Posted on

6 Interior Design Concepts to Bring Outdoors in 2022

Ted Lare-Bring Interior Design Concepts Outdoors-rocking chair in garden

There’s been a recent shift in the way people design and utilize their outdoor spaces. With more time spent at home, there’s more incentive to transform our yards into livable, functional spaces that are an extension of our interior living spaces. If you’d like to hit the refresh button on your backyard, apply these 2022 interior design trends to your outdoor landscape design. 

These New Interior Design Trends Look Equally Amazing Outdoors

Leave the “Modern Farmhouse” furnishings and Live Laugh Love signage behind—these hot new interior design trends will complete your yard’s much-deserved makeover in 2022. 

Ted Lare-Bring Interior Design Concepts Outdoors-rattan garden furniture

Wicker and Rattan 

Combining the eco-friendly benefits of biodegradable, natural materials and all the appeal of 70s retro aesthetics, wicker and rattan furniture is a perfect way to bring trendy interior design to the outdoors. Plus, you can easily reupholster or replace your existing cushions with different patterns and colors if you ever grow tired of your current style. Whether you want a natural finish for a more boho look or dark tinted wicker for a more dramatic look, there are plenty of different options to suit your ideal outdoor aesthetic.   

“Grandmillenial” Aesthetics

This interior design style has so much charm and personality! Millennials are embracing all things Grandma-style, with an emphasis on old-fashioned florals and damask textiles. Add in some kitschy flourishes like doilies, crocheted throws, and vintage furniture sets. For the perfect finishing touch, get a cute tea set and serving trays so you can party like it’s 1949. 

Ted Lare-Bring Interior Design Concepts Outdoors-curvy garden lines

Curved, Abstract Shapes

Years of minimalist interior designs and low-contrast beige and gray color palettes have us craving some whimsy and eccentricity! Look for tables and garden art with asymmetrical shapes. Edge your garden beds to have curving lines instead of straight borders with 90° angles. Instead of planting flowers in straight rows, make them squiggly! Have fun with it—you’d be surprised how modern and cutting-edge this interior design concept can look! 

Pantone Color of the Year: Very Peri

Pantone forecasts the top trending colors for interior designers every year, and in 2022 they’ve named Veri Peri as their Color of the Year. This rich, vibrant purple-blue shade is cool yet energizing and uplifting. Not only can you choose furnishings and outdoor accessories in this ultra-current color, but there are also plenty of beautiful blooming flowers in this exact shade! Some of our favorite periwinkle flowers include:

  • Blue Salvia
  • Delphiniums
  • Irises
  • Lobelia
  • Grape Hyacinth
  • Sea Holly

Complementary colors for this saturated periwinkle hue include white, gray, marigold, and sage green. Look for plants and containers in these shades to balance your color palette.

Ted Lare-Bring Interior Design Concepts Outdoors-outdoor accent rug

Statement Rugs

Rugs and woven carpets are a classic staple of interior design, but bold statement styles are having a big resurgence! As we said, minimalism and colorless decor are out, and creative, exciting interior decor is in! Weatherproof rugs are amazing for creating outdoor “rooms” that pull your design together and help make your patio furniture look less awkwardly placed. Look for abstract designs with splashes of color to bring that modern, artsy vibe to your yard. 

Outdoor Home Offices

Creating makeshift workstations at home has become the norm, and they continue to be useful as more folks adopt a hybrid work model, half at home and half in the office. Instead of staying cooped up in the same place all day, create an outdoor workstation in a gazebo or underneath a covered patio. Bonus points if you can set up your outdoor office near a power outlet to charge your laptop. Try using a standing desk so that you don’t remain sedentary for hours on end, and surround yourself with as many plants as possible—they help boost energy and improve focus! 

Interior design concepts look just as gorgeous outdoors if you choose appropriate furniture and accessories to suit the space! Visit Ted Lare Design & Build to see all the latest patio furniture and trendy accessories to complete your outdoor living space.

Posted on

The Origin & History Of The Christmas Tree

-christmas tree decorated ted lare garden center

The Christmas tree is one of the most celebrated icons of the holiday season. For many of us here in the United States and much of the modern world, it’s simply a given that once December rolls around, it’s time to get that tree set up and decorated! But where did it all begin? What is the origin of the Christmas tree? What does it really symbolize? And who made it so? Both the origin and the history of the Christmas tree go back farther than you might think! 

christmas greenery ted lare garden center

Pagan Roots

The practice of decorating one’s home with evergreen boughs actually predates Christianity. It began as a Pagan tradition to celebrate the Winter Solstice, which is viewed as the time that the Sun God begins to regain its strength. The Celt’s decorated temples with evergreen boughs to celebrate everlasting life, while the Vikings utilized evergreens to honor the God of Peace and Light. Egyptians honored the Sun God Ra by decorating their homes with green palm fronds, and the ancient Romans celebrated the Solstice with a feast called Saturnalia. This was in honor of Saturn (the God of Agriculture) and often included decorating the home and temple with evergreen boughs. 

