A Hinged Trellis is GardenWise

A Foldaway Trellis!

It’s hard to clean  behind latticework, so a great alternative that allows you to get behind this wonderful garden accent  is to make a hinged trellis that swings open!

Start by fastening a strip of 3/4-by-1-inch wood to the wall about one and a half feet from the ground.  Screw hinge plates to the underside of the strip and the bottom of the trellis. Attach another wooden strip to the wall at the level of the trellis’s top crossbar.  Screw metal eyes into the strip’s ends and metal hooks into the ends of the crosspiece so the trellis can be unhooked and pulled away.

It’s a fairly simple garden project to do and can be comleted in just an afternoon!


“Green” Garden Sheds are GardenWise

Garden Shed Inspiration for Better Homes & Gardens

I want to build a new garden shed in my backyard this summer.  This is an idea I had last summer and it never happened, so I’m moving it to the top of the “to do” list for this year.  Most homeowners will agree, there’s no such thing as enough storage space.  There’s  a limit, after all, to the things you can stash in your basement and garage.  What I really need is a garden shed – one large enough to house a pretty big arsenal of outdoor power tools while providing organized space for everything from rakes and shovels to mulch and fertalizer.  All of my outside spaces are landscaped, so it will have to be in a somewhat visible area to the left of my water feature, above, one of the main focal points in my garden. 

I had an earlier thought of creating a shed with a “green” roof, and when  I came across this wonderful green garden shed on BHG.com , right, photo credit to Better Homes & Gardens, it pretty much made me realize I was thinking in the right direction.  Thanks, BHG, for giving me the  inspiration  when I needed it most!  




Bye-Bye Winter Blues!

Floral Spring Fragrance…Yes Please!

There’s nothing better than the approach of spring when things start to come alive… except maybe one.  The idea that soon you’ll walk out into your yard, take a deep breath, and realize all your hard work on your landscape has paid off.  It looks and smells wonderful!  When this happens there’s nothing better and I will have a hard time leaving my yard on a sunny spring afternoon.  For those who crave spring, and haven’t thought about their landscape just yet, here are some plants that you can easily plant to make sure you’re rid of the winter blues:

Bearded Iris- Colors: Pink, white, purple or yellow and will bloom mid-to late spring.  Needs full sun, and will be 12 to 36 in. tall.

Common lilac- Colors: Pink, purple or white and will bloom in midspring. They need full sun, and will be 8 to 15ft. tall, 6 to 10ft. wide.

Hyacinth- Colors: Blue, white, pink, peach or purple and will bloom in early spring. They need full sun and will grow to be 6 to 12 in. tall, 3 to 5in. wide.

Silky wisteria- A vine, 4 to 6 in. long, will produce pink or white midspring flowers.  They need full sun, and will grow to be 10 to 25 ft. tall

Gardenwise on Lovely Lavender

Caring for Lavender

Avoid the urge to cut back your lavender  plants this  winter in spite of their visual decline with the cold — wait for new growth to emerge in Spring before trimming and tidying up your lavender.   It does not react well to hard pruning and may even rot if given a thick layer of organic mulch in winter.  So be patient through this season, and the payoff will be beautiful and healthy Spring lavender! 

Outside Entertainment Areas are GardenWise

Heat up Your Outdoor Space!

Many homeowners over the years have asked us to transform their outside spaces into cozy and intimate areas to gather with family and friends.    It became more of a trend beginning in 2008 as the uncertain economy  prompted  folks to spend more time at home.  I call these small, safe, and intimate areas cocoon spaces and in addition to giving homeowners an inspiring new garden area to escape to with friends, these spaces can increase a home’s value by as much as 15%.  

The cocoon trend continues into 2011, but this year we’re turning up the heat!  Because of recent  technologies and new options from manufacturers, outdoor kitchens and fireplace/pits have become easier and much more affordable to install.  A small and thoughtfully designed outdoor kitchen area gives your home a new gathering spot, and an outdoor fireplace or fire pit adds a multi-seasonal  cozy spot for intimate conversations with family & friends.  And by using a mix of recycled stone and hardscape materials purchased from local artists and quarries, you can take a new “green” step in your garden space.

Shelters From the Sun are Garden Wise

Escape the Sun After the 4th!

We’ve had several weeks in the DC-area where many of our days have exceeded 90 degree temps; this week we’re topping 100. This coming weekend it will continue to be warm and I’m sure I won’t be the only one seeking shelter from the sun.  Below is a pic of one of the sun shelters from my garden, with the  GardenWise studio in the background.  Our fun brightly colored striped umbrella shields us from the bright sun by day and  protects us from sudden rain storms by night.

