Choosing the Best Trees for Your Property


Generally long-lived, trees give a sense of time, history, and continuity to a garden and community. They also lend a sense of place—geographic identity. Palm trees denote tropical climes, magnolias and bald cypress recall the South, and fir trees thrive in the cool forests of the North. So if you have the space, consider enhancing your long-term landscaping with a tree or two. Take your time and heed the following advice when making your selections.

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Earth, Air, Water, Fire – the Elements Merged in this Dallas Garden


The hilly property was only a wooded lot when Leidner was first brought into the project. The house planned for the lot was a Mediterranean design, and the homeowners asked for gardens to match that style.

Leidner explains how he created the garden to complement the home. “It’s done through connection of spaces and style. The garden is rustic and relaxed. It fits into the natural area but still has a lot of organization and structure.”

In addition to the style, the homeowners made other requests. “She really loves flowers and things that bloom. He likes fireplaces and fire elements,” says Leidner. Both wanted lots of greenery and a series of paths and unique gardens to dot the hillside.

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Had a Breakfast Smoothie Bowl Lately?

If there’s one food trend every cook can get behind, it’s bowl food. The comforting presentation is also delicious and easy to assemble. Combine fresh ingredients with a few pantry staples and you’ll get a beautiful bowl of food with loads of flavor. These recipes can be prepared for one or more servings (just multiply accordingly), and many of them can be adjusted to suit you and your family’s tastes and favorite ingredients.

So I’ve listed options for every meal that can be made to feed two or ten…

Full article & recipes:

Credit: Recipes and Photographs by Karista Bennett, Home by Design magazine – Feb/Mar 2017

Honour Lost Loved Ones with a Memory Garden

Some inspiration for creating a Memory Garden for loved ones, pets and some “Powerful Words”!

Credit: Jeanine Matlow – Home By Design Magazine (Feb/March 2017) Photograph: Tammy Fullum

It can be comforting to pay tribute to those who’ve been significant in your life. One way to do so is with a special memento that serves as a warm reminder of the time you spent together. The memento can be simple or grand, but placement is key. A natural environment, like a garden, can be the perfect spot to sit and reminisce about your loved one.

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Making A Challenging Property Family Friendly

WRITTEN BY: Jeanine Matlow  Photography: Marian Krauss – Home By Design Magazine – February/March 2017

This enchanting site with a lesser landscape was brought to life when a young family bought a spec home pre-completion. That’s when Bob Hursthouse, president of Hursthouse Landscape Architects and Contractors in Bolingbrook, Illinois, was brought onboard to identify and address the main issues, such as safety, which was a top priority.

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THE MASTER KEY – a tropical oasis at home in the Florida Keys


When landscape architect Craig Reynolds first saw this residential property in Key Haven, Florida, located in the lower Florida Keys, it was an overgrown mess with plantings that were out of scale to the site and there was no balance or flow. In addition, a large proportion of the half-acre lot was given over to a parking pad.

Homeowners Mark and April Jones brought in Reynolds to transform the jungle into a livable landscape. Mark, who before his retirement had led a peripatetic business life that took him around the world, asked for outdoor dining and a koi pond in a garden he would never want to leave. His wife April’s only request was for a bridge over the pond.

The first thing Reynolds did was rethink the parking space. Instead of leaving it in the heart of the garden, he moved it and the garden fence to the property line. Now the enclosed garden circles the house, allowing visitors to stroll through the spaces, enjoying the various textures and colors provided by the plant combinations, as well as the unveiling of the different garden rooms and settings.

“We hired a Miccosukee tribe crew from the Everglades to put on the sabal palm roof,” says Reynolds. Cantilevered over the pond so that it appears to float, the indigenous structure harmonizes with its setting, and due to the brilliance of the Native American design, is cooler than most Western-designed open-air structures. “The hot air rises and seeps through the thatch, and because the roof edges come down low, it protects the space from both sun and rain,” explains Reynolds.

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Modern Movement

New article to layer, mix old with new and promote your own personal art collection within your interior design ideas!


