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Small Space, Big Design – The Bold Closet Trend (Plus, Sara Reveals Her Master Closet Wallpaper)

Like a lot of you, I’m pretty over plain white walls for a bit. I’m craving color and pattern. Of course, all of that could change in a few weeks (I wrote all about what I’m calling “design discontent” here). BUT I’m going with it for the moment, and letting these bold design hungers take the wheel. Two weeks ago I shared all the options I was thinking about using in our primary closet – a space I really felt empowered to just go for it. If you’ve been following me on Instastory, then you probably already know what wallpaper I choose to slap on the walls (just kidding, they were lovingly placed my our wallpaper installer Mark). But if you don’t, then you’re about to find out which paper won!

And the winner is STRAWBERRY THIEF by Morris & Co!

I LOVE THIS WALLPAPER, and now I also love this room. Sometimes I just go in there to sit and smile. Originally I had planned on wallpapering all four walls and the ceiling, but when Mark arrived he told me I was very wrong, had ordered barely enough wallpaper to cover the walls, and to email him before I ever order wallpaper for my house again. NOTED. We all have our strengths and weaknesses – figuring out square footage for wallpaper, as it turns out, is not one of my strengths.

So we ended up leaving the ceiling white, and I actually think it was for the better! And because I’m still learning how you do things, I installed our baseboard without painting it first. So . . . I then spent HOURS painstakingly hand painting this trim with a tiny brush (with leftover “Goodnight Moon” from the office) in order to avoid having to put any sort of painters tape on the wallpaper. I trusted my steady hand more than I trusted even the most expensive “delicate” tape.

Our closet reveal is coming up soon, so hang tight to see how it all came together. But I’m not the only one out there who’s got bold closets on the brain. In fact, it’s kind of thing. Small spaces, it turns out, are actually perfect spots to go big and bold. I think of them as high impact, low-risk areas. Their small size also means it’s cheaper to buy wallpaper for, and tear out/paint over whenever you decide to try something new (as opposed to a large room). So I found a few other bold closet enthusiasts and asked them to share why they also gave their closets an extra serving of personality . . .

DARK & DRAMATIC

First up, we’ve got Kelly Collier from Plot Twist Design, who made over her closet as a “One Room Challenge”. She went BOLD, with a semi-tropical botanic print, black painted ceiling, and animal skin rugs.

From Kelly – “I chose a bold printed wallpaper, because it’s a true reflection of my personality being freely expressed in a space created just for me. It’s on trend, yet floral prints are also timeless; very much aligned with my personal aesthetic and wardrobe. It seems bold closets have become the new norm. I believe it’s a safe, smaller place to for people to explore an unapologetically bold design. It’s also likely to be the one space in the home dedicated to exclusively us, hence more design freedom!”

You can read all about her closet, and see more photos from the reveal here!

P.S. She’s also the host of a great design podcast🙂

MOODY & SATURATED

Now this closet, by Erin Kestenbaum, isn’t wallpapered, it’s painted! So if you’re wallpaper averse, don’t think that means you’re no longer qualified for a bold closet.

Here’s Erin – “When we were laying out a new, more functional floorplan for our bedroom, the closet became a pass-through between our bedroom and bathroom, and I wanted to use the transition through those two spaces as an opportunity to create a memorable moment. I knew that the bathroom was going to be light and airy, and that I was using a monochrome palette for the bedroom, so a bold color on the walls became the perfect bridge in the closet. Before even deciding on the direction for the space, I had for years been dreaming of having a striped ceiling in my future walk-in closet, and this narrow room with little unused wall space became the perfect place to turn that dream into a reality. Because the closet doesn’t get a lot of natural light, I embraced the darkness with a moody deep green-blue to envelope the space. I love how you can see peeks of the bold wall color and wallpaper from inside our bedroom and that it creates a more visually layered bedroom suite. It’s such a treat to start and end our days in this little jewel box of a closet, and since we don’t spend a lot of time in here, we have yet to become tired of the bold design choices (nor do I anticipate that we ever will!). 

I think the closet is the perfect space to go a little bit crazy, because the space is typically small (read: less expensive to add wallpaper or other textiles), it doesn’t need to flow as much with the rest of your house because it only needs to coordinate with your bedroom, and since you don’t spend long periods of time in your closet, you won’t tire of the bold choices you’ve made the same way you might in a living room or other frequently used space.”

You can check out more from this closet here.

BRIGHT & GLAM

Last but not least, we’ve got Ursula Carmona, from Home Made By Carmona. She also made over her primary closet as part of her “One Room Challenge” and it’s the closet that helped me decide that yes, wallpapering my closet was the right thing to do.

Here’s what Ursula has to say about her closet – “I wanted to add a ton of character and personality to what was originally a boring and downright dingy four walls. What better way to infuse a space with charm than to start with a bold patterned wallpaper? It immediately grabs your attention, and draws you in. 

This stunning ‘Woodland Birds‘ wallpaper from Milton & King caught my eye, and although it’s a little outside of the norm for me, I went with my gut and let it set the tone for the entire space. I love the uniqueness and the wild charm of the pattern. Even a closet deserves to be a show-stopper!”

Check out her full closet reveal post here.

That’s it from Bold Closet Headquarters (and yes, our HQ is in a closet – we love it here, there’s wallpaper). I’m getting the big itch to put up more wallpaper. Does anyone have any experience with a wallpapered ceiling in their kitchen? I know, I know, there’s is STEAM in a kitchen. But who can support me in this endeavor? OK THANX, BYE!

The post Small Space, Big Design – The Bold Closet Trend (Plus, Sara Reveals Her Master Closet Wallpaper) appeared first on Emily Henderson.

Sunpro Solar Review: Services and Pricing

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Sunpro Solar gives homeowners access to renewable and sustainable energy through solar panel and battery installation, helping them reduce their carbon footprint and electrical bill. In this review, the This Old House Reviews team looks into Sunpro services and warranties to help you determine if this is the right solar provider for you.

Using solar power as a supplement or replacement for conventional electricity has become popular over the years, particularly in residential neighborhoods. With the cost of solar panel installation decreasing over the past 10 years and government incentives awarded to solar panel owners, solar energy has established itself as a viable alternative power source.

Sunpro Solar provides solar panel and battery installation services to customers in 13 different states. With multiple purchasing options and a 25-year warranty, Sunpro provides customers with lasting solar energy solutions. Read our review on Sunpro services, warranties, and purchasing options to decide if they’re the best solar provider for your home.

If you’re considering solar, we recommend getting a few quotes. Fill out this online form to get matched up with local pricing.

