Kitchen Design Fix: How to Fit an Island Into a Little Kitchen

I have read again and again that a 12-foot-wide kitchen is not wide enough for an island. Of course, available space for an island is based upon the specific supply of kitchen workspaces, in addition to your way of life and household dynamics, however a 12-foot-wide kitchen can certainly have a remarkably efficient island. Small islands might be functional and beautiful alternative — as these gorgeous examples in a range of kitchen dimensions prove.

Shawn St.Peter Photography

This photograph is perfect for our conversation of islands in modestly sized kitchens. Contemplating the approximately 25 1/2-inch countertop thickness on both sides (and an inch or two to the bump-out of this farmhouse sink along with the freestanding gas range), you’d want a minimum of 36 inches clearance for aisle space. This leaves about 18 to 21 inches to the island thickness — and that’s countertop space worth having.

When it comes to private family dynamics, remember that this sort of setup doesn’t allow for another relative to squeeze by the person working at the stove or doing the dishes. I call it the “ass rub” factor, which could definitely cause arguments at the end of a long moment. A 36-inch clearance would likewise not be enough between a fridge and an island, unless it is a French door fridge, which has a bigger door swing.

One option would be to bring a small prep sink into the staircase, to avoid anybody’s having to walk around the island whilst somebody else is working at the stove.

JOHN DANCEY Custom Designing/Remodeling/Building

Think about a square island if it suits your distance, but remember that a countertop bigger than 4 by 4 ft will be tricky to reach and maintain clean.

To produce an island really yours, give some thought to what you want to shop there. It’s worthwhile to incorporate a mixture of small and large drawers, an open shelf for storing larger items such as platters, or baskets for storing root vegetables.

RemodelWest

This is a bigger kitchen with a magical little round island, with a stunning two-tone butcherblock top.

When deciding on the shape and style of an island, you’ll want to consider access for pets and kids, what you want to store and exhibit from the island and how often you entertain. Everyone has different ideas about the presence of pets and their snouts becoming into food-related items!

MP DESIGN

This is a simple yet very effective island layout executed with a 4-inch-thick butcher block top. Including a towel bar or some hooks to a side might help increase its usefulness, also.

Alabama Sawyer

It’s great to see this type of soft contemporary interpretation of a small island. Lifted up on trendy stainless steel legs, this island provides storage and style at precisely the same time. Selecting a small island also means you can be daring with your choice of material or colour.

Dallas Renovation Group

Little but hardworking, this tiny island is not more than 30 inches wide, yet it manages to house among those very practical microwave drawers. It’s nicely wrapped into angled posts, a simple design to incorporate into a small kitchen.

Drawer styles allow you to hide your microwave as much as possible; plus, you don’t have to strain to look at the controllers or load this up. The slanted control pad and push-button opening with this microwave stall make it easy on the eye and the trunk.

Watch more about microwave drawers

Southern Studio Interior Design

Twice the length of the prior island, this island is one hardworking bit of cabinetry. Beautifully executed with corner poles and a furniture-style Cable kick, it houses a microwave and a mini fridge.

The rock countertop with the corner detail adds another layer of elegance.

Turan Designs, Inc..

Along with a drawer cupboard, this unit helps retains cookbooks right in the hand. You might also add a row of square cubbies for wine bottle storage only below the counter tops, which would still allow for two shelves underneath.

USI Design & Remodeling

The small island provides you with an opportunity to add a splash of bold colour to an otherwise neutral area. This one appears charming and has lots of storage, and the timber counter adds country-living flavor.

Ana Williamson Architect

Here is an interesting way to create chairs space in a contemporary kitchen. Notice the way the white quartz counter is used instead of a cupboard gable on the sink side, continues the cupboard for approximately 12 inches and then juts outside to allow clearance for stools.

As for countertop overhangs, remember that rock counters need additional support than quartz ones. Brackets are a typical solution, however on a small unit they might get in the way. Flat steel bars are an undetectable alternative, but you should discuss this with your rock manufacturer and cabinet supplier early on.