The home needed to be like an art gallery. Not in the sense that the interiors felt unlivable or strict, but rather, that the home would serve as the perfect backdrop to display the homeowners’ works of art and antiques, some collected over the last decade. “But they wanted it to be comfortable, too,” explains designer Covadonga Canovas, who worked with the family to design the interiors of the family of five’s stunning, approximately 8,600-square-foot, modern dwelling located in Madrid, Spain.

Architechturally speaking, the three-story home is decidedly modern: “a cube finished with a white lime mortar and gray zinc roof,” says Canovas. The living areas feature a simple, open layout to “welcome friends and family.” But with three young children, the homeowners knew that while they wanted the interiors to match the home’s sleek, modern lines and minimalist architectural details, they also wanted it to be comfortable and functional for their family. To achieve this, Canovas and her team took great care in weaving the homeowners’ most beloved artwork and antiques into one collective aesthetic that resulted in a place where adults can easily entertain or children can curl up and watch TV or read a book.

Though Canovas’s calling card is often clean, all-white interiors, she knew that the homeowners wanted doses of color scattered throughout. To start, Canovas had the interiors painted with a white stucco, which allows for the homeowners’ art collection to remain center stage and introduce bursts of color throughout each space. With soft, golden wood hues, various family heirlooms and antiques bring warmth to the rooms, which help balance the strict lines and modern details.

This juxtaposition of antique meets modern can best be seen in the living room. Situated in the center of the home and just off the garden, this room is where the family gathers for relaxation and entertaining. A colorful blue painting by Donald Sultan and the leaf corten steel sculpture produced specially for the space provide bold pops of color while the sleek lines of the side tables and all-white sectional keep the aesthetic modern and updated.

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From a Distance – International Decorating with Help from Home


If you moved out of the country and are tasked with decorating a new home, it can be tough to figure out where to start. Depending on the country you’ve moved to, there might be a substantial language barrier or there may be resources you’re not accustomed to. But as long as you have internet access, you can get the tools and professionals to help your home look picture-perfect. Here’s how.

Start by scouting out the best online program to fit your needs. For help with furniture arrangement, try The Roomstyler 3D Home Planner. It has a simple interface and can help you visualize your floor plan from above. For a more advanced program that shows finishes and fabrics, try Planner 5D or Sweet Home 3D. If you live near an Ikea and plan to do some shopping there, take advantage of their online home planner tools. All options are free to use and can help you get on the right track to designing your dwelling from anywhere.

If you need guidance from a decorator or designer but can’t access one in your new locale, hire a virtual decorator instead. You’ll be working with a real, trained professional; the difference is that you’re working remotely instead of face-to-face, and you have to do the heavy lifting. Through surveys, mood boards, and photos of your home, your designer will get to know what you are looking for and he or she can create a decorating plan for you—wherever you are. This service is best used for redecorating simple spaces and not remodeling. Check out companies like BluGloss, Havenly, Homepolish, and Decorist to see if they can help you in your area.

As featured in Home By Design Magazine
Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All measurements are approximate. Copyright 2017 By Design Publishing. All rights reserved.

Ancient Spanish City St. Augustine, FLA

Founded in 1565, St. Augustine, located on the Northeastern coast of Florida, is the oldest city in the United States. Whether you come for the history, the architecture, the beaches, or the alligators, you’re sure to appreciate the unique charms of the Ancient City.


An afternoon can easily be spent meandering along pedestrian-only St. George Street, where you’ll discover fountains, statues, courtyards, cafes, and art galleries housed in stunning Spanish architecture surrounded by vibrant trees and flowers. The cobblestone lanes of Aviles Street offer a quaint and quiet retreat from busy St. George, with plenty to discover as well. Hop a trolley for a tour of bustling downtown, or take a ghost tour to learn a little otherworldly history by foot. Step back in time with a visit to Castillo de San Marcos, a seventeenth-century Spanish stone fortress that’s now a national monument complete with educational recreations that include marching soldiers and firing canons.