The Dawn of ‘Paradise Trees’

Decorations used in celebrations like Saturnalia and the honoring of Sun Gods differ a fair bit from what we now know as the Christmas tree. However, the origin is important to note. It is believed that Christmas trees may have begun as ‘Paradise Trees,’ which represented the Garden of Eden in performances on Christmas Eve in medieval Germany. When the Clergy banned these performances, it is believed that many began bringing evergreen boughs, branches, and trees into their home to celebrate in secret. 

-holiday boughs in home ted lare garden center

It is also said that some would tie together branches in the shape of a pyramid, fastening lit candles and gingerbread ornaments to them. But, many also believe that it was Martin Luther (an influential theologian) who was taken aback by the stars shining through the fir trees on a nighttime walk through the woods, which began the tradition of placing a lit candle on an evergreen. It is said that he wanted to share the experience with his loved ones, so he cut down a fir tree to bring home with him and placed a small candle on it to represent the night sky at Christmas. Indeed, the origin of Christmas trees can be traced back to at least the early 1600s.

-bringing home christmas tree ted lare garden center

The Christmas Tree We Know Today

The origin of the modern-day Christmas tree dates back to Queen Victoria in the mid 19th century. Queen Victoria, her German husband, and children were depicted standing around a fir tree in a sketch on the front of a newspaper. Although German immigrants had brought the Christmas tree tradition to England earlier in the century, it did not catch on with the general public until the famous Monarch began celebrating Christmas in this way to honor her husband. While it took some time, the now fairly commonplace European tradition eventually made its way into homes across the pond here in America, thanks to leaders, artists, and authors like Clement Moore. He wrote ‘The Night Before Christmas,’ which amplified the image of a happy, middle-class family exchanging gifts around a Christmas tree. 

Ted Lare-Christmas Tree History-pink theme christmas tree

The rise of consumerism and the Western world’s influence eventually made the Christmas tree a relatively universal symbol of the holiday season across the globe, even being adopted by other faiths. More than 300 million Christmas trees are grown, and millions of artificial trees are now sold worldwide each year. 


The origin of the Christmas tree is undoubtedly a fascinating one! Whether you opt for a real evergreen grown on a tree farm or an artificial one this holiday season, we hope that you enjoy the deep roots of this festive tradition. If you are on the hunt for Christmas tree decor in the Des Moines metro area, stop by Ted Lare Design Build & Garden Center, we’ve got lots to choose from! 

Posted on

DIY Mason Jar Fairy Gardens and Ideas

-mason jar terrarium environment ted lare garden center

Whether you’re an adult or have kids, miniature things spark the imagination in all of us. With miniature gardening, which has picked up traction in the last few years, you can bring tiny fantastical environments to life. 

Some fairy gardens are based around decorations and creating a narrative scene, while mason jar fairy gardens actually create an isolated ecosystem that self-sustains. With a sealed jar, the moisture in the air circulates through normal environmental cycles. 

Whether you’re looking for fun crafts with the kids or if you want a meditative project for your time off on the holidays, mason jar fairy gardens are a great idea to stoke your imagination. 

-mason jar terrarium ted lare design and build

What You Need:

  • A preferred mason jar of choice Wide mouth mason jars will be easier to add things to, and the mason jar can be as big or as small as you’d like. Make sure it can seal fully for the self-sustaining effect.
  • Gravel or small rocks to promote proper drainage and prevent waterlogging. You can choose whatever rocks best suit your garden idea, whether it be natural rocks or colorful fish tank pebbles!
  • Dirt or planting soil which is suited to your plants of choice.
  • Suitable plants for high humidity, such as ferns and moss. You can also include flowers, but they will eventually decompose into the environment. 
  • A lid, whether it’s a cork topper, a metal mason jar lid, or a piece of plastic wrap with a rubber band.
  • Carbon or charcoal to purify the water as it cycles through. You can find and use activated charcoal from the pet store for this.
  • Craft supplies! Whatever ideas you have for your mason jar garden, go for it! The garden concept is entirely up to you, whether that includes figurines, decorative rocks or crystals, small lights, etc.