Is Sunpro Solar Worth It?

Sunpro Solar offers comprehensive warranties and system monitoring to help support customers once their solar energy system is installed. Their transparent purchasing options and A+ rating from the BBB make Sunpro a trusted provider for homeowners looking into solar.

Compare the pros and cons of Sunpro Solar below.

Sunpro Solar Solar Power Services

Sunpro Solar offers a variety of services, including solar panel installation, battery backup installation, and online monitoring.

Solar Panel Installation

If you’re looking to integrate solar panels with your home’s electrical system, consider solar panel system installation from Sunpro. To begin, Sunpro will send a team of solar consultants to your home to determine if your home can support solar panels. Solar panels are most efficient when installed on a roof that’s facing south with little shade coverage. If your roof gets too much shade or has too steep of an incline, you may not be able to install a system.

Once your home is approved for installation, Sunpro technicians install your selected solar panels and connect your system to the electrical grid. If you want to store excess energy collected by your solar panels, Sunpro offers battery backup installation.

Battery Backup Options

Most solar power systems work by sending excess power to the electrical grid for public use. This benefits you if your electrical provider supports net metering, which requires the utility company to credit your account for the provided energy. If your electrical provider doesn’t subscribe to net metering, or you want to keep excess energy in case of a blackout, a battery backup will hold your system’s excess energy for future use.

Sunpro Solar allows you to select your battery backup, letting you balance capacity and supplied power to fit your home’s needs, and gives you access to your excess solar energy whenever needed.

Online Monitoring

Sunpro is unique in that it provides solar panel monitoring through the Enphase MyEnlighten mobile app. In the app, Sunpro customers can monitor their system’s energy production, ensure system health, and share data with friends and family.

Cost of Sunpro Solar

To give you an accurate solar panel installation estimate, Sunpro Solar needs to evaluate your home. Here are some factors that may affect the cost of your solar panel installation:

  • Shade—If you have too many trees in your yard, the shade could affect the efficiency of your solar system and reduce your potential energy savings.
  • Energy use—The amount of solar panels needed to generate enough power for your home depends on your family size and the amount of electrical systems and appliances used. The more energy your home uses, the more solar panels it needs.
  • Government incentives—As of 2020, homeowners qualify for a federal tax credit equal to 26 percent of the price of their solar panel system. On the state level, you can save money on your solar system through various policies and incentives. Learn more about qualifying savings in your state by visiting the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.

Payment Options

Sunpro Solar provides three options for purchasing your solar panel system and battery backup:

  1. Buy—If you buy your system outright, you’ll save money and qualify for the tax credits and state incentives available to solar owners.
  2. Finance—Financing qualifies you for government incentives provided through fully purchasing the system, but you’ll need to take out a loan.
  3. Lease—When leasing solar panels, the leasing company pays for the panels and cost of installation. However, the leasing company receives the solar incentives and rebates, while you receive solar energy at a monthly cost.

Sunpro Solar Warranties and Guarantees

Sunpro offers three warranties to solar customers:

  • A 25-year power production guarantee
  • A 25-year panel and inverter warranty
  • A 25-year labor warranty that covers the efficiency and parts of your solar panel system

Accreditations

Sunpro Solar is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), where it holds an A+ rating. This rating comes from the BBB’s understanding of how the company handles customer complaints.

Here’s a sample of the company’s BBB customer reviews:

I would recommend Sunpro Solar over any solar company in San Antonio. They came out and gave me a quote which beat all others I had been given. They go above and beyond solar panels. Larsen ****** was especially helpful in presenting the whole thing. Thank you Sunpro Solar!” — Janie T.

We are so excited about our new solar system from Sunpro Solar! Our salesman, Daniel, was friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable! The electricians from San Antonio did a very clean and professional job! The installers were also very efficient! The project coordinator kept us up-to-date the entire time! It was a very smooth transition, and we couldn’t be happier! I will definitely recommend Sunpro Solar to everyone I know!” — Arlene T.

Our Conclusion

Sunpro Solar is a reputable solar panel installer that offers comprehensive customer service and reliable installation. Although the company doesn’t list the cost of its services online, Sunpro is transparent in its estimate and installation process.

If you’re interested in solar services from a reputable provider, you can get a free quote by filling out this simple online form.

Sunpro Solar Overview

  • Company name: Sunpro Solar
  • Company type: Private
  • CEO: Marc Jones
  • Years in business: 10
  • Address: 22171 MCH Road, Mandeville, LA 70471
  • Phone: 985-249-2647
  • Website: https://www.gosunpro.com/

Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Panels

How often should solar panels be cleaned?

Solar panels require little maintenance, needing routine cleaning a couple of times per year. Simply give your solar panels a light scrubbing with a brush and bucket of soapy water.

How long does a solar panel last?

Many solar panels see a significant power output decrease within 25 years.

How many solar panels does it take to run a house?

The amount of solar panels required to run a home depends on factors like electrical usage and your home’s infrastructure. To estimate how much solar energy your home needs and how much solar panels will cost, use the National Renewable Energy Laboratory PVWatts Calculator.

Everything You Need to Know About Kwanzan Cherry Trees

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Kwanzan cherry trees’ deep pink double-blossoms and stunning leaves are perfect for the National Cherry Blossom Festival—and your very own yard.

Kwanzan cherry trees have a reputation for being some of the showiest cherries at the National Cherry Blossom Festival, with dramatic, deep pink double-blossoms. But Kwanzan cherry trees are eye-catching year-round, with leaves that emerge a rich red-copper hue before taking on a green shade and finally turning yellow in fall. These trees can be planted as specimen trees, in a tasteful row, or even as a bonsai in a container. Unfortunately, their lifespan is only 15-25 years.

Kwanzan Cherry Trees at a Glance

  • Double-blossoms
  • Don’t bear fruit
  • Low-maintenance
  • National Cherry Blossom Festival staple
  • Leaves change color year-round
  • Short-lived

Appearance

Kwanzan cherry trees grow in a lovely vase shape, with serrated leaves that grow to roughly 4-5 inches in length. Their leaves emerge reddish-copper before turning a glossy, deep green in the summer to yellow and bronze in the fall. The trees grow to be 30-40 feet tall with a 30-40 foot spread, and have a moderate growth rate of 12-24 inches per year.

Hardiness Zones

USDA Hardiness Zones indicate the determined regions where different types of plants will thrive. Kwanzan cherry trees flourish in Zones 5-9, across the country as far north as Nebraska and south as Texas.