How do you escape the sun –what type of shelter do you have in your garden space? An umbrella, a covered pergola, strategically placed trees?   Below is a post from Southern Living about Sun Shelters, a great link to share as we look ahead to another very sunny and warm summer weekend.  

Southern Living – http://t.co/pffUCSz

Outdoor Entertainment Areas

Heat Up Your Outdoor Space!

Transforming an outside space into a cozy and intimate area to gather with family and friends is easier than you may think.  I call these intimate garden areas “cocoon spaces,” which became a trend in 2007 as the uncertain  economy  prompted  home- owners to spend more time at home.   Cocoon spaces are safe and secure intimite garden areas, and in addition to giving home- owners an affordable and inspiring new garden space to escape to with friends, they can increase a home’s value by as much as 15%.  

The cocoon space trend continues into 2011, but this year we’re turning up the heat!  Because of recent  technologies and other new options, smaller outdoor kitchens and fireplaces have become easier and much more affordable to install.  A small and thoughtfully designed outdoor kitchen area gives your home a new heart and gathering spot, while an outdoor fireplace adds a multi-seasonal  cozy spot for intimate conversations with family & friends. 

An added bonus?  By using a mix of recycled stone, and hardscape materials purchased from local artists and quarries, you can take a new “green” step in your garden space while supporting local businesses.  Take it outside this year, and enjoy your garden spaces!

DC’s GardenWise on Shelter from the Sun

“Let sun shelters be your gateway to more gratifying outdoor living–you might even find yourself drifting to sleep beneath your umbrella.”

We’ve had several weeks in the DC-area this season where the temperature has exceeded 90 degrees — today it’s 102!!  I spent the 4th of July in a shaded area near a pool, and even on a 97 degree sunny day, shelter under a very large umbrella with some strategically placed trees with a group of friends allowed for a pleasant and relaxing day.  We even enjoyed a nice breeze or two!

I came across this post from Southern Living about Sun Shelters, and thought it would be a perfect post-4th of July post.   Below is the umbrella from my own yard, which has provided shelter from many sunny days.

Start 2010 with J. Mark White and HGTV!

Start 2010 with GardenWise, Inc. on HGTV’s signature program, Curb Appeal, on January 3 at 8AM.   Watch as Mark’s exclusive for HGTV landscape, hardscape, stonework, lighting, and iron work designs transform this outdated Washington, D.C.  home.  Be sure to keep an eye out for the beautiful iron work Mark designed that sets this home apart from all others in this Capitol Hill neighborhood.  GardenWise owns the rights to all of the design work in this episode, so feel free to ask Mark  about his work from this or other episodes he appears in on HGTV.   

GardenWise, Inc. D.C. Landscape Second August Episode of HGTV’s CURB APPEAL

GardenWise’s Second August Episode of CURB APPEAL

It’s a busy month for GardenWise as Mark is featured in his second episode of CURB APPEAL this month, airing on HGTV on Saturday, August 15th at 7PM. 

In this program, Mark creates a more classic look for homeowners Matt and Chris who wanted to put their own stamp on their home with a more open and welcoming approach.  Mark replaced the dated and uninspired entrance with a bold and broad open staircase that leads directly to the front door.  By adding a small landing at the top of the first staircase, Chris and Matt were able to add a bench to create an intimate and gracious seating area.  

The staircase continues to a new front door, and a new flagstone porch and stair treads that are highlighted by a decorative wrought iron  railing.   Furnari Iron Works did an excellent job bringing life to Mark’s iron work design which adds sophistication and elegance to the home.  Mark also created a shade garden, that includes a lot of woodland planting.  Other design elements include additional hardscape features and new retaining walls, additional landscaping, flanking piers, and new decorative lighting.

This episode was great fun to shoot as Mark’s real life clients Matt and Chris are a pleasure to work with, and Mark had the chance to bring Matt to his own home to see the different types of flowers and plants that thrive in the Washington, D.C.-area.  If you look closely, you’ll see a souvenir Mark picked up from an earlier trip to Greece — a cast!   Mark injured his foot in a motorcycle accident, and this episode was shot a few weeks after his surgery.  

Here’s an inside scoop for this episode — Mark reached out to popular Washington, D.C.-area architect Dwight McNeill, AIA, who met with the homeowners to go over choices for the exterior color palette.  Dwight’s taste is unmatched,  and  he saved the day by giving Chris and Matt the exact color combinations they hoped to find, which were used in the episode.  To see more of Dwight’s work, check out this  feature  story  from  Better Homes & Gardens   http://morris-day.com/publications/SavedByGrace-BetterHomes.pdf and his web site, http://dwightmcneill.com/ 

Below is the GardenWise, Inc. plan for the Curb Appeal of it all, as well as before and after pictures.