An Outdoor Shower Is More Doable (& Enjoyable) Than You Think

The dog days of summer are quickly approaching; bringing with them the hot, sticky heat and humidity that makes us want to strip down and dive head first into every sprinkler or body of water we see. Don’t get us wrong, we love summer (and we love a go…

The dog days of summer are quickly approaching; bringing with them the hot, sticky heat and humidity that makes us want to strip down and dive head first into every sprinkler or body of water we see. Don’t get us wrong, we love summer (and we love a good heat wave to really put an exclamation point on the season), but sometimes we find ourselves praying for a good downpour to break the soaring temperatures. A much more reliable (and practical) solution to this need for an immediate soaking? An outdoor shower.

We know what you’re thinking—easier said than done. But think again. Outdoor showers can be as simple (read: inexpensive and refreshingly cold) or as lavish and elaborate as you and your budget want them to be. There are a few different options that make all the difference, says Asher Lipman, founder of NYC Renovation Coach. Your outdoor shower can be free-standing, with hot water and an enclosed structure around it, attached to the side of your home, or connected to the same plumbing as your garden hose for quick and cool bits of relief from the heat.

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10 Chicken Coop Ideas for Your Feathered Friends

For the past few years, I’ve been telling anyone who would listen that, when I bought a house, the first thing I’d do would be to get chickens. True to my word, I closed on my house in February of this year, and come March, I was the proud owner of 12 …

For the past few years, I've been telling anyone who would listen that, when I bought a house, the first thing I'd do would be to get chickens. True to my word, I closed on my house in February of this year, and come March, I was the proud owner of 12 adorable baby chicks. However, buying chickens is the easy part—building them a coop proved to be much more of a challenge, taking way more time (and money) than I ever anticipated.

On one hand, building a home for your chickens really isn’t that hard—they don’t need a ton of space, and there are lots of DIY tutorials on how you can build one from scratch or upcycle a shed and other existing structure into a coop. That said, there are a lot of little things to think about as you go, including where your coop will be placed, how big it needs to be, how you’ll keep predators out, and so on. I learned a lot of this on the fly, so I’m passing on my top tips in hope that you’ll be a little more informed as you jump into chicken ownership.

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The Best Time to Water Your Plants—& Why It’s Crucial

A perfect amount of rainfall is every gardener’s dream, but the reality is that almost every summer, there are stretches of hot, dry days when we need to water to keep our plants alive. The question of when it’s the best time to water your garden goes …

A perfect amount of rainfall is every gardener’s dream, but the reality is that almost every summer, there are stretches of hot, dry days when we need to water to keep our plants alive. The question of when it’s the best time to water your garden goes hand in hand with the question of how to water. To help you get the most out of that precious H2O, here are some watering basics:

Why Water Is Necessary

You’ll recall from biology class that water is necessary for plants to perform photosynthesis—the process of transforming water into sugar and oxygen when the leaves are exposed to light. But water does more than that, it also transports nutrients inside the plant, so even in the richest of garden soils, plants will be undernourished if the water supply is insufficient.

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Why the Next Big Gardening Trend Is Taking a Cue from Local Biodiversity

Planting a tree and seeing it grow and thrive is one of the most long-lasting and fulfilling gardening experiences. I feel that way about the gingko in our front yard, but when it comes to wildlife value, a gingko is almost like having a plastic tree i…

Planting a tree and seeing it grow and thrive is one of the most long-lasting and fulfilling gardening experiences. I feel that way about the gingko in our front yard, but when it comes to wildlife value, a gingko is almost like having a plastic tree in your yard—it has zero value to the little critters that make nature work. A gingko attracts no caterpillars at all (which are essential for birds to raise their young), but a native oak, on the other hand, supports more than 550 species of caterpillars. According to Doug Tallamy, a professor of entomology and wildlife ecology at the University of Delaware and a leading voice in the movement to plant more natives, a single pair of chickadees needs 6,000 to 9,000 caterpillars to feed one clutch of young.

Unfortunately, most of the plants sold by nurseries today are not wildlife-friendly natives but introduced from Asia and Europe, often decades and centuries ago. The good news is, that over the past two decades the movement for planting natives has been gaining traction. More nurseries are offering native plants and some nurseries specialize only in natives. Home gardeners and landscape architects have become more aware that say, the Bradford pear, a very popular ornamental pear tree, might not be the best choice.

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The Essential Gardening Step You’re Probably Skipping

When I started my first vegetable garden, I drew everything out on graph paper, much to the amusement of my husband. As it turns out, I had the right idea. A few years later, when I became a Master Gardener, I learned that record-keeping is an indispen…

When I started my first vegetable garden, I drew everything out on graph paper, much to the amusement of my husband. As it turns out, I had the right idea. A few years later, when I became a Master Gardener, I learned that record-keeping is an indispensable first step. Because, while we think we remember, the reality is that we forget things (did I fertilize that tomato plant two weeks ago?) in the course of a gardening season, let alone from one gardening year to the next.

How you keep track of what you grow—with a garden app, notebook, monthly planner, index cards, or on spreadsheets—doesn’t matter, as long as it works for you and you record things while they’re still fresh in your memory. As with anything else, record-keeping takes the guesswork out of gardening so you can focus your efforts on making your plants thrive.

