How To

Why not consider the dry dead foliage of plants as architectural beauty in the winter?

Filed Under: Art, How To, Tips, Travel - Kim Levell

 

 

Why not consider the dry dead foliage of plants as architectural beauty in the winter?

Fall Garden North Carolina Arboretum

 

Just because the fall has come and winter is either already here for you personally or just around the corner the garden is still something to be considered and acknowledged as something beautiful. Dried landscape material can be tied back like an artistic creation of architectural art in the garden. These photos were taken at the North Carolina Arboretum in Ashville where the beauty of fall splashes against the deep green background of Carolina evergreens.

The North Carolina Arboretum

The North Carolina Arboretum

These grasses and hydrangea would even be pretty covered in a light blanket of snow.

Dried Hygrangea

The Carolina Arboretum Dried Hydangea

Tip: A nice balance of grasses against a back drop of evergreen looks great in every season.

North Carolina Arboretum: http://www.ncarboretum.org/

 

 

Chapel Hill Herbs, teas, and more at the Farmer’s Market of Goodness

 

Chapel Hill Herbs, teas, and more at the Farmer’s Market of Goodness

 

Water Dog Farms

 

A few months ago I started making frequent visits to North
Carolina. While my usual annual trip was to High Point to scout for amazing
new furniture, fabrics , and accessories it’s now because I’ve met an amazing  guy. Fortunately for me he lives in the great
little college town of Chapel Hill. When I visit any new place one of my
favorite things to do is check out the local farming scene and what better way
to do that than find the obscure outdoor markets. On Saturdays of every week throughout
the year you will find a great group of people converged in a small parking lot
to the side of a well know Chapel Hill gourmet supermarket called A Southern
Season. I’ll save that little gem for another blog.

A Southern Season

A Southern Season

So I’ve got my market shopping
technique down. I’m like the local market sleuth scouting out each booth for the best of the best while
trying to remain incognito keeping my eyes perched on the goods. I find it
nearly impossible to avoid contact in North Carolina. No matter what
store you go into they will do some Cirque du Soleil yoga move to position
themselves in your direction, give a big warm “hi”, and it’s all over! I’m spending some cash on whatever they’ve got. I’m a sucker for sweet people! While
I consider myself to be a friendly person having been born in the salt of the
earth city of Pittsburgh, and raised from age of 10 in sunny Florida,  I don’t come close
to being as hospitable as this truly cool group of North Carolina Farmers.  Pace yourselves!

http://waterdogfarms.wordpress.com/

 

Two of my favorite “hello’s”  came from Christopher and Rickie of Water Dog Farms in Hurdle Mills, NC.
These two guys cashed in their chips to try their hand at
farming. Their crops of choice are sustainably produced flowers, teas, herbs,
and native plants. Geez… just sing my heart song why don’t you!  Although I picked up the bergamot and few
other great ones I really loved their fresh Roselle Hibiscus Tea! On this day
that I visited they were serving it on ice with local organic honey. It was
totally refreshing and pretty too! Ok so I know it’s not exactly ice tea
weather for many of you but if you are able to find the beautiful ruby red roselle buds
in your local market than pick some up for the holidays and color your water pink!  I think it would be beautiful to throw a
handful in a clear glass pitcher or maybe you serve one up in a martini. I see
limitless holiday party possibilities here. After all this plant is used as a tonic for digestive and kidney funtions. Now who couldn’t use that over the holiday season!

 

Here is how these boys recommend you brew if you would like
to enjoy this splendid herbal tea for your sipping pleasure.

Boil fresh seed pods with calyces for 5 minutes until the
water turns dark pink. Remove from boil and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain
out the water and drink or pour over ice. Oh and don’t forget the honey
although stevia is a good thing too!

 

 

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ROSELLE’S GO TO: http://aginstitute.suagcenter.com/ResearchPrograms/Sustainable/Hibiscus.pdf

 

Out with the Old in with the New: Tips on getting your exterior remodel started from Kim Levell

Filed Under: How To, Tips - Kim Levell
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Out with the Old in with the New: Tips on getting your exterior remodel started from Kim Levell

 

The start of any project is rather exhilarating. I love tearing it all out and re exposing the property in it’s bare form. Something to remember before you start any job.

Call to locate before you dig. In every state you can simply dial 811. During that call you will give specific details about how deep you will be digging into the ground. This is not the contracting PoPo so call! An example of instructing the service would be to know how large the root balls are for the material you will be installing. For example when you have a large tree coming from a nursery you want to ask them how deep is the root ball. Just like that! That is your lingo and they will get it! They will go out and measure it for you. If you are installing deck posts etc…You want to give the measurement of how much post you will placing in the ground. Be sure to account for concrete. I think you get the picture. Give them the deepest of those measurements. What this does is save your tail end if you should happen to hit a gas line etc…I will say it’s about useless when it comes to cable, phone, and internet connections. They are simply rarely located properly. You can prelocate but it’s also plausible you will have a duh moment and put the shovel in the ground right where you located it. Trust me! If you are also a “do it yourself-er” then chances are you are not digging under water or directional drilling but if you are not sure describe what you are doing and the operator will assist you in the answer.

I think it’s also important to set a timeline. Figure on what you will be doing, the order in which it will be done, and the days you will complete the work. This will help you think about your next list which should be supplies. Know what you are buying and where to find it.

  Today I removed mostly all of the landscaping, pressure washed for stucco refinish and paint, and took the gutters down. This week I was able to get the electrical installed as well as add new columns and mailbox.

 

 

 

For the love of it!

For the love of it!

 

www.exteriordcorating.com

Kim Levell

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I think blogging for me has actually been the hardest part of my entry into television more than anything else. It always happens the same way. I psyche myself to work on social media. I type for hours making 10 blogs to run consecutively and then bupkis, nadda, zip. You won’t hear a word from me for weeks.

I started asking myself why is this so darn difficult? Why do I dread this part of the process? Quite honestly I simply don’t enjoy coming up with copious amounts of content. Which is why I do what I do. Otherwise I suppose I would be a blog writer.

So hear is what I proposed to myself. As an exterior designer I pour my heart and soul into every job that best suits my spirit and those of the people I am creating for. Why not tell people why your job gives you such joy. Write a blog about how you completely surprise people with how absolutely comfortable and happy they are in the exterior space that you have created for them. That subcategory is called Inspiration and from time to time I hope I inspire you to get out outside and get closer to nature!

 

 

Fairy Gardens a great Kids Gift Idea

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My niece Abby has beleived in fairies since the age of 5. My sister used to type up letters on the computer from the fairies and reduce them down to a tiny size, roll them in a scroll like form, and neatly set them at the base of oak tree outside of their family home. That is where Abigail made a little fairy house for all of the wonderful, magically winged characters that would come visit her in the night. When I found these fairy gardens at the show I thought the dream could go on forever. Even if she found out that fairies weren’t for real the little gardens she could make, the tools, and the fairy furniture would be enough to keep the dream alive.

 At http://fairygardening.com you can learn where to buy, how to care for , and all about the magical ferries that can visit your home and make your little one smile.

Fairy Garden

Fairy Garden

“Relax” and use some chalk paint on your pots!

Chalk Paint Pots

“Relax” and use some chalk paint on your pots!

What a fun idea?! I think I might paint a few pots in chalk paint in staggered sizes, set them next to the front door, and write an H on one and an I on the other. HI! I think pots can become a great way to send a message or create an eclectic look for your covered porch or patio. Maybe you would want to write what type of herbs you have planted or my favorite thing to do with my nieces have them name the plants!

Exterior and Interior Design…Italian Style!

Exterior and Interior Design…Italian Style!

 

One of my favorite garden design companies I enjoyed visiting and learning from is Garden House in San Vincenzo, Italy. Family owned and operated, the Lazzerini’s  like to keep it in house. They are equipped to make it all… inside and out. On there site you can get a taste of Italy through the design of the garden projects as well and their interiors. Check out their site at www.gardenhouse-lazzerini.com

 

Create air plant (Tillandsias) balls for beautiful garden party decor or your home or next big event!

I think this is such a beautiful natural way to create garden party decor. It’s also so easy to make. All you need is a styrofoam ball in the size you would like and u-shape pins. Cover the ball with moss or buy precovered moss balls at your craft store. Insert pins around the plant to hold to ball. Choose a starting point and work your way around with each Tillandsias. I think these would look amazing at any occasion.

To purchase Tillandsias go to www.airplants4u.com or www.deltonseashells.com

Instant easy raised bed planter with a whole lot of roof top garden impact!

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This picture is of a raised bed planter on a roof top terrace. This planter is a simple frame (stained) that was built around plastic window boxes. Looking at my space  I simply decided that I wanted my planter to be approximately 11 boxes long and the width was determined by the lenght of the window bow. I used 30 inches. I simply planted out each box using full and easy plants like liriope, coleus, and hostas. The area is loaded with shade so these plants are perfect and will be easy to keep alive during the summer months.
*Most chain stores have a wood cutting machine so you can get your lumber precut before you leavve the store. Buy nails long enough to go through the boards and hammer away. I think this took me all of 30 minutes to make once I had the materials.
So simple but it takes up space in a large area, provides impact, and look fabulous!

Installing Florida Sod