Posts Tagged ‘Garden Walls’

11 Ways to Go Green in your Kitchen and Bathroom

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Follow these simple steps to an environmentally-conscious home:


1. Fix a drip.
Drip, drop, drip, drop. That leak in the bathroom sink is not just annoying. It’s costing you loads of cash in water and energy bills and wasted gallons. Get it fixed ASAP, and if you can’t get the plumber scheduled right away, use this old trick: Tie a string on the faucet and allow the drops to dribble silently down into a cup or small bowl. Use the collected H2O to water your houseplants.

2. Get clean.
Avoid using harsh chemical cleaners in favor of natural cleansers (soap, water, vinegar, baking soda). You’ll do a favor for the environment and yourself.

3. Be water wise.
Low-flow toilets have come a long way. New models max out at 1.6 gallons of water per flush, but the very latest models can use even less.

4. Be water wise some more.
Tankless water heaters are a great energy saver. There’s no reason to keep a giant tank of heated water at your beck and call all day and night. Bonus tip: Go the extra mile when you turn on the shower by placing a bucket or other container under the showerhead. In the few moments it takes for the water to heat up, you can gather enough for the dog’s bowl and the houseplants. Don’t waste a drop!

5. Smell Sweet.
Cut down on harmful chemicals and gasses released into your home by using low- or no-VOC paints when giving the bath, or any other room, a fresh color.


6. Be water smart.
A simple hardware store doo-dad called an aerator on your kitchen (or bath) faucet cuts down on water consumption, sacrificing very little if any water pressure. For less than $15, you can install one of these yourself and save up to 500 gallons per year.

7. Vent a little.
Proper ventilation in the cooktop hood of your kitchen keeps bills down and air quality up.

8. Think small.
The kitchen is the energy gobbler of the home. If you’re planning a remodel, building new, or just replacing an old appliance, remember that bigger isn’t always better. In addition to looking for energy-efficiency ratings on your new purchase, consider going for a smaller model that uses less energy to begin with. Bonus tip: New drawer-style dishwashers help cut back on water use for smaller loads.

9. Lighten Up.
Opening up a kitchen with skylights and windows that allow natural sunlight to stream in not only helps your mood stay perky, it is a natural, free way to light your space. No budget to add windows? At least let the light in by removing heavy, lightblocking window treatments.

10. Divide and Conquer.
Dedicate a little space for recycling bins or bags to make living green convenient for the whole family. You can purchase color-coded units with separate compartments and lids, or create your own recycling center with inexpensive bins from the home center or discount store.

11. Go, greens!

Try your hand at going green by growing herbs or salad greens in the kitchen. Bringing in a natural element adds some coziness to your home’s busiest room, and naturally cleans the air you breathe. (And of course, nothing beats adding your own fresh basil to that pasta at the dinner table.


Written by: Suzanne Morrissey


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Vertical Gardens!

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

It is hard to imagine having a lush garden when you live in a small urban space, which is the case for many city dwellers. I have run into this situation many times, being a renter it is hard to find a condo with enough outdoor space to create a botanical oasis. I read a article recently discussing a new trend in landscape design “Vertical Gardens”. I was immediately fascinated by the idea! Why not add some life into my otherwise white and bare balcony walls? French botanist Patrick Blanc came up with the idea for a vertical garden in the late 1980s as a way for cities to go “green” using existing space. Most of a city’s horizontal space is taken up by roads, sidewalks and buildings. Vertical space however is commonly left unused. When installed on exterior walls, these vertical gardens sometimes can reduce the heat that a building absorbs. Blanc has run gardens up the sides of malls, parking garages, museums, schools and of course homes. So how does it work? Plants are rooted in a layer of felt that is stapled to a waterproof PVC plastic sheet. The felt and the PVC sheets are attached to a metal frame that hangs on a wall or stands on its own. If all of this seems a bit too complex, there are also modular systems & kits available to make installation easy. There is a great company called ELT Easy Green that specializes in these kits. The kits allow you to install plants in angled plastic trays that are mounted directly on a wall or in a frame. Instead of felt, plants are rooted in dirt or another growth medium. Each panel is 12 inches by 12 inches and can be used on its own or with a few other panels. The best part? ELT’s do-it-yourself kit costs $69.00! Plant selection depends on your location, be sure to pick something that can create a textured design and requires little maintenance. Regular maintenance includes watering (supplemented with fertilizer) and trimming the plants. Can’t wait to get started on my own Vertical Garden! Here are some images I found of Vertical Gardens that have inspired me:

