Garden Tips: What to Plant and When

 

It’s time to add color and depth to your yard. If you’re headed out to your local nursery, here are plants that are ready to take root:

Trees and shrubs

The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a mild and dry spring for Midwest planting, and trees and shrubs love cool conditions. Make sure you give them plenty of water for the first few weeks to keep them healthy and happy.

Annuals

Add quick color with annuals. Plant them in beds or containers on your porch and patio for instant beauty.

Perennials

Perennials are great because they come back year after year, lessening your workload. Here are 12 that do well in the Midwest, according to Midwest Living magazine: Coneflowers, butterfly weed, Lenten rose, Virginia bluebells, hardy geraniums, black-eyed Susans, allium, panicle hydrangeas, sedums, Russian sage, goldenrod, and aromatic aster.


Six Design Rules to Break

Rules can be helpful – especially when you’re doing something new. But rules are also made to be broken – especially when it comes to a creative process like decorating your home. If you’re afraid of making a design faux pas, here are six rules you can toss out of your (treatment-free) window:

Design Rules Old and New

You shouldn’t mix old with new

Your room isn’t meant to be a time capsule. In fact, decorating in a single style or period can make a room feel boring and uninspired. Instead, pick your favorite pieces from across decades. If you love them, chances are they’ll work well together. One way to create a cohesive look is to use the room’s architecture for inspiration. If you live in a traditional Colonial, for example, combine contemporary pieces with an Oriental rug. You want your room to look as though it’s been assembled over time, not in a single shopping spree.

 

Design Rules Sofa

A living room needs a sofa

It used to be that designing a living room started with the sofa. This rule no longer need apply. Consider creating a cozy conversation space with four oversized easy chairs. A pair of loveseats or settees can make a space feel more formal. Or choose a chaise and an easy chair combination, for a place to relax and unwind. While you can never go wrong using a sofa in a living room, it’s not the only option.

Design Rules Windows

Windows need window treatments

If you have a beautiful view and gorgeous windows, there’s no rule that says you have to cover them up with window treatments. Let the outdoors in by leaving windows treatment-free. This is a great choice when privacy and insulation aren’t a concern.

Design Rules Nightstand

Nightstands should match

His and hers doesn’t have to mean identical. Why not create a more interesting setting by letting each person choose the nightstand option that suits them best? If you like to read in bed while enjoying a cup of tea, choose a sleek glass-top end table. If your partner prefers to store magazines and the remote, a more classic design with drawers would be best. Then bridge the difference by choosing a similar finish.

Every room needs a pop of color

An accent wall or bright throw pillows certainly make a room feel alive, but monochromatic rooms can be just as interesting. Design a room in subtle shades of gray or ivory or tan. Neutrals look very rich when they’re layered in different textures.

Choose one wood finish and stick with it

While it’s never a bad choice to bring home a matching dining room set, you make a room much more interesting when you mix pieces. While many people are afraid to use more than one wood finish in a room, it’s actually a great way to create a layered look. Dark furniture looks great when placed on light oak floors, for example. Or choose furnishings with mixed finishes. Limit the finishes to two or three, and use them throughout the space for a harmonious look.

 


Chintz Is Back

 

Remember chintz? The floral fabrics that gave your home an English country look. It had its heyday in the ‘80s, and it’s back in vogue. In fact, designer Tory Burch opened her Paris flagship store last summer, covering the walls and windows of the VIP room in iris-print chintz.

Chintz is a glazed fabric that’s easily wiped down and dusted, which makes it practical. Patterns are often bright and colorful, and often floral. Add a chintz-covered chair to a living room or bedroom sitting area for a soft touch. Cover your dining chairs in chintz for that English country feel. Or simply pick up a few toss pillows. You’ll not only be on trend; you’ll be ready for spring.

 


Spring Cleaning Tips

You’re probably ready for spring – but is your home? Spring cleaning wakes up your rooms and get them ready to shine in the sun. Here are three tasks to put on your to-do list this week:

1. Dust your drapes

Window treatments can collect lots of dirt and dust from the air. Put them in your dryer with a wet towel, and turn on the air-fluff cycle for 15 minutes. Hang them back in the windows immediately.

2. Clean your ceiling fan

This, too, can collect lots of dust on the blades. Using your favorite furniture polish, wipe them down and lightly buff.

3. Air out your linens

If you have a backyard clothesline, shake then out and let them hang in the sun for a few hours. Sunlight is a natural germ killer.


Look Alike Outdoor Seating

It’s almost time for entertaining outdoors, and your deck or patio is ready for a refresh. Today’s resin wicker furniture provides a stylish way to outfit your outside spaces.

These two armless chairs look sleek and sophisticated, but one costs more than three times the price of the other. One is the Ventura Umber Modular Armless Chair from Crate and Barrel, which sells for $688, and the other is the Dover Armless Chair from Art Van, which sells for $223.99.

The choice is easy. Click here to grab the better deal.