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How to Cope With the Garden Gnome Shortage

Ketchup packets. Tapioca pearls. Garden gnomes. What do all three of these have in common? They are just the latest products experiencing shortages due to pandemic-related supply chain disruptions. You probably heard about the container vessel that got…

Ketchup packets. Tapioca pearls. Garden gnomes. What do all three of these have in common? They are just the latest products experiencing shortages due to pandemic-related supply chain disruptions. You probably heard about the container vessel that got stuck in the Suez Canal last month, right? While we were all laughing at memes and wondering how, in the year 2021, a big boat could get stuck and there was absolutely nothing modern technology could do about it, the global supply chain was getting absolutely wrecked. And the ramifications of the Suez Canal blockage have landed where we least expected them: our gardens.

Love them or hate them, garden gnomes are a staple of quirky (creepy?) yards everywhere, as ubiquitous as the hot pink plastic flamingo. Since the coronavirus pandemic started, gardening centers have experienced record sales, and recent reports show they’re not slowing down anytime soon. Between the Suez Canal blockage and unprecedented demands, garden centers in the U.K. have a severe shortage of, yes, garden gnomes. My theory? Cottagecore, the growing aesthetic trend in design and on social media, is to blame. Cottagecore gestures at English countryside houses and charming gardens, and what’s more quaint than a collection of stately garden gnomes?

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8 Outdoor Essentials to Make Your Backyard Feel Like a Living Room

Can you feel it? Can you feel the creeping warmth of summer settling in? The sun lasts until 7 p.m. now, and cracking the window open at night doesn’t offer the same numbing quality as it once did. If you’re one of the lucky ones with an outdoor space …

Can you feel it? Can you feel the creeping warmth of summer settling in? The sun lasts until 7 p.m. now, and cracking the window open at night doesn’t offer the same numbing quality as it once did. If you’re one of the lucky ones with an outdoor space to set up for the season, it’s finally time to start thinking about filling it out.

Now, we spend a lot of time deliberating over how to best reflect ourselves in our homes, but what about our outdoor spaces? While you certainly could create a perfectly functional outdoor setup with some cobbled-together items, we propose looking at it through the lens of designing a living room. And just like a living room, any truly cohesive outdoor “room” contains a specific group of items that make it feel cozy and lived-in. Would you design a living room without a couch? A few mood lighting options? Without a rug? We think not, so we sought out some help determining the core pieces needed for a backyard oasis.

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Is This Raised Bed Method the *Key* to Gardening Success?

I’m always looking for ways to make gardening more streamlined, so when I stumbled across the concept of a keyhole garden, my interest was officially piqued. These garden beds look like raised beds—and it’s no secret we love a raised bed—but they have …

I’m always looking for ways to make gardening more streamlined, so when I stumbled across the concept of a keyhole garden, my interest was officially piqued. These garden beds look like raised beds—and it’s no secret we love a raised bed—but they have an ingenious added feature that makes them even more efficient and easy to care for.

Naturally, I needed to know more about keyhole gardening and whether it’s as game-changing as it seems, so I reached out to a few master gardeners to pick their brains. Here’s what I learned.

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13 DIY Patio Furniture Ideas You (Yes, You) Can Do

While gazing at the big empty space behind your home, filling it with DIY patio furniture might not be the first solution that comes to mind, because sure, ordering online is technically easier. But think about it this way: using simple blueprints to p…

While gazing at the big empty space behind your home, filling it with DIY patio furniture might not be the first solution that comes to mind, because sure, ordering online is technically easier. But think about it this way: using simple blueprints to piece together your own custom furniture means it’s not only going to be more affordable, but it can also (exactly) match your freshly stained deck and provide you with an unparalleled sense of achievement.

If you’re worried you’re not quite cut out for building furniture, thanks to hours spent laboring over “simple” Swedish designs (you know exactly who we’re looking at), know that these ideas were sourced with you in mind. Plus, we’re willing to bet there are a few stunning DIY projects already gracing your home (hello, custom artwork, lavender sachets and perfectly patched walls!).

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How to Stain Your Deck (Just in Time For Spring!)

Purchasing a home comes with a myriad of to-dos, some more urgent than others. Since moving into our house, we’ve done everything from stain the floors and rewire the outlets, to rehab the staircase and replace the countertops. Because we moved during …

Purchasing a home comes with a myriad of to-dos, some more urgent than others. Since moving into our house, we’ve done everything from stain the floors and rewire the outlets, to rehab the staircase and replace the countertops. Because we moved during winter, our work has largely been concentrated indoors, but all it took was one nearly 50 degree day recently to switch all of that focus and attention to our backyard space. First on the list out there? Staining our (well-worn, well-loved) deck.

I would classify myself as someone who is pretty DIY savvy and willing to figure out how to do just about anything myself, so the idea of staining the deck in our sunroom ourselves really doesn’t scare me away. It helps that I’ve “been there, done that” a bit too—the deck at my house growing up was a bit of a problem child, and I helped my father tend to it (I’m serious, it was very delicate and picky) nearly every summer. One of the biggest lessons I learned when it comes to staining a deck is—like with almost every home project you do—it’s all about the prep work. Nail that, and you pretty much can’t mess up the rest of the process, resulting in a richly-stained deck that levels up the beauty of your outdoor space and will last you for years to come. Looking to tackle staining your own deck? Follow these easy steps and you’ll be on your way to hosting outdoor BBQ’s in no time.

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