How to Build Your Mason Jar Fairy Garden:

  1. Start by boiling your mason jar to sanitize it and let it cool to room temperature. 
  2. Decide on your garden idea or theme and gather the necessary materials and decorations.
  3. Add rocks to the bottom of the mason jar, followed by a bit of carbon, then the soil. 
  4. Add any ground coverage and plants you would like, making sure they are stable in the soil. 
  5. Add your decorations, using glue to anchor them if necessary.
  6. Add a bit of water; the amount varies depending on how big your mason jar is. It should be enough to create humidity but not to have excess moisture sitting on the bottom.
  7. Seal the mason jar tightly so that the water doesn’t evaporate and a little ecosystem is created.
  8. Place in the sun and watch your garden ideas grow!

Garden Ideas:

Traditional Fairy Garden

Few things are cuter than little red cap mushrooms with tiny fairies and tiny wooden houses. If you love the traditional European fairy garden idea, you can buy or make miniatures to add a story and a bit of fantasy to your mason jar fairy garden. You could also add tiny garden gnomes! 

Holiday Gardens

There is no limit to creativity! If you want to put a tiny nativity scene in your mason jar fairy garden, you can do that. If you want to suspend a flying Santa sleigh from the lid, you can do that, too. For Halloween, you can make a tiny Jack-o-lantern filled with a battery-operated candle or add little ghosts to the sides of the jar. For Easter, a little bunny figurine with tiny painted rocks to look like eggs would make an adorable decoration. Whatever ideas you have, you can include them in your garden.

-tropical mason jar terarrium ted lare garden center

Organic Garden

Nature is beautiful without decorations. If you want to keep your mason jar garden organic and green, focus on adding dimension and variety to your fairy garden: ferns for height, moss for texture, and twigs for structure. This idea will make your garden suitable for all seasons and is perfect for keeping some green growth around the house during the winter!

If you need plants for your garden or aren’t sure which tropical plants will grow well in a tiny space, visit us at Ted Lare Design & Build for ideas and more!

Posted on

How to Make a Winter Porch Pot and Keep It Fresh

-holiday porch pot Ted lare design and build

It is a sad day for every gardener when fall becomes winter and growing outdoors is no longer an option. However, that doesn’t mean our porches have to be left bare, only to be decorated by snowfall and ice! 

Christmas porch pots are a great option for winter decorating and are made similarly to floral arrangements. With various cuts of evergreens and other festive sprigs, you can create a spectacular display for your porch, complete with decorations, lights, and more. Keep reading for a how-to guide on creating a porch pot, as well as three recipes for themed designs. 

How to Make a Porch Pot

To start, choose the pots that you’d like to fill. You can use tall pots on either side of your door, smaller pots down your front steps, or whatever you used during the summer. Either soil, sand, or floral foam is suitable to fill your pots and should be pre-soaked with lots of water. Once you’ve finished your porch pot and leave it outside, the water will freeze and hold all of the stems in place. 

Ted Lare-Porch pot Recipes for the Holidays-winter porch pot materials

Next, choose greenery and decorations for your porch pot based on the theme you’d like to create. There are a few recipes listed below for examples! 

Using multiple evergreen branches and sprigs is a good idea for adding dimension to your porch pot. Use clippings of cedar, pines, fir, juniper, and spruce. It’s also fun to add branches, berries, and decorations. 

When placing your sprigs and stems, you can follow the same theory as floral arranging: you’ll need thrillers, fillers, and spillers to create a well-rounded and robust arrangement. Thrillers would include decorations, large branches that make a statement, such as curly willow or tall bright sprigs. Fillers are bushy and fill in the gaps between other stems. Spillers droop over the edge of your pot to ground the arrangement and create a nice, rounded look to the overall design.

Christmas Porch Pot

This is a great opportunity to bring your interior Christmas decor outside. Match indoor and outdoor decorations so that guests get a sneak peek of what’s inside as they walk up to your door. For a classic Christmas porch pot, use evergreens, and add various natural ingredients such as holly berries and pinecones. You can also add candy canes, Christmas lights, ornaments, ribbons, or homemade decorations. Classic colors of red, white, and green work best in this arrangement style.

Winter Wonderland Porch Pot

Winter wonderland themes typically include a monochromatic design with white and silver components and blue lights to accent. For this recipe, start with birch branches and add in evergreens sprayed with white or silver paint. If you don’t want to paint the greenery, fill out the arrangement with many other white and silver accents to achieve a similar aesthetic. Use silver ribbons and ornaments, fake snow, silver-painted branches, and more! Finish it off with little blue Christmas lights for a magical wonderland porch pot! 

