Posts tagged "planters"

Curb Appeal: Five Inexpensive Front Yard Enhancements

Curb Appeal Front Yard Porch and Gardens

Enhancing the curb appeal of your house doesn't have to be expensive.

Wether you are interested in improving the look of your  front yard for personal enjoyment or for  selling your home, here are a few of my top recommendations.


This blog post is part of the Garden Designers RoundTable blog theme about "First Impressions."

Please visit the blogsites posted at the end of this article for more inspired ideas!


1. Mulch Your Garden Beds!

peach-pit-and-glass mulch in garden bed


Nothing says "finished and well tended" than a garden that is weed-free and mulched.

There are a variety of mulch products that can be used in your garden from free pine leaves to decomposed granite to decorative recycled glass and more!

The horticultural benefits of adding mulch to your soil are undisputed- it helps to retard weed growth and aids in moisture retention in the soil.


I enjoy the decorative benefits of a rich colored top dressing for the soil.


If you have a small garden, you can buy bags (usually 1 to 2 cubic foot size) of your preferred mulch or order large scoops at your landscape center and have it delivered.

Prices vary according to your selection.

Standard, "nothing special redwood nuggets or shredded bark " can cost from $4 per 1.5 cu ft bag, more or less depending on where you live.

Inorganic pebbles and stone costs me approximately $10 dollars for a seventy-five-pound bag.


Apply  mulch around your plants but avoid piling it up against the stems as this may encourage plant rot.

A two or three inch depth is adequate.


My favorite mulch for my Southern California garden are recycled peach pits and tumbled glass.

If you follow my blog, you know I have a fondness for seashells and wine corks too!

For in depth information read my post, "Mulch 101: The Art of Selecting the Perfect Garden Mulch."


I always say, "If your garden bed isn't mulched, it isn't finished yet!"



2. Add Potted Plants Near Your Front Door!

Potted Plants Near Front Door


Even if you can't afford to relandscape your entire front yard, place a few colorful containers with fragrant flowers near your entry for impact.

Your eye will be drawn to this bright focal point.

Need inspiration?

Read my blog post "Creative Container Garden Ideas."



3.Paint Your Front Door An Accent Color!


Painted Front Door for Curb Appeal


I have to admit, if it weren't for the bright fushia-colored front door, this yard would look very boring!

The bougainvillea is captivating but it doesn't sport color year round.


Select a paint color that compliments the foliage or prominent plant color in your garden to unify house and landscape.

Painting a front door is a lot like putting on lipstick.

Instant smile!


4. Beautify Your Mail Box!

creative mailbox planters

Need I say more about the uplifting affect of a plant-filled mailbox?

I was contacted a few month ago by the designers of Creative Mailbox Planters, a company that specializes in mailbox planters.

What a great idea!


For around $80, you can have "practical art" in your front yard.

Take a look at their photo gallery.


(This is not a paid endorsement, but please feel free to send me some "swag!)



5. Hide Your Water Hose


Decorative water hose urn


This tall, elegant urn is hiding an ugly secret…a waterhose!

A water hose is a practical element in your garden that can become a decorative feature, if you conceal it.

This urn was on sale at Target for  under $40 dollars. Not a bad deal.


Since I wasn't in the mood to spend ANY money, I repurposed a planter I had sitting around my yard.

I gave it a job.

Planter used as water hose storage





The planter is shallow so I don't have to dive in to pull out the hose.

It also matches the style of the other planters in the garden.


Go Add Some Curb Appeal To Your Front Yard!

A few small details can make a big difference in adding curb appeal to your yard.

Always follow the path of least expense.


Mulch your soil, paint your front door, display some colorful planters,  add decorative detail around the mailbox and hide your hose.

You get the idea.


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Please join the Garden Designers Roundtable bloggers today as we explore the best of First Impressions:

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO

Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT

Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : East Bay, CA

Christina Salwitz : Personal Garden Coach : Renton, WA





Self Watering Containers From Recycled Soda Bottles

Recycled Soda Bottle Planter with Decopauge by Shirley Bovshow

Self watering containers from recycled soda bottles are gaining in popularity because they work and are inexpensive!

You probably have soda bottles right now in your pantry or in the recycle bin that you can use to make "free" planters.


I was recently asked  to appear on Yahoo! Shine's entertaining web show, "More Family Fun"   to demonstrate how these sub irrigated planters are made.

The show focuses on projects that are fun, educational and that kids can participate in.


This is not an original idea of mine, I just  added my creative spin to decorating them!


Want to get your kids interested in gardening?

Tell them to grab an empty soda bottle and meet you at the crafting table!

Adults should take the lead in cutting the plastic soda bottles as it will require a very sharp blade or scissors to do effectively.