CaixaForum Museum, Madrid

AstraZeneca Pharmaceutical, Sweden

Lifewall Tile by Ceracasa

Vertical Succulent Garden

Vertical Garden in Frame

Joe Fortes Restaurant, Vancouver

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The Graham Residence by E. Cobb Architects

Friday, July 15th, 2011

The Graham Residence by E. Cobb Architects is simply STUNNING! It is a architectural statement that is truly inspiring. The intricate design of this residence is highlighted by its extensive use of glass walls and double height ceilings. The modern feel of the house is taken a step further by the materials used throughout: concrete, wood, glass. The interior furnishings are a perfect compliment to the houses clean lines and contemporary feel. Can you say DREAM house? Look at those views! Wow!

Graham Residence

Graham Residence

Graham Residence

Graham Residence

Graham Residence

Graham Residence

Graham Residence

Graham Residence

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Unique Outdoor Planters

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

CB2 has a new set of unique outdoor planters that I am obsessed with! Great for smaller outdoor areas in apartments or lofts. The planters are made of waterproof white nylon with a double-sided plastic backing. The sturdy black handles pull plants into place. I love the black and white contrast, so modern, crisp and easy to use! Check them out at:

Gro Planters

Gro Planters

Gro Planters

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Outdoor Showers! by Ana Morales

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

An outdoor shower is not only practical, its a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Whether you want to rinse off after a day at the beach, be in touch with nature or just simply relax, there is an outdoor shower design just for your needs. Deciding what the best location for an outdoor shower depends on how you will use it. For beach goers it’s a convenient way to spray off the sand before going inside,  for pool owners it’s great for a post swim rinse and for nature lovers it is a great way to be at one with the outdoors. One thing is clear, outdoor showers must take advantage of the natural beauty of their surroundings. In regards to materials, you  want something that can withstand any weather conditions. You want something durable, that you typically find outdoors, like natural stone or wood.

For shower walls, floors and fixtures, choose weather-resistant materials. Enclosures made of pressure-treated wood, IPE wood, cedar or teak will hold up well outside. When buying imported wood, look for FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification, which means the boards were sustainably harvested. Wood should be treated periodically to prevent mildew and fading.

IPE Hardwood Outdoor Shower

Natural Stone

A stone wall or floor requires less maintenance such as tumbled river rock or slate. It is a great natural look that helps you connect with nature at a deeper level. Natural stone is something durable that can be exposed to any type of weather and is simply beautiful in any outdoor setting. Stone should be sealed with a quality penetrating stone sealer every 2 to 3 years depending on use.

Standing Java Pebble Outdoor Shower


Bronze or copper fixtures are recommended because they develop a natural patina as they age. Brass also works well, but avoid anything too shiny, because the gloss will fade. In seaside locations, where salty air can damage most metals, corrosion-resistant stainless steel with a 304 rating is typically the best choice. To keep stainless looking new, wipe it down every couple of weeks with warm soapy water, rinse, and then wipe it dry with a soft cloth.

Bronze Shower Fixture

Stainless Steel Shower Fixture


Always remember outdoor showers have two purposes. To help you connect with nature and people and, of course, to get clean. Any design you pick should blend in with the landscape. The shower should be close enough to your home that you will use it often. Finally, there is a romantic element to outdoor showers. The enclosure should promote nature, romance, and fun.

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Vertical Gardens

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Really cool article from the New York Times about growing gardens on your wall!  Sounds pretty labor intensive and hard to maintain but beautiful none the less.

Read the article here

Or view the slide show…

New York Times Vertical Gardens

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