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Archives for September 20, 2016

Modern Design With Purpose! A Garden Pavilion By Metropolis Design

We’ve seen a number of interesting and eye-catching designs in the world of architecture. Today we get a look at something functional, eye-catching and quite unique to say the least. Today we get a look at A Garden Pavilion By Metropolis Design, a unique design found in Cape Town, South Africa. This beautiful pavilion was designed in order to let the homeowners really enjoy their garden. The modern structure uses a brilliant blend of concrete, timber and textured plaster to create a contemporary look.

The design features multiple seating areas, as well as an outdoor kitchen, a swimming pool behind it, and a water feature. Both sides are open with lighting hidden in the lines of the structure, making an enjoyable feature and functional appeal anytime of the day. There is a raised seating area with benches focused around a central, modern fireplace, making quite a unique appeal and a great place to entertain. Check out the stunning structure in the images below and speak your thoughts on it after the jump. Stay tuned for much more amazing architecture and design coming very soon!

Photos: Wieland Gleich


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Free class on sandy soil gardening set for Wednesday in Bernalillo

Gardening in sandy soil is the topic of a free Sandoval County Master Gardeners Urban Horticulture class offered at 1 p.m. on Wednesday at the Sandoval County Extension Office, 711 S. Camino del Pueblo in Bernalillo.

Class instructor Amy Gardner will share her sandy-soil development practices that emphasize cultivating hidden landscape design opportunities in a particular space. The unique methods enabled her to transform an acre of the former Corrales village dump into a desert oasis.

She will cover techniques to improve water retention and improve soil quality as well as optimizing garden design to maximize soil characteristics.

This class is free and open to the public. It will be held outside, so attendees should dress for the weather. On-line registration is available at:

For more information, call the extension office at 867-2582.

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Study finds solutions for Cross Keys congestion

A traffic study last year pinpointed the problems with Doylestown’s heavily congested Cross Keys area surrounding the intersection of routes 313 and 611. Now, Bucks County planners have a framework to fix some of those problems. Next, it’s just a matter of putting those solutions into action.

“This is an area touched by four different municipalities,” said Lynn Bush, executive director of the Bucks County Planning Commission. “They all have their own regulations, and we are bringing all four together to unify the area. [Cross Keys] sits at the edge of all four municipalities, and it has not had the kind of attention that we could bring to it.”

Planning commission staffers presented the findings from a $100,000 engineering study conducted by Gilmore Associates and paid for through a grant from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. The findings present several ideas to alleviate the overcrowded roads and create a pedestrian and bike-friendly community hub.

“This was not solely focused in traffic,” said Bush. “This is an important business center for Central Bucks, and we want to help those businesses remain attractive. For example, the biotechnology center employs about 250 people that not only have to get to work in the morning, but go to lunch and get home. We want the area more conducive for walking to lunch and more employee-friendly.”

The county began taking a hard look in 2013 at the Central Bucks shopping hub referred unofficially as the “trail of tears,” Bush said. A preliminary report presented last year by the planning commission showed approximately 30,000 cars travel through Cross Keys each day, a number that will only grow as economic development continues. Cross Keys connects Doylestown Borough, Doylestown Township, Buckingham Township and Plumstead Township.  

To manage the increased flow, the study recommends constructing a connector road with pedestrian access between Easton and Old Easton roads that could lighten the load where they connect with Swamp Road (313).

The intersection at Swamp and Old Easton also needs some modifications, according to the study. Cars traveling north and south on Old Easton would be required to make a right turn only at Swamp, while vehicles east and west on Swamp would be unable to make a left turn at the intersection.

Another potential improvement to the intersection adds a pedestrian/bicycle signal and a crosswalk. The study’s finding also recommends shared lane markings for bicyclists, “Share the Road” signs and bike route guide signs.

“That was a recurring point when we met with all four communities,” said Bush. “Everybody agreed it’s hard to walk and bike around there.”

Senior Community Planner David Sebastian also made note of the suggested streetscape improvements that will create a distinct feel for the Cross Keys commercial area. The preliminary sketches are reminiscent of the ideas for New Britain’s proposed business district, with added landscaping and decorative gateways on Easton and Swamp roads approaching Cross Keys.