Host Julie Zwillich, Yahoo! Shine's More Family Fun Show and Shirley Bovshow

Yahoo! Shine "More Family Fun" host, Julie Zwillich and Shirley talk "self watering containers"


Materials for Soda Bottle Planters

Gather the following materials:

  • Plastic Soda bottle- label removed, washed and dried
  • Cutting blade and scissors
  • Felt material
  • Potting Soil
  • Seeds or plants in small 4" containers
  • Decorative tape
  • Decopauge solution
  • Foam brushes
  • Art work cut from magazines, seed packets, gift wrap or other source



Scissors and Cutting Blade for self watering soda bottle planters

Sharp scissors or cutting blade is the most important tool you will need for this project!


Watch the Video!



Read the Instructions

1. Mark a ring around your bottle about two thirds of the way down.

2. Start cutting the bottle using your blade and finish with sharp scissors.

3. Take the upper section of the bottle, (the part with the neck) and pierce with blade to create drain holes. (Remember, this part of the bottle will be turned upside down and inserted into the bottom half of the bottle.)

4. Take a small piece of felt material and shove it into the bottle opening so that it protrudes out of the hole a little but is secure and won't come out. The felt  material will act as a wick and absorb water into the bottle and move it to the plant roots.

5. Fill the upper section of the bottle with lightweight potting soil-(the one you just cut drain holes into and placed felt material) and insert inside the bottom half of the bottle. The felt strip should make contact with the bottom of the bottle.

6. Plant seeds or a small plant from a 4" container into the soil.

7. Water, the "customary" way by adding water from the top of the plant.

8. Excess water will drain through the drain holes and fill the resevoir. As your plant needs water, it will draw water up from the bottom of the planter.

9. In about a week or so, the plant may need to be watered again as indicated by an empty reseviour.

Check by lifting the planter. If it feels lighter than usual, it may be time to fill the reseviour with water again.

10. Decorate your self watering container with stickers, decorative tape or decopauge. This is a great art project for the kids!


Repurposed Soda Bottle Sub Irrigated Planter By Shirley Bovshow


These planters are best used for indoor plants or for starting seeds in my climate zone.

I'm concerned about the perennial sunshine degrading the plastic after a while.


I followed the instructions set by Bob Hyland of and I encourage you to visit his blog, AFTER watching my video and reading my blog post.

You might not want to return!

Bob has the most extensive collection of articles on soda bottle planters that I've encountered and an excellent photo tutorial on Flickr for  making these "SIPS" (sub irrigated planters) as he prefers to call them.


Grab your soda bottles and start gardening!


If you enjoyed this blog post and video, please share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, your blog or even on Pinterest!

Don't forget to subscribe to EdenMakers Blog for updates on new blog posts.






Creative Succulent Displays!

succulent planter muffin pan

I’m always looking for new ways to display plants in the landscape or in container gardens.

When your “day job” is as a garden designer, it’s par for the course.

Here are two my my latest unconventional succulent plant displays that I hope will inspire you to think outside of the box in your garden!

These also make great gift ideas from the garden.

succulents planted in mini Coke glasses and gravel

Mosaic glass bottle and “mini Coca Cola glass” succulent planters make an interesting vignette.


The mosaic glass bottle has an interesting story behind it.

I bought it at a store for $50 dollars where it was sold to raise funds for the homeless artist who created it!

How could I go wrong with a proposition like this?

It was “win/win” my friends.

I ended up with a  beautiful ornament for my garden and a talented  homeless mosaic artist,  (who hopefully won’t be homeless for long) made some money!


close up of succulent plants

The Coke glasses are filled with gravel, a little washed sand, moss and succulent cuttings. The Dollar Store and Me!


One of my favorite “garden centers” is the Dollar Store!

Okay, it’s not really a garden center but they sell lots of items for under a dollar that I can convert into planters.

My latest find was a collection of miniature Coca Cola glasses that were priced  “two for a dollar!”

Trust me, the idea of drinking from these iconic glasses never occurred to me.

I had a vision of my sculptural succulent cuttings crowning the top of these puppies the moment I laid eyes on them!


My only concern was drainage.

I solved that issue by filling the glasses with gravel and topped them with a “nest” of moss that I filled with washed sand.


The succulent cuttings were taken from a variety of plants in my garden and were already calloused and ready to plant into the pre-moistened moss and sand combination.

I water once-a- week.

The succulents were free.

I had sand, moss and gravel in my shed.

I paid only for the glasses!


My total investment (minus the mosaic ornament) was $2 for, four, creative succulent planters!

Just about anyone can afford a couple of dollars right?


