Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for August 29, 2013

AJ Petitti presents fall gardening tips at Ohio Design Centre

H01PETITTI.JPGView full sizeA.J. Petitti will talk about how to adding fall color, like this fall anemone, to your garden when he speaks at the Ohio Design Centre.

Gardening and outdoor living expert A.J. Petitti will speak at the Ohio Design Centre on Friday, Sept. 6, to kick off the centre’s First Friday speaker series. The luncheon series provides homeowners and design professionals with insights into design industry trends.

Petitti will discuss fall gardening details such preparing the soil, appreciating the beauty of fall flowers, extending landscape colors and creating beautiful container gardens. He oversees the nine Petitti Garden Centers in Northeast Ohio, and hosts a weekly gardening show on WJW Channel 8.

His talk at the Ohio Design Centre starts at noon. Registration is $10 and includes a light lunch. The center is located at 23533 Mercantile Road, No. 118, Beachwood.

Article source:

Garden Chatroom 1 pm Thursday

The Trustees of Reservations has just completed Phase 1 of an extensive 5-phase, 3-year, $3 million garden and landscape restoration project designed to rejuvenate Naumkeag’s gardens. The transformation is remarkable, the most noticeable being the renovation of Fletcher Steele’s iconic Blue Steps — one of the most photographed garden features in 20th-century American landscape design — which are celebrating their 75th Anniversary this summer. More information can be found here and a few photos are below:

Naumkeag is a National Historic Landmark located in Stockbridge which is visited by thousands of garden, landscape and history enthusiasts each year. Formerly owned by the Choate Family of New York before it was bequeathed to The Trustees in 1958, Naumkeag is a 44-room Berkshires “Cottage” from the Gilded Age is filled with arts, antiques and collections around from around the world. It is also one of the only remaining intact cottages from this time period open to the public. Naumkeag’s gardens are a masterpiece of 30 years of collaborative, creative work by former owner, Mabel Choate, and her dear friend, Fletcher Steele — America’s first, modern landscape architect. Featuring a series of unique garden rooms and described by the Library of American Landscape History as a “playground for the imagination” Naumkeag’s gardens are one of the nation’s finest examples of early American Modern landscape architecture and a rare surviving example of the work of Fletcher Steele still open to the public.

The Cultural Landscape Foundation is holding it’s “What’s Out There in the Berkshires Weekend” on 9/21 22 offering free tours of two dozen beautiful spots which could be a good time to come out and tour some other properties – and the fall foliage is gorgeous at that time of year too. More info here:

Article source:

Tips for easy, beautiful fall gardening

The weather this week has been amazing! Fall is in the air. So, to save you some time and money, here is my list of “do it” items for the landscape.

It’s a list of simple, easy suggestions that will make your landscaping much more enjoyable.

• Do use pinestraw, mini bark, cypress mulch to a depth of 3 inches in all beds.

• Do use holly, loropetalum, cryptomeria and Okame cherry as a good starting point for plants that succeed in Middle Georgia.

• Do use edging around all beds that touch the lawn. Use metal, brick or stone.

• Do use natural materials made of recycled materials for yard art, hanging baskets and containers.

• Do use Mexican heather, lantana and perennials for color in the summer.

• Do use clump forming liriope. I like the variegated varieties.

• Do use fountain grass in the landscape.

• Do group several plants of the same kind together.

• Do plant American wisteria, clematis, or tangerine crossvine.

• Do get a soil test for the lawn, shrubs, flowers and veggies.

• Do use a sand/soil mix on lawns as needed for low spots.

• Do buy larger plants at the nursery; they’ll grow better and look better.

• Do check all plants you buy for disease and insect problems.

• Do add landscape fabric and mulch to all beds.

• Do buy the best outdoor furniture you can afford. Remember, aluminum frames don’t rust.

• Do buy cushions for outdoor furniture that are cover with Sunbrella fabric.

• Do buy outdoor seat cushions in bright, sunny colors that are popular now.

• Do use terra cotta planters and containers. Use the good stuff that is frost proof.

• Do buy shovels, rakes, hoes, hoses, etc., with lifetime warranties.

• Do create a low maintenance landscape, one that you can enjoy for years without a lot of work.

Todd Goulding provides residential landscape design consultations. Contact him at or 478-345-0719.

