If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard or even a patio or deck in Iowa, there are plenty of fun lawn games that you can DIY for some old-fashioned family fun! Stepping out into the yard for some fresh air and a game is a great way to entertain everyone for a little while, and getting outdoors is good for our mental health.
Here are a few DIY backyard games you can create from things you may have around the house. Even if you don’t have the exact supplies, get creative. You can probably cobble together some fun games from old crafting supplies or your recycling bin.
DIY Giant Tic Tac Toe
Ten large rocks
One 12×12″ square board (or cardboard, or lawn paint)
Craft paint, or permanent markers
Draw or paint X’s on 5 of the rocks, and O’s on the other 5. Then draw or paint your tic-tac-toe grid on your board, and play! Tic-tac-toe is easy to scale up in size. If you’ve got some wood cookies, you could use those for pieces and make a larger grid on your lawn.
Six 8-foot long 2×4’s
½ – ¾ inch plywood for the base
Sander & Sandpaper
Wood stain (optional)
Linseed oil (optional)
Jenga has 54 pieces, laid perpendicular to the layer below sets of 3. Since 2×4’s are actually 3 ½ inches wide, you’ll want to cut your 2×4’s into 10 ½ inch lengths.
You’ll want to sand your pieces well; the less friction you have, the better they’ll slide out of the stack. It can also be helpful to slightly round the corners and edges of each block, so they’re less likely to catch.
If you’d like some visual variation, you can stain some of the blocks in different colors. Wiping each block down with a coat of linseed oil will also help them be a little smoother and help prevent slivers.
Jenga is most stable on a flat surface. If you don’t have a level patio, there are a variety of ways to make a base to play on. You can simply cut a 12×12″ piece of plywood to lay on the ground. Or, you could construct a large box or crate out of plywood that can double as a storage container for the Jenga pieces.
Bottle Ring Toss
Nine or twelve bottles (wine bottles are perfect)
Rings (we’ll list a few ways to make some)
Twine, yarn, rope
Spray paint (Optional)
If you’ve got a collection of wine bottles sitting around, turn them into a game! Find a box that they’ll fit nicely inside. A small crate, or a case from wine, or any other medium box will do. If the box has high sides, cut it down so that the edges are level with the top of the bottle labels.
If you’ve got some spray paint around, you can also paint the bottles for some extra fun!
How to Make Rings: There are a few different ways to DIY rings. One way is to wrap old embroidery hoops with twine or rope. You can also craft your rings from deconstructed wire coat hangers. Alternatively, you can carefully cut some rings out of stiff cardboard with a craft knife.
Five or ten soda bottles
Ball (Soccer ball, basketball, or any ball that will roll well and knock the pins down)
If you’re feeling artsy, remove the labels from your bottles, wash and dry them, then add a layer of gravel, sand, or dirt to weigh them down. You want them to be heavy enough that the wind won’t blow them over, but light enough that they’ll fall pretty easy when a ball hits them. Screw the lids back on tight, and if desired, give them a coat of spray paint or paint fun designs on them with craft paint.
If you’re going to play on the grass in your backyard, you may want to mow a strip of lawn extra short so that the ball will roll well. You can also play this game in the garage or the driveway!
While those of us who need to stay home as much as possible, it’s still good to get some fresh air. If you’re stuck at home, spend a little extra time out on your patio or in your yard—now is the perfect chance to focus on some quality time with your family.
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.
Optional: A drill and a Forstner or spade drill bit, or a Dremel with a cutting bit
How to Create a Driftwood Succulent Planter
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Clean off excess dirt on your succulents.
Decide on your plant placement, but don’t put them in just yet.
Once you’ve decided where you want your plants, glue some more sphagnum moss around the edges of those areas.
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.
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.
Once all your gaps are full of succulents, let your finished driftwood planter set overnight.
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!
A beautiful Christmas centerpiece adds the final touch of elegance and style to a holiday event. There are plenty of elaborate and expensive ideas out there, but you can easily DIY a beautiful arrangement on your own with just a few supplies. You’ve probably got many of these supplies kicking around your house already, and if you haven’t, we’ve got most of them at the garden center. Swing by and pick up a few next time you’re running errands around Bettendorf.
1. Water Features
You’ll need a glass container, water, and some feature items. Simply add your feature items to a few jars or vases, fill them with water, and arrange them on your table. Cranberries are a beautiful option, but you can use almost any Christmasy thing you like. A few evergreen sprigs, some holly with berries, or even pinecones look gorgeous underwater. You can add a lid and a pretty ribbon if you like, set a floating candle on top, or fill the top with some gorgeous contrasting cut flowers.
