick and Case by My Heart Shop – $25

For the musical lover in your lifetime, an engraved guitar pick with a carrying case would make such a thoughtful gift. I like the notion of telling your man that you think he rocks.

The Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club

The U.S. and International Variety Beer Club – $29.95

If you and your sweetie are fans of beer, a beer of the month club may be the perfect present for both of you this Valentine’s Day. I’d score some important “wife points” in the opinion of my husband when I bought this for this season.

The Unemployed Philosophers Guild

Shakespearean Insult Mug – $12.95

I think my professor husband would love to drink his morning beverage while thinking Shakespearean insults. This cup will make a great conversation piece in the teacher’s lounge and a fun gift to offer.

Etsy

Dark Chocolate Brown Leather Journal or Sketchbook from Daniel Heywood on Etsy – $87

A leather-bound journal/sketchbook is timeless and lovely. My man loves to jot down notes, and it is hard to find non-girly journals. This one looks perfect.

Amazon

Ring Thing Bottle Opener, Stainless Steel, Size 12 – $9.95

At first glance, this looks like just an interesting silver ringnonetheless, this ring also serves a fun function. Give this to your man for Valentine’s Day, and he will not be without a bottle opener. It’s such a fun and unique gift.

UncommonGoods

Toggle Switch Plate – $40

Who knew that something as simple as turning a light off and on could be made in an wonderful conversation piece. I adore these toggle switch plates and feel that they would make a fantastic present for your individual’s office or den.

UncommonGoods

Scratch Map – $24

I think this would make a romantic Valentine’s Day present. Scratch off all of the areas in the world you see together on this unique map.

UncommonGoods

Bike Chain Frame – $36

Giving the gift of a cherished photograph for Valentine’s Day is always valued, however I think my man would love it even more if it arrived in an über-cool frame. This one is ecofriendly with an industrial charm that I think he’d love.

UncommonGoods

Upcycled Mail Sack iPad Case – $55

Many iPad cases are too feminine or too boring for my guy. This upcycled mail bag has the best “grunge variable” for the eco-loving man.

UncommonGoods

Silver Form Essential Cufflink – $70

Vintage typewriter keys make everything cooler. I adore these personalized cufflinks, and I think that they would make a unique and thoughtful Valentine’s Day present.

Next: Make Your House More Man-Friendly

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Desert and Texas Southwest Gardener's January Checklist

This month we are trying something a little different: We are including our neighbors over in the desert Southwest in our garden chores here. While we could only talk with regards to USDA hardiness zones, that would give you just partial information, as 8a Dallas and 8a at Las Cruces and in parts of Arizona are not created equal.

Soil differences and average rainfall vary so enormously in such areas that we can not make blanket statements about what to plant or prune. So look for breakout notes on various areas and, as always, ask your county’s extension office to get even more specific information.

Amy Renea

Start seeds. Texas gardeners can begin tomato and pepper seeds indoors, but make certain to use a expanding light or maintain the seeds with a bright window. Rotate your seeds daily to help them grow strong, straight stalks.

Desert Southwest gardeners can begin seeds of larkspur, poppies and other wildflowers, which may be somewhat difficult to find if you actually want them in your garden.

Margie Grace – Grace Design Associates

care of fruit trees. If you live in the desert Southwest, you’ll want to receive your fruit trees at the ground as early in January as possible and prune your deciduous fruit trees and grapes.

Texas gardeners need to spray their own fruit trees with dormant oil and sharpen their pruning shears also, as January is your last opportunity to make those cuts.

Amy Renea

Plant vegetables. There are lots of vegetables to be planted this month! Both Texas and desert Southwest gardeners can plant broccoli, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Asian greens, spinach, kale, cauliflower, collards, lettuce, mustard, artichokes and asparagus crowns. Make sure to prepare your beds by simply amending the soil if necessary and by choosing a bright, sunny place for the ideal harvest.

More on growing vegetables in cool weather

Gardening with Confidence®

Add yearly color. For most areas it is still a fantastic time to plant pansies, snapdragons, cyclamens, violas, inventory and alyssum in garden beds as well as containers. These annuals enjoy sunny sites but will tolerate some light, dappled shade.

Jean Marsh Design

Plant perennials, trees and shrubs. Trees should be planted in both Texas and the desert Southwest in January, but with a few differences.

In Texas, plant evergreen and deciduous trees; at the desert Southwest, make your shade trees at the ground as early in January as you can. Bare-root trees should be planted before they leaf out.

For these areas, it is still a fantastic time to plant shrubs and perennials.