-rustic porch pot Ted lare design and build

Rustic Holiday Porch Pot

If you want a cozy, rustic vibe, add all your usual greenery and then choose decorations that have beige, gold, and red color schemes. Burlap, jute, and dry wheat stalks or grasses are great additions to a rustic winter porch pot. Consider adding a birdhouse, battery-operated lantern, or little statuette in the middle of the pot for a cute centerpiece. You can also decorate with dried oranges and twigs or homemade decorations from the kids. Finish off with lights, and you’ll have a cozy, welcoming arrangement!

Tips to Extend the Life of Your Porch Pot

  • Soak all of your greens in water overnight before making your arrangement. This will give the greens a good chance to soak up all the water they need and give them a good start before they are put outside. 

  • Cut your greenery stems on an angle just before placing them in arrangements. By doing this, you increase the surface area of each stem, allowing it to absorb more water. 

  • Spray with water frequently, particularly when it is sunny out. This will help the plants absorb the water and make sure an ice layer doesn’t build on the leaves. 

  • Try an anti-dessicant if spraying with water seems too overwhelming during the busy holidays; it will seal in moisture.


Visit us at Ted Lare Design & Build for premade porch pots of many varieties! Of course, we also sell supplies if you want to make your own as a festive activity with the family!

Posted on

The Best Flowers for a Monochromatic Yellow Garden

yellow dahlia flowers ted lare design & build

There is something so beautiful and mesmerizing about monochrome color-themed gardens. Monochrome gardens are far from boring. They highlight the immense diversity of plants and flowers within a single-color family. Color gardens also often have room for large groupings of individual types of plants, and large drifts of a single type of flower or plant in one color can make a strong statement in the landscape. 

Yellow is a refreshing and cheerful color, so what better choice for a color theme garden? There are plenty of plants that fit into the yellow spectrum, with flowers or foliage. Here are nine yellow plants that you can use in a yellow color garden.


There are over 20 different daylilies in the yellow spectrum, from the palest barely yellow Marque Moon to vibrant Lemon Lily to the stunning Aztec Gold. Yellow daylilies also come in both single and double flowers, as well as the dramatic spider types. 

If you want to push your color planting scheme even further, there are also tons of daylilies in the orange spectrum that could mix well into a yellow planting scheme. These easy-care perennials could almost make a whole garden on their own.

daylilies and heliopsis ted lare design & build


Heliopsis is more commonly known as False Sunflower or Oxeye Sunflower. There are several different cultivars that are in the yellow spectrum. They are a hardy perennial and are also heat and drought-tolerant. 

They can be anywhere from three to six feet tall and feature single and dense double blossoms. The singles will be more popular with pollinators. These perennials usually won’t bloom the first year, but they’ll start the second summer and go all season long. They form clumps that you can divide to expand your yellow planting scheme every two to three years.


Hostas are one of the best foliage perennials, especially for planting in shadier locations in the yard. They have a very diverse color range, and their huge leaves showcase color well. Dancing Queen, Designer Genes, and Fire Island are all on the more intense yellow end of the spectrum with solid color leaves. 

On the lighter side, hostas Great Expectations, Mama Mia, Maui Buttercups, and Orange Marmalade (among many others) feature variegated leaves with yellows across the color scheme from the palest pastel yellow to creamy, buttery yellow to vibrant lemon yellow.

hosta and red hot poker yellow flowers ted lare design & build

Red Hot Poker 

Red Hot Poker, or Torch Lilies, are a unique flowering plant highlighting the diversity available in the yellow planting scheme. They are bold and eye-catching with tall spikes of strange tubular flowers. They bloom all season long, from late spring until the fall, and are popular with hummingbirds. They come in a wide range of yellows, from deep oranges to pale pinkish yellow to greenish yellow.


Rudbeckia, also called Black-eyed Susan, is available in countless shades of yellow and cultivars with variegated petals. These hardy native perennials look fantastic planted in mass groupings. Different cultivars vary widely in height, from 10-12 inches up to six feet tall. There are single bloom or double bloom varieties. 

rudbeckia and sedum plants ted lare design & build


Sedums are a unique perennial addition to your yellow planting scheme. They have thick succulent type foliage with clusters of tiny flowers. Sedums are great for dry and hot locations, and these hardy little things thrive on neglect! They tend to be low-growing, forming mats of flowers that last all through the summer. They’re possibly the lowest maintenance plant you’ll find for your yellow planting scheme.


Achillea, or yarrow, is a perennial with a much softer texture than the larger flowers mentioned above. These beauties have flat clusters of tiny flowers that last seemingly forever once they start blooming. They have soft fern-like foliage that is a lovely contrast to coarser plants. 