2. Highlight the Beauty of Fruit
This delightful centerpiece doubles as an appetizer! Arrange a layer of evergreen boughs in a fruit bowl, and then pile on an arrangement of holiday fruits like apples, pomegranates, clementines, figs, oranges, or pears, and then add a few cinnamon sticks and assorted nuts to finish it off.
3. Mason Jars for Everything
Maybe it’s getting a bit cliche, but mason jars are so dynamic for DIY projects, and they’re perfect for centerpieces. You can fill them partway with white craft sand, Epsom salts, or fake snow, and set small LED candles, pine cones, or small holiday ornaments, inside. Sprinkle a little extra salt or fake snow overtop to give them a dusted look.
4. Upcycle a Wooden Crate or Box
Sometimes Christmas oranges come in cute little wooden crates. DIY them into a centerpiece. Add a 1 or 3 (odd numbers are more pleasing to the eye) LED pillar candles, and tuck an assortment of evergreen boughs, holly and berries, and pinecones around them.
5. Make Birch Cookies
No, we’re not baking anything here. Tree cookies are just a slice of tree trunk a few inches thick, usually with the bark still on. Birch is a beautiful option. You can use a few different sizes and heights and arrange them together on your table. Get a few LED candles, maybe some ribbon, and a few small Christmas ornaments, and arrange them on and around the birch cookies.
6. Birch Pole Bundle
Make a bundle of birch poles or branches about 16-20 inches long. Wrap a pretty holiday ribbon around the middle and make a bow. You can tuck in a few sprigs of evergreens to add a little extra interest.
7. Get out the Spray Paint
A couple of cans of spray paint, in white, gold, and silver (or whatever other festive colors you like) make centerpieces easy. First, collect some fallen twigs from around your yard. Bring them inside and let them dry overnight. Then, spray paint an old tin can or an old wine bottle white. Then spray paint your collected twigs gold or silver. Once everything is dry, tie a festive ribbon around the bottle, arrange the shiny twigs in it, and pop it on your table.
8. Brown Paper Packages Tied Up with Strings
Wrap some small boxes or packages in holiday wrapping paper or brown packing paper. If you don’t have any boxes, tiny painting canvases from the craft store in assorted sizes are perfect. Tie some pretty string or ribbons around them and arrange them with some greenery and pinecones on the table.
9. Mini Wreaths
Small holiday wreaths, 8-12”, are the perfect addition to classic candles. Simply lay the wreath down, add a pillar candle, or three, to the middle, and you have a centerpiece. If you want you can tuck in some extra greenery, holly berries, pine cones, or cinnamon sticks, to fill in any gaps between the candle and the wreath.
10. Upside Down Wine Glass Candle Holder
Choose a few small ornaments, sprigs of an evergreen bough, or pinecones. Turn your wine glass upside down, and set it over your feature ornaments. Then tie a coordinating ribbon around the stem of your glass, and set a candle on the base of the glass.
Whether you forgot to get a centerpiece for the holiday table, or you just want to make your own, there are so many amazing ideas out there. Have a quick look through Pinterest and have a go at DIY-ing something that strikes your fancy. Your friends and family will be impressed when they find out the beautiful holiday centerpieces on your table were designed by you. Don’t forget, tiny twinkle lights make everything better, and since they come with battery packs they’re easy to add to any holiday arrangement.
Gardening is constantly evolving, which is a gift to us gardeners that want to change things up and keep up with the latest new idea. Every year the whole gardening process starts again, with planning, planting, nurturing, and finally the beauty of your efforts in full bloom. Every spring we get the choice of which classics we want to hang onto for another year, and what new styles we’re ready to embrace! Although flower beds are nice, containers are where true creativity has the chance to flow.
Containers for Any Home: Containers can work for anyone from a tiny apartment space with mere square feet on the balcony to rural homesteads with acres of land. They’re the perfect place to experiment without the larger commitment of planting in beds. Best of all, they act like throw pillows for your landscape, accenting here and there to frame the rest of your garden design. As such pivotal pieces in your backyard repertoire, it’s worth taking some time to design what goes into them.
Creating a Container Design: Setting a great foundation is vital to the success of your container garden, so taking a little time to consider the details before you start is important. While these gardens aren’t as high-maintenance as your traditional garden beds, a bit of thought is what takes your container from “nice” to “stunning.” If you want your designs to be the envy of your neighborhood, start by considering the “3 P’s:”
Prepping – Choose the details wisely, starting with your planter. You’ll want something made with durable material, holes for drainage in the bottom, and the right size to give your plant’s roots the space they need to develop. Once you’ve selected the perfect container for your logistical needs (and aesthetic), use some high-quality sterile potting soil to get started.