Desert Southwest gardeners can plant desert marigold (Baileya multiradiata), guara (Gaura lindheimeri), angelita daisy (Hymenoxys acaulis) and canyon penstemon (Penstemon pseudospectabilis).

Texas gardeners can plant blackfoot daisy (Melampodium leucanthum), autumn sage (Salvia greggii), Mexican mint marigold (Tagetes lucida) and copper canyon daisy (Tagetes lemmonii).

Niki Jabbour

Protect your crops. In warm areas, winter may sport some fairly cold temperatures, so it is important to protect your crops from freeze damage.

Throw a frost blanket over your own vegetable transplants, or sew Styrofoam cups smaller cacti and succulents. Make certain to remove the coverings by about 9 a.m. the following morning, since the sun will heat up everything; you do not need to make a muggy greenhouse outside there.

J. Peterson Garden Design

Check your irrigation. Texas gardeners that have inground irrigation systems should conduct a test on all zones to be certain there are no breaks in the lines or heads.

Desert Southwest gardeners will likely be on drip irrigation, however, these systems need to be checked occasionally as well. Be certain the drip emitters do not have any damage from critters chewing on them, and that they’re reaching the plants that need watering.

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Crucial Elements of an Ideal Winter Cabin

As the days have grown shorter and also a blanket of snow has draped itself across the ground in several areas, thoughts have become skiing, sledding and ice skating for many.

Whether along the edge of a ski slope or nestled in a forest clearing, a small cottage is the perfect place for enjoying the time of season and winter sport. Nothing cavernous, but something easy, small and cozy, with bunks for kids, a sleeping loft for parents and a large, open area for gathering — a place where you can sit by the fire and have some hot cocoa and rest your muscles out of all the day’s actions.

Let us take a closer look at some perfect winter escape cabins.

Ltd, Highline Partners

It should be somewhere where big timbers and stones convey solidity and permanence. Where the arrangement can stand against the forces of nature by itself.

Plus it ought to have a warm glow emanating from the interior. Front door should function as a glowing lantern.

Neiman Taber Architects

Big logs and a simple gable roof are also ideally suited to your cottage in the woods. This archetypical cabin seems like it might easily have been constructed from the Lincoln Logs set I played with several ages ago.

Just make certain that the roof may handle the burden of all the snow, and the main floor is elevated up enough to stay above the snow line.

See more of the guest cottage

FINNE Architects

An 800-square-foot cabin using a simple shed roof provides a modern update. While the roof stipulates the right structure to withstand and discard the snow, the incline creates a room which can be windows.

Susan Teare

A winter cottage may go unused for a moment, so keeping the fauna from the cottage can be challenging. With sliding barn doors securing doors and windows is smart.

Do not forget to get a good-size front porch. No sense in letting all of the snow get tracked indoors.

See more of the cozy Vermont cottage

Susan Teare

The cottage interior may run the gamut from a dark and north-woods aesthetic to something modern and bright. A sleeping loft or 2 flanking a larger communal space is generally all that’s necessary. And maintain the lasting and very low maintenance. Materials like wood planks on ceilings and the walls will allow you to enjoy the place with a minimum of fuss.

And attempt an attractive, clean-burning woodstove in case you don’t want a fireplace. A stove put in the middle of the room will be about all that’s required to warm the cabin.

CD Construction, Inc..

A winter cottage should certainly have a good-size entrance room — a place for taking off the ski boots, storing the skis, hanging the coats and dealing with the stuff for winter sports. The entrance should have a seat or two and finishes designed to last, such as porcelain in lieu of ceramic tile.

Kelly and Abramson Architecture

While a sleeping loft is a great place for the parents, you can’t beat a bunk room for the kids. Certainly they’ll be too tired to stay up late and chat after a day of skiing, sledding and snowball fights.

Kelly and Abramson Architecture

Since odds are that there’ll be only one toilet, make it large enough for multiple kids to use it in once. Just make certain that you set the bathroom in a separate water closet in order that some may be cleaning their teeth while others are taking a shower or using the bathroom.

Kelly and Abramson Architecture

Do not forget to get a spot outside with a fire pit and cozy chairs — a place for having a cup of warm cocoa and roasting marshmallows. A place which, even on the coldest of days, makes you enjoy the great outdoors and the crisp, clear and star-filled winter nights.

See more of the ski barn

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Fantastic Design Plant: Rock Cotoneaster

While fall and winter holidays might have the seasonal decorating market, I love to think that in the house — and backyard — ornamental festivities can be appreciated yearlong. Foliage, flowers and berries denote the changing of the seasons, and stone cotoneaster (Cotoneaster horizontalis) provides up all three. Its elegant sprays of small leaves, rich blossoms and vibrant red berries shine in the backyard and home out of spring’s development through winter’s close.