Different cultivars vary in height from 12 inches to three feet tall. The yellows available have quite rich gold tones, although there are a few that fall more to the pastel end of the color scheme. Yarrow will naturalize and spread after planting, creating a beautiful carpet of flowers.

achillea and marigold ted lare design & build


Marigolds are the classic yellow flower that everyone knows. They’re highly underrated. A vast range of cultivars varies widely in appearance and size, mainly within the yellow color scheme. Most marigolds are annuals and many plants self-seed, so they may keep coming back. They’re also fast and easy to start from seed. There are variegated types or plain colors and single or double flowers. Marigolds also help repel many pests.


Dahlias might be one of the most diverse flower families. There are thousands of different cultivars and a massive range of colors and bi-colors. There are single and double flowering types, with multiple different petal styles in both categories. They range in size from 12 inches to six feet tall. There are varieties across the yellow spectrum, from bright lemon yellow to pale creamy-white to rich gold tones. Dahlias are tender perennials, so they’ll need to be dug up and stored in a dark, dry location over the winter. 

Ready to get your yellow monochrome garden started? Stop by the garden center and check out what we’ve got in stock right now. 

Posted on

5 Indoor Plant Trends For 2021

philodendron birkin plant ted lare design & build

The houseplant obsession is still growing this year. Hopefully, it’ll be a little easier to get your hands on the indoor plants that are trending this year. Here’s what houseplants are topping the trends lists for 2021. Snap up these indoor plants when you see them, so you don’t miss adding them to your collection

Indoor Plant Trends for 2021

alocasia houseplant ted lare design & build

Alocasia, or African Mask, was hard to get last year, and as many people discovered, they’re pretty particular about the care they like. This year we’re seeing a few more exciting varieties and color trends as they become more common in 2021. This family of plants is quite large, and there are so many different ones, from the classic dwarf Amazonica, with striking white veins on nearly black leaves that only gets to about 12″ tall, to the regular Alocasia Amazonica, which has the potential to get up to 6′ tall. However, that’s probably only in tropical climates and probably not as an indoor plant. Here in Iowa, they’re more likely to max out around 3 feet tall in the average home. 

Olive Trees are charming people as a unique indoor plant for 2021. Generally, a Mediterranean plant, olive trees, will need lots of heat and at least 6 hours of sun per day. Olive trees are a popular indoor plant trend because they have gorgeous sage green leaves and grow into beautiful trees. Luckily, they’re well suited to an environment with relatively dry air, common in homes, especially through the winter. There are ornamental olive trees and fruiting ones, so if you want actual olives, make sure you get a fruiting type. Getting them to actually produce fruit might be a little more complicated than just keeping them as a houseplant, though.

peperomia prostrata houseplant ted lare design & build

Peperomias have developed quite a committed fan base, and it’s easy to see just why they’re on the trends list. Peperomias are generally relatively easy to care for, and in terms of looks, they’re one of the most diverse families of indoor plants out there. You could have a collection of just peperomia in your home, and because they’re all so different, from Ruby Cascade to Monstera Ginny to String of Turtles, most people wouldn’t even guess they were all related. 



Pothos has been a dependable, predictable indoor plant for many years, and as houseplant trends grow, more and more varieties with unique coloring are being developed. Marble Queen Pothos is a classic, but don’t miss out on beautiful options like Pearls & Jade, Neon, Jessina, Green, and Silver Pictus Pothos.

philodendron micans houseplant ted lare design & build

Last but not least, on the trends list for 2021, Philodendron is also seeing a revival in popularity, with plenty of beautiful colorways, sizes, and styles available. Philo’s are a great indoor plant to give as a gift or add to your own collection. They’re pretty tough, they tolerate surprisingly low light, and they’re pretty forgiving if you forget to water them occasionally. Don’t miss Painted Lady, Silver Sword, Variegated Burle Marx, Birkin, Green, Brasil, and Micans Philodendron.

Did you jump on the houseplant parent trends last year? Or have you always been a dedicated indoor plant lover? Whenever you joined the global family of plant lovers, it’s pretty exciting to see them becoming more and more popular and to see so many unique variations becoming more available. 

When you’re ready to add some new green friends to your collection, stop by the garden center for a visit. We’ve got new indoor plants from the latest trends coming in all the time, as well as all the supplies you need to take great care of them. 

Posted on

DIY Christmas & Holiday Pots

skates and christmas decorations ted lare design & build

If you love the look of Christmas or holiday planters with evergreens, pine cones, ribbons, bows, and all the accessories, why not try making one yourself? There are a few different ways you can do them, from small live planters for the holiday dinner table to large outdoor porch planters full of evergreen boughs. 