Planning – Due to the size of your containers, your plants are going to be growing close together. It might seem odd, but this is part of the appeal! It gives them the unbeatable intensity that makes them look so fantastic as accents in your yard! Growing so close means that you’ll want to match plants with similar needs together so they can share the same sun exposure, fertilizer, and watering. Also, consider the shape of the plants and how they fit together. You might choose a tall, statement-making “thriller” as the centerpiece, something with a mounding habit to be the “filler,” and something trailing that adds even more height to your container as the “spiller.” Arrange them all from tallest to shortest from the middle outwards, so you can see and appreciate all the plants and they all receive the sun they deserve.
Planting – Once your container is prepped and planned, it’s time to re-pot your transplants or plant your seeds and give them enough water to get started. Establish a schedule of watering, fertilizing, and maintaining your gorgeous plants and enjoy your growing season of fabulous growth and your design simply glowing.
If you aren’t sure what to plant, there are tons of different looks you can recreate! A quick Google or Pinterest search is bound to turn up some dazzling looks that you can copy or use as inspiration to start. Or you can take a look at some of the expertly curated recipes we’ve put together on our site. We love building our containers as we shop, choosing one plant that we fall in love with and simply can’t go without, and structuring the rest of our container look around that.
The possibilities with container gardens are endless. Here are some ideas for what you can do with your container that ranges from functional to extravagant:
Vegetable Container Gardens: Can you imagine picking your entire salad from one tiny container? Vegetables like tomato, celery, onion, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, and peppers can all be grown together! Choose your salad staples and grow them within grazing distance of the kitchen for the freshest produce all summer, like your own private produce aisle in your backyard! Tuck some marigolds into the container for a pretty boost that does some heavy lifting, repelling pests.
Herb Container Gardens: Herbs are the original container crop, as they’re hardy enough to thrive just about anywhere. Think of your normal spice rotation when you pick your herbs so that you can plant what you use the most of. Your herbs will thrive the more you pull from them for seasoning! Some of our container favorites are cilantro, thyme, mint, basil, rosemary, and oregano. The texture of these leafy plants is delightful to look at and you’ll be treated to a heavy herb perfume every time you walk by.
Flower Container Gardens: This is the classic aesthetic-driven look for containers and we can see why. With thousands of varieties to choose from in millions of combinations, it’s yours to play with the color, texture, style, and look of a flower container. To keep the options simple, we find that the best containers work with about three species, in three different sizes, in three different but related colors. That way you have quite the array of visual effect without getting overly complicated. Try matching flowers to something you fall in love with at the store, or pick up something in one of the year’s trendiest colors or styles for something that is cutting-edge and trendy.
When your containers are established, the options that they hold for your garden are endless. Feel free to move and relocate to refresh your look, and enjoy a patch of intense blooming and life wherever it’s most convenient for you! Containers are the perfect blending of style, convenience, and personal touch. They’re a staple for any backyard, and their flexibility means that there’s something perfect out there for everyone!
Succulent Crafts: Wreaths, Driftwood, and Frames with Succulents
The Ted Lare Look
Succulents are the gardening world’s current favorite, skyrocketing in popularity due to their unique jewel tones and stunningly symmetrical appearance, but solidifying their place as reigning popularity royalty thanks to their versatility. Succulents are absolutely everywhere, and for those of us that crave a little bit of a DIY touch to our home decor, they are the perfect opportunity to get our hands busy.
Here are some of our favorite ways to get crafty with succulents and create lasting living arrangements that are sure to be the centerpiece and talking point of any room.
How To Make Succulent Wreaths: Wreaths aren’t just for the holidays, and you can use this popular style and shape to make a creative decoration to enjoy all year. Most plants would never be able to tolerate an environment growing vertically on display, but succulents have strong roots and are adaptable enough to flourish – even sideways.
Gather all of your succulents and materials before you get started. Make sure that the wire wreath frame you choose is strong and specifically made for planting live plants. From there, there are a few different methods to choose from, depending on what you’re interested in and what works for your home decor:
Burlap and soil: You’ll need burlap, a wire wreath form, cactus or succulent soil, some fibrous material (like coco fiber), a hot glue gun, and your favorite selected small succulents.