Botanical name: Cotoneaster horizontalis
Common names: Rock cotoneaster, rockspray cotoneaster
USDA zones: 5 to 2; tolerant to -20 degrees Fahrenheit (find your zone)
Water requirement: Moderate to low
moderate requirement: Full sun to partial shade
Mature size: 2 to 3 feet tall and 5 to 2 feet wide
Benefits and tolerances: Attracts birds, birds and butterflies; aids in erosion management; tolerant of wind, contamination, rabbits and deer
Seasonal curiosity: Abundant blossoms in spring and summer; showy red berries in fall through winter; colorful fall foliage
When to plant: Plant cuttings in summer.

Distinguishing attributes. Cotoneasters are noted for their petite foliage and showy red berries, but stone cotoneaster is most distinguished for its distinctive form and distinct branching pattern. Low growth, stone cotoneaster jobs vertically, forming a dense yet arching mat of leaves.

Photo by Père Igor

Rock cotoneaster’s branchlets form a distinct herringbone pattern. Though the plant is only briefly deciduous over winter, it is a nice time to appreciate the skeletal attractiveness.

Dark green foliage covers the plant during the year. Spring and summer are a profuse flowering period, once the plant attracts bees and butterflies. The blossoms transition into showy red berries in fall through winter. (Beware: Birds love these berries, therefore they might not make it through winter) The foliage turns a vibrant crimson and purple (shown) prior to falling.

Monrovia

How to use it. The dense, low branching structure of rock contoneaster functions nicely as a ground cover. It is recommended that you space plantings 5 feet apart. Group rock cotoneaster on a bank or hillside for appealing erosion management and to dissuade garden traffic from straying.

Rock cotoneaster includes a naturally beautiful form if it is allowed to disperse, so don’t plant it too close to garden or paths borders. Instead, allow the plant to spread elegantly in rock gardens or above rock walls.

The arching branchlets provide distinct yearlong beauty in the backyard. Consider bringing flowering branches inside during summer and spring; showy red berries in fall provide natural alternatives to conventional holiday decorations within the house and outside also.

Planting notes. Rock cotoneaster is widely used for a lot of reasons, but its adaptability and easy-grow nature make it to stick around. Faring best in well-drained, dry dirt, it’s a moderate grower, prefering full sunlight and medium to light water. It is heat resistant, thriving in dry summers and wet winters.

Rock cotoneaster self-sows, therefore eliminate seedlings you don’t wish to grow bigger. It’s possible to trim back dead or disfigured branches, but crops looks best if allowed to grow to their full form.

It is a powerful weed suppresser when utilized as a ground cover. During the time that it takes for the plants to fill out, use mulch to control weeds.

Photo by Père Igor

More: 6 Branches and Berries to Spruce Up Holiday Decor

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9 Fresh and Fun Hanukkah Decorating Ideas

Stylist Rita Brownstein, author of this site Design Megillah along with the book Jewish Holiday Style, shares some beautiful and simple suggestions for freshening your Hanukkah dining table and mantel.

Rita out of Design Megillah

Try a fresh dining table setup. This season Brownstein plans to shake things up in her home by hosting her Hanukkah dinner before the fireplace. “I needed a cozy setup, so I pushed back the living room furniture to make more space,” she states. “It also means that my grandkids can operate around, sit and see on the couch nearby and feel more relaxed than at the dining table.”

Rita out of Design Megillah

Go for blue and metallics. Instead of the typical white, silver and blue palette, Brownstein is updating her appearance with various shades of blue together with glistening gold and copper metallics.

“It’s very important to your holiday dining table to reveal you and the type of your home,” she states. Here she pairs gold bowls out of Pier 1 Imports with snowy Mercer dinner dishes from Crate & Barrel.

Rita out of Design Megillah

Brownstein utilized gold fabric paint to give every meal napkin a number, representing the eight nights of candle light during Hanukkah.

Rita out of Design Megillah

Insert an extra menorah. Though a lot of men and women place their menorah in a front window for all to see, Brownstein places an extra menorah on the table.

“I loved the clean, modern shape of this Tovah menorah from Crate & Barrel, but the polished nickel finish didn’t work with my gold motif,” she states. “So I gave it a quick spray using Krylon Brush Metallic in Sparkling Canyon.”

Rita out of Design Megillah

Utilize dreidels as vase fillers. Gold dreidels add weight to a vase and reflect the candlelight without needing any play away from the white hydrangeas.