Planting

Kwanzan cherry trees can be planted as bold focal points as stunning, specimen trees, in rows, along buffer strips and driveways, or even as a bonsai in a container. When planting your cherry tree, choose a location with well-draining soil and full sunlight. If you plant several, space them 12-15 feet apart from the center of the trunk.

Kwanzan cherry trees’ roots have a difficult time competing with grass, so plant them in a raised mound bed, especially if you’re worried about poor drainage. The mound should be 12-18 inches above the surrounding soil. If your climate is hot, spread a layer of mulch that is 3-4 inches deep.

Make sure it’s moist after planting by poking your finger into the soil and checking the moisture. If it feels moist, you don’t need to water. If it feels dry, water deeply.

Growing Conditions

Kwanzan cherry trees are relatively low-maintenance, able to grow in a range of sunlight hours and soil. However, they are short-lived due to their susceptibility to pests and disease.

Sun and shade

Kwanzan cherry trees thrive in full sunlight, with at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight per day. However, they can also tolerate partial shade.

Soil

The key aspects of soil for these cherry trees are well-draining and moist. Other than that, Kwanzan cherry trees aren’t too picky. They will do well in loamy, sand, or clay soils, and can tolerate both acid and alkaline pH levels.

Watering

Water your Kwanzan cherry tree deeply but irregularly, one to two times per week. If the top two inches of soil are dry, it’s time to water.

Fertilizing

You won’t need to fertilize your Kwanzan cherry tree for the first year or two, but after, to boost growth, fertilize with a slow-release, nitrogen-rich blend in the spring.

Pruning

Kwanzan cherry trees do not require pruning unless you see diseased or dying limbs, which should be cut immediately. However, you can prune to shape and cut off any limbs that are growing too heavy for the base of the tree. Only prune after the tree has flowered for the season.

Pests & diseases

Troublesome pests that target Kwanzan cherry trees include aphids, caterpillars, borers, scale, spider mites, and Japanese beetles. Common diseases include powdery mildew, root rot, leaf curl, and fireblight.

Frequently Asked Questions

How fast do they grow?

They grow at a moderate rate of 13-24 inches per year.

Do they bear fruit?

They are sterile and do not bear fruit.

How tall do they get?

They grow to be about 30-40 feet tall.

How do you care for a Kwanzan cherry tree?

It’s important to make sure Kwanzan cherry trees receive adequate irrigation and full sunlight, and that their prevalent pest and disease issues are dealt with.

Everything You Need to Know About Arbequina Olive Trees

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Arbequina olive trees are low-maintenance, producing bumper crops of antioxidant-rich, versatile black olives as early as their second year after planting.

All olive lovers know about Arbequina olives, the meaty, blac,k antioxidant-rich fruits perfect for making oils, putting on pizza, or scattering across a charcuterie board. Incredibly popular for their large harvests and hardiness, Arbequina olives make up 78% of all olive acres planted in California, according to the Olive Oil Times. Arbequina olive trees make excellent outdoor plants as well as patio accents, easily brought inside during winter snaps, with gorgeous silvery-green foliage and delicate white blooms.

Arbequina Olive Trees at a Glance

  • Self-pollinating
  • Can produce fruit in 2-4 years
  • Bumper crop of antioxidant-rich olives perfect for oils
  • Cold-hardy down to 22 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Fragrant, creamy white flowers
  • Drought-resistant

Appearance

Arbequina olive trees have weeping branches with shiny, silvery-green leaves that retain their color year-round in warm climates. They grow to be 15-20 feet tall at maturity with an 8-12-foot-spread. Their small, fleshy olives emerge green before transitioning to a light pink, then ultimately turn glossy black when they’ve ripened on the tree and are ready to be harvested.

Hardiness Zones

USDA Hardiness Zones indicate the regions where different types of plants thrive across the country based on minimum relative winter temperatures. If planted outdoors, Arbequina olive trees flourish in Zones 8-10. If planted in a container, they can remain outside in Zones 4-7 until winter, when they should be brought inside.

Planting

Arbequina olive trees should be planted in fall or early spring. If planted outside, choose a location that receives full sunlight to partial shade and good soil drainage. The preference is for at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight per day. They are self-pollinating and will yield fruit with just one, but planting a second will boost their yield. If you choose to plant more than one, make sure they are 8-12 feet apart from each other, measuring from their trunks.

Remove any weeds or turfgrass and clear away any debris from the site. Dig a hole that is roughly twice the width of the root ball. Backfill the hole with soil, then water gently to settle the roots.

If you choose to plant your Arbequina olive tree in a container, choose a pot that has drainage holes for watering and that is 1.5-2 times the width of the container your tree arrived in.

Growing Conditions

Arbequina olive trees are low-maintenance, able to tolerate many different soil types, a range of sunlight, and able to withstand temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sun and shade

Arbequina olive trees thrive in full sunlight, when they receive at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight per day. They can also tolerate partial shade, but this may reduce their overall crop yield.

Soil

These threes are able to tolerate a wide variety of soil, but they prefer well-draining, alkaline soil. But they can do well in a range of soil types, from sandy to loamy to clay.

Watering

Although Arbequina olive trees can tolerate drought, they should be watered regularly when first planted to help establish a deep, healthy root system. For the first few weeks after planting, water your Arbequina olive tree twice weekly.

After that, you can reduce watering to one every week to 10 days. You don’t want to water soil that is already moist. Test the level by inserting your index finger into the soil to at least 2 inches down. If the soil feels dry, you need to water.

Fertilizing

To boost your crop, feed your tree twice a year, in spring and fall, with a slow-release, nitrogen-rich fertilizer.

Pruning

Arbequina olive trees do not need to be pruned, but they respond well to it. If you decide to prune, do so at the leaf nodes at the end of winter but before the tree has started flowering. Pruning can be good for increasing light penetration, opening up the canopy, and boosting your harvest. You should always prune dead or diseased branches.

Harvesting

Arbequina olives are small, fleshy, and meaty, with small pits. Your tree will begin fruiting within 2-4 years. The olives ripen on the tree, and you can tell when they’re ready when they become glossy black. Arbequina olives do not all ripen at once. The earliest ones are ready to harvest in November. Arbequina olives have a high concentration of soil, which is fruity and aromatic, making them an excellent choice for creating your own olive oil.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you eat Arbequina olives?

Yes, Arbequina olives are fleshy, meaty black olives that can be eaten as a snack, used to make oil, and more.

How quickly do they produce fruit?

Your Arbequina olive tree will start producing fruit within 2-4 years of planting.

Do the olives ripen after you pick them?

