Blog Posts by Sunset Magazine

  • 13 Easy Pumpkin Arrangements

    Bring on the magic of fall with beautiful pumpkin arrangements (no carving!).

    Try surprising design elementsTry surprising design elements
    Reds and oranges

    Here, red-orange pumpkins mingle with glory lilies, pomegranates, red winter berries, and--most surprisingly--golden and cherry tomatoes.


    White pumpkins really pop against woodWhite pumpkins really pop against wood
    Neutrals

    The sculptural quality of white pumpkins really pops against wood paneling. White anemones and an assortment of seedpods, leaves, and acorns in a medley of browns complement them here. Try propping some pumpkins vertically for added height and texture.

    More unusual pumpkin varieties


    A lighthearted twist to the traditional fall paletteA lighthearted twist to the traditional fall palette
    Yellows and golds

    Striped yellow pumpkins lend a lighthearted twist to the traditional fall palette. Combine them with yellow Iceland poppies, kumquats, and grapefruits in a sunlit space; leave citrus leaves and twisted pumpkin stems intact for a just-picked feel.

    It's all about fall color It's all about fall color
    Mixed greens

    Miniature striped green-and-yellow pumpkins join a trio of copper vases and a casual arrangement of red, orange, and yellow flowers. It's all about fall color--without a maple leaf or

    Read More »from 13 Easy Pumpkin Arrangements
  • 8 Delicious Apple Recipes

    Dive into apple season with apple oven cake, pie, crisp, galette, muffins, applesauce, salads, and more.


    Works as a breakfast dish or dessertWorks as a breakfast dish or dessert
    Apple Oven Cake

    This pancake-like cake is great for after dinner or as a breakfast treat. And it comes together in less than 30 minutes.

    Yield: Serves 6
    Total: 30 Minutes

    Ingredients
    3 tablespoons butter
    1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 sweet apple such as Fuji, peeled and sliced
    3 large eggs
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup flour
    1/2 cup milk
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    1 tablespoon powdered sugar

    Preparation
    1. Preheat oven to 425°. Melt butter in a 12-in. ovenproof frying pan over high heat. Add brown sugar and cinnamon, swirling to combine. Add apple and cook until just starting to soften, about 3 minutes.

    2. Meanwhile, in a blender, whirl together eggs, salt, flour, and milk. Pour egg mixture into pan and bake until puffed and brown, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice and powdered sugar.

    Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

    Read More »from 8 Delicious Apple Recipes
  • Top 10 Spots for Fall Color

    Go on a foliage tour of the West at our favorite places to soak up the season's golds, crimsons, and more.


    Aspens and oaks gild the slopes Aspens and oaks gild the slopes
    San Juan Mountains, CO

    In October, the aspens and oaks of Colorado's San Juan Mountains gild the slopes so brilliantly it's like Project Runway for trees. Choose from two great scenic drives to take it all in: the San Juan Skyway or the Silver Thread Scenic & Historic Byway.


    Vivid fall color of the Eastern SierraVivid fall color of the Eastern Sierra
    Bridgeport, CA

    Use the town as a base to explore the vivid fall color of the Eastern Sierra and the wealth of hot springs stretching between it and Mammoth Lakes, 60 miles south. Try this therapeutic formula for a long weekend: Drive, hike, see fall color, and do some soaking on the way to Mammoth Lakes. Don't miss the Travertine Hot Springs, where the waters average 105° and views of the Sawtooths are yours to savor, or Conway summit (south of Bridgeport on U.S. 395) for a sweeping, tree-dotted vista of where the Great Basin meets the High Sierra.

    More great fall hikes


    The air in Flagstaff is crisp as a WinesapThe air in Flagstaff is crisp as a Winesap
    Flagstaff, AZ

    Sunshine, great

    Read More »from Top 10 Spots for Fall Color
  • Top Plants for Your Fall Garden

    Our picks for the very best bulbs, greens, trees, and more to set out now for a vibrant garden come spring.


