Design Projects Revisited…..

I thought it would be fun to look at all the different design projects that have been completed in the past 12 months.  If you are like me, you sometimes feel you haven’t “done” alot but it is always amazing to look back and see how much thought, effort and work went into these various projects…..

One Minute Night Light

Wood & Brass Lamp

Tree Stump Planter

Terrarium Tutorial 

Moroccan Tea Table

Coaster Shadow Box Tutorial

Patio  Planter Boxes

Nailhead Trim Nightstands

Mini Succulent Planters

Master Bedroom Display Shelving

Piet Mondrian Inspired Nursery Art

But I have to admit that my favorite project of the year was the thrift store chair I recovered in a rug from Uzbekistan.  It’s bright, bold and definitely follows my emerging design aesthetic that things don’t need to cost a fortune to look like a million bucks!

Guest Room Chair

You know my favorite but do you have a favorite from this year’s projects?  Let me know!

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Planter Box Update

After much debate on my part, I decided to plant Aptenia Cordifolia in my planter box:

The plant is actually a ground cover, but produces vines with beautiful lime green leaves and bright pink flowers …. the perfect accent of color in my otherwise flowerless patio….

Thanks to dumb luck, I chose to plant my planter box on one of the hottest days Oakland has had all year.  So I had to haul 40 pounds of gravel, one huge bag of soil and a wobbly tray of flowers up a step stool to the planter box……

I thought nothing of it initially but then realized that it was going to be a much longer process than I anticipated around 30 minutes into the ordeal.  What I thought would be an hour turned into a 2+ hour fiasco that found me sweaty, hot, dirt smudged and with a swollen ankle thanks to a mishap with the step stool.

However, after the cursing, splinter removal and an ice pack, I am quite happy with how the planter box shaped up….

Now I just have to do the hardest thing of all….sit and wait for Mother Nature to work her magic.  While I wait for the plants to grow in, I am going to busy myself with the remainder of the retaining wall.  I initially thought I would stain the wood, but was informed that the wood will age to the same greyish-red color as the rest of the wood fencing in time.  So freed from that task, I plan on focusing on what to do at the bottom of the wall now that we have removed the trellis and the accompanying (albeit SAD) potato vines seen in the picture below:

I have bought three of these planters from CB2:

I am envisioning planting a row of mondo grass along with potentially some Creepy Jenny that will trail over the sides of the planters and soften the edges…..

Mondo Grass

Creeping Jenny

I am not 100% set on the Creeping Jenny, however I am fairly certain about the mondo grass.  I am getting excited with how everything is coming together!

Up next — tackling the shady areas of the patio with some pottery, shade loving ferns and a DIY project!

Have you planted something lately?  Share your gardening prowess and leave a comment!

Planter Box…What To Fill It With?

As part of the patio “make over” we had a planter box built on top of a cement retaining wall.  The goal is to grow some type of hanging, trailing, meandering vine that will hide the wall over time.

We initially tried sweet potato vines at the base of the wall, but due to the wall’s orientation we could not make those darn things grow.  The soil in front of the wall is fairly shallow combined with limited natural light, the sweet potato vines were sorta doomed from the start  I think.

So now we have ripped them out and are back at square one.  After doing some research, I think we have settled on a few different options:

Parrot's Beak//Lotus berthelotii

Spanish Shawl//Heterocentronelegans

Silver Falls//Dichondra

Photo Credit:

Aptenia Cordifolia

Each of the plants according to the nursery as well as the online gardening blogs do well in part sun/part shade, need only about 8-12 inches of soil to fully blossom and are drought tolerant once established.

While I love the orange flowers and unique leaves of the Parrot’s Beak, I am concerned that it may not be as hardy as they nursery makes it out to be.  In addition, the Spanish Shawl has a drop of about 2-3 feet which would leave about 3 feet of exposed wall and covering the concrete is a major reason we installed the planter box.

So that brings me to the Aptenia Cordifolia and the Silver Falls.  To be upfront, I already own both of these plants and love each for different reasons.  The Silver Falls is currently in the pots at the front of the house and provides a beautiful silvery green cascade of foliage down one of the pots.  However, the vines are a tad too delicate for my liking.  On several occasions I have snagged my bag on them and broken off segments.  Considering that the planter box is next to a high traffic area, I am concerned that the vines won’t stand up to be being constantly brushed against.

That leaves us with the Aptenia Cordifolia which is actually a ground cover but can be used in hanging pots and planters.  In the same family as succulents, the vines are a bright green with pink flowers during the summer months.  It trails up to 4 feet and the vines are thick and sturdy.  An added bonus is that it propagates through cuttings.  Therefore, if a section dies, I can simply cut a piece off and replant it…. so it’s the plant that keeps giving!

And oh being the cheap wad I can be at times, Home Depot sells flats of the Aptenia for $13 while all the other plants are sold for about $4-$5 a pot.  If my calculations are correct, I would only need 2 flats to fill the planter while I would need about 8-12 pots for the others.

With all this being said, it seems like I have a front-runner with the Aptenia Cordifolia.  What do you all think?  Any suggestions for trailing vines? Any of you have these plants in your own yard?  Leave a comment and tell me your experiences or thoughts!