Rita out of Design Megillah

Set an alternative candy bowl. Brownstein found that this soap dish Target. “The blue rock candy seems great with the glass mosaics and makes a wonderful addition to the dining table,” she states.

Rita out of Design Megillah

Have a mantel of wonders. She changed the mantel with shimmery golds, with presents wrapped in blue paper near.

Rita out of Design Megillah

String some grown-up gelt. Brownstein made this gelt garland with vinyl coins she found at a party supply store.

To produce your own gelt garland, you will need:
Hot glue gunWhite string that could manage the weight of your coinsPlastic gold coinsThumbtacks1. Measure the diameter of your mantel using the string. Allow extra so that the string can hang loose in miniature layers. Brownstein layered four string strands.

2. Glue two coins back to back on every string, 3 to 4 inches apart.

3. Connect the string ends together and secure them to the side of the mantel with thumbtacks.

Rita out of Design Megillah

Send a special message. Brownstein painted chipboard letters with gold crafts paint and glued a wood skewer, also painted gold, to the rear of every one. “They’re sitting in glass votive cups filled with salt. The term “wonders” is appropriate, because the story of Hanukkah entails how a small group of soldiers, the Maccabees, defeated the whole Syrian army,” she states.

Rita out of Design Megillah

Have handmade favors. Donation packs perk the hutch. Brownstein made paper dreidels from patterned scrapbook paper in her palette of blues and metallics.

Rita out of Design Megillah

She wrapped the dinner favors such as a petite Hanukkah gift. “I filled them with blue jellybeans in keeping with the colour scheme. A chocolate gelt coin makes a perfect tag,” she states.

Rita out of Design Megillah

“When I was growing up, Hanukkah was simply lighting the menorah for eight nights and getting a few presents,” Brownstein says. “Today we’re bombarded with so much more beauty and creativity in design. Don’t forget: The holidays are a fantastic opportunity to reflect your individual design style.”

More: 10 Tips for Stress-Free Holiday Hosting

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Quit Playing About With Your Game Console

Popular game consoles, such as the Nintendo Wii U and Microsoft Xbox 360, aren’t connected with sophistication or minimalism. They are more correlated with all-night, caffeine-fueled shoot-em-up video games. But game consoles are now extremely versatile, strong, all-purpose computers made expressly for incorporating to living rooms and dens, and they can help you streamline your home computing and entertainment systems. They even offer activities that can fundamentally improve your lifetime.

Plus, there are a number of quite powerful and fun things that just gaming consoles can do.

Nintendo

Nintendo Wii U Deluxe Set – $349.99

Nintendo has announced plans to send its next-generation game program, called the Wii U (pronounced”we, you”) on November 18, 2012.

The Wii U ought to be a great gaming system — and an odd one. Contrary to the recent Wii, which can be operated by some motion-detecting controller which looks like a TV remote, the new Wii U will include a controller using buttons and a touch screen. The handheld touch screen may be used for controlling what’s on the TV. But it may also be utilized rather of this TV display. Therefore the Wii U will be a complete gaming console and a somewhat portable gaming device all in one.

Wii U owners may become members of an upcoming Nintendo Network, whereby Nintendo will maintain an app shop (which Nintendo is calling an eShop) for downloading all kinds of software that will work with the gambling system.

In addition to all the regular stuff you would find in a controller — gyroscope, accelerometer, haptic feedback and so on — the Wii U controller will have an integrated microphone, speakers and camera, as well as electronics that will allow you to use a wireless credit card to make purchases. It will also support stylus input, which means you need to have the ability to sign things and draw images.

It’s this blend of controller capabilities and an eShop which makes the Wii U so full of promise for non-gaming applications. The gambling system will likely enable the constraint of your current TV and videos using the touch screen and buttons on the controller. While watching TV, by way of example, you need to have the ability to move the display to the controller and take it with you all around the house.

You can also expect a lot of internet shopping software, in which you can quickly scan products and purchase by tapping your charge card on top of the controller to make the buy. And finally, it is almost certain that the Wii U will have the ability to replace your telephone, working as a speakerphone for internet calls along with a videoconferencing system at the touch of a button.

Microsoft

Xbox 360 Media Remote – $19.99

Contrary to the brand new Nintendo Wii U, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 platform has existed for decades and is about to go right now with many nongaming capabilities.