    Fall is ideal for getting plants into the groundFall is ideal for getting plants into the ground
    Prime time for planting

    The time is right to get growing! Tempting as it may be to buy plants in spring when they're looking full and luscious, fall is actually ideal for getting most ornamentals and cool-season edibles into the ground. Summer's peak heat is behind, the soil is still warm, and the next few months can bring soaking winter rains. That means immediate and deep root growth for all kinds of plants that reach their prime in spring, if not before. Here are our top picks, including some surprises--plus tips for planting them.


    Replace the lawn with low-water grassReplace the lawn with low-water grass
    Low-water lawns
    Traditional lawns need lots of water to stay lush-looking. But if you're getting serious about slashing your water bill, now's a good time to plant or replace the usual lawn with a low-water grass such as blue grama or a fescue blend such as Eco-Lawn (pictured; wildflowerfarm.com). In warm-winter areas, start seed in fall;

    Read More »from Top Plants for Your Fall Garden
  • 15 Smart Small-home Organization Tips

    Keep small spaces uncluttered with our creative storage and organization solutions. Don't let a lack of space get you down--use the small area as a creative inspiration.


    Using under-utilized wall spaceUsing under-utilized wall space
    Frame a doorway

    Bookshelves surrounding the entry from a living room to a dining room make creative use of what might otherwise be under-utilized wall space.

    All about shelving

    Creates a visual separationCreates a visual separation
    Divide and conquer

    This free-standing cabinet creates a visual separation between the entryway and living space. It provides a large amount of closed storage to keep the room uncluttered.


    Much less expensive than built-insMuch less expensive than built-ins
    Maximize wall space

    Freestanding wall units can be much less expensive than built-ins. Create a niche in the unit for a workstation to add even more function.

    It can hold anything you need to unloadIt can hold anything you need to unload
    Put furniture to work

    Multipurpose furniture is a must. If you don't have an entryway closet, a storage bench can hold anything you need to unload. Plus it can double as extra seating, rather than clunky folding chairs.


    Keep floor space openKeep floor space open
    Use a classic trick

    When you have limited rooms for your little ones,

    Read More »from 15 Smart Small-home Organization Tips
  • 8 Quick Chicken Dishes

    The staple ingredient soars to new flavorful heights with these easy-to-make meals, all ready in around 30 minutes or less.

    A blue-ribbon recipeA blue-ribbon recipe
    Chicken Cordon Bleu
    In an attempt to create something new, we sometimes forget how good the classics can be. That's the perfect reason to bring back cordon bleu in its simplest form to your table tonight.

    Yield: Serves 4
    Prep Time: 30 Minutes

    Ingredients
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    4 boned, skinned chicken breast halves (8 oz. each)
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    4 ounces thinly sliced smoked ham
    4 ounces gruyère cheese, thinly sliced


    Preparation
    1. Preheat oven to 350°. Heat oil in a large, ovenproof, nonstick frying pan. Sprinkle each chicken breast with 1/4 tsp. salt and lay in hot oil. Cook until browned on one side, about 5 minutes. Turn chicken over and transfer pan to oven.

    2. Cook chicken until no longer pink in the center, about 10 minutes. Spread each breast with 1/2 tsp. mustard. Top each with ham, then

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  • 15 Genius Ways to Garden Anywhere

    On a driveway, atop a doghouse, up a wall--here's how to garden in small and unusual spaces.


    Space for a tiny garden in the middleSpace for a tiny garden in the middle
    Garden in a driveway

    Landscape architect Jeni Webber replaced this Palo Alto home's solid driveway with two strips of concrete, leaving space for a tiny garden in the middle.

    World's smallest parkWorld's smallest park
    In a posthole

    This mini park in downtown Portland (planted in a spot meant for a lamppost) proves that there is no space too small for a garden.