No, you pick them off the branch when they are black and ripe.

Do you need two olive trees to get crops?

Arbequina olive trees are self-pollinating, so you only need one to get fruit. However, planting another olive tree will increase your harvest.

A Complete Guide to Autumn Cherry Trees

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Autumn cherry trees reveal their stunning pink-white blossoms in early spring—and do an encore in fall.

Autumn Cherry trees are stunning and unique, offering up small clusters of flowers not once but twice a year. After an early spring bloom, where deep pink buds open up to pale pink-white flowers in large clusters, these trees give an encore in fall, when many other trees are losing their leaves.

Autumn Cherry trees’ foliage shifts with the changing of the seasons, giving them a new gorgeous visual interest year-round. You can bring the National Cherry Blossom Festival to your own backyard with this lovely, fast-growing, and unique tree.

Autumn Cherry Trees at a Glance

  • Blooms twice a year
  • Blooms earlier in spring than most cherry trees
  • Attracts songbirds
  • Fast-growing
  • Cold-hardy

Appearance

The Autumn Cherry tree has delicate, broad upright branches. It grows at a fast rate of two feet or more per year until maturity, reaching 20-35 feet in height and 20-25 feet wide. Its lustrous, serrated, oblong-ovate leaves transition from green in the spring to gold, bronze, and red in autumn.

Its famous semi-double blossoms start as deep-pink buds, which become pale pink as they open, then become nearly white as they open fully. In the spring, the Autumn Cherry tree yields small, black, fruit-like berries that attract songbirds and other wildlife.

Hardiness Zones

USDA Hardiness Zones indicate the best regions to grow various types of plants based on average temperatures throughout the year. Out of 11 total, Autumn Cherry trees grow best in Zones 5-8, thriving across most of the country.

Planting

Start by choosing a location that receives full sunlight—at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight per day—to partial shade. Clear away any weeds and debris, then dig a hole that is the same depth as the root ball but twice as wide, leaving a mound of soil in the hole’s center.

Place the tree on top of the soil mound and then spread the roots. You want the tree’s crown to be roughly an inch above the surrounding soil level. Backfill the hole about ⅔ of the way, then water the tree. After, fill the hole with soil so that the roots are covered but the crown is not. Spread a 2-inch layer of mulch over the tree’s root zone.

You should plant Autumn Cherry trees at least 35 feet apart, if you plan to plant several.

Growing Conditions

Autumn Cherry trees are low-maintenance and extremely rewarding. Set them up for success, and you’ll enjoy a beautiful range of foliage colors year-round and soft clusters of blossoms twice per year.

Sun and shade

Autumn Cherry trees thrive in full sunlight but can tolerate partial shade. They grow best with at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight per day.

Soil

These trees are adaptable and can tolerate a range of soils but grow best in moist, acidic, well-drained loam or clay soils.

Watering

The correct level of moisture is key when you first start growing your Autumn Cherry tree. If the soil is soggy, your tree’s leaves will yellow and fall off. Once your tree is established, you don’t need to water more than once every seven to 10 days, giving your tree about half an inch of water each time.

Fertilizing

Fertilizing your Autumn Cherry tree isn’t necessary unless your branches are experiencing slow growth—less than eight inches per year. Using fertilizer won’t enhance the number of berries your tree grows but can boost its foliage and branch growth. Balanced fertilizer, with an NPK value of 10-10-10, works best. Apply it in early spring.

Pruning

If you want to prune your Autumn Cherry tree, wait until after its bloom encore in the fall. This way, your tree will have time to heal before the following spring.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Autumn Cherry trees lose their leaves in Autumn?

Autumn Cherry trees’ leaves turn bronze, gold, and red in fall.

What do they look like in the fall?

In the fall, Autumn Cherry leaves retain their rounded canopy, but their oblong, semi-ovate leaves turn to shades of bronze, gold, and red. They bloom once again, with semi-double, 10-petal blooms that are pale pink-white opening in large clusters.

Do they bloom more than once?

They are unusual among cherry trees in that they bloom more than once.

Do you eat cherries from Autumn Cherry Trees?

Autumn Cherry trees produce small, black, bitter berry-like fruits that songbirds like to eat but people do not.

Living Room Update – AGAIN – Our New Sofa, My Dream Floral Chaise And The Pop Of Red I Always Wanted In My Life

This room. My beautiful, bright charming problem child of a room needs more care and attention (and thought) than any of the others. Why? WHY? It’s such a pretty room!!!??? I’m blaming the children and my intense need for comfort and practicality these days. But historically I’ve blamed the old sofa, the bright rug (then the neutral rug) and at one point I even said: “there are just too many windows!” Ha, impossible. Slowly but surely we are getting there and I’m officially the happiest YET. Of course, my needs/wants have shifted even more because after living so minimally up in the mountains, with nary an accessory in sight other than a pillow or two, I realize how much easier it is to live and parent with less stuff to style and put away. So trying to bring that minimalism to my desired “eccentric English grandma” adds another challenge – she is historically NOT minimal. So with less booked shoots and partnerships, plus some new pieces to show off, it felt like a good time to style out a few rooms (plus I was dying to style/shoot – safely of course). You saw the kids shared room reveal last week (thank you for all your wonderful support – I’m SO happy with it) and today we have a living room update, yet again. It’s Groundhog Day here, but perhaps it’s just GROUNDHOG YEAR.

But one can not give you a proper EHD update without recounting the drama of this room’s sordid past. So let’s revisit the history of this living room over the last three years.

photo by tessa neustadt | from: our modern english tudor living room

Version #1 – 2017. The Busy/Messy English Great Granny. Admittedly this version actually “works” the best visually in photos, and yet it’s not my favorite (thus the need to dedicate the next three years of my life to getting it right). One reader pointed out why this works (in 2019) and it’s because the heaviness of the rug balances out the beams. Oh, I wish I had read that comment (or had that thought myself) before I bought our new rug which I LOVE and is the softest rug in the entire actual world (it’s plush + 1/2″ memory foam – its an absolute dream to lay on and creates so much more seating without more furniture) Sadly it’s no longer available. But this 1st version also had/has too much stuff for me. When it was perfectly styled (for this one day in 2017) it was beautiful, but otherwise it was just too much stuff to put away, too many plants to keep alive, and yes a bit too ornate, busy and traditional for me – without the edge that for some reason I think I have. It felt too busy and colorful, but that was also when I had two very small kids and my life felt extremely chaotic so I had to reduce the visual noise. NOW, if I could go back in time I would have NOT sold that rug so I could try it with the new sofa and less “stuff” and that might actually be the winning combo but I wanted to work with this new rug and see if I could make it work. Next up…

photo by sara ligorria-tramp| from: my living room update

In 2018 I switched out the rug for this more neutral one and we all agreed that its calmer, but for whatever reason didn’t work. The styling on this shoot was a bit stiff, too… So a month later I reshot it with better/looser styling…

photo by ryan liebe | from: our updated living room

I did like it more, for sure, but man, just not that happy with it. At the time I blamed the sofa (first the rug, then the sofa – who is next?? too much beautiful natural light??). So I happened to still have this sectional from Article that I staged in our Glendale house, and figured it was worth a shot. Maybe a more modern streamlined sofa was the solution.