Place the burlap liner inside your wreath form, molding it to the shape. Next, you’ll cut a hole in the center of the wreath and trim off the excess burlap, allowing the fabric to extend a few inches past the edges of the wreath. Fill the wreath with cactus soil, packing it in firmly. Cover the soil with a piece of coco fiber or other fibrous material and use hot glue to fasten everything together to enclose the soil underneath. Fasten the back of your burlap ring to the wreath, and you’re ready to plant.
Use scissors to cut holes in the burlap liner to expose the soil underneath, and then plant the loosened roots of your succulents right into the holes.
Sphagnum Moss: If the burlap method sounds too complicated and messy, a sphagnum moss frame is a great way to tidy the process up a little. It’s also the perfect choice for succulent cuttings that don’t have a great root system yet. You can purchase them ready to plant or you can make your own by filling up a tube of nylon mesh with loose moss. Soak your sphagnum wreath in water before you place it in your wireframe to get started.
Poke a hole in your frame through the mesh liner, and make space for your succulent or succulent cutting. Try mixing and matching bigger and smaller plants to create an exciting display full of color and texture. Once you have your wreath planted, you can tidy up the look by inserting some soft moss in the gaps to cover up the form underneath.
Lay your succulent wreath flat for a week or two after you build it so that the roots have time to establish themselves before their gravity-defying trick of growing horizontally. We also suggest laying your wreath flat when you water it, too, for better coverage and drainage.
Easy Succulent Driftwood Planter: Why buy a boring planter when there are perfectly good spots for your succulents in a cool piece of wood? Filling in all of the nooks and crannies of driftwood with succulents and moss is a great, earthy, and natural display piece that will catch the eye with unique forms and shapes to match its succulents.
You can shortcut and simply hot glue the succulents straight onto the driftwood, but giving them something for a base will help them to grow roots and last much longer. Glue some moss to your driftwood first to create a long-lasting display sure to please.
Finish off your artwork by fastening your succulents to the mossy areas – use hot glue, floral glue, fishing line, or craft wire for a secure but polished look. If your driftwood has any deep holes, you can always fill them with moss and cactus soil and plant your succulent straight into your display. Mist your plants to keep them happy and beautiful for longer.
How to Make a Succulent Picture Frame: What’s inside the picture frame is normally the most important part – displaying photos of loved ones and favorite memories to be treasured forever. We love the idea of making your home personal with photos, but your picture frame decor should match what you love! Picture frames and shadow boxes are actually idea homes for your favorite succulents!
For this DIY, you’ll need a shadow box or a glass panel picture frame with the back removed and some wood to make your own shadow box. We like using frames and boxes made of redwood and cedar, as they’re naturally water-resistant and will hold up more to time spent as an impromptu container. You’ll need hardware cloth, cactus soil, succulents, and cuttings – as well as some household tools, like a staple gun, a hammer, and some nails. Cuttings from plants should be given a few days to dry before you replant them, while whole plants can be planted directly.
If you don’t have a shadow box, you’ll be creating one with your picture frame to give your succulents’ roots space to grow. Staple hardware cloth and insert it halfway into the box. You’ll be using this to push the roots of your plants through to keep them anchored, so midway or even at the top under the frame of your box is ideal. A half-inch grid should be enough to accommodate your stems but keep the soil locked in.
Fill your shadow box with cactus soil by pouring it on top of the hardware cloth and sifting it through the openings. Use a pencil to poke holes in the soil through the square holes in the grid and fill your frame up with plants! We recommend starting with your larger plants and moving toward smaller ones to fit them in more nicely next to each other – even if you have a favorite that you want to make sure is on display the most.
Like the succulent wreath, leave your box laying flat for a few weeks to let the roots start to settle and establish – as well as using greenings clips to keep everything in place. When your plants have rooted, you can hang your frame or prop it up on a shelf for a living display to go along with all of your favorite memories and photos.
Succulents in Troughs: For a display that’s a little more common sense and straight-forward, plant your succulents in a trough. They’re still more creative than a normal succulent container display with old planters, but they are more manageable for people that aren’t sure of their DIY capabilities. Choose from wood, terra cotta, metal, plastic, and even cement troughs for your plants, creating an aesthetic that both matches your decor and draws the eye. You can accentuate your darling succulents while still creating a lasting impact in your home’s style.
Once you’ve selected a trough planter, make sure that it is designed for drainage. If it has a solid bottom, you might want to drill some holes before filling with soil and planting or just layer the bottom with pebbles to improve drainage. Then, all you have to do is fill the trough with cactus soil and you’re ready to plant! These are the perfect planters for a tidy and neat succulent planting design to meet rustic style with your fun and unique container.