    Why be predictable?Why be predictable?
    Between pavers

    Randi Herman wanted to plant something unique between the pavers in her Berkeley backyard; instead of using predictable groundcovers she went for a mix of lettuces and beets.


    Use a ready-made redwood window boxUse a ready-made redwood window box
    On the patio

    Having fresh greens at your fingertips is one of the best parts of the growing season. And with a raised planter on the back patio, you can have a continual supply of salad greens nearly year-round.

    You can make one using a ready-made redwood window box from the nursery.

    A living roof for FidoA living roof for Fido
    Atop a doghouse

    Even Fido deserves a living roof.

    You can buy this stylish doghouse from

    Read More »from 15 Genius Ways to Garden Anywhere
  • Ultimate California Highway 1 Road Trip

    Drive. Dine. Walk. Gawk. Find joy. Explore 735 gorgeous miles of the iconic road with these essential stops along the way.


    Aliso Beach ParkAliso Beach Park
    Most beautiful stretch of sand, Laguna Beach

    Catch Aliso Beach Park on a balmy day when the water turns a translucent turquoise, and you'll think you've been transported south to the tropics. Backed by low hills and cliffs topped by dream homes, the beach looks out on Santa Catalina Island, with low-tide access south around a rocky point to a long, curving stretch of sand. There may be better-known beaches in Orange County but certainly none more beautiful. 31131 S. Pacific Coast Hwy.; ocparks.com/beaches/aliso.

    Manhattan Beach PierManhattan Beach Pier
    A peerless pier, Manhattan Beach

    Southern California loves its piers, and none gets more summer lovin' than Manhattan Beach Pier. With surfers riding the waves, multiple volleyball games along the sand, and tanned and toned locals providing flesh-and-blood evidence of Manhattan Beach's fitness obsession, the pier gives you an opera-box perspective

    Read More »from Ultimate California Highway 1 Road Trip
  • 15 Favorite Color Palettes

    We unlock the secrets to gorgeous color and paint palettes that work for any room in your home. (Not sure where to start? How about using your favorite color?)


    Red roomRed room
    Just add red

    The showstopper: One wall of poppy red wallpaper is all it takes to bring life and energy to this dining nook. Red is strong enough that patterns work better than solids. The lantern, pillows, and art pick up on the hue in delicate ways.

    The tamer: A complementary wall of greige (a mix of gray and beige resulting in a warm, muddy tone) grounds the red and acts as a neutral without being recessive.

    The accent: Cushions in shaded seaglass green are a cool complement to the red and share tonal value with the greige.

    More on adding passion to your palette with shades of red

    YellowYellow
    Yellow equals modern

    The canvas: A cool white forms the background in this dramatic palette. Paint furniture pieces the same color as the wall to help them fade and make a space look bigger.

    The pop: Bright yellow is like a vitamin C shot

    Read More »from 15 Favorite Color Palettes
  • 15 Easy Gardening Tips & Projects

    Discover quick fixes and easy, manageable projects to transform your garden.


    Scatter the seeds evenlyScatter the seeds evenly
    Sow seeds in the garden

    Some annuals and vegetables grow best if the seeds are sowed where the plants will be grown in the garden.

    Sow seeds in rows. Use a trowel or the corner of a hoe to dig a furrow to the correct depth (check seed packets for depth and spacing recommendations). Sow the seeds evenly, and pat the soil gently over them. To make straight rows, stretch a string between two stakes, and plant beneath it. Or lay a board on the soil's surface and then plant along its edge.

    Make a mound. Group plants in a cluster on a low mound of soil, rather than in rows. This is a traditional way to grow sprawling plants such as squash and melons. Sow five or six seeds in a circle, and pat soil over them.

    Broadcast seeds. Sowing wide bands of vegetables across a bed is more space efficient than row-planting for smaller crops such as lettuce, carrots, radishes, or mesclun. Scatter the seeds evenly over the soil. Read More »from 15 Easy Gardening Tips & Projects

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