Article source:

You’ll Never Guess Who’s Designing Olive Garden’s New Uniforms


Anyone who knows anything about anything already knows that Olive Garden is a great place to enjoy authentic Italian cuisine in a relaxing casual dining atmosphere, and that when you’re there, you’re family. (Not the mafia kind, you racist!) But did you know they will soon be adding “high fashion uniforms” to their list of Reasons To Visit Olive Garden?

Well, they are. And the lucky designer is (drumroll please)…BAPE. As in Japanese street wear company Bathing Ape. As in…what in the what?!

It’s true. At least according to a post I read on a blog, the most trustworthy way to get information to the people. According to The Crosby Press, BAPE designed some snazzy new uniforms for OG because the old ones were not nearly humiliating enough. They claim to have a picture of said uniforms, sent to them by a former photographer who is now working corporate gigs. Oh dear.


Faces of death

That’s right: your unlimited salad and breadsticks will now come with a side of swag!

Of course, I have no clue if this photo is real or not, but I want it to be true so badly it’s hurting me. Some evidence in favor? Olive Garden’s numbers have been sliding since it became widely recognized as the lamest place on earth, and they’ve already torn down some of their “Tuscan decor” and changed the uniforms once. Plus, BAPE loves to collaborate with other brands. So it’s possibly a total non-joke.

Assuming it is true, I would very much like to revisit Olive Garden’s draconian “no weed smoking in the bathrooms” policy, because I cannot have a hip and #topical urban experience without a blunt at my side. They might also consider a lifestyle branding campaign similar to the one Applebee’s rolled out last year:

New Ad Urges Hipsters To Go To Applebee’s Ironically

(Via The Crosby Press)

Photo: Olive Garden?

Article source:

Stylefile: Flack Interior Design Associates

A division of Simpson Furniture

Find it : 515 Main St., Cedar Falls, Iowa 50613, (319) 266-3537,

Store hours: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and by appointment. Appointments are encouraged (and appreciated).

History: Kathy Flack, a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers, is an award-winning interior designer whose portfolio includes numerous projects throughout Iowa, as well as Florida, California and Arizona. Her work has been been published in Architectural Digest’s “Best Midwest Interior Designers.”

A graduate of the University of Northern Iowa in 1973 with an interior design in business degree, she was trained and mentored by such noted interior designers as Jan Buckingham of Omaha, and the late Tom Klemuk. She eventually opened her own design studio in the 1980s, and in 2007 her firm became a division of Simpson Furniture.

Flack is a registered interior designer in Iowa and actively lobbied for the state to adopt the Iowa Interior Design Title Act. Signed into law in 2005, it is a benchmark for industry standards in interior design.

Staff: Flack, Brandi Reisinger and Katie Patterson at the Cedar Falls location, and Stacey Epley at the Coralville store. All are Allied ASID members.

Philosophy: Whether its redoing a room, remodeling a home or building a new home, it should be a rewarding experience, with a minimum of frustration. “I love to show a client the potential of their space, offering consistent high quality products and solutions that are exciting and meet that client’s goals,” Flack says.

Design skills, knowledge, experience and resources all come into play when the studio is working on any project, large or small. Plus, clients are thrilled with those special creative touches that “create a space that reflects a client’s needs and fits their budget, and we help them define their style,” Flack says.

Experts help clients make the right choices the first time to avoid costly mistakes and find solutions to design problems. “Our clients trust us to do that, and we work hard to earn that trust. Our goal is to make someone’s reality better than their dream.”

Services: Award-winning interior design services ranging from new construction and remodeling projects, kitchen and bath design, floor planning and architectural detailing to lighting, flooring, countertops, furniture, custom furniture and cabinetry, creative finishes, accessories and more.

The combination of Flack Interior Design Associates and Simpson Furniture provides increased buying power, access to a broad base of middle to upper-end suppliers, delivery and installation experts.

Article source:

THE FRAGRANT GARDEN: Common landscape design mistakes – Austin American

Residential landscapes have much practical value, as well as many other benefits. A good landscape design not only adds value to your home, but having a beautiful yard to enjoy and socialize in brings a soothing to the soul. Getting started on such a project takes expertise and planning – and here we look at some of the mistakes commonly made.