Once you start to think about the different and unique ways that you can plant beyond regular containers, the possibilities with succulents are endless. These are just a few of our favorite, creative DIY displays we’ve seen people come up with. Creating your own display is a fun craft, and it’s a perfect way to mesh together your personal style and personality with your home decor for something uniquely you.
Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul.” -Alice Walker
Terrariums are not just a hot designer trend, they’re also incredibly versatile and easy to add to any home decor! While it can be convenient to find something that’s a perfect fit right on the store shelf, we love that terrariums are just as simple to make yourself, where they are entirely customizable to your aesthetic.
The beautiful thing about terrariums is that they are so simple in concept: a partially or even fully enclosed display for your favorite trending houseplants. The style and contents are entirely up to you, so you are free to create the perfect look for your home and lifestyle.
Terrariums give us all the gorgeous centerpiece aesthetic without the high-maintenance care needs. The only important thing to remember is a terrarium is just like a fancy container – all you need to worry about is watering your greenery enough that it is hydrated but not drowning. It’s all the ease of houseplants, but with a designer upgrade.
Succulents continue to grow in popularity and it’s easy to see why. As cousins of cacti, these plants offer a beautiful aesthetic that is simply irresistible. They combine the simplest of care with gorgeous textures and colors, making them perfect for displaying in a creative terrarium. Plus, they’re slow-growers, meaning your beautiful terrarium will look its best for years!
The trendiest looks: Succulents look amazing combined with rustic or antique terrarium pieces. There’s something about their unique look that makes them the perfect match with a statement piece. We simply adore the look of our favorite aloe, echeveria, rosette, or string of pearls succulents in unique terrarium pieces, like old lamps, bottles, or even more creative displays, like coffee pots and gumball machines.
Create this look at home: Succulents are native to arid habitats so, while they don’t want to dry out completely, it’s very important for them to avoid damp roots. Drainage is the key here, so take advantage of space in your terrarium to layer in drainage pebbles underneath your soil. You can even consider taking advantage of these layers with decorative, colorful sand around your plants!
Succulents don’t like humidity, so they’ll thrive in a partially open terrarium that allows for some fresh air. However, you will want to keep your dainty plants out of too much direct light to keep them looking their best in all seasons for years to come. Since these plants are such slow growers, you can pack them in as tight as you want, without worry, and even finish off your look with bits of decorative moss to fill in the gaps!
Air plants are curious houseplants with a unique look that has made them very popular over the past few years. These marvels of the plant world don’t grow in soil and are found in the wild high above the ground on trees. Instead of using their roots to pull nutrients from the soil, they use specialized pores that take care of feeding and watering. They also have an interesting sci-fi look that make them perfect fits for terrariums.
The best air plant looks: These plants are adapted to living high in the air, so we love to pair them with classic glass terrariums. With such an stunningly alien aesthetic, they are also a perfect pairing with the clean-cut, modern terrariums that feature glass panes and stylish metal shapes. Although the crystal clear style of glass terrariums takes advantage of this plant’s strange ability to thrive entirely without soil, they also pair beautifully with other terrarium or container plants, too.
How to DIY your air plant terrarium: While air plants may seem to thrive off of nothing but the air itself, they’ll still need a little bit of help to thrive in a terrarium. Our homes don’t have the ambient humidity that these plants are used to in the steamy jungles that they call home. To keep them hydrated, they will not only need a regular humidity boost with misting, but they will also need an occasional drink from being submerged in distilled water and biannual fertilization with a mild orchid fertilizer solution.
Fairy Garden Terrariums:
While some terrariums are noteworthy for their unique plants, others make a statement with their cute, DIY design. Fairy Gardens have gained popularity recently and are known for their adorable fairy-themed terrarium displays that are great for kids and dreamers alike. Anything at all can go into a fairy garden, embracing a whole range of plants and decor.
Our favorite fairy garden aesthetics: The miniature scale of a fairy garden transforms regular houseplants into a lush jungle. The idea is to create a container or terrarium that looks like a little fairy home, complete with tiny decorations for an endearing and quirky aesthetic that is so fun to explore when you create and display it. We love the look of some of our favorite tropical houseplants, like ferns, mosses, ivy, or baby’s tears, in fairy gardens, but have also seen some impressive creations that take advantage of flowering plants, succulents, bonsai, air plants, and more.