“We have a list of recommended actions for each topic,” said Sebastian. “It will be up to the entity responsible for the action within its borders to follow through.”

The commission presented the study to officials from each municipality over the summer and will make formal presentations to their separate planning commissions in the fall, said Bush. If the plans are accepted, the framework will be in place for the municipalities to begin revamping Cross Keys.

“The county has no power when it comes to the development,” said Bush. “We can keep in touch with them, work with them and make comments and recommendations on the developments, but it’s up to the municipalities to keep the consistency.” 

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New project to serve as model for municipal landscaping in Sarawak

One of the participants gives his views and ideas on landscaping during the QA session.

BINTULU: The three phases of an integrated landscaping project to be constructed at the ground of the old airport here will serve as a reference for landscape developments by other municipals in the state.

National Landscape Department deputy director-general (development) Rotina Mohd Daik said this would be a pilot project for the municipal landscape development programme in Sarawak.

“The construction for this new iconic landscape project is expected to start by end of this year after the documentation is completed,” she said at a public engagement session for the proposed development of this municipality at Wisma Bintulu yesterday.

Bintulu is among five municipalilties selected for the landscape development programme – the other four are Tawau in Sabah, Pekan (Pahang), Batu Pahat (Johor) and Alor Setar (Kedah).

The first phase of the project costs RM10 million and among the areas involved are the festival park at the old Bintulu airport, the State Legislative Assembly clock tower and the landscape along Jalan Abang Galau.

The second and third phases will cover Boulevard No 1 (in front of Bintulu Paragon) and Boulevard No 2 (venue of the annual kite festival), respectively.

“For this purpose, we believe that it is important to engage the public and get feedback from the locals to ensure that the facility will be fully utilised by the public upon its completion,” Rotina said, adding that in previous cases, some recreational parks were not fully utilised by the public.

The session was attended by over 300 people representing various federal and state government agencies and departments, the private sector, educational institutions, local communities, political parties, associations and non-governmental organisations.

Meanwhile Bintulu Development Authority (BDA) assistant general manager (environment section) Wan Ibrahim Wan Ali said with its rapid growth, Bintulu would need to give extra attention to those affected by the development.

“We need to listen to the people’s needs and expectations by engaging them.

Today’s event has given them a platform to raise their concern or share ideas with the authorities,” he said.

Wan Ibrahim added that the National Landscape Department had a master plan for landscape development at the old Bintulu airport, and this project would be developed in stages based on government funding.

Meanwhile, Wan Ibrahim also voiced concern over vandalism and other issues like littering here, especially at local public parks and recreational areas.

He thus called on all parties to work together with BDA and other relevant agencies to get people to emphasise cleanliness as their top priority.

“Physical and mental development is important for Bintulu, in line with the slogan ‘Keep Bintulu Clean – Together We Make Bintulu Better’,” he said.

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Adventures in Gardening returns to county fairgrounds

Hendricks County Master Gardeners will once again host “Adventures in Gardening.”

This year’s event runs from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Hendricks County Fairgrounds, 1900 E. Main St., Danville.

Attendees can learn how to make their gardens enticing to bees, birds, beneficial insects and even humans. In addition, Hendricks County Master Gardeners will be celebrating Indiana’s bicentennial with blue and gold-themed decorations, door prizes and a special birthday dessert with lunch.

Benjamin Vogt of Lincoln, Neb., will be the keynote speaker. He owns Monarch Gardens, a prairie garden design firm, and speaks nationally on native plants, pollinators and sustainable garden design, and also has a weekly column at Vogt’s writing and photography have appeared in dozens of publications from Garden Design to Orion Magazine, as well as books such as The Tallgrass Prairie Reader and Gardening for Butterflies. His sessions include 21st Century Garden Ethics and Designing for Winter Wildlife and Beauty.

Additional programs include Botanical Workhorses: Heavy-Hitter Native Plants presented by Jim McCormac of the Division of Wildlife, Ohio Department of Natural Resources; The Amazing Honey Bee presented by Terry Plank, beekeeper and pollinator educator; and 101 Landscaping Ideas: Adding Style Fun to Your Outdoor Spaces presented by Colletta Kosiba, 2500 Level Gold Master Gardener and Advanced Master Naturalist.