The first mistake would have to be piecemeal design without the benefit of a landscape plan. Most of us immediately think of plants in the landscape, but designing for functionality should come first. Designer and homeowners need to consider how to connect the indoors with the outdoors and how the outdoor spaces will intersect with each other. One should plan for spaces such as patios, small seating areas, play areas, vegetable and flower gardens and also edges/plantings/fences/walls that define those areas from one another.

Major and minor pathways should be located and layout and materials for them chosen from a palette that is in harmony with the architectural style of the home.

A second common mistake is to overlook considering primary views, both from the street to house and from windows inside the house looking out into the garden.

Creating a well-designed entry from the street will create a kind of “curb appeal” that immediately increases the value of the home. Adorning that transition from street to front door will be a welcome to visitors as they approach the house. That view is also something shared with the neighbors and much appreciated by them. I always try to stop and thank homeowners on my morning walks, when I admire their yards and consider what value that they add to our little community. Considered views from the house draw one out into the garden and allow us to be “in the garden” year around when weather may not otherwise permit it.

When we consider creating those various spaces noted above, a common mistake in design is to undersize them.

Major walkways should be sized so that two people can walk abreast of each other and constructed in a way that people of various abilities can transverse them. Minor pathways can be narrower and less formal in structure, using materials such as step-stones and softer surfaces such as gravel, decomposed granite or even bark mulch. Patios need to be sized according to the number of people who will inhabit them and large enough so that outdoor furniture fits comfortably with room to walk around the various pieces.

In my next column, we will continue this discussion about residential landscape design.

Article source:

City leaders’ ideas for downtown make no sense

Posted by
on August 28, 2013.

To the editor:

I am baffled by Sandy Springs’ leadership and the mayor’s vision for building the Sandy Springs downtown center out of suburban sprawl. Each week, the pages of the Sandy Springs Reporter bring fresh news of how our tax dollars are being spent: on outside consultants, failed traffic control ideas, and beautification projects that are not adding value, community or efficiency to this newly-formed city.

I read about the vision for a new downtown City Center, which displaces or destroys existing businesses. I read about grand ideas for European-style traffic roundabouts, which won’t improve traffic flow. I read about out-of-state consultants being paid for beautification and landscaping schemes to welcome visitors to see what? And I wonder who is filling our leaderships’ heads with ideas that clearly don’t work or won’t add community value? Can we not hire a local city planner, traffic engineer and landscaping architect who know the area and can come up with viable solutions that make sense for residents?

The mayor wants park-like landscaping to welcome visitors on the Roswell Road exit from I-285. The additional lane recently added to the bridge has not helped solve Roswell Road traffic one iota, as it was promised to do. I hope our guests, once lured off the highway, will enjoy the attractive shuttered bars and pubs between Allen and Cliftwood as they sit in the unbearable traffic on Roswell Road, waiting to get to the run-down visitor’s center.

While I applaud the idea of a thriving downtown area, I question the action to get there. The mayor threatens eminent domain on small businesses in the proposed “city center” area, while offering the business owners no options for how to survive and thrive in new locations.

  • Why not supplement the displaced businesses’ leases and build-out expenses by offering tax incentives or cash incentives for them to stay in the “city center”?
  • How about offering a deal to the landlords of strip shopping centers along Roswell Road? Fix up your shopping center and we’ll help you fill your unleased space with the aforementioned businesses.
  • How about helping poor CityWalk attract some businesses that can sustain life in that center? This center should be the crown jewel of the ‘downtown area’, but is instead mostly shuttered.
  • Want a great idea of where to put an ice skating rink? Instead of the inaccessible Roswell Road/I-285 intersection, how about CityWalk? How about the Prado? How about one of the many run-down shopping centers with traffic lights, parking and better egress?
  • While we’re at it, how about incentivizing renovation of the Bank of America building and neighboring Northside Tower to attract the live/work crowd to downtown?

While I believe our city leadership’s intentions are good, their execution is far from good. What I hear and see makes no sense, is not a long-term plan, and is using valuable resources ineffectively.

If the city of Sandy Springs wants a heart, it is going to take a lot more than the current fluff, squabbling and squandering to form a true thriving downtown. It takes vision, commitment, community action and leadership.