DIY fairy garden terrariums: The fun of this style is how much you can personalize it. Find a container and little fairy decorations that you love, and fill in all the gaps with your favorite plants. We recommend sticking to plants that enjoy the same conditions since they all have to share the same soil in your terrarium. When you’re creating a fairy garden, choose a terrarium that offers great visibility so your decorations can be enjoyed more. Plant with good drainage and lots of soil, and water according to your plant’s needs. For faster-growing tropical plants, don’t be afraid to keep the scissors handy to keep them down to the size you want in your design.
We can’t blame everyone for suddenly wanting to take these gorgeous plants home – they are simply irresistible and add that accent of natural color and style to your indoor decor. We certainly understand why they’re so popular right now, and are happy to help you bring your own fiddle-leaf fig home without the hassle! Visit us in-store today to pick one up or to learn more.
Terrariums are so popular that everyone wants one in their home and with so many terrarium options for every aesthetic and style, it’s easy find create your perfect fit. Come in today to have a look at all the great terrarium products we have to get your creativity flowing for the perfect terrarium for your home and family.
“Only the knife knows what goes on in the heart of a pumpkin.” – Simone Schwarz-Bart
Pumpkins are one of our favorite, iconic fall decorations, but it can be hard to imagine them in our home decor as anything other than a jack-o-lantern. It’s such a simple craft to carve a face into a big, orange pumpkin and then light a candle inside, that we even let our kids do it – with a little supervision. While carving up pumpkins can be just as artistic as you want it to be and will be a fall-time favorite that many of us partake in every year, the pumpkin has a new trend that is catching our attention, too. Move over, pumpkin spice, turning your pumpkins into adorable decorations fit for the entire year is the style this autumn.
Pumpkins don’t just have to be the hosts for scary faces for a few short-lived weeks on our porches anymore! These gorgeous gourds have found a new niche as the carrier for some of our favorite, adorable houseplants. Plain pumpkins can easily transform into unique and captivating containers that are stuffed with spectacular succulents to add a creative and sophisticated twist to your fall decor, and making your own is simple:
Method 1: Cut and Paste
We’ve all been disappointed to see our super cute and creative pumpkin crafts wilt away only days after Halloween and it’s no mystery that pumpkins don’t last very long once we cut them open. Luckily, this method is cut-free so you can be confident that it’ll be looking its best for more than just a few weeks. Here’s how to make this cute planter happen at home:
pumpkin for each planter – any variety will work, but we love using flat-topped pumpkins, like Cinderellas, for easiest application
Clean your pumpkin. You’ll want your container to look fresh and polished, and will need to make sure that there’s no dust or dirt getting in the way of your glue.
Glue on your moss. Use the hot glue gun or the floral glue to attach a layer of moss that’s ½ to 1” thick on top of your pumpkin. Make sure that you don’t leave any bare spots.
Pick your succulents. You can purchase new, small succulents or, if you’re lucky enough to already have some thriving at home, you can take clippings from them, too. Make sure you let the stem dry and scab before you glue it on to prevent it from rotting.
Glue on your succulents. It may sound crazy, but a little bit of glue on the stem of a succulent clipping won’t harm it. If you’re still worried, though, keep your glue gun on its lowest heat setting. You’ll want to go big in the middle and smaller on the sides to create a balanced and pretty planter. You want your pumpkin to look like it’s bursting with life, not sinking in the center.
Fill in the blank spots. Use the smallest of your succulents and clippings to fill in every crack and corner for the most polished look.
Your pumpkin is ready to shine all season, you can proudly displaying your new succulent garden. Once your planter inevitably starts to show its age, you can keep your succulents thriving by slicing off the top of your planter or gently prying the layer of moss and succulents off and planting it directly into a pot to enjoy for years more.
Method 2: Stuffing
Using glue to attach your succulents isn’t going to hurt them, but it could be committing to a look you aren’t finished playing with yet. For something that is a little more impermanent that lets you play with your plants in so many more ways, try this method:
A pumpkin (again, we recommend flat tops for this method, too)
A planter pot (something simple and plastic is just fine)
Get your pumpkin ready. Cut a hole in the top of your pumpkin that is the same size as your pot. Don’t worry about cleaning out the inside of your pumpkin too much unless the seeds are in the way.
Get your pot ready. Plant your favorite succulents in the pot as densely as you can, packing them until they look like they are overflowing. You’ll want your planter to look like it has a lush bouquet of succulents in it for the prettiest and most impressive look.
Plant the pot in the pumpkin. Carefully place your container right inside of your pumpkin, hiding it inside. If it sinks in, you can use an overturned bowl to lift it.
Decorate and fill it in. Finish up your container will some moss or trailing succulents to fill in all the gaps and make it look like a natural pumpkin-topper.