An Xbox device, which begins at $199, can play video DVDs on your TV just like a dedicated DVD player can. It may also show you films, TV shows, music videos and Web videos through Netflix, Hulu and Microsoft’s own content assistance, similar to an Apple TV apparatus does. It may play PC films on a home Windows network or through a regular USB flash drive, like a PC. Plus it can get ESPN3 sports content — even letting you watch two games simultaneously — similar to satellite networks do, in case you’ve got a $50 annual Xbox Live Gold subscription.

You’re able to interact with this all round home entertainment system using an Xbox controller if you want, but you likely won’t desire. Alternatively, you can purchase an Xbox-specific remote control, for example Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Media Remote. You can even search for films and other entertainment using search.

Xbox

Xbox can replace an whole music collection. Microsoft this month declared Xbox Music, a new service for downloading digital audio to Xbox consoles and enjoying with them over home music programs.

Xbox Music costs $9.99 per month and enables ad-free music streaming from its own catalog of 30 million tunes and 70,000 music videos. On top of that, it’s a feature that gives you an artist-based radio flow, like Pandora does. So you pick a band or a singer, and Xbox Music will perform not just tunes from the choice, but other artists with a similar style.

If you’ve got old audio CDs in your collection, you can set those from the Xbox and play them as if it was a CD player.

Microsoft

Nike+Kinect Coaching – $49.99

An Xbox can even be a personal trainer. Microsoft intends to launch an Xbox program called Nike+Kinect Training at the end of October 2012. The software utilizes your Xbox, and a Kinect sensor, to get your performance and shape while exercising, and it will even customize your workouts according to your skills and progress.

Microsoft

Kinect for Xbox 360 – $149.99

To be able to use Nike+Kinect, then you’ll require a 149.99 Microsoft add-on called Kinect for Xbox 360, and it is a sensor which uses cameras to track your moves as you use Kinect-supporting games and software.

Microsoft

Xbox 360 Chatpad – $29.99

Xbox can even replace your telephone, giving you communications capabilities right out of the Jetsons.

Whenever you have the Xbox Kinect, then you may use it along with your TV to possess live video chats with friends and family who also have Xboxes. An agency called Video Kinect utilizes one of the cameras in the Kinect addition to broadcast you and your living room to the home of another person on the call.

But Xbox gives you many different means to communicate also. You can chat, which can be like text messaging, and use Twitter and Facebook, with the societal networks appearing on your TV. Communicating on Xbox is a lot like communication on your computer, but you are relaxing on the couch and the communication is taking place on your big TV.

Some of the communication requires a computer keyboard, so it is a good idea to purchase an Xbox 360 Chatpad, a little, wireless keyboard made to be held as you type.

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Southwest Gardener's October Checklist

With the latest autumnal equinox, the mild has become sexier here in the desert. This changes how we see our garden distances, and warmer temperatures are changing how we can utilize them.

The arid Southwest is divided into three zones:
The Minimal zone: The hottest areas without winter; comprises Phoenix; Palm Springs, California; Laughlin, Nevada; and Yuma, Arizona (USDA zones 9 to 10)The middle zone: Hot with Minimal winter; comprises Tucson, Arizona; warm areas of Las Vegas; China Lake, California; and Presidio, Texas (USDA zones 8 to 9b) The high zone: Moderately hot with short, certain winters; includes El Paso, Texas; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Payson, Arizona; and Saint George, Utah (USDA zones 6b to 8)

Exteriors By Chad Robert

Fall planting. Many plants will love being transplanted in October, since mild temperatures and still-warm soils permit optimal plant growth.

At the middle and high winds, wait till spring to plant heat-loving to tender perennials, like Lantana and some broad-leaved citrus trees and shrubs (including evergreen oak species and India hawthorn). It’s unlikely they will set before colder weather, an planting them at the fall may lead to severe damage to foliage and newer branches.

People in the minimal zone may still plant the majority of the species that the higher zones cannot, since adequate root growth is probably before colder weather strikes.

Turfgrass. Whatever your zone, it’s too late in the year to plant or seed any warm-season yards or mulch, such as Zoysia or even Bermudagrass. The exclusion is cool-season turf for the oasis regions of middle and high winds, which is sodded with proper soil preparation and normal irrigation.

Hortus Oasis

Planting by Southwest Region

Try these kinds for October plantings.

Low zone: Any native and adapted plants, including low desert wildflowers, herbs and cool-season vegetables. This also has Ironwood (Olneya tesota),Desert Lavender (Hyptis emoryi) and parsley.

Medium zone: Cold-hardy palms, and any native and adapted plants, including wildflowers, herbs and lots of cool-season vegetables. Including fan palm (Washingtonia species) and Mexican grass tree (Dasylirion quadrangulatum).