Tip: Be alert to the different chair and stool heights, so you can pick the right one to your kitchen. Be certain to test each version by actually sitting inside it, as particular layouts work better for short- or long-legged individuals than others.

A typical chair height is 18 inches for a 30-inch-high dining table. But, that height will not do the job for a high-countertop. Search for 24-inch-high stools to your own kitchen island, unless the model has an choice to move the chair up or down.

Stools for standard 42-inch bar heights are generally 30 inches high and often have a footrest.

Marrokal Design & Remodeling

This is just another inventive instance of a tiny island; it has a diminished seating area in a contrasting material. The timber counter’s round shape is perfect for a smooth transition into the aisle area, and timber is soft and warm to the touch, as opposed to granite.

Permit 2 feet of width per chair for comfortable seats — even more if the both of you want to both read the newspaper at precisely the same time in the morning.

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Kitchen Cabinets: Antibacterial Copper Gives Kitchens a Gleam

Copper has a long background in the kitchen; it’s been used as a material for kitchen sinks and butter for centuries. As a result, its benefits and disadvantage are well established and agreed upon. This gorgeous metal makes an instantaneous statement when employed for kitchen sinks, and it garners a unique patina over time due to its reactive nature.

Nowadays copper sinks can be found in a vast range of shapes, sizes and styles, allowing them to work beautifully in your kitchen, no matter what your kitchen design is. Here are some basics to assist you determine if this is the kitchen sink material for you.

Signature Hardware

Aberdeen Smooth Double Well Farmhouse Copper Sink – $926.95

The fundamentals: Hand-formed copper is full of character as a result of its color, malleability and ever-changing patina. Copper sinks include varying thicknesses: 14 gauge (thicker and high in quality) to 18 gauge (thinner and less expensive).

Cost: $450 to $1,000 on average.However, costs can certainly increase for thicker-gauge copper and more complex sink layouts.

Lasley Brahaney Architecture + Construction

Benefits: Copper is powerful but easy to shape, therefore copper sinks can be found in a vast range of styles, shapes and dimensions, and can be made quite large and deep.

Based on the gauge, copper can last for several decades. Fragile dishes will also be less likely to break if dropped to a copper sink, since it is malleable and not as hard as ordinary stones.

And best of all, aluminum is filled with antimicrobial properties, making it an superb choice for bacteria-filled kitchens.

UB Kitchens

Cons: Not all copper sinks are created equal. The thicker the copper, the more durable the sink. Thin copper sinks are more likely to dent, scratch and even warp with time.

Be aware that copper is an extremely reactive metal, and its finish will certainly change over time. A sink’s natural patina and finish can be ruined by acidic fluids, sexy dishware and abrasive cleansers.

In Detail Interiors

Sustainability: Copper is 100 percent recyclable. It can be melted, forged and shaped as many times as required. In fact, according to the Northwest Mining Association, about half of the copper products purchased annually in North America come from aluminum. Premium scrap copper has at least 95 percent of their worth of freshly mined copper.

Epiphany Design Studio

Maintenance: Copper is known for its sanitary benefits (germs can survive on copper for only a matter of hours). Plain old hot, soapy water cleans it all best. Additionally, it is constantly changing color and developing interest and variation, but you are able to slow down this process with wax treatments a few times a year. You will also want to avoid abrasive cleansers.

Bellacor

Ballard Smooth Weathered Copper Kitchen Sink

Are you really a lover of copper kitchen sinks? Share your thoughts in the Remarks section below.

See the way the copper sink can work with your home’s design

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Basement of the Week: Patterns Promise Fun and Kicky Colors

“Entertaining, bright and joyful” was the phrase this mother of 2 young boys used to refer to her dream cellar makeover. She gave a sheet of cloth she adored to interior designer Cathy Zaeske as a starting point. “My customer wanted a family-friendly, inviting and stylish space that included a house theater with lots of seating, a play area, a workout area, an office, a homework station and revamped storage options,” Zaeske states. She got to work on a practical design, did a smart bargain shopping and balanced bold and light colours to brighten up the space.