Here are the supplies you’ll need to DIY your holiday pots and a few ideas to get you started!

Live Plant Arrangements for Indoors

Having a live plant arrangement on the table for the holidays is not just pretty; it’s a beautiful reminder of living plants and trees while the world outside is frozen. There are many different plants you can use together in a live planter, including evergreens.

What you’ll need:

  • A cute planter
  • A mini evergreen tree
  • 2-3 live plants
  • Assorted mini Christmas decorations
  • Potting soil
  • Mini twinkle lights
  • Decorative moss or stones (optional)

How to do it:

Depending on the plants you choose, you may be able to plant them together, or they may be best kept in separate pots. Lavender and Rosemary have different moisture needs than, say, an Alberta spruce or a lemon cypress tree. 

Even if they have different water needs, you can still give the illusion of being planted together. Keep the plants in their plastic nursery pots. Put a layer of soil in the bottom of your planter, then arrange the plants, still in their plastic pots, inside your container. Once you like how they’re arranged, fill up the gaps with soil and firm it in. Add a thin extra layer just over the tops of the plastic pots so you can’t see them. Now it looks like your plants are in the same planter, but they’re not. So you can safely give one plant all the water it needs while limiting how much other plants get. 

Once your plants are in, add your moss or stones to cover the soil, and then get to decorating your tree. Add a string of twinkle lights, and decorate your mini Christmas tree. 

Here are some live plants that you can use in indoor holiday planters:

Here some of the mini live evergreen trees that you can use in live planters:

Evergreen Arrangements for Outdoors

For outdoor pots, you’ll need a few supplies, plus some evergreens and whatever other decor accessories you like. If the soil in your porch pots is already frozen, you’ll also likely need some chicken wire. If you’re getting new planters, you can fill them up with fresh potting soil and make your arrangement before it freezes.

What you’ll need:

  • A bundle of evergreens per pot
  • Potting soil
  • Accessories like pinecones, red twigs, and birch poles
  • Decor accessories like ornaments or seasonal floral picks
  • Pruners
  • Chicken wire (optional)
  • Wire cutters (optional)
  • Metal tent stakes (optional)
  • Hammer (optional)

If you already have porch pots and the soil is frozen solid in them, you can still use them. If you’re using fresh soil, skip to the next paragraph.

Create a small ball of chicken wire, about half as wide as your pot; just crunch it up together into a rough ball. Then center it in your porch pot, and hammer a couple of tent stakes in to keep it secure. Then make a larger dome of chicken wire over the first ball. Work it into the top of your pot, so all the wire edges are inside the pot edge, and then secure it with a couple of tent stakes as well. 

If you’re using fresh soil, fill your pots up with soil within a few inches below the rim. Firm it down well. If the soil is really light and fluffy, water it well so it settles. The water will help it freeze better and secure your greenery.

Adding the Greenery & Accessories

Start with your bigger items, like birch poles if you’re using them. Secure them into the soil (or chicken wire) a few inches deep. Then start to add in your assorted greenery as you like it, sticking the stems into the soil several inches deep or through both layers of chicken wire. If you’re using chicken wire, make sure to arrange your greenery to obscure the wire itself. Use your pruners to trim any errant greenery for a pleasing overall shape.

Once you have all your foliage how you like it, start adding in your other accessories, like glittery decor, pinecones, red berries, or ornaments. Finish off your porch pots with a strand of white twinkle lights so you can enjoy it after dark too. 

Get Your Holiday Greenery At Ted Lare

If you’re ready to get your DIY on, you can swing by Ted Lare to pick up all the supplies you need. We’ve got a variety of evergreen boughs that you can buy piece by piece or in bundles. Our evergreen bundles have an assortment of greens and include enough boughs to do a 14” porch pot or several smaller projects. We’ve also got various fun ornamental picks and decor on handy sticks to include in your arrangements. 

P.S. If it doesn’t work out, we’ve also got an excellent selection of pre-made holiday pots, or you can sign up for a class!

Posted on

How to Make a Driftwood Succulent Planter

succulent planter Ted lare design and build

Succulents are some of the decade’s most popular houseplants. Since these adorable plants are typically small enough to group into fun arrangements, more and more people are getting crafty to find new and unique ways to display their succulents. One of our favorite looks is the driftwood succulent planter. Whether you’ve collected some driftwood from Iowa‘s lakes and rivers or brought some home from a trip to the coast, these planters are a great way to use driftwood as part of your home decor.