Having cut into your pumpkin, you know it isn’t a fabulous look that is going to last forever. The clean-up is simple, though. Lift your pot out of the pumpkin and you’re ready to move onto a fresh, new one or into any other creative container for your succulent garden.
Ted Lare Tips for Stellar Succulents :
No matter which way you choose to display your beautiful gardens, it’s all just the frills on top of your healthy and gorgeous plants. You’ll want to keep your succulents in great condition for them to be looking their best in any way that you choose to show them off. Remember to water your plants every few days – only a little mist or trickle to quench their thirst without drowning their roots. Keep their delicate leaves away from direct sunlight and protect them from temperature extremes, and they’ll be happy and thriving for years.
Pumpkins are a staple of the autumn season, but they don’t have to always have the same sad fate of being left on the stoop for a week’s enjoyment before they get thrown away. Pumpkins are the ultimate fall theme and we’re so excited to enjoy their gorgeous colors and style in fun, new ways this season. Your pumpkin will be happy to have a glamorous upgrade and shot at something prettier than scaring the neighborhood kids.
The latest in gardening trends can sometimes come from the most unexpected places, and succulents have certainly held the spotlight for gardening trends for a while. Repurposing antique bird cages for a unique display, however, is a fresh idea that makes a new and striking twist on a current favorite. The latest in gardening trends can sometimes come from the most unexpected places, and succulents have certainly held the spotlight for gardening trends for a while. Repurposing antique bird cages for a unique display, however, is a fresh idea that makes a new and striking twist on a current favorite.
Succulents and vintage bird cages are a perfect fit for each other. While the antique bird cage captures a certain nostalgia, the dynamic and whimsical form of succulents adds character. This new take on planters is the start of a hot new trend, and is sure to turn heads.
“You know you’re a gardener when everything you see becomes a planter.” – Unknown
If you want to capture this trend before it grows, you might need to do some DIY. Many garden centers are only just starting to introduce pre-planted options to their shelves. Making your own succulent birdcage gives you the option for a totally personalized and custom look that will add a unique edge to your home or backyard.
Birdcage with a minimum 1” lip at the bottom (these can usually be found easily at an antique mall).
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You’ll want about 1 succulent plant for every 2” of birdcage diameter. For example, a 6” wide cage can fit 3 plants. For larger cages that are a foot across or more, you can start playing with container design. The “thriller, filler, spiller” rule of thumb is still a great tool here, helping to plan for a centrepiece, some low profile fillers, and something to trail out of the cage.
Some of the better options include:
Thriller: Varieties like Aloe Vera, Jade, or tall Aeonium have the striking architecture you might want for the center of your birdcage.
Filler: Rosette Succulents (echeverias) are the staple of a birdcage garden. Their natural range in colors make for a beautiful design as they spread in gorgeous clusters. Other little succulents work well too. Consider using Sedums or Crassulas as well.
Spiller: Succulents are a little limited in trailing options. Of course, String of Pearls or String of Bananas is a good choice for a small footprint in the cage with far-trailing habits. Burrow’s Tail could also be considered, but is a less popular choice because it grows so slowly. Eventually, your fillers will send runners that trail, adding a natural trailing element.
Putting it Together:
You’re essentially building an open terrarium, so many of the principles for the more mainstream succulent containers apply. Your birdcage will determine some of your construction approach: A mesh or open bottom is preferred, where coco liner or sheet moss can be laid down for drainage. A solid bottom cage will either require drilling drainage holes, or very careful vigilance with watering habits.
Here’s how to put together your succulent birdcage:
Lay sheet moss or coco liner at the bottom of the cage and up a few inches on the sides.
Place a layer of pebbles at the bottom for drainage.
Layer activated charcoal on top of the rocks. This is an important step as it helps keep your plants safe from accumulating toxins.
Add cactus soil to your desired soil height.
Plant your succulents, arranging from the center outward.
Add moss, lichens, and other touches to fill in any gaps and to give a polished final look.
It is also important to note that older cages may have paint that contains lead. Working with this kind of cage is not just a safety concern for you, but also for the health of your plants. When in doubt, use plastic sheeting to protect your plants against the paint chemicals from your antique birdcage.
Planting in a birdcage is a new and creative way to garden – any old cage can be a striking alternative to any hanging basket. Succulents may be on their way to popularizing this trend, but a little creativity can bring forward unique and totally original displays in your home that are guaranteed to start conversations! Simply switch out cactus soil for peat-based potting soil and you can plant any annuals you want.
Imagine your backyard, complete with lavish and lush bunches of Supertunias or Bacopa, streaming from a birdcage, or alternatively, a rustic cage filled with edible and fragrant herbs.
This trend is all about looking at garden containers in a new way and finding an attractive way to put twists on container classics. Experimenting and getting creative is the perfect way to have a backyard statement piece that is unique and head-turning.
Planting your own seeds is a win for everyone. Not only does it save you money, while being good for your health, it is much easier than some myths would have you believe. Planting even a few seeds each year is important. It’s a significant reminder that despite how frantic our plugged-in lives can get, some of our most meaningful joys come from the simplest places.
Why Plant Seeds?
It might be simpler to ask, why not? Our gardening experience has changed in the last few years from the roots up. Slowly, popularity is swinging back to what gardening used to be about: a little bit of dirt on your hands at the end of the day, and getting a taste of our own home-grown food. This movement is more than just a trend, so many people worldwide are turning to home-gardening for countless reasons. All these new people have started to innovate and adapt in their own ways, creating a gardening experience that is both new and old, and totally unique. Seeing your own food at home is a smart move in so many different ways. Below are just a few benefits from growing your own vegetables. Seeding your own food at home is a smart move in so many different ways. Below are just a few benefits from growing your own vegetables.
The health benefits are obvious. Your vegetables are at their best straight from the garden, where they have the most nutrients and vitamins packed in them. The longer you wait after your food is picked, the more your nutrition-per-bite suffers. Growing your own gets all of the nutrients where they belong: on your plate. You’ll also have the assurance that you know exactly where your food was grown and what went into it. Growing your own food from seed ensures the healthiest food that you can have full confidence in.
For the Flavor:
Homegrown food tastes better. If you place something straight from your garden next to produce from the store, we promise that you can tell the difference your backyard makes. After you try a home grown tomato, you will not want to go back.
For Your Wallet:
Growing your own food is basically growing money. You will actually pay much less every month, while reaping the rewards of better tasting, healthier food. You might still buy some exotic favorites from the store, but plants like peppers, beans, or tomatoes are essentially high-interest investments.
For Your Family:
Many people like to seed their own garden for their families. The delicious and healthy foods benefit your entire family, and growing your own saves money. But teaching your children how to grow their own vegetables is a valuable experience that doesn’t actually cost anything. Some lifelong rewards are just too important to be bought.
The most difficult obstacle for people interested in seeding their own garden, is figuring out when to start. Some of your plants might be sown directly into the soil in the spring, while others may need to be started earlier, indoors. Thankfully, it’s not a very exact science so if your guesswork is a little off on either end, your plants and crops will still be great. For information on how to time your planting for the Iowa growing region, view our Seeding Calendar article.
Some plants are a little more hearty and can tolerate being started outside as soon as the weather is mild. Crops like peas, beans, carrots, and salad greens all grow quickly and don’t mind a slight chill. Other heat-lovers, like peppers or tomatoes, will perform best if they get an indoor head-start on the season. Starting inside is a good way to get the most out of your summer, while offering a fresh green reminder on your windowsill of spring-to-come. Here’s how to get started:
Wash your containers well, with soap and water. Young seedlings can be more susceptible to bacteria and fungi than your matured plants, so you’ll want to start them off right.
Don’t start with soil from the garden. Use a packaged blend specially designed for seedlings to ensure that everything is sterile.
Pick a location. Most seeds won’t need specialty lighting – a bright window will do. The seedlings will want as much light as they can get once they germinate.
Maximize your humidity. Our favorite trick is to use a clear, plastic dome to keep moisture in while the seeds germinate. Once the leaves break the surface, they won’t need the dome anymore.
The initial leaves on a plant are seedling leaves. These are nourished from the stores in the seed itself. Once the roots develop enough for the plant to draw nutrients from the soil, your plant will develop true leaves. Once true leaves start to develop, it’s time to transplant your seedling.
Watering your freshly sown seeds could rinse them away. Instead, opt for the finest mist possible for the first few waterings. Optimally, you should use something that produces an effect like light rain.
Once your seedlings have successfully started, they are ready to move to the garden. Having started from scratch gives you extra satisfaction that will make your homegrown food taste even better, all summer long. Visit Ted Lare Garden Center to select your favorite vegetable seed varieties from Iowa’s Seed Savers Exchange.
Ted Lare Design Build specializes in Des Moines Landscaping Design and Installation.
We cover a wide range of Central Iowa. We have installed landscapes for many years in all areas of the Des Moines metro, including West Des Moines, Des Moines, Waukee, Clive, Urbandale, Johnston, Ankeny, Altoona, Indianola, and Norwalk.