High zone: Cold-hardy native agaves, yuccas and succulents; most woody native and adapted plants; herbs with woody growth; and rugged wildflowers from the high desert. In desert grassland and foothills regions, plants are likely to germinate and develop roots with moisture from next spring. Including soaptree (Yucca elata), turpentine bush (Ericameria laricifolia) and Penstemon species.

Revealed: Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)

Do a simple cleanup. Love autumn’s pleasures and also do something easy that makes a huge gap: Leave the challenging job for another month. October is a good time to simply touch up your outdoor spaces to maintain them livable, allowing additional time to enjoy them.

Remove smaller deadwood from trees and shrubs, since removal of live growth is more likely to stimulate new growth once the first colder weather occurs. Dead twigs and timber bits detract from a plant’s form — and it’s easy to tell those from the live timber at the moment. When you are finished, rake up surplus debris, leaves and other clutter from planting areas and the yard. An ordered space is much more relaxing, and a garden could be the prime spot for personal revival.

Donna Lynn – Landscape Designer

Handle water. Continue to track and reset the timers on any controllers you might have, especially in the low and middle zones. As temperatures fall, decrease the water necessary.

If you are planning a landscape to get a barren area or for a place outside plant roots, then create water harvesting opportunities to benefit plantings and some visual interest by installing delicate basins, swales and berms from constructions, where lush plantings are needed.

Contemplate capturing and storing stormwater for reuse as landscape irrigation during the inevitable dry periods to come. While the expenses of bigger systems often exceed those of potable gallon for gallon, it may be worth it to research for future requirements and changes in water availability. This is especially true in upland areas much from municipal water sources.

And as it’s late in the growing season, don’t overwater — it’ll encourage too much late-season growth.

Protect plants from nibbling rabbits. Rabbits in desert regions like to discover moist and cool things to eat. In drier seasons, they’re fond of devouring plants that they often avoid in wetter years; fresh plants are always very palatable, including lots of prickly pear cacti.

While some plant species are more resistant to rabbits compared to many others, the only plants that I know of which are rabbitproof are ocotillo and rosemary. Security is worth its time and price. Create chickenwire “cages” with three to four bets just beyond the fresh plants’ foliage, to stop rabbits from nibbling. Such protection has to be removed as the plant grows, however.

Some areas have javelina (wild pigs), which are particularly fond of a number of plants and can be very harmful. To Find out More, see “Javelina Resistant Plants,” from the University of Arizona, also “Living With Javelina,” from the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Photo courtesy of Alan Vernon

BOXHILL

Plan ahead to get a garden. While we are enjoying the start to fall foliage colour, especially at the high zone, don’t overlook the need for visual interest that includes strong evergreen looks during winter. Instead of settling on a design with a strong seasonal motif that holds together visually for just a few weeks, aim for a mixture of evergreen and deciduous foliage to get a garden. Massing local native cacti and shrubs, such as turpentine bush (Ericameria laricifolia) or creosote bush(Larrea tridentata), can accomplish this job nicely.

From the lower zones, the same is true — using deciduous plants whose foliage drops is perfectly appropriate once you pair them with evergreen species. Mexican evening primrose (Oenothera speciosa), ocotillo and desert willow (Chilopsis linearis) will add some seasonal interest — and you will find a bonus of blooms during the growing season.

And no matter the Southwestern zone, it’s most beneficial to think about species which thrive and older with less water and in our often highly alkaline soils.

Revealed: threadgrass (Nasella tenuissima), prickly pear cactus (Opuntia), ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) and Texas sage (Leucophyllum).

More: More guides to Southwest gardening | Locate your U.S. garden checklist

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10 Smart Ways to Deal With Summer Gear

When the first cold nip in the air arrives, it’s the perfect time to spend a weekend putting summer equipment in order. The end of summer always feels disgusting, and I find the time I take moving through all of those soggy towels, seashell collections and vacation photos signals a clear end to the summer season, letting me welcome the joys of autumn. As programs become more complete and vacations end, it also feels good knowing that I am starting with a clean slate, ready for whatever comes next.

From sorting, cleaning and repairing to arranging and saving for another year, these 10 tasks will help you get the task finished.

Interiors Studio Martha’s Vineyard

1. Toss broken pool toys and beach equipment. Inner tubes and other inflatables do not last forever, so be sure to check for holes or other damage prior to saving them. Give items that have been at the beach a thorough scrubbing and toss anything that’s cracked or broken and cannot be repaired.

Tongue & Groove

2. Make the most of end-of-season earnings to fill gaps in your equipment. As soon as you understand what you need (a new umbrella to substitute the one that blew away?) , think about stocking up today instead of waiting until the next year.

Not just will you get the lowest cost today, but you can prevent that last-minute shopping frenzy on the way to the shore next year.

simple thoughts

3. Edit your shore treasures and keep them safely. Beachcombing is a wonderful summer pastime, along with the paintings you accumulate can become meaningful mementos of your journeys. When you’re finished exhibiting your own shells, beach glass and driftwood, give everything a once-over to get rid of broken bits and pieces, then keep everything in a hard container with a lid to protect the delicate contents from breakage. If your collection has gotten too big, think about giving a package of treasures to a friend who you know would appreciate it.

Kimberly DesJardins Interiors

4. Sift through holiday photos. With digital photography, it is so easy to dump photos on the computer and forget about them.

I recommend creating a seasonal date along with your hard drive to edit photographs. It retains the task (comparatively) manageable, and you could easily purchase a photograph book online to include all of the summer’s memories.
Pick a few to print as nicely and rotate your own favorites in simple frames.

Organize Pictures in a Flash

Bill Fry Construction – Wm. H. Fry Const. Co..

5. Sort board games and check for lost pieces. Following a summer’s worth of game nights and play dates, the board game scenario in almost any family home is certain to be a pitiful state.

Enlist the children to help sort Monopoly money and Scrabble tiles, then treat yourselves to ice cream cones.

Vidabelo Interior Design

6. The grill prior to barbecue season ends. It’s accurate, there’s still some prime grilling weather before us, but that barbecue likely got a great deal of use this summer, and it’s time for a small deep cleaning. Most of us understand how to clean the surface of the grate with a wire brush but Lifehacker has a great video tutorial on how best to clean all of the parts of a grill.

Flow Wall System

7. Inspect sports and outdoor equipment for damage before storing. Outdoor adventures such as camping, hiking and fishing rely on your own equipment’s staying in good form. Carefully look over every product and fix minor issues as you come across them. Clean out coolers , air out tents and sleeping bags, and type sports equipment before neatly packing it off.

LDa Interiors & Architecture

8. Say goodbye to summer accessories that have seen better days. Sun, sand and salt water are hard on fabrics. Rather than keeping things past their prime, take a minute to sort through your shoes, hats, bags and shades, and give those old, crusty flip-flops and worn outside shore bags that the heave-ho.

Kailey J. Flynn Photography

9. Switch upward summer bedding (and clothing). When you feel that the first chill in the air on a crisp morning, that’s a fantastic sign it’s time to swap mild blankets for thicker colours and duvets. Launder your lightweight coverlets prior to keeping them in an out-of-the-way spot. While you’re at it, then pull those summer clothing from rotation to generate space for the comfy sweaters and boots of fall.

10. Thoroughly clean sandy towels and swimsuits. Sand can wreak havoc on washing machines, therefore allow beach towels to dry out and shake them well to remove sand prior to bringing them to get a wash. I like to pack my beach towels and swimsuits inside a beach bag, so everything remains together and will be easy to find come next summer.

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Great Design Plant: Japanese Anemone

By fall, most people have resigned themselves to saying goodbye to blooms in their perennial gardens. There are lots of choices for fall blossoms beyond chrysanthemums. The Japanese anemone is a gorgeous plant that provides abundant foliage throughout summer and spring, then explodes with tall white blossoms in the fall. Whether you are placing them in a clump, liner a fencing or incorporating white blossoms into the fall garden, these beauties are worth looking into.

Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

Botanical name: Anemone hupehensis
Shared name: Chinese or Japanese anemone
USDA zones: 4 to 2 (find your zone)
Water necessity: Needs moist but well-drained soil
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade. The further south you are, vice versa, and the more colour they need.
Mature size: 1 to 5 feet high
Benefits and tolerances: Could survive cold winters
Seasonal interest: The bottom of this plant has lovely leaves from late spring through summer, then the white blossoms bloom in autumn.
When to plant: Historical fall or spring after the last frost

Shades Of Green Landscape Architecture

Distinguishing traits: What separates this anemone from so many others is that it is a drop bloomer, offering rare white blossoms after several other summertime blooms have expired. Some hybrids and variations have blossoms in a range of pinks and lavender.

The foundation of deep green trifoliate leaves adds foliage to the backyard through summer and spring, while the tall blooms add blossoms at 3 to 4 feet high.

The blossoms themselves are beautiful. White sepals surround a ring of yellow stamens.

Amy Martin Landscape Design

The way to use it Japanese anemones can be mixed carefully into a perennial garden to offer fall blossoms. They also add a fall blossom mix and blooms together.

