Making an Entrance

Our new redwood gate

Before and After, Landscaping,

Our new front gate! We don’t have the funds to swing for the whole fence, at least not for a while.

I tried to disguise our old gate and rusty chain link fence with vines and climbing roses.

Our fence is made out of redwood. The new fence makes such a difference. Our front entrance looks more inviting.

The design of the fence is based of a 1915 Thorburn’s Seeds advertisement. We hired a carpenter to build the gate using this advertisement as a guide. I requested that the posts be squared off to better match the architecture of our bungalow.

Our oversized letter slot from House of Antique Hardware. It is called the Bungalow Mail Slot. I admit the name sold me!

The mailbox is built onto the back of the gate.

We are in love with the new gate!

Comments { 9 } September 18, 2011

Ah, Spring!

Beautiful jacaranda tree in bloom

Nothing Important,

The view outside my office window; purple splashed against a bright blue sky.

Comments { 2 } May 10, 2011

Wisteria in Bloom

Spring is in the air


It finally happened! For 4 years I have been asking myself why our wisteria wouldn’t bloom.

I did some research and learned that wisteria needs vigorous pruning in order to bloom. I found a great video that shows how and when to prune. I followed the advice and it worked. Flowers!

We pruned in January instead of February, as recommended in the video, because our growing season starts earlier in Southern California.

{See the video after the jump.}

Alan Titchmarsh shows how to prune your wisteria to ensure flowering.

Comments { 1 } March 10, 2011

Exotic Asian Gardens

Hong Kong's awe inspiring Nan Lian Garden

Inspiration, Landscaping


One of my favorite spots in all of Hong Kong is Nan Lian Garden. David and I spent 2 weeks in Hong Kong last December. Visiting Nan Lian Garden was my favorite part of our trip. Nestled inside bustling Kowloon is this beautiful, tranquil garden paradise.


Nan Lian Garden was completed in 2006. It was built to offer a quiet place for reflection and to experience the ancient culture of China. The entire garden is surrounded with 260 sound proof panels to maintain a peaceful environment.


There are a variety of garden structures and architectural elements of classical Chinese design. The garden is built in the style of the Tang Dynasty (618 AD to 907 AD).


Rocks from all over China were incorporated with rocks from the local site. They were arranged in groups to enhance the landscape and to form visual focal points.


The guiding philosophy of the garden’s design is based on the ancient Chinese principle of “man in harmony with nature.”


A traditional technique of Chinese garden design is “borrowing.” The garden deliberately incorporates a view from outside the garden to broaden the garden’s context.


Chinese garden design plays with concealing and revealing objects in the foreground and background with trees and landscaping to frame vistas.


One of the qualities of Chinese gardens is reserve. Each mound, each rock is intentionally placed to evoke a mood or a feeling.


Comments { 1 } January 6, 2009

Front Porch Pizzazz!

Using planters to update a bungalow porch


Last Spring I purchased two large, heavy ceramic planters on sale for $24 each at IKEA. I love the color and shape. Sadly, they have sat empy all summer.

I recently found two pretty red, spikey plants reasonably priced at the garden center. They weren’t named, and I don’t know what type of plants they are, but they work well with the planters. The red of the plants really stands out next to our green exterior.

Comments { 2 } October 21, 2007

Romantic Date At The Stone Yard

Picking out flagstone for our outdoor patio

Landscaping, Restoration Diary

My husband, David, really knows how to woo a girl, at least a girl like me. Last Saturday he romanced me at the local stone yard. We went just to look…at rocks. Be still my beating heart!

I have been dreaming of putting in a flagstone patio for the two and a half years after we ripped out the cement lawn. All that gorgeous stone was way too tempting. We ordered 600 lbs. of stone to be delivered this Saturday, ready or not.

I picked out the large stone on top (in the photo above). It is shaped like a big teardrop. My plan is to place the large stone in the middle of the patio with smaller stones surrounding it. Once we got home we realized that we didn’t order enough stone.

I have decided that we should lay a couple of inches of sand underneath the stone to help level it. That seems easier than tilling the patch of compacted dirt that is our backyard.

Comments { 0 } May 3, 2007

David, Myself, 3 Guys and Two 60 lb. Jack Hammers

Restoration Diary,

David (in white tank top) working up a sweat.

Ok, ok. Let me show you how it’s done.

Doing my “main” job…putting the broken up concrete into a pile.

And what a pile it is…we are now back to being the scourge of the neighborhood!

Good-bye cement lawn. I won’t miss you at all.

Comments { 11 } September 27, 2004

The Cement Lawn

Help! My grass is cement.

Restoration Diary,

The lawn of our Los Angeles bungalow
The lawn of our Los Angeles bungalow

It is a Los Angeles epidemic. The cement lawn is a very popular thing to have, even considered a selling point.

I spoke with a neighbor the other day and told her we were planning on removing our cement lawn. She couldn’t understand why since the cement was put in a year before we purchased the house (lucky us) and it cuts down on lawn maintenance!

Comments { 5 } April 12, 2004

Secret Garden

A small bungalow landscaping project

Landscaping, Restoration Diary

On the South side of our property is a narrow strip of land just wide enough for a walkway. When we purchased the house this area was a dirt strip. We tried planting grass there and it did fill in, but I got the inspiration to turn the area into a Zen garden as a surprise birthday present for David last summer.

David’s brother Jon was visiting at the time and we spent 2 days clearing the area and pulling up the freshly planted grass while David was at work. Jon and I didn’t get the Zen garden finished in time for David’s birthday. Jon went back to Virginia and David and I put in the plastic edging and rock path together.

Home Depot had a sale on lavender, roses, and star jasmine which I planted. My next door neighbor gave me some geranium and nasturtium starts along with two little apple trees and an avocado tree.

In the end the garden turned out to be much more cottage than Zen so we now call it our Secret Garden. You can’t really see it from the street and the only other person to enjoy it is our next door neighbor.

We plan on putting a little contemplation bench out there to better enjoy the space.

Comments { 6 } April 10, 2004