The dry and weathered wood is a perfect match for succulents. It’s very similar to the dry, natural surroundings that wild succulents thrive in. With a few supplies and a handsome chunk of driftwood, you can make your own DIY driftwood succulent planter

Love what you’re reading? Sign up to our email newsletter, and get inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A large piece of driftwood (choose one that has gaps or grooves about ¼” in deep, or that is large enough that you can drill a hole in it to hold some soil)
  • Succulent or cactus soil 
  • Sphagnum moss
  • E6000 or floral glue
  • Assortment of succulents
  • Optional: A drill and a Forstner or spade drill bit, or a Dremel with a cutting bit


How to Create a Driftwood Succulent Planter

  1. Clean up your driftwood. If it’s dirty, rinse off any dirt or sand. If you’re worried about bugs in your driftwood, you can bake it in the oven at 250º for 2 hours. If you line a baking tray with parchment paper, it makes cleanup a lot easier when you’ve finished baking the wood. 
  2. Once your driftwood is at room temperature again, decide how you want to position it. Usually, its most stable resting position is best if you’re going to use it as a centerpiece or mantel ornament. If you want to hang it, you can choose whatever angle you like best. 
  3. If your driftwood does not have any gaps or holes deeper than ¼”, you may need to make the gaps deeper and wider or drill holes with a spade or Forstner drill bit. Don’t drill all the way through, however. The holes for soil only need to be about ¼-½” deep. 
  4. Once you’ve decided where you’re going to place your succulents, glue a thin layer of sphagnum moss into the bottom of those spots. This will help to keep the soil in, so it doesn’t wash away as soon as you water your plants.
  5. Then, fill your gaps or holes with a little bit of cactus potting soil. You don’t need much, but enough to give the succulents somewhere to develop a few roots.
  6. Clean off excess dirt on your succulents.

  1. Decide on your plant placement, but don’t put them in just yet.
  2. Once you’ve decided where you want your plants, glue some more sphagnum moss around the edges of those areas.
  3. Place one or two tiny dabs of glue on the underside of a couple of the leaves of your succulents, and press it into its new location, so the glue sticks to the sphagnum moss. 
  4. Continue gluing in each of your succulents. Remember not to cover the base in glue completely, or the plant won’t be able to put out any roots and will die fairly quickly.
  5. Once all your gaps are full of succulents, let your finished driftwood planter set overnight. 
  6. The next day, water your succulents with just a little bit of water—you may need a syringe or eye-dropper to get the water in the right place. Remember, succulents don’t need much water.

Congrats, your succulent planter is complete! When you water it in the future, you may want to set it in the sink or on a tray to make sure you catch any drips. If any of the plants die, simply pull them off and glue a new one in its place. If you’d like to hang your succulent planter, you can loop some strong twine, double-looped fishing line, or rope around the ends and hang it however you please. 

Ready to make your own DIY driftwood succulent planter? Come on down to our garden center; we’ve got everything you need to get started, including a large selection of fun and unique succulents!


Posted on

Forsythia: A Cloud of Yellow Spring Delight

forsythia Ted lare design and build

Forsythia is a classic shrub that has been around in North America for a long time. They fell out of fashion for a while, but they’re back in style for 2020! Forsythia is fairly easy to care for, as long as you give it a full sun location. They also make great foundational or screening plants, with some varieties reaching heights up to 6′ tall and wide. Besides being reliable and easy to grow, they feature some of the earliest spring color of the year—and these shrubs sure know how to put on a show! 

Before the leaves come out in the spring, the long willowy branches of forsythia burst with flowers from top to bottom, similar to Magnolia trees. The flowers are quite small, but their color and abundance are astonishing. Forsythia blossoms are the brightest yellows you’ll see. They practically glow when they’re in full bloom, and can be seen from a long way away. Forsythia branches also make a gorgeous cut flower arrangement if they’re cut and brought indoors just before they bloom. 

But, there is one common challenge and frustration that we hear from some people who have forsythia shrubs, which is that their forsythia never blooms. This is because forsythia is a bit of an odd plant. 

Technically, most forsythias are winter-hardy to zone 3, so theoretically, they should grow just fine here in Iowa. But the trick is that not all forsythia flower buds are winter-hardy to the same zone as the plant itself. Since the buds for the next year set right after it flowers, they are susceptible to winter damage. For example, Forsythia ‘Lynwood Gold’ is listed as hardy to zone 5, so it should be able to withstand temperatures down to -15º or -20º F, but the flower buds sustain severe damage in weather colder than -7º. This means, upon the arrival of spring, the shrub is left with lots of branches and leaves but will struggle to bloom. 