photo by sara ligorria-tramp| from: a quick update: the changes i’ve made to my la living room

2019 – The Contemporary Eclectic? This is starting to feel like a stretch. I admit that this works, but we were actually back to a “lot of stuff” to deal with in order to make that room sing. Picture this room without the flowers/branches and 9 pillows on the sofa. I think it might not really be that exciting. Why? Because the sofa and the rug are the same color, i.e. no contrast and it felt off-balance with the chairs. One of those two things needed to pop a bit more and I didn’t want to have to style out those pillows every day. No… I wanted a statement sofa, something special… And after a year of shopping, I finally ordered this amazing bright Lawson Fenning sofa that makes me smile every time I see it, sit on it, stare at it, etc. I’ve only spent a week with it since we aren’t even living in this house, but I just love it so much. So this is where we are today and when I was in the room I LOVED it.

2020. Here we are – new sofa, new pop of red and the chaise lounge that I’ll keep for the rest of my life. Maybe I’ll call it the “Almost Off Her Rocker But Like Not Really Eclectic Grandma” – not really that weird, I can admit, but in person it’s just enough and when I added more stuff, it just felt like more to put away at the end of the day. I’m wondering if I’m losing my “stylist” label because I’m increasingly not into “stuff” which is the actual calling card of being a stylist. Instead, I’m opting for some super special pieces that don’t actually want much on them – The sofa, red chair, and the chaise are the statements that bring me so much joy, and adding color back in makes me so happy. I missed my blues and greens and shant ever stray from them (except in a month when I change my mind).

My New Sofa

Sofa | Sofa Fabric | Black Lamp | Double Sconce | Picture Sconce | Striped Footed Bowl (no longer available) | White Lamp | Trunk (vintage) | Rug (no longer available)

That sofa. Oh I love it. It’s from Lawson Fenning, called the Moreno and reupholstered in Crypton fabric, Salute. Now we tweaked the dimensions to make it more ergonomic so if you want to order it from Lawson Fenning ask them for my dimensions instead of what is on their site (I believe the back height is just a few inches higher and the arm height is a few inches lower). It is just so pretty and the shape of the arms are so simple but special. I wanted to have a brighter, happier color and this powder blue is actually brighter than I remembered ordering, but I’m even HAPPIER.


Hot Tip

A small swatch of fabric looks different than the same fabric in a huge sofa.

Side Table | Coffee Table (no longer available) | Ceramic Tray | Kava Bowl (vintage)

I was so tempted to put in more “stuff” but then I remembered that I want clean and fresh and purposeful. Maybe that’s my 2021 Post Pandemic attitude – “Clean. Fresh. Purposeful”. WHO WILL WE ALL BE ANYWAY AFTER THIS???

White Candleholder (no longer available) | Art by Melinda Forster | Roman Shades

The Chairs are Back…

Accent Chairs | Lumbar Pillows | Trunk (vintage) | Black Vase | Curtains

We brought back those Target chairs I just can’t quit because I like how it lightened up the space. I didn’t think that the dark gray ones would work as well with the blue sofa (but they might be fine) and I tried a bunch of different vintage chairs to see what would work but it just was too busy. To be fair they might have looked good in a photo but it just felt too much for me. I’d love to invest in some super special vintage chairs, but tbh these are so simple and good, a great scale and remarkably comfortable. Plus, I love the open wood arm – the chaise is really the statement so three heavily upholstered pieces in a row wouldn’t have let that beautiful piece POP.

My Dressed Up Vintage Chaise

Chaise (vintage) | Fabric | Floor Lamp (vintage)

There she is. Ready for the ball. In case you have forgotten who she was before, I bought her from Jayson Home over 4 years ago in the original vintage fabric and fringe from the 1800s (she’s FRONCH) until it basically fell apart. Here she was BEFORE…

photo by tessa neustadt | from: our modern english tudor living room

The shape is just so pretty and it has a really lovely petite scale that is still super comfortable. But after springs started popping up I put it in storage and started shopping for her new skin. I searched for a year for the perfect floral fabric and I FOUND IT.

The fabric is from House of Hackney out of, yes England and it’s incredibly stunning in person. The color combo could NOT be more perfect – it has that vintage-y vibe, in a modern unexpected way. The caramel flowers against the teal reminds me so much of my favorite pillow seen below. Buildlane restored it, refinished it, and reupholstered that beauty and they did an amazing job (like always). No more springs in my back when I’m trying to read The Vanishing Half (so good).

I’ve always loved florals more than most, but they are still HARD to get right. This floral has never been more right. It is splurgy and don’t try to knock it off (there is a reason it’s so splurgy) but for an investment piece like this I can’t recommend House of Hackney’s collection more – totally timeless high-quality English florals. I bought that lamp at a thrift store up here for $40 or so and then added the black shade to ensure what is an apparent necessity – that every single lamp of mine is black (except for the Schoolhouse lamp with the blue shade I’ve had forever on the piano). Onto my next favorite vignette …

Painted Portrait (vintage) | White Lamp | Trunk (vintage) | “Century” Book | Balloon Chair (vintage) | Striped Vase

Remember the trunk I bought at the Downtown Modernism flea market? I thought that it was a regret as it sat in the garage for a year, but once I realized I wanted more antique/vintage in here I brought it in and the green/brass added a lot of soul. Once combined with the Puritan oil painting (from 1730 – seriously), the modernist lamp, and BOOM that red leather balloon chair from Chairish and it felt pulled together, but unexpected. I added a vase from Justina Blakeney (the black and white stripe on the top shelf) and tried to restrain myself on the shelf styling but could probably take it down another 7%.

That chair brings me all sorts of guttural happiness. It’s red but not crazy bright. It’s round and graphic, with wood arms and black legs and it speaks to me. My new footed bowl (because I needed another one) is from EcoVibe – a new resource for me that has a ton of cute pieces.