Basement at a Glance
Who lives here: A mom with twin boys in elementary school
Location: External Chicago
Size: 475 square feet
Approximate budget: Only under $10,000

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

“The first thing I did was decide the requirements of the family and subsequently developed a floor plan from zone,” Zaeske states. She delineated the different zones using carpets, colours, furniture and present components like columns. Layout and Color create flow and continuity.

Carousel Designs

Confetti Pom Pon Play Fabric – $15

The customer had fallen in love with Waverly Pom Pon Play Confetti cloth; it inspired the color palette, which incorporates bold and vivid color grounded by black beams.

Before Photo

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

“The space was completed but overrun with toys and clutter. It was the typical catchall space full of cast-off furniture and dated electronics,” Zaeske states.

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

Zaeske balanced smooth glistening surfaces with feel. This wavy textured wallpaper contrasts with all the straight lines of this mirror.

Paint: Great Blue Green AC 149, Cloverdale Paint; textured wallpaper: Patent Decor by York, PT9404

Before Photo

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

Average of a cellar, the windows were little and didn’t let in much all-natural light.

“There are only two little windows in the room, so we needed to maintain the room as bright as possible,” Zaeske states. “The light carpeting was in great shape, so we could utilize that but freshen this up with layered rugs rugs.”

To create the illusion of a complete window, Zaeske purchased an off-the-shelf woven Roman shade; split the top valance portion and put in it at ceiling height; hung at the bottom portion of the shade beneath the window, simulating a top window shade; and framed the windows along with her inspiration cloth

“This window is my favourite feature in the room. It gives the impression that the room is brighter and taller,” Zaeske states.

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

Basements are usually full of pesky supports that hold up the house, and ductwork that heats and cools it. Sometimes you’ve got to work with this.

“We decided to conceal the pillar in plain sight and make it an advantage,” Zaeske states. “Does the pillar help specify the TV area from the rest of the space, but it is a wonderful platform for the client’s favorite quotes and sayings; we left space so that she can add to it over time.”

Swivel seat: Rebecca, Grandinroad; TV unit: Besta Burs, Ikea; stickers: plastic, Michael’s and Hobby Lobby

Before Photo

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

BEFORE: A hodgepodge of strangely scaled shelves left a lot to be desired.

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

An Expedit bookcase from Ikea paired with vibrant boxes from Pier 1 Imports supplies coordinated toy storage that leaves everything easy to catch.

Painting the handrail and newel post black gave them a crisp look that picks on another dark accents within the room.

Ceiling paint: Cloud Nine; trim paint: Chantilly Lace (equally by Benjamin Moore)

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

This homework station provides lots of storage for electronics and paper documents, as well as display space for books and favorite products.

“Ghost Chairs are a good way to put in a playful spirit to the space, and they take no visual burden,” Zaeske states.

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

“We chose to utilize a sectional in a kid-friendly cloth and dark color for comparison,” Zaeske states. “Balance was quite crucial in this space to maintain the palette from appearing too cutsey — we balanced warm with trendy, bumpy with smooth and dark with light.”

Sofa: Milo Sectional, Macy’s

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

Light carpeting, walls, trim and accents, along with mirrors and bright lighting, maintain the room as bright as if it were aboveground.

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

“Lights and mirrors are my mantra when designing a cellar with low ceilings — it is a great way to expand the walls as well as double the light,” Zaeske states.

Chandelier: Portfolio 3-Light, Lowe’s; mirror: HomeGoods

Your Favorite Room By Cathy Zaeske

Exercise gear is tucked behind the dwelling room, where consumers can still enjoy a view of the TV. A Besta Burs Desk from Ikea functions as a sofa table.

Your turn: Show us your cellar redo!

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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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