The seminar is open to the public, but pre-registration and payment of the $45 fee is required by Oct. 10. The registration fee includes a continental breakfast, lunch and all materials. To learn more or register for Adventures in Gardening, visit the website at

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How your garden grows the value of your prestige property

Money may not grow on trees, but an investment in excellent landscaping will reap a handsome reward every time in terms of elevating the value of a prestige property, say some of the country’s top garden experts.

“If landscaping is well designed and well built then, as a general rule, we say it will lift a home’s value by 10 to 20 per cent,” says Jim Fogarty of the multi-award-winning Jim Fogarty Design in Melbourne. “It also helps to sell a home. In a flat market, they’re always the ones selling faster.

“In addition, you should expect to double your return on an investment in landscaping. If you spend $500,000 to $1 million, you can expect to receive $1-2 million back.”

In some instances, a home-owner will end up with even more than 20 per cent, suggests Matt Cantwell, managing director of Sydney’s Secret Gardens. “The bigger the land size, the more that price can climb,” he says. “The property becomes at least one step above everything else and you can see great results.

“People have always invested in architecture but they’re now beginning to understand the importance of investing in landscaping to ensure an appropriate green footprint. Everyone loves being outdoors, with vegetation also providing privacy, and they want it to look just as good as a home’s interiors.”

The landscaping of the 1200 square metre block on which our cover home in Mosman sits, with its exquisite lawns, manicured hedges, terrace and pool looking out to the harbour, designed by Parterre of Woollahra, certainly adds an extra dimension to the property, believes LJ Hooker agent Bernard Ryan.

“It’s made every square metre of the grounds very useable, with each outdoor area working really well with reference to the part of the house it connects with,” he says. “There’s a tangible value in what’s been created, particularly in such an excellent location on Balmoral Slopes.”

These days, entertaining at home in alfresco areas is becoming increasingly popular, so a well-landscaped outdoor space is perhaps more prized than ever. Much of the interest in another of our featured properties, The Keepers Cottage in Vaucluse, Sydney, has come from potential buyers keen to hold functions and parties in the grounds.

“People are looking at homes with grounds like these from an entertainment point of view,” says Evan Williams of Ray White. “The gardens of this home were reconfigured in 2010 with succulents to withstand the sun and wind, and an all-weather sandstone contemporary outdoor terrace. It’s perfect for croquet, it’s the size of a mini-golf course, and ideal for weddings or parties of up to 200 people.”

First impressions of a property are important, whether that’s the view of the property from the street, or walking up a driveway. Integral in this is the condition of the garden. In Brisbane, Outdoor Secrets’ Nathan Bisshop says if any aspect of the landscaping looks rundown those in the industry know that visitors will generally over-estimate the cost of fixing those elements by a factor of five.

“And if you’re selling that instantly brings down the value of the property as a whole,” he says. “While we say good landscaping can raise a price by about 20 per cent, bad can really drag it down.”

Clean straight lines are today on trend in landscaping for all homes, whether formal or contemporary styles, says Bisshop. Plant selections include those that are more weathered, warm, textured and relaxed, believes Cantwell. “We always used to copy styles from overseas, but we’re now edging ever closer to native gardens.”

Sue Williams

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: “”If landscaping is well designed and well-built then, as a general rule, we say it will lift a home’s value by 10 to 20 per cent,” Jim Fogarty, Jim Fogarty Design

WHAT’S ON TREND: “We always used to copy styles from overseas, but we’re now edging ever closer to native gardens,” Matt Cantwell, Secret Gardens

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: “People are looking at homes with [well-landscaped] grounds from an entertainment point of view,” Evan Williams, Ray White



SYDNEY 3 Little Street

$7.75 million-$8.5 million

The vast harbourside gardens of this Espie Dodds-designed home add hugely to its appeal by extending the interior floor plan to the outside, says agent Bernard Ryan. “The pool on the level with the terrace relates to the house really well,” he explains. “Different sections of the land can be used by different members of the family, and there’s so much space and options for a family to grow. That’s very significant for Asian buyers too, with inter-generational family members.” The five-bedroom, three-bathroom Federation home has the ideal north-east aspect and the formal dining and living rooms, with their traditional fireplaces, open out through full-length French doors on to the terrace. On the lower level, the billiard room and games area flow out to a secure level lawn and pool. The ornate cathedral ceilings have been restored, and there are timber floors, a cellar under the house and a security gate.