MY PILLOW IS BACK. I made that floral pillow when I was 24, out of vintage fabric from the 60s and 15 (FINE 17) years later it still brings me a lot of happiness – maybe even more as I get older. I suppose it’s an OG EHD piece that will never leave, so I really had to work it into this room. I combined it with a tasseled pillow and blanket from EcoVibe. As I wrote about earlier in this post, I didn’t have enough black-owned businesses represented in my house so after I called myself out, and went on a personal shopping spree while researching posts, I styled out these pieces here and love them. The side table is from 54 kibo, the pillow/throw from EcoVibe, and the candlestick via Jungalow.

As we turn around we can see the piano and dining room and just in case you didn’t know that all the doors opened up to that dream of a patio (will never not be in love with it), we went ahead and opened them up.

I suppose I’ll hoard that vintage leather trunk forever. It’s been in 4 different rooms which shows its true versatility/my addictive nature to rearranging. The Entler lamp on top makes it feel more modern IMHO. The MQuan bells are holding strong after 6 years, and that flea market grayish cabinet is still one of my favorites. Slowly but surely you can see that things aren’t changing as much as they used to. I’m really starting to create an inventory that I won’t ever let go of.

I would LOVE to try a darker rug at some point but “trying” a 10×14 rug takes like 2 people and 3 hours. I do think that one with more weight would add that grounding that we need and balance out the beams, but it’s not happening right now.

MQuan Bells

So there we are – an update, a sofa/chaise/red chair show and tell… Rearranging was SO MUCH FUN. It was the definition of “Style, Play, Every Day” that makes me really miss our day to day job.

So what do you think? I know that some of you wished that we would have pushed further and for others, this might be too far already. I suppose what I feel like is a huge win is having pieces that I’m obsessed with and knowing that when you put things that you LOVE together in a room typically they work, even if they “don’t work”. One of the best pieces of advice that I learned from my styling mentor/boss Cindy Diprima was “pretty always looks good next to pretty”. Of course, there are exceptions but I think the overtime collecting is working in this room and it’s starting to really come alive, in a restrained way which is livable for us. Maybe a darker vintage rug would look amazing. Maybe two vintage chairs instead of the Target chairs would balance out the sofa more (I’ve literally spent HOURS searching for open wood armed chairs that are big enough to balance out the sofa, but not “chunky” and it’s hard!). Ok, let’s talk about it. xx

The post Living Room Update – AGAIN – Our New Sofa, My Dream Floral Chaise And The Pop Of Red I Always Wanted In My Life appeared first on Emily Henderson.

Triple Pane or Double Pane Windows  

New windows may be a significant investment, but if your windows are old or damaged, it something you will have to do eventually. Replacing old, drafty windows with more energy-efficient ones can help you save money over the long term. Inefficient, drafty windows can account for up to 35% of your home’s total heating and cooling loss, according to Triple Pane or Double Pane Windows   appeared first on RenovationFind Blog.

The Best Grass That Grows in Shade

Adobe Licensed

Learn the secrets of growing a lush lawn in low light—from selecting hardy shade-tolerant species to providing them with tender loving care.

Unless you live in the middle of a golf course, your lawn is likely to be somewhat sun deprived—indeed, as much as 25 percent of it is no doubt shaded to some degree, according to The Lawn Institute.

Trying—and failing—to grow grass in these areas is a common frustration for homeowners, since after all, sunlight is key to photosynthesis, the process that triggers plant growth. Fortunately, some photosynthesis-efficient grass species do just fine in partial sun. It takes more than the right seed, however, to successfully grow grass in low light locations.

How to Grow Grass in Shade

Read on to learn about the best grass for shade and the secrets of nurturing it to make your entire lawn beautifully lush and green.

Size up your shade

Different grass species require varying amounts and strengths of sunlight. A rule of thumb from the lawn pros at Scotts states that even the most shade-tolerant grasses need a minimum of three to four hours of direct sun or four to six hours of partial or dappled sun (the sort that comes through the leaves of trees) daily.

Chances are, most shady areas of your lawn do get their share of sun, so observe your property at different times to get a sense of how much sun the shady areas actually get. If stubborn spots below trees seem truly sun-starved, remove some of the lower branches to raise the canopy, allowing more light to filter through.

Click with your climate

All turf grasses belong to one of three climate categories: cool season, warm season, and transition. Cool-season grasses flourish in regions prone to freezing winters and hot summers that have growing season temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees F (among them, the upper Great Plains and Midwest, and New England).

Warm-season grasses thrive in the lower Southeast and Southwest, where growing-season temperatures range between 80 and 95 degrees. In between, across the country, lies the transition zone, where both warm-season and cool-season grasses can do well.

6 Types of Grass That Grow in Shade

The following six grasses are most likely to flourish in shade:

  1. St. Augustine (warm season), especially such cultivars as Sapphire, Bitter Blue, Palmetto, and Seville, can do well with as little as four hours of direct sun daily.
  2. Centipede (warm season) grass can make do with about six hours of partial sun daily. Oaklawn and Tennessee Hardy tend to be the most shade-tolerant cultivars.
  3. Zoysia (warm season) requires as little as three hours of daily direct sunshine, making it well-suited to lawns with partial shade. Fine-blade Zoysia varieties tend to do best in shady spots.
  4. Fescue (cool season) to the rescue! Thanks to its deep roots, fescue can thrive with only four hours of dappled sun. Fine fescue, tall fescue, red fescue, and Chewings fescue can all thrive in shade.
  5. Perennial ryegrass (cool season) is a cultivar that can succeed with four hours of full sun daily.
  6. Rough bluegrass (cool season) is a member of the bluegrass family that can flourish with only four hours of dappled sunlight daily. Just don’t expect it to survive intense summer heat.

Other shade-tolerant, warm-season grasses include bahiagrass, carpetgrass, and bermudagrass. Other shade-tolerant, cool-season grasses include bentgrass and some cultivars of Kentucky bluegrass.

Tips for Growing Grass in Shady Areas

Plant the right mix of seed

How to grow grass in shade? Start with the best mix of seed. While it’s helpful to know which species and cultivars suit your shade and climate, most grass seed companies (including Scotts, Pennington, and Greenview) offer mixed bags designed for different shade/sunlight levels.

A “dense shade” mix, for example, is best for lawns that consistently receive no more than four to six hours of filtered sun daily, while a blend that simply says “shade” will need more direct sun to flourish. A mix is likely to yield nicer-looking results than one shade-tolerant species alone because it should produce grass that will blend better with the rest of the lawn.

Manage mowing in shady spots

Adjust your mower to leave the grass taller in shaded areas. The longer the individual blades of grass, the more sunlight they can absorb, even in shade.

Longer blades are also more resistant to stress and fungus afflictions. So cut no more than the top one-third, and make sure your mower blades are sharp—a cleaner cut makes for stronger grass.

Water the right way

Grass in shady areas tends to stay moister than parts of the lawn subject to ample direct sun, so it needs less water. Grass that’s too wet may be prone to fungal diseases, which can appear as brown patches, slimy spots, or a pesky crop of mushrooms.

So, as a general rule, water shaded areas less frequently and in the morning. The exception may be grass under trees, since it must compete with tree roots for water (as well as nutrients and oxygen). Trimming lower boughs to lift the canopy will allow more water through—think of it as punching holes in an umbrella.

Pump up the potassium

In terms of fertilizer, shaded areas need less nitrogen and more potassium than sun-drenched areas, according to The Lawn Institute. Nitrogen makes plants more succulent—potentially weakening the blades and inviting fungal issues. Potassium does the opposite, enhancing tolerance and boosting disease immunity.

Reduce stress and add density

Minimize the amount of traffic and trampling in shaded spots. The less ball playing, pooch romping, and lawn chair dragging in these areas, the better. And to keep grass looking thick and lush in low light conditions, overseed—the practice of adding seed to an existing lawn—in the fall.

The 5 Tiny (And Affordable) Hardware Hacks You Probably Forgot About But Shouldn’t Have

Decorating your house is like baking a cake. (I only like ice cream cake and have no baking knowledge, so y’all are gonna have to truck through this metaphor with me, ok?)

Your furniture is your fresh, unfrosted canvas. Maybe you’re a vanilla cake and your home is Scandi and soothing; maybe you’re a chocolate cake and your home is rich and comforting; or maybe you’re a Funfetti cake and your home is bright and chaotic (I think this would be my house). Either way, you’ve got a nice base going on. (Please tell me what kind of cake your home is in the comments.)

Your accessories are your frosting. Your rugs, plants, art, your blankets, your trays, your curtains — all the things that make your home definitively yours. (Maybe you’re a minimalist maximalist, like me, and you’d be a Funfetti cake with unfrosted sides, like a Milkbar cake! This analogy is getting away from me but I swear that I’m almost to my point.)

But this whole comparison got me thinking: if your furniture is your base and your accessories are your frosting, then WHAT THE HECK ARE YOUR SPRINKLES? I think they’d be your hardware — the little pops that bring hits of personality to your design. And then I got to thinking — pulls and knobs are great, but what about the other finishing touches? What about the tiny, affordable tweaks that can make your house design look super considered and styled?

I got to poking around our archives and realized there are a couple pieces that just make your house seem done. Installed thoughtfully, these things can elevate a room without breaking the bank, which is a TOTAL DREAM. Let’s jump into it with something that’ll make a great first impression…

photos by sara ligorria-tramp | from: make your home fall ready with 7 simple tricks (using all target)

1. Cast Iron Door Knocker | 2. Vintage Brass Door Knocker | 3. Parallel Door Knocker | 4. Modern Shapes Door Knocker | 5. Lion Door Knocker | 6. Beekman Door Knocker | 7. Arts & Crafts Door Knocker | 8. Swinging Hare Door Knocker | 9. Pineapple Door Knocker

DOOR KNOCKERS. WOW. There’s so much potential here to signal your style from the moment you set foot on the threshold to your home — are you whimsy and fun, like #8, or is your place simple and clean, like #3 or #6?

I’m personally in love with both #1 and #7, which are design chameleons. Both could work on a traditional craftsman home, but both could also work as a great, geometric hit of black in a more modern space. #2 is a vintage classic for traditional homes, and #5 is timeless and stately (it also comes in a whole bunch of finishes, in case you want a shinier lion, which would be SO FUN).

1. Mid-Century Star Doorbell Button | 2. Beaded Round Bell Push Button | 3. Diamondback Iron Doorbell Cover | 4. Please Ring Doorbell Button | 5. Nellie Doorbell Cover | 6. Tall Doorbell Button

BUT WAIT, don’t just let your door have all the fun! I know that there are a ton of doorbell advancements over the past couple years — Rings, Arlos, other virtual options, etc. — but if you’re like me and still just chilling with your basic, manual doorbell, swapping your standard plastic surround with a designed front button can make a huge difference in the feeling of your entry space.

My personal favorite here is #3. I love how graphic and simple it is! But I can imagine feeling super welcomed by someone with #5, super entertained by someone with #4, and super impressed by someone with #1, which just seems to be one of those pieces that quietly says “I have my life together.”

1. Brushed Brass Curtain Clips | 2. Smooth Drapery Curtain Ring | 3. Matte Black Clip Rings | 4. Martha Stewart Living Bundle | 5. Cafe Pinch Ring | 6. Pewter Round Rings

OK. We’re inside now. We’re looking at our windows. And we’re looking at our beautiful curtains. But y’all, what do you have holding up those lovely window treatments?!

This may not be an issue if you’re rocking grommets or drapery with rod pockets, but for the rest of us, there’s curtain rings and curtain clips! The matte black clip rings in #3 are sturdy, simple, and unobtrusive. #1 is great for those who want to go a little more glam and bold, and I love the formality of #5 (she also comes in 6 different finishes, so there’s definitely one that can complement your home).

design by designstiles | photo by amy bartlam

1. Sofia Curtain Tieback | 2. Makira Tassel Tieback | 3. Watchdog Tieback | 4. Rattan Curtain Tieback | 5. Leather Curtain Tieback | 6. Rylee Tieback

Tiebacks are a vintage-inspired trend that I am VERY bullish on right now, folks. I love the shape, lines, and ceramic texture of #1 — it’s very 2020 — and the graphic rattan circle of #4. I’m also obsessed with the charm of #3, because, like, WHY NOT have a sweet dog holding your curtains back and helping show off your view? (Truly, dogs really ARE a man’s best friend.)

#5 would bring an awesome hit of texture to any window treatment. Velvet + leather? Cool. Sheers + leather? Cool. Linen + leather? Cool. Buuuuut — and maybe I shouldn’t say this — it also does seem pretty DIY-able. If you have an old belt around the house and a round wood dowel, I’m sure you could pull together the same look for less. (Please show me if you do this!)

photo by tessa neustadt | from: scott’s bathroom makeover with parachute
photos by jess isaac | from: master bathroom reveal

1. Decorative Shower Curtain Rings | 2. Modern Shower Curtain Rings | 3. Shower Curtain Rings | 4. Chrome Ball Hook Curtain Rings | 5. Dual Sided Hooks | 6. Quiet Town Shower Curtain Rings | 7. Ball Shower Hooks | 8. Tassel Shower Curtain Hooks | 9. Lucite Shower Rings

And y’all KNOW I couldn’t leave out the most important hooks of all: OUR SHOWER CURTAIN RINGS. These get so much use (you know, assuming you’re bathing at least kind of frequently) and I’m sure you’re seeing them at least a few times a day when you step into the bathroom, so why not make them a little special?

First off, I’m here to preach the gospel of the dual-sided hook. #1 is admittedly cuter, but I’ve tried #5 and it was a GAME CHANGER. It’s nice to have a bit of separation at the top of your liner and your shower curtain as it encourages some more circulation. (But I also went 28 years without a dual-sided hanger and I’m still alive, so I’d like to happily endorse a few more favorites.)

#2 is SO CHARMING. The squiggle shape is considered and graphic without being too much. And I have a huge soft spot for #9 — chunky lucite works with so many different styles and it’s super trend-forward, but it also doesn’t feel overpowering or tacky. And for my fans of a timeless classic bathroom out there — #3 is highly rated, simple, and it’ll work with anything you bring into the space.

OK WE’RE DONE. But y’all, are there any other tiny things that make a huge difference in your own homes? Have you made any swaps that have helped your place feel more finished? And maybe more importantly, WHAT KIND OF CAKE WOULD YOUR HOUSE BE?

Opening Image Credit: Photo by Jess Isaac and Monica Wang | From: A Floral Glam Nursery Reveal

The post The 5 Tiny (And Affordable) Hardware Hacks You Probably Forgot About But Shouldn’t Have appeared first on Emily Henderson.

How to Choose Plants for Hot Climates

Adobe Licensed

Roger Cook, landscape contractor, visits a large nursery in Fayetteville, NC, to see which plants will work well for landscaping in warmer, southern climates.

Looking for landscaping plants that will flourish in a hot, sunny climate? Blaze Podgorski, field operations manager at Green Biz Nursery, discusses which plants will thrive in these conditions with Roger Cook and This Old House.

From understanding your Plant Hardiness Zone to researching which flora will ideally fill in your design, use the guide to help choose your next plant for hot climates.

How to Choose Plants for Your Climate

Use the following steps to choose and purchase plants for your landscaping needs—not just for hot climates.

Step 1: Determine Your Plant Hardiness Zone

  • Use this interactive map from the USDA by plugging in your zip code to determine which zone(s) and sub-zones your home is located. Each plant has an ideal hardy zone—essential information that discloses whether or not the plant you want will thrive in your climate and how tolerant it is to temperature changes.
  • Other factors to consider that help contribute to a plant’s success? Light, soil moisture, temperature, duration of exposure to cold, along with humidity.

Step 2: Research Native Plants

Native plants require less maintenance than non-native species—saving you both time, water and money.

The National Wildlife Foundation, along with this list of U.S. Forest Service’s state-specific website databases has information about which native plants that will thrive in your environment.

Step 3: Establish Your Needs

Determine the space you are trying to fill and check that the plant you want will address your landscaping needs. Are you looking for a privacy screen? You’ll need to look for plants that grow tall and wide. Are you filling in a small area? Make sure you don’t choose a plant that will outgrow the space in a few short years.

Step 4: Find a Reputable Grower

Use a reputable nursery to purchase your plants to avoid buying unhealthy, diseased, or pest-ridden plants.

Hot Climate Plant Recommendations

Roger is looking for plants for a home located in the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 8-10. Blaze highlights which plants will thrive in these hot climate zones—conditions that are typical of the southern United States and Hawaii.

Calamondin Orange

The result of a natural cross between a mandarin and a kumquat, this edible tree bears tangerine-like fruit year-round and can grow to be 10 to 20’ high. As the tree matures, the rinds on the oranges will get more orange, and the fruit will get softer and sweeter.

Blaze warns that young trees are susceptible to temperature drops, so be prepared to protect plants in the winter and during frost and cold snaps. These plants do well planted in containers or planted in the ground.

Meyer Lemon

These hardy trees love 6 plus hours of sunlight and can thrive in containers or planted in the ground. Once they are mature (around 3-5 years old), they’ll produce white flowers and fruit all year long for decades. Good to know: A Meyer lemon is larger and sweeter than grocery store lemons, which are small and sour.

Bougainvillea

Except for some varieties, this spiky-thorny plant can be a vine, bush, or tree depending on how it is cultivated. Bougainvilleas do well in both the ground and in containers. Full warning though: These prolific bloomers are fast-growing—some more than 36” of growth per year—and can easily climb and take over a fence or side of a house—tapping out around 20’ high and wide. Regular pruning is essential to keep its size under control.

Needle Palms

This adaptable and easy-to-care-for plant will add a tropical feel to your landscape. While it’s a slow grower, it will eventually reach 8’ high and 8’ wide. Remember to keep this shrub away from children—the Needle Palm got its name for very good reasons—those leaves are sharp!

Tropical Hibiscus

A shrub that produces red, pink, or yellow flowers; these bloomers thrive in temperatures that stay above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If your zone falls below that threshold, this plant is better served being grown in a container rather than in the ground. Simply bring it indoors when colder temperatures set in.

Japanese Loquat

Another fruit-bearing tree, this plant will grow into a 25’ high and 20’ wide tree, although you can prune it and keep it much smaller than that. The loquat produces a sweet-bearing fruit that is a cross between citrus fruits, mangos, and peaches. Worth noting: The tree blooms in the fall and produces fruit in the spring, offering your garden a lovely set of blooms when the rest of the garden is relatively quiet.

Banana Plants

With around 70 species of banana plants, the choices are extensive, but for residential landscapes, Blaze recommends the Dwarf Plantain, Cavendish Banana, “Ice Cream” (also called the Blue Java Plant), and the Basjoo.

The Basjoo, in particular, is the coldest hardy of the bunch and can thrive up to Massachusetts and in negative 10 degrees Fahrenheit weather. The main difference between these plants? It comes down to looks—whether or not you want all green leaves or some variation in color in your landscaping.

Cold Hardy Tea

A beautiful white flowering plant, this fast grower can reach 10 to 15’ in height and 10 to 15’ wide, making it a great privacy screen. This plant also does well in containers—just make sure there is adequate drainage. Bonus: You can harvest the leaves to make your tea at home.