However, don’t lose hope on these stunning golden-yellow shrubs! Lots of work has gone into breeding forsythia varieties that have hardier buds. So, if you want that nearly fluorescent cloud of spring color in your yard, it all comes down to picking the right cultivars.

Here are a few of our favorite varieties of forsythia that should bloom heartily here in Iowa. 

Forsythia Northern Sun reaches heights up to 8′ tall. Its golden-yellow blossoms are hardy to temperatures of -20ºF. 

Forsythia Northern Gold gets up to 8′ tall as well. Its blooms are a slightly richer gold color than Northern Sun. Its flowers are also hardy to -20ºF. 

Forsythia New Hampshire Gold is slightly smaller, reaching up to 5′ tall. Its flowers are a deep yellow, and it’s hardy down to -20ºF as well. 

Meadowlark Forsythia is also a bigger variety, reaching up to 8′ tall. It’s even tougher than the rest, with buds that are winter-hardy down to -35ºF. Meadowlark is an excellent choice if you live on the prairie where the winter weather can get especially extreme.

Love what you’re reading? Sign up to our email newsletter, and get inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

Forsythia is a beautiful addition to any garden. If you’re looking for a forsythia hardy enough to bloom in Iowa, visit our garden center! We’ll make sure you find a variety that will erupt with cheerful yellow blooms year after year.

Posted on

Beautiful Early Spring Flowers for Your Iowa Garden

early spring flowers Ted lare design and build

Bright, cheery flowers are certainly a welcome sight after a long dreary winter in Iowa. Sure, there are the show-stealers like tulips and daffodils, but what about tiny jewels of early spring? The dainty little blooms that bravely burst into blossom early on, standing proud in the garden—and sometimes even in the snow!

We’ve got a few all-time-favorite must-haves for our own flower gardens that herald the arrival of spring. By the way, if you find yourself wanting to get your hands on these for your garden, you can pre-order them as bulbs to plant this fall and fill your garden with early spring flowers next year!

Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) are bright yellow little charmers, each standing about 5″ tall. Don’t let their small size fool you, though; even a small clump will produce an impressive display of vibrant flowers in March when everything else is still dormant and brown. These little guys are native to dark woodlands of France and Bulgaria, which means they will perform well even in dense shade gardens. Did we mention they are rabbit, deer, and squirrel-proof?

Snow Crocus (Crocus chrysanthus) are dazzling flowers, not to be confused with the larger Dutch Crocus (usually solid in white, purple, and yellow). Instead, Snow Crocus is a bit smaller in size and blooms two weeks earlier in March. They’re available in a variety of pastel and even variegated colors! Snow Crocuses are about 5″ tall and naturalize easily into lawns because their foliage looks just like grass. 

Snow Iris (Iris reticulata) is a favorite among our staff. Many of our employees have these in their gardens, and they all agree: they are amazing! They bloom about the same time as Snow Crocus, in early March. These beauties of late winter come in colors like electric blue, royal purple, or golden yellow. They grow to be about 6″ tall, look stunning in clumps, and they will naturalize over time.

Lenten Rose (Hellebore) is a little different from the others on our list. They are not technically a bulb, though we plant them in a similar way! Lenten roses come in a wide range of solid or mixed colors ranging from white or buttery yellow to intense black or purple. Some varieties even have luscious double blooms! They grow to about 1′ tall and usually flower in mid-March, although their little flower buds can often be seen poking up even earlier. This perennial has nicely shaped leaves that hold up well throughout summer and even into early winter. Hellebores are a gardener’s joy as they’re squirrel, rabbit, and deer-resistant, and they love a good shade garden! Hellebores should be purchased and planted in spring.

We saved the best for last: Greater Snowdrop (Galanthus elwesii). Snowdrop is our absolute favorite early spring flower, but not just any snowdrop–it has to be the Elwesii Snowdrop! This plant is incredibly hardy and is the first to flower every season, usually popping up and blossoming in February. It has even been known to bloom as early as January here in Iowa! They grow to about 5″ tall and feature a graceful white bell-shaped flower. Early foraging pollinators flock to its pollen. Snowdrops are also rabbit, squirrel, and deer-resistant. This flower is one of the few plants that pop up like magic at the first sign of warmth in spring! 

Love what you’re reading? Sign up to our email newsletter, and get inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

Are you ready to add some early spring flowers in Iowa to your garden? Stop by our garden center to ask about our favorites or pre-order online. Hellebores will be available as bedding plants for planting later this spring; the rest of this list should be planted in fall. Make sure to sign up for our newsletter to receive updates on what to plant each month for a full year of gorgeous color!