Repurposed Muffin Pan

Shirley Bovshow holds a muffin pan turned garden planter

I teased my audience on my show, the “Garden World Report” …”Wait till you see what I do with this muffin pan! ”

If you haven’t watched my show, you should!


The succulent cuttings look better in this muffin pan than the calories from the muffins would look on my thighs if I had used the pan to  actually bake sweet delights!


A repurposed muffin pan displays a variety of succulent cuttings!


Another one of my “mad ideas” is the “muffin pan as container” for shallow rooted plants.

I already had the pan in my kitchen and I just drilled a small hole in each pocket for drainage.

I was more concerned with moisture pooling against the metal than against the glass because metal corrodes.


As I did with the Coke glasses, the muffin holders were filled with pre-moistened moss and sand and succulent cuttings inserted.

Obviously, I won’t keep the succulent cuttings in the pan for a LONG time because they will outgrow their allotted space.


For now, I’m happy with it.

If you don’t want to repurpose your muffin pan as a planter, you can always use it as a creative way to share your cuttings with friends.

Make your garden cuttings look like a gift!

Presentation means a lot and your friends will appreciate the thought you put into it.


Don’t have a muffin pan?

They cost a dollar at the Dollar Store!


Watch this video of “succulent diva” Debra Lee Baldwin on my Garden World Report Show as we tour a “succulent pavillion” at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show.


Do something different in your garden this week and share your photos on my Facebook page with me!

“Not-Oprah’s Favorite Things” on Garden World Report Show!

Shirley Bovshows favorite garden products

This week’s new Garden World Report show is taking a fun turn for garden enthusiasts!

Oprah does a yearly show around this time of the year where she presents her favorite products and does a giveaway.

Oprah is not doing a “Favorite Things” show this year, but I am!


“Shirley’s Favorite Things For the Garden” showcases my top 4 “must have” garden products and guess what?

I’m giving out garden products to some lucky Garden World Report viewers!

I’ll explain later in this post how to win!



Also on this week’s show, I’m showcasing three amazing “garden heros” who are making the world a better place through gardening and helping to improve other’s lives.



Watch for:


Kylee Baumle, garden blogger of Our Little Acre presents the mastermind behind an award winning children’s garden, Louise Hartwig .

Louise helped to create the  “Smiley Park Children’s Garden” in Van Wert, Ohio.

You will be inspired! I was.



Picture 1 jose soto 14

The online garden store, Gardener’s Supply honors a special gardener who brought a garden paradise to the concrete jungle of the Bronx, New York and unified his community at the same time!

Jose Soto is their “2009 Urban Renewal” winner.

Watch Jose on the Garden World Report show.



FAAGRIC class lectures

“ECHO” stands for “Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization” and this organization is spotlighted as an international garden hero.

ECHO trains future “garden ambassadors” who go throughout the world to underdeveloped countries and teach other’s how to be self sufficient by growing their own food!

Check out ECHO’s headquarters on the Garden World Report. I can’t believe they are in the USA. (Florida, actually).




Social media expert, Jean Ann VK teaches garden bloggers how to take advantage of some basic “SEO” or “search engine optimization” so that Google and readers can find your blog posts!

Jean Ann always presents easy to understand tips for navigating the online world. Follow her series on the Garden World Report and listen to her podcast, Good Enough Gardening, she’s great!



Picture 1

Suzi McCoy, garden media expert of the Garden Media Group contributes a second installment to her series, “Garden Trends for 2010.”

Suzi is talking about “multi-purpose gardens,” or gardens that serve other functions other than just looking pretty!

I like that…double duty!


The highlight of the show for me, is the debut of my Shirley’s Favorite Things” for the garden!

I’m even giving away garden products.


Here’s the lowdown:

Watch the show and email me afterwards.

The first person to email me and request one of the particular products, will win that product.

Now, I’m not Oprah, so I don’t have thousands of items to giveaway.

Please request only one of the products that I showcased and the first request will win!



You can select from:

1. Eco-Lawn : a bag of seeds will cover approximately 1000 sq feet. This is the “granddaddy of drought tolerant lawns” made of seven different fine fescue seeds.

2. Ups A Daisy: Planter inserts that are a much more clever solution than using “packing peanuts” to minimize the area in containers for soil. Drainage holes also promote great aeration for plant roots.

3. Potlifters: An ergonomic strapping system to help you lift up to 200 pounds in the garden. Move oversized pots and other  odd-shaped things like boulders, logs and more.

4. “Easy Bloom” Plant Sensor: A high tech, but easy to use tool that takes the guesswork out of planning appropriate plants for the garden. Easy Bloom also helps to diagnose water and climate problems for failing plants.



Start watching the Garden World Report Show!

It’s fun, I promise.

Go, what are you waiting for!