Patrick Farrell

About Guest

Facebook Comments:


Related posts:

  1. Gateway project should be a ‘no-go’
  2. Sandy Springs splits city center streetscape project
  3. Roswell Road getting better, officials say

Article source:

Council hears landscaping plans for library

library landscaping

library landscaping

Jared Stewart, owner of Stewartscape, Inc., of Oelwein made a presentation to the City Council that consisted of a plan for a two-phase landscaping project for the City Library.

Posted: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 12:38 pm

Council hears landscaping plans for library


Landscaping plans for the green space west of the Oelwein library were presented at Monday’s city council meeting.

Library board member Mike Kerns prefaced the presentation with a little history on the acquisition of the former railroad right-of-way to the west of the library in 2008. The property was cleared of scrub trees and an evergreen was planted with plans, at that time, to do further landscaping. Five years later, the library board is revisiting those plans to enhance the appearance of the area.

With consent from the board, Kerns had contacted area landscaping businesses to get some ideas for the space. Jared Stewart, owner of Stewartscape, Inc., of Oelwein responded. He saw the original sketches that had been made and listened to ideas from the board.

His presentation to the council consisted of plans for a two-phase project. The first would be the “stone phase” building up areas and retaining walls with landscape stone. The use of limestone blocks from the former Great Western railroad shop would be configured in a three-piece limestone fountain water feature and four benches. The area would have lighting elements installed to present a soft glow at night.

Read more of this story in the Daily Register.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013 12:38 pm.

Article source:

Creating Privacy Through Landscaping

Landscaping for Privacy

Photo: Flickr

Many homeowners use their porches, decks, and yards as extensions of their living space. To feel at ease, however, they need privacy. Walls and fences create privacy, but can be off-putting and expensive. ‘Living screens,’ methods of landscaping for privacy, provide another alternative.

Related: Creating Privacy and Beauty with Hedgerows

When creating a living privacy fence, make sure to pick plants that are appropriate for your property in terms of hardiness, sun, and moisture. Younger plants will be cheaper and easier to install, but if you need privacy quickly, buy larger ones and expect to pay a lot more. You can also use shades, shutters, or awnings until your plant cover grows in fully.

Plants grown on trellises create an effective screen that allows light and air to pass through. “Trellises are very handy because they take up very little space,” says Doug Gagne of The Mixed Border Nursery and Gardens in Hollis, NH. They can be made of pressure-treated wood, plastic, iron, copper, or aluminum—just make sure the trellis is sturdy enough for the plant you grow on it. Most trellises have stakes that go into the ground. If you’re going to use one on your porch, you’ll also need to secure it to the frame or soffit. If you use a trellis to screen your deck, you may have to combine it with a structure like a pergola across the top for support. Good perennial vines to grow on a trellis include clematis, honeysuckle, and Dutchman’s pipe. Popular climbing annuals include morning glories and scarlet runner beans.

Hedges can be as tall or short as you like, and can fit in small or large spaces. Select shrubs or trees that won’t grow taller or wider than you need, otherwise you’ll spend lots of time pruning. When planting, calculate how much space the full-grown plants will fill so they don’t encroach on your house or the neighbor’s yard. Leave breaks in the hedge, so you won’t be boxed in or send an unfriendly message. “You want privacy but you also want it to be inviting,” says Patricia St. John at St. John Landscapes in Berkeley, CA. “To enclose it all the way makes it seem very uninviting and tells visitors to go away.”

When planning your hedge, remember that deciduous plants drop their leaves, so most of your screen will disappear in the winter. For year-round privacy, evergreens may work better. Arborvitaes are fast-growing evergreens that come in many sizes. “They have the effect of looking like little soldiers, but if you have a narrow area, that might be your best alternative,” says Judy De Pue, owner of New Vistas Landscaping in Goshen, IN, and president of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers. If you have lots of space and need to screen your yard from a multi-story building next door, larger evergreens like blue spruce, white pine, or hemlock can do the job.

If you’re using deciduous shrubs, mix different kinds and colors to make your hedge interesting. One of De Pue’s favorite combinations includes burgundy ninebark, variegated red-twig dogwood, dwarf lilac, golden privet, and Onondaga viburnum. You can also incorporate herbaceous perennials, ornamental grasses, and annuals into your hedge for interest and variety.

Carefully positioned small trees, especially those that branch out at the base, also help create privacy. “We find trees give all the benefits of a hedge with a lot less maintenance,” says Judy Drake of Sunscapes Landscape Design in Jacksonville, FL. Options include magnolias, flowering dogwoods, Japanese maple, Japanese tree lilac, stewartia, birch, and palms. Bamboos make good screens, but the aggressive roots of the running variety need to be contained.