Experience another side to St. Augustine culture with a complimentary guided tour of the St. Augustine Distillery and enjoy sample cocktails featuring small-batch whiskey, rum, gin, and vodka, and their much-loved bourbon in the fall. Stop into the attached The Ice Plant Bar and sip those artisanal spirits in crafty cocktails with house-made syrups, fresh squeezed juices, and hand-carved purified ice. Order some pretzel bread and blue crab beignets to pair with a Florida Mule (made of St. Augustine vodka, ginger, and lime).

Head over the bridge to St. Augustine Beach for white sand, warm ocean water, and shelling along the shoreline. St. Johns County Ocean and Fishing Pier is an expansive pier with souvenirs, snacks, and bait and tackle for sale. Every Wednesday morning locals and visitors flock to the Market at the Beach for fresh produce, baked goods, jewelry, and handmade arts and crafts. Commune with nature at Anastasia State Park wildlife sanctuary, take a tour of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, or stop by the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park for a gator show.


bridgeStart a day of exploring Old Town with a hearty breakfast or brunch at the charming Maple Street Biscuit Company, where everything is made on-site, including the coffee. Go for one of the signature thick, flaky biscuit sandwiches; the Squawking Goat tops a crispy fried chicken breast with a fried goat cheese medallion and mildly spicy house-made pepper jelly, while the Five and Dime adds pecan wood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, sausage gravy, and a fried egg to a towering chicken biscuit.

Make a reservation in advance for a romantic, elegant five-star meal at Collage Restaurant in Old Town. Choose a bottle from the excellent, regionally arranged wine list, and start with the luscious house-made burrata with apricot, raspberry, walnuts, and crostini, or the escargot served with tender mushrooms in a puff pastry with brandy cream sauce. The signature Lobster Ravioli is a must, with sautéed shrimp in a pesto cream sauce, topped with a lobster tail, as is the Duo Di Manzo with grilled beef tenderloin medallions and braised short rib stuffed agnolloti over a peppercorn porcini puree with crispy onions.

Make sure to head Uptown and visit the unique, Southern coastal melting-pot cuisine served up by Chef Vinny and Christina at Uptown Scratch Kitchen. Veiled in a portico of fresh herbs and flowering plants, you’ll find a portable kitchen (food truck) serving some of the best bites in St. Augustine. Think shrimp po’ boys, Southern fried chicken, shrimp and grits, arepas, tostones, and Cuban sandwiches. Just grab a seat at a picnic table and order anything on the menu du jour, and prepare to be stunned by food from a truck. Visit early in your trip as you’ll want to come back for another meal!


St. Augustine is a decidedly B&B kind of city due to its historical nature and Spanish Colonial architecture. An abundance of quaint B&Bs line the streets of Old Town, brimming with Southern hospitality, sumptuous breakfast spreads, and wraparound porches. In the heart of the bustling historic district, on a pedestrian-only street surrounded by attractions, shopping, dining, and pubs, you’ll find the St. George Inn. When not out on the town, take in some people-watching from a rocking chair on the balcony, and enjoy a European-style breakfast by the fountain in the courtyard.

On the quieter side of Old Town, Bayfront Marin House Historic Inn offers views of the Bridge of Lions and boats skimming across Matanzas Bay, with unique, spacious rooms featuring private balconies, canopy beds, and double soaking tubs. Start the day with eggs benedict or fluffy banana pancakes in the gazebo, and kick off your evenings with sangria on the porch swing at sunset during nightly happy hour.

If beach digs are more to your liking, check out the Inn’s sister property Beachcomber Cottages on Vilano; as the name implies, the location on shell-filled Vilano Beach is perfect for the collector of all things shoreline. Whether it’s a one-bedroom suite for two directly on the beach or a Caribbean-style home with a private pool and panoramic views of the Atlantic for the whole crew, this lovely property will fulfill your beach house dreams.

As featured in Home By Design Magazine
Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All measurements are approximate. Copyright 2016 By Design Publishing. All rights reserved.
Photography by © Pavone, St. Augustine Distillery, St. George Inn, Beachcomber Cottage.