BERNARD RYAN LJ Hooker Lower North Shore ■ 0408 408 509


Beds: 5 Bathrooms: 3 Parking: 2 Pool: 1

BRISBANE 188 Pacey Road South



The landscaping is as much a part of this home as its actual architecture, says agent Elliot Kidd. “Everything about this is a piece of art, with the overall impression that it’s completely at one with nature, rather than a house built on top of its environment,” he says. “You feel it’s as natural as possible with the setting and its landscaping enhancing the property, to create a very beautiful whole.” The four-bedroom, three-bathroom Donovan Hill house on 21 hectares, 17km from the Brisbane CBD, nestles into its surroundings to create the air of a true sanctuary. It has beautiful rosewood joinery, timber flooring and marble benches in living spaces that lead on to the outside.


ELLIOT KIDD Ray White Albion ■ 0407 696 738


Beds: 4 Bathrooms: 3 Parking: 4 Pool: 1

SYDNEY Old South Head Road


$7 million

Agent Evan Williams once rented this home for two years and a highlight wasn’t a birthday party for some of his children’s friends; it was a party for the whole of grade 3. “It’s marvellous for entertaining,” he says of the four-bedroom, three-bathroom sandstone home set on 2600 sq m of manicured gardens. “And there’s a ride-on mower that comes as part of the property!” Built in 1881 by James Barnett as the home to go with the 1818 Macquarie Lighthouse, and given a contemporary refurbishment by architect Clive Lucas, it also has working stables and a DA approval for a pool – as well as those stunning ocean views from nearly everywhere.


EVAN WILLIAMS Ray White Double Bay ■ 0415 878 262

IN CONJUNCTION WITH JAMES NIXON Sydney Sotheby’s ■ 0415 889 284


Beds: 4 Bathrooms: 3 Parking: 3

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Georgia Southern’s Botanical Gardens Grow for the Future – The George

Imagine a place where modern design meets environmentally-friendly design. Now imagine that place has free admission for students, has Wi-Fi and provides the opportunity to learn something new in a relaxing and beautiful natural ecosystem.

That place exists. It’s Georgia Southern’s very own botanical gardens and it’s currently expanding.

The GS Botanical Gardens, which extends over eleven acres, is located on 1505 Bland Ave., and has existed as a part of GS ever since it was donated to the university by the Bland family in 1985.

Over the years, the gardens have grown in size and beauty through several expansion and restoration projects alike. As of now, the gardens are undergoing one of their most promising restoration projects yet.

You may or may not have noticed new wooden fencing on the side of Georgia Avenue. That is the new perimeter fencing installed for the gardens as a part of their new restoration project that began this past summer.

The project, which is titled “Aspire!”, is the result of years of planning and adjusting to a master plan that was created by the director of the gardens, Carolyn Altman and associate director Bob Randolph.

“We’re calling this campaign ‘Aspire!’ because we’re aspiring to do great things,” Altman said.

The “great things” Altman is referring to entail rearranging several structures that have previously been in the gardens and also constructing new editions to it.

A plan for growth

The project is separated into three phases.

Phase one, which is well underway, involves building a new fence, creating a new parking area and establishing a new service center for the staff.

It also involves setting up a nursery with a greenhouse for education purposes which will be known as the Grow Zone. It will be an all access area for visitors to learn how to grow certain plants and also maintain a garden.

Phase two entails creating a new entrance with a gateway to the gardens which will be surrounded by trees and ponds.

After phases one and two are finished, Altman and Randolph want to make progress on the third stage which consists of building several communal areas like a council ring, a labyrinth and a showcase area for art from GS art department to be on display.

There are also future plans to build a tower within the gardens so visitors can get a 360-degree view of the entire grounds.

“Everything we’re doing is to bring in more students and more people not just locally but also regionally,” Randolph said.

Behind the scenes

The reason the grounds are so well maintained and a project like “Aspire!” can be actualized is because of the support that Altman and Rudolph get from their staff and donors.

“We’re doing the things we can do within our means,” Randolph said.

They currently have a crew of eight GS students who are all employed to maintain the grounds by any means necessary.

“We really depend on them. They’re a great crew,” Altman said.

That includes gardening, landscaping, planting, any maintenance that is needed and building the new fence that was part of phase one.

Junior logistics major Aaron Todd has been working for the gardens since last August and shared his perspectives about being employed by the gardens.

“I’ve never been a gardener or done horticulture but I’m starting to take an interest in it,” Todd said.

Freshman exercise science major Hayden Grahm has only been working for the gardens just over a month but shows enthusiasm about his new role with the grounds.

“We like to take on new projects. You learn something new every day,” Grahm said.

Making it possible

Beside their dedicated staff, Altman and Randolph must reach out to the community for funding anything they need.

“The vast majority of improvement projects here at the gardens are funded by private donations or grants,” Altman said.

They also received funds from the GS Center for Sustainability to establish the “Grow Zone” in phase one.

This project has a lot of potential and the expected outcome of the gardens looks like it can offer a lot to GS students. The grounds will have areas for students to relax, study with free wifi and be able to learn about the environment of Statesboro’s natural surroundings.

Students can support the gardens by signing up for a membership, hosting events on the grounds or even just go to walk around and enjoy the beauty of it all.

Altman said, “Come over, study, and walk around. It’s your garden.”

Photo courtesy of Perkins+Will Landscape Architecture.

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Save money in the Spring by landscaping now

EAST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) Fall officially kicks off this week which means it’s time to transition our lawns and gardens for the cooler months. Feels like we were just Spring cleaning our lawns! Well, now it’s time for some Fall cleaning so you protect your garden throughout the winter.

As the seasons change, Don Dickson of Tarrantino Landscapes says it’s a sign you should make a change too.

“This would be a good time to think about and be ordering bulb plants, tulips and daffodils and things. They get installed late in the year just before the ground freezes,” Dickson said.

He says if you plant your own bulbs and grow for the Spring rather than buying later, you’ll save 50-75% of what you’d spend on a plant later. Now is also the perfect time to put in the grass seed.

“It’d be a good time to over-seed the lawns any bare spots that’ve died back, they can be scratched up and put down new seed, they’ll have a chance to germinate this Fall and we’ll be good to go this Spring,” Dickson added.

Inexpensive plants that can spruce your yard now are mums, cabbage, kale and millet plants. He says they take to cold well and sometimes last all winter.

Another tip is do your Fall cleaning. You need to clear the leaves off your yard and garden. If they’re left there they invite disease and your grass could die under the leaves.

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Melinda’s Garden Moments – Waterwise Gardening

Nationally known gardening expert Melinda Myers helps everyday gardeners find success and ease in the garden through her Melinda’s Garden Moment television segments. Melinda shares “must have” tips that hold the key to gardening success, learned through her more than 30 years of horticulture experience. Home gardeners throughout the country find her gardener friendly, practical approach to gardening both refreshing and informative. Here, Melinda shares garden tips which expand on the information provided in her one-minute TV segments.

New topics will be added throughout the growing season, providing timely step-by-step tips on what you need to do next in your garden! To view online streaming video of Melinda’s Garden Moments, click here.

Waterwise Gardening Tips

No matter where you live, being a waterwise gardener makes environmental and economic sense. And it’s really easier than you think.

Use rain barrels to capture rain off your roof or directly from the sky. Decorate or mask the barrels with nearby plantings. And connect it to a soaker hose installed in a nearby garden.

Just open the spigot and allow gravity to slowly empty the water throughout the day.

Using soaker hoses and drip irrigation will also save water by applying the water directly to the soil where it is needed. Group moisture-loving plants together. You’ll save time and money spent watering by skipping those drought tolerant plants and lawns that can recover from drought induced dormancy.

Always water thoroughly and less frequently to encourage deep drought tolerant roots. And mulch the soil to conserve moisture and keep roots cool.

A bit more information: Many municipalities, nature centers, and home gardeners are converting 50-gallon food containers into rain barrels. The price is right, but they are not always the most attractive. Improve their looks with a bit of paint and creativity. Watch my Melinda’s Garden Moment on painting rain barrels for tips and techniques.

Visit for more gardening tips, videos, audio tips and more.

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