Shades Of Green Landscape Architecture

The plant functions along a picket fence, particularly in a cottage garden. It looks amazing in massive clumps — just remember these clumps will be blossom free all summer.

Habitat Design

Anemones also have a delicate and exotic appearance which makes them ideal for Asian-style gardens. They are a good choice for rock gardens and gardens along woodland edges.

Westover Landscape Design, Inc..

Planting notes: Anemones need fertile, well-drained soil and flourish best when they get morning sun and at a day shade.

• Space plants 18 to 24 inches apart.
• Dig a hole that’s exactly the same depth as the container.
• Shake soil in the plant loose and place the plant gently in the hole.
• Add soil to fill.
• Water the plant — soil should be kept moist but not wet.
• Mulch around the plant to keep the soil moist.

The New York Botanical Garden

More:

See more guides to great design plants

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Sourcebook: Contemporary Coastal Style

Tired of your coastal home design? Pare down your decor and vary textures and finishes to update to a appearance. Color plays an integral part go bold with splashes of turquoises along with corals throughout spaces. Think of your room as an art gallery; put and select objects for maximum effect. This appearance doesn’t scream coastal. On the contrary, it’s very subtle — you may have just 1 painting or piece of furniture that defines the appearance, but it will be sufficient to give your space a coastal feel.

Related: So Your Design Is: Coastal

John Lewis

Davey Factory Ceiling Light, Copper – GBP 360

Lighting

This lighting has all of the components needed for the modern coastal appearance — a maritime feel and smooth, sleek lines in a beautiful polished copper.

Resources:
Locate this at John Lewis (U.K. just).
Restoration Hardware has a massive selection of lights that look perfect in modern coastal homes.

Wisteria

Floating Coral Shelf – $49

Accessories

Mix coastal contours with more contemporary materials. Organic shapes are highlighted by these coral shelves in a format that is clean.

Resources:
Locate this at Wisteria.
Anthropologie is great for quirky takes on coastal accessories.

beebolt

Zikat Fabric, Indigo – $10.50

Fabric

Play with layouts from neutrals and blues, such as this gorgeous chevron stripe from Beebolt. A couple bits in a fun pattern are.

Resources:
Lewis & Sheron have a beautiful range of stripes and ikats.
Romo fabrics always has great coordinating stripes.

RSH

Malibu Fish Plates, Set of 9 – $239

Wall Art

Create a screen of coastal-inspired art. Visit local galleries to locate sculpture or a painting that feels special.

Resources:
Discover these great plates at RSH.
Art.com has an excellent selection of modern art in many different price ranges.

ABC Carpet & Home

Shibori Linen Pillow – $158

Pillows

This shibori linen pillow is filled with visual feel. It’d look amazing.

Resources:
Get this cushion from ABC Carpet & Home.
West Elm is a great source for pillows in all shapes, sizes and colours.
For more modern coastal cushions, attempt Tuvalu Home.

John Lewis

Eames RAR Rocking Chair, Ocean – GBP 435

Furniture

Keep furniture lines classic and clean. Aim for simple bits that still stand out — such as this timeless Eames rocker at a foggy blue.

Resources:
Check out Dwell (U.K. just) for some magnificent contemporary furniture.
Restoration Hardware always has a great mixture of modern and unusual pieces.

Exquisite Surfaces

Montaigne Collection Tournai Wood Floors

Floors

in case you’ve got the option of trimming your floors, target to get worn hardwoods in light colours to keep the more classic side of your coastal home.

Resources:
Locate this timber flooring at Exquisite Surfaces.
Take a peek at Pavé Tile and Stone for more worn wood options.

weegohome.com

Coral Rug – $270

Rugs

Utilize a picture rug to add a wow factor to any room. Keep the colour palette simple and instead aim for patterns.

Resources:
Locate this carpet at Weego Home.
A fantastic selection of rugs may also be located at Modern Rugs (U.K. just).

Benjamin Moore

In the Tropics Paint

Shade

You can play with colour in a modern coastal home, and thus don’t feel like you need to adhere to just neutrals. Brighten things up with a coral or turquoise!

Resources:
Discover this and other great coastal colours at Benjamin Moore.
Try Small Greene for more great colours.

Thomas Paul

King Octopus Duvet Cover, Charcoal – $400

Bedding

Keep bedding simple but statement making. This duvet cover creates a real impact with its vintage drawing from bold black and white.

Resources:
Locate this at Thomas Paul.
Try Ralph Lauren for pared-down seems for your bedroom.
The White Company has an extensive range of bedding.

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