This story category covers garden design and maintenance; it also covers tools and shortcuts that make gardens easier to care for.

Going Solo

 Here are 4 easy and imaginative ways flower fanciers have interpreted the fashionable one-bloom-per-container idea.

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CREATIVE SOLUTIONS | When it comes to indoor arrangements, of course we love the look of an armful of random cottage garden flowers tumbling loosely out of a vase. But we also love the opposite: a single flower displayed creatively on its own. Read more

Vine Maple Trees - iStock

The Surprising Things Trees Can Do For Your Garden

In honour of Earth Day, we look at a few of the magic tricks trees can perform in your garden.

Vine Maple Trees - iStock


MONEY WELL SPENT | In the landscape of memory, trees define the countryside. As the most prominent and long-lived of all vegetation (think giant sequoia), they are the one green symbol guaranteed to represent place. Mention Italy and Italian cypress come to mind. Images of southern France always include olive trees. The English landscape, that great affectation, is symbolized by large-scale deciduous varieties planted in “clumps” (by Capability Brown) that look from a distance like a single stylized tree. In the Pacific Northwest, iconic evergreens—Douglas fir, Western red cedar and hemlock—colour much of the landscape black-green, a situation that both pleases and perturbs me. Read more

Dan Pearson's Posy - Howard Sooley

Why Gardeners Should Make A Bouquet Every Day

Superstar designer and planstman Dan Pearson explains why you should make a garden posy every day.

Dan Pearson's Posy - Howard Sooley


WHAT THE PROS KNOW | There’s plenty of great how-to in Home Ground: Sanctuary In The City, British designer and writer Dan Pearson’s 2011 gardening book that will surely become a classic, but the author’s suggestion that keeners make a daily bouquet from whatever’s in bloom in their garden seems like a particularly good idea. Could there be an easier way to become more observant outdoors or to study the blooming habits and idiosyncrasies of the plants that grow right under your nose? Read more

Backyard chickens

Backyard Chickens Need A Moveable Coop

If you’re planning to raise backyard chickens, it makes sense to have a moveable coop.

Backyard chickens


CREATIVE SOLUTION | The 100 Mile Diet is becoming the 100 Foot Diet as increasing numbers of urbanites turn to growing and raising food in their backyards. Many of them will discover, however, that there’s a reason for leaving food production to farmers—it’s a serious amount of work. Read more

Crow finial

6 Fun Objects To Move Around The Garden

Six objects—no chairs or pots among them—that can be relocated around the garden again and again to make it look revitalized.



SWITCH IT UP | Because so many elements of a garden’s design are fixed I sometimes like to shake things up by introducing objects that can be repositioned according to the season or to whim. In my own garden, I have three metal crows that travel from tabletop to fence top routinely, and two, old wooden obelisks that have at one time or another bunked in every quarter of my suburban lot. Read more

Plant Props - H. Ross

How To Make This Curly Garden Stake

Why settle for pedestrian plant supports when these fanciful ones are super easy to make.

Plant Props - H. Ross


CREATIVE SOLUTION | This curlicue cousin of the commercially available metal plant stake is made with 12-gauge T-bar ceiling hanger wire, which comes in a bundle of precut lengths that are perfect for supporting garden smaller plants. Read more

Top Dressed Narcissus -Martin Tessler

How To Top Dress Floral Arrangements

Turn ordinary potted plants into miniature landscapes by choosing a soil cover that matches their look. There are lots of toppings to choose from, including aquarium stones, beach glass and even rosebuds.

Top Dressed Narcissus -Martin Tessler


CREATIVE SOLUTION | Plants potted up for the house are more than just leaves, stems and blossoms. They’re landscapes in miniature, with every aspect of their situation—the pot, the soil cover, the setting—adding to or detracting from the presentation. When I want my indoor plants to look all of a piece, I start by making associations. Read more

Schmutz Haken Broom

Pusher Broom Love: Meet The Schmutz

Swept away by a funny looking broom with the funny sounding name Schmutz Haken. (VIDEO)

Schmutz Haken Broom


BUY RIGHT | When it comes to sweeping indoors, I prefer an angled broom with a dirt-catching split-fibre tip that can wiggle into corners (Vileda makes a good one). Outdoors, I want a broad brush that can cover more ground and sweep away heavy debris so I always go for a pusher, though I had no idea how inefficient most push brooms are until I tried a Schmutz Haken, the silly looking sweeper pictured here. Read more

Concrete on Old Planters - Clinton Hussey

Give Old Planters A New Cement Overcoat

Turn old pots and planters from blah to beautiful with a concrete overcoat.

Concrete on Old Planters - Clinton Hussey


DO IT YOURSELF | Do you have a hodge-podge of unattractive garden pots and vases collecting dust in the recesses of your storage area, containers you’ve been thinking about shipping off to the Sally Ann? Well, if you like the look of concrete, a binding agent the late, great Canadian architect Arthur Erickson called “precious …. the marble of the 20th century,” you could mix up a batch of the material and paint it on your old planters the way I did on mine. It made me want to keep them. Read more

Cracked pots for Craigslist.

How To Get Rid Of Old Stuff Quick—For Free

Here’s how to give away unwanted things at lightening speed to save the planet and avoid a dumping fee.


Stuff You Can Find For Free On Craigslist


OUT WITH THE OLD | As a murder mystery aficionado, I generally identify with the forces of law and order. Lately, however, I’ve felt a certain sympathy for murderers with awkward corpses to dispose of.

In the bad old days, getting rid of unwanted items was so much easier, cheaper and less guilt-ridden. Recently I found myself with a number of awkward corpses of my own to dispose of: dead trees I had felled before the winter winds did the job less carefully. Read more