If you’re planting trees you may want to mix the sizes. “That way your screening will look more natural because in nature trees are all different sizes and have different rates of growth,” St. John says. You can also plant shrubs to fill in under the trees. For a beautiful but high-maintenance privacy wall, consider an espalier or flat, broad screen, made with trained apple, pear, or fig trees.

Outdoor Rooms
You can build a private “outdoor room” in your yard with greenery instead of solid walls. Use posts covered with vines to establish the boundaries and enclose the sides with trellises, planters, shrubs, or perennials. You can also create a pergola effect by connecting the posts from above with wood, wire, or chains and training vines across them. Make sure you match the materials, colors, and style of your outdoor room to the house. “It’s important that this outdoor space doesn’t look like it’s been stuck on,” Gagne says.

Another option for screening your property is an earthen berm or mound with plantings, which serves as a living hillside. The berm should not be too narrow or steep, because a broad, gently rising area blends with the yard more naturally. Use drought-resistant plants when creating a berm, because water tends to run off the incline, leaving plants thirsty and undernourished.


For more on landscaping, consider:

Landscape Edging: 10 Easy Ways to Set Your Garden Beds Apart 

How To: Transplant Trees, Shrubs, and Perennials

5 Ways to Use Bamboo in Your Landscape






Article source:

Children’s hospital work under way

Dubai: Engineer Essa Al Maidoor, director-general of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), recently inspected the ongoing work of the Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital.

Sixty per cent of the construction work is complete and the hospital is being designed to function as a “smart hospital”— this means that the hospital will integrate a plethora of interesting IT and design features to create a positive and entertaining environment for young patients and their families.

The project is the initiative of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as a gift to the children of the UAE and the region.

“The completion of this project will further raise the quality of health services in the emirate and position Dubai as a leader in healthcare at a regional level. Upon completion, the hospital will be the first-of-its-kind facility in the region offering super-speciality and multi-spectrum paediatric care. The hospital will provide paediatric services for new-borns to 16-year-olds, and will have several centres of excellence dedicated to oncology, cardiology, mental health, neurology among other specialities. It will provide all necessary paediatric services under one roof for the children of the UAE and the region,” said Al Maidoor.

He said that the integration of the smart hospital concept using digital space convergence will stimulate the imagination of young patients.

He further elaborated, “The smart hospital concept will be implemented for three main stakeholders — patients, families and medical professionals. We will integrate several IT features which will enhance the way in which healthcare is managed and delivered. Children will find the environment stimulating and we will use design and IT services to create an atmosphere that eliminates any negative associations that children may have about hospitals.”

For example, some of the features of the smart hospital include sensor sensitive walls to control lighting and temperature.

Al Maidoor said that the hospital will establish new standards of paediatrics in the UAE and the region in general.

He said that the project, which is located in the premises of Latifa Hospital, is a sprawling 100,000 sq m, 200-bed hospital, which will contribute to enhancing the emirate’s position as an ideal medical tourism destination.

The hospital is set on Latifa Hospital campus and will provide the entire range of children’s healthcare services including oncology care, nephrology, cardiac care, neonatal care, among others.

It will be connected to Latifa Hospital and will accept referrals from hospitals, especially for NICU and other complicated cases.

Al Maidoor said that the hospital will have 40 incentive care units, six dialysis facilities, 20 healing centres, 12 training rooms, eight operating theatres, 30 clinical and non-clinical departments, 40 outpatient clinics and 40-bed emergency department, over 3,750 biomedical equipment and fixtures, and a multipurpose activities room for children, among others.

He also highlighted that the close proximity of the Dubai Cord Blood and Research Centre to the hospital will benefit those children who need cord blood stem cells which is used for treatment of certain some types of cancer and diseases of the blood cell.

The hospital is designed keeping in mind several innovative concepts whereby the design and construction aspects are integrated with the healing process.

Of the total area, nearly half has been dedicated for gardens and landscaping including a “healing garden” with bright flowering shrubs and herbs and medicinal plants.

The use of natural light, greenery and healing landscape are aimed at offering a high level of indoor air quality, reducing noise and creating a pleasant environment.

Article source: