• In honor of Earth Day, here are a few cools ways to breath new life into old things around your house. - Deborah Snoonian & Amy Hughes, This Old House


    Reuse ideasReuse ideas
    Looking for something small and affordable at the salvage yard? Decorative iron tub supports can be found at most such shops-and are far easier to recycle than the heavy vessels that once perched upon them. Put them to work as bookends on your desk or use just one to prop up magazines inside a shelving unit. To protect wood from scratches, stick felt cushions on the feet bottoms. Then put your own feet up and enjoy the ironwork's vintage charm.

    TOH Tip: To preserve the iron's patina and seal any lead paint, add a coat of clear acrylic finish.

    RELATED: DIY With Doors: Reuse Ideas for a Common Renovation Throwaway

    Reuse ideasReuse ideas
    A rickety wooden ladder that's been gathering cobwebs in your basement may be unsafe to climb, but that doesn't mean you should kick it to the curb. With a fresh

    Read More »from 3 Beautiful Creative Reuse Ideas You'll Want to DIY
  • You use LED lightbulbs. You have Energy Star appliances. What else can you do to trim your electricity bill? Choose devices that mind your energy consumption for you.

    Spring, when you're generally not dependent on heating or air-conditioning, is the perfect time to assess your home-energy use. Consider the following five ways to start saving oil, gas, kilowatts -- and, of course, money.

    1. Optimize your heat and central air-conditioning. Investing in a programmable thermostat that adjusts the temperature according to your daily schedule can translate into big savings, since you won't waste money on climate control when you're out. "Heating and cooling usually make up about 50 percent of a home's energy costs," says Merrilee Harrigan, senior education adviser at Alliance to Save Energy, in Washington, D.C.

    Related: 13 Crazy Beauty Tricks That Really Work

    2. Fight "vampire power" drain. Smart power strips sense when an electronic device or charger is plugged in but not

    Read More »from Power Down: 5 Tips to Trim Your Electric Bill
  • By Josue Ledesma Cheapism.com

    Compost, often referred to as "black gold" by gardeners, is a soil enhancer that helps plants of all stripes to thrive. Better yet, compost is free and organic, and returns nutrients to the soil. It makes use of yard and food waste that would otherwise go to landfill and becomes a fertilizer that doesn't produce polluted runoff or leach beneficial organisms from the soil.

    Related: Best cheap compost bins buying guide and recommendations

    When it comes to composting, what's good for the environment is also good for your wallet. Organics "By Gosh" points to savings on expenses such as water bills and lawn maintenance. Compost aerates the soil and helps plants retain water, which means less watering with hose and sprinkler. Compost also helps suppress plant diseases, so there's less need for chemical fixes. The site estimates that all the organic and energy goodness from a cubic yard of compost would cost more than $550 to acquire through a

    Read More »from Does Composting Also Help You Save Money or Only the Environment?
  • An Arizona landscaper shows how to banish clutter from your life (or at least your backyard).

    The courtyard becomes an outdoor roomThe courtyard becomes an outdoor room
    Reclaim the entry
    Every garden needs at least one area where you can shut out the world. This entry in a 1960s-modern home in Paradise Valley, Arizona, is that spot for landscape designer Brian Kissinger and his partner Todd McCandless.

    Why it works: With its front gates closed (frosted-glass panes let in light), the courtyard becomes a private outdoor room. A canopy of date palms shades a small collection of subtropical plants and helps cool the space in summer.

    Adapt the idea: Don't have a whole courtyard to play with? Block off a corner near your entry with a trellis, train a vine to clamber over it, then tuck a bench behind.

    More like a nature trail than a garden walkMore like a nature trail than a garden walk
    Make a park out of a path

    Kissinger made his entry path feel more like a nature trail than a garden walk. Thyme grows between steps; boulders, cactus, and rosemary fringe the path's edges.
    Indispensable herbs

    Why it works: Even before his guests get to

    Read More »from How to Create a Clutter-free Garden
  • Our friends at Pinterest shared the season's most in-demand outdoor garden trends and the boards you should start following now.

    1. Vertical Gardens

    Take your plant and herb gardens to the next level with these creative ideas for both indoors and out.

    Plus: 12 Awesome Asparagus Recipes »

    2. Italian-Theme Gardens
    Planting an Italian-themed garden filled with tomatoes, zucchini, basil, and oregano means you have all the ingredients for a veggie lasagna at the ready!

    3. Urban Gardens
    For those trying to infuse some country garden feel into city spaces, this board is full of inspiring ideas for small spaces.

    4. Indoor Gardens
    Why not bring the beauty of nature inside?

    5. Edible Gardens
    Growing your own produce if an investment in your overall well-being, health, and happiness.

    Plus: 27 New Ways to Landscape Your Yard »

    6. Recycled Gardens
    What's better than using recycled materials and plants from friends to build your next garden?


    Read More »from 10 Top Gardening Trends for 2014
  • We've all gone wild for those dramatic "living walls" of succulents. Here, grower Robin Stockwell shows you how you can make your own.

    Frame a whole gardenFrame a whole garden
    Plant a living picture

    Instead of framing a picture, why not a whole garden? Here, cuttings of assorted succulents knit together to create colorful, textural living tapestries.

    Read on for more photos and directions for this DIY vertical garden.
    Give your succulent garden an undersea twist

    Build yourself or purchase Build yourself or purchase
    Buy a preassembled frame

    Build the vertical garden frame assembly yourself or purchase one.

    We got ours from Robin Stockwell's Succulent Gardens in Castroville, California (from $35 for a 6- by 12-inch frame; 831/632-0482).

    Break pups from succulents you already have Break pups from succulents you already have
    Gather cuttings

    Break the small "pups" from succulents you already have growing in your garden (the stems should be at least 1/4 inch long).

    Set the cuttings aside in a cool area for a few days to allow their stem ends to dry and callus over. (You'll want about 60 for a 6- by 12-inch frame.)

    The mesh holds the soil in placeThe mesh holds the soil in place
    Add soil

    Set the frame mesh side up

    Read More »from How to Make Your Own Living Succulent Art
  • If you're making the effort to recycle (and you should be!), make sure you're doing it right.If you're making the effort to recycle (and you should be!), make sure you're doing it right.

    You're probably on autopilot when it comes to tossing your bottles and plastic, but it's worth taking stock of how you recycle. Are you making these common missteps?

    Related: 11 Chemicals You Might Have Already Eaten Today

    1. Assuming an item isn't recyclable
    You might be surprised to learn that you can keep old CDs, furniture, mattresses, wine corks, aluminum foil, and lots more out of landfills these days. Often, you'll have to take these items to a recycling center, but some may be left curbside. Check Earth911.com/recycling (or download their handy smartphone app) to find out more about your local policies.

    Related: Start Your Garden With Some Help From Your Garbage

    2. Throwing away plastic bottle caps
    Tossing caps before recycling the bottles is no longer a household rule. In 2012, thanks to new technology and increased demand for recycled plastics, the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers announced that recycling facilities throughout the US would

    Read More »from 5 Biggest Mistakes You Make Recycling
  • What's not to love about lavender? It's low maintenance and drought-tolerant, once established. It attracts bees and butterflies but is deer- and rabbit-resistant. It can be used in cosmetics, medicine, and cuisine. And the beloved fragrance, prized for millennia, is refreshing, clean, and very soothing. David Salman of High Country Gardens grows this Mediterranean herb at his nursery in Santa Fe. Here, he offers TK tips for using this easy-to-grow herb.

    1. Lavender, such as cultivars of tender L. stoechas, does well in pots. Choose a well-draining potting soil recommended for containers, such as the Perfect Start container mix from Gardens Alive ($15; gardensalive.com). Fertilize organically every other week.

    2. Enjoy the fragrance of lavender year-round by drying this beloved herb. To preserve, hang small bunches upside down in a dark, dry room until the moisture has evaporated.

    3. Lavender needs well-drained soil to flourish. If your soil is heavy, amend it by adding

    Read More »from How to Grow and Use Lavender This Spring
  • Thawing temperatures are starting to lure us outdoors to get back into the garden. Next up in the process of preparing your home for spring: planting perennials

    If you're wondering what to plant, we recommend Gaillardia 'Fanfare.' Its glorious sunsetlike colors and unique trumpet-shaped petals distinguish this hardy perennial, which thrives in most U.S. climates and blooms from late spring into fall. ($9.95 each; parkseed.com.) It will bloom continuously, May through fall, or frost. To prune, cut the stems all the way back to the foliage.

    With a bit of extra effort-namely, judicious pruning-these choices will offer a repeat performance.

    Tell us: What perennials will you be planting this season?

    See more from CountryLiving.com:

    Our Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Decorating »
    40 Amazing Before-and-After Home Makeovers »
    30 Ways to Freshen Every Room for Spring »

    18 Laundry Rooms That Are Pretty and Useful »

    Become a fan of Country Living on Facebook and follow our pins

    Read More »from The Secret Way to Plant Perennials This Spring
  • How to create a lush backyard without putting a single plant in the ground.

    You should have seen Plan AYou should have seen Plan A
    Plan B

    It started as Plan B: Annette Gutierrez and her husband wanted to create a great room in their Hollywood home but didn't have the budget for a remodel. "So we thought, Let's just do it outside!" says Gutierrez. To transform the 3,000-square-foot yard, she created a series of outdoor rooms landscaped almost entirely with potted plants.

    Gutierrez may be professionally biased toward containers: She's the co-owner, with Mary Gray, of Potted, a garden-design shop in L.A.'s Atwater Village. But a potted garden also suits her space. Her three dogs can't dig into containers as they would with beds. She also likes the color and sculptural look the vessels add: "The plants are accentuated by the pot they're in rather than just being massed together in the ground."

    Another upside to the garden is that it continuously feeds Gutierrez's love of design.

    "I get to redecorate over and over," she says. "I

    Read More »from Gorgeous All-container Garden


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