Gardenista's Favorite DIY Projects

By slatalla | A roundup of our favorite DIY projects for blurring the boundaries between outdoors and in.

Dear Diary: A Gardener's Journal

Seems like everybody we know is journaling (when did this word become a verb? Discuss) these days.<p>And with back-to-school season underway, we’ve been looking for an excuse to go shopping for supplies (colored pencils!) of our own. Following the lead of the folks at GRDN shop here in Brooklyn who …


The Romance of the Homemade Candle

In the colonial era, enterprising New Englanders quickly discovered that the wax produced by boiling the prolific gray berries that grew along the coast produced a clean, aromatic flame, and thus the bayberry candle was born. Though it was eventually replaced by mass produced waxes and commercial …

Cape Cod

DIY: Rustic Gate Clasp

A project for beachcombers: stones collected from the shore, strung together to form a simple gate clasp.<p>Above: A set of five hand-drilled stones collected on the beach is $8.80 from Up North Stones at Etsy.<p>Above: A set of six hand-drilled stones is $13.20 from Up North Stones at Etsy.<p>For another …


7 Things You Should Do to Protect Fireflies

Compared to photographing them, catching fireflies is about the easiest thing to do. And in the summertime, spending at least one evening running around a field, mason jar in hand, should be a priority if not a requirement.<p>In the northeastern United States, firefly season is at its peak in the …


DIY Projects


DIY: Modern Mothballs (No Chemicals Included)

Summertime shouldn’t be synonymous with the pungent smell of mothballs, but for anyone lucky enough to have a summer house, it too often is. People use mothballs to protect woolen clothes and blankets in winter storage from being eaten by moths, and the mothball odor tends to linger in cottages, …


DIY: Make a Flower Crown, from Tigers to Lilies

Spotted on Tigers and Lilies, flower crowns fashioned by Lili Cuzor and fit for a queen (like you or me):<p>Photographs by Lili Cuzor.<p>Above: You can make a crown from wisps or woven stems or bouquets of tiny wildflowers. For step-by-step intstructions on the technique, see our recent post Flower …


Bee's Wrap: Just like Plastic Wrap, Minus the Plastic

In my kitchen–and in my home in general–I try my best to avoid plastic of any kind. In fact, this past winter I purchased my very first roll of plastic wrap, all in the name of seed-starting. But even if I normally eschew the stuff, that doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes wish I had an easier …


DIY Outdoor Planters: A Cool Palette for Hot Weather

I garden in pots on my front porch, and by the time summer arrives, I just want my containers to look good…and I don’t want to spend a lot of time on them. So I always create at least one lushly planted pot filled with low-care plants, since that’s all you need to keep a small space looking …


DIY: Pressed Seaweed Prints

As a native Cape Codder, I’ve always been fond of seaweed. So when I ran across designer Karen Robertson’s pressed seaweed DIY on Garden Design, I had to give it a try.<p>Read on for a list of materials and step-by-step instructions:<p>Photography by Justine Hand for Gardenista.<p>Above: Any project that …


The World's Best Rose Wallpaper

Roses do not last long enough in the garden. I know you agree. June may come and go, but you and I would like to be gazing fondly on pink velvety petals in December, as well. I believe this to be the reason wallpaper was invented.<p>UK designer Kevin Dean, a self-described “keen plantsman,” has …


DIY Projects


DIY: How to Make a Bouquet Garni

A bouquet garni is simply a small “bouquet” of fresh herbs that you pop into a broth, soup, or stew for seasoning as it cooks. A staple in French dishes from boeuf bourguignon to bouillabaisse, the bouquet garni adds rich flavoring without leaving wilted herbs behind. Think of it as a savory tea …


DIY: Instant Children's Teepee, Summer Edition

Last summer, I spotted a great looking teepee in the neighborhood that seemed like a perfectly doable DIY. I was compelled to investigate. Greg Pitt had made it for his two young children, as the family likes to hang out in the front garden to catch the sun at the end of the day. While he and his …


Risky Business: Oven Canning Jam

If you mention the topic of oven canning, prepare to get an earful of advice against trying the technique. Warnings include: Your jars will blow up! You’ll get botulism! It’s old-fashioned! To which we reply, really?<p>We’re big fans of oven canning–Alexa swears by it, in fact, after taking a class at …


An English Gardener's Diary: Spring at Last

This is only my second installment from England, and I had reckoned on writing to you all sooner, but something extraordinary happened. Spring didn’t, well, spring for a long time. England remained resolutely, determinedly, unhappily ensconced in winter. It was like we had, nationally, ended up in …


DIY Projects


Mystery Revealed: How to Grow Things in Perfectly Straight Rows

Mark out straight lines on paths and garden beds with two pegs and a piece of twine:<p>Above: A Pegit by Nutscene, which consists of two beech pegs and twine (natural color, not green), is $30 from Ancient Industries. For overseas gardeners, a Pegit is $30 from Ancient Industries.<p>Above: Refills; a …

United Kingdom

DIY Projects


Miracle Cure for Allergies: Gentle Nettle Tea

I never had allergies growing up. As soon as the weather was warm, I would throw off my jacket and practice log rolls down our backyard hill. I covered my nose with bright yellow pollen without so much as a sniffle. Things change. Two years ago after I filled my apartment with blossoming lilac …


Plants & Seeds


DIY Projects


DIY: Hanging Easter Posies

In celebration of that time of year when one gets to indulge with abandon in bunnies, chicks, and all things “cute, pretty, and pastel,” my children and I have been creating myriad Easter projects. But this is one I did all on my own when they were at school: delicate, tiny Easter posies hanging …


Urban Gardener: Is It OK to Reuse Potting Soil?

Whether potting spring bulbs or transplanting seedlings to a window box, the urban gardener has to answer a basic container-gardening question: Is it OK to re-use last year’s potting soil? Or should I start fresh?<p>Photography by Erin Boyle.<p>The most basic answer is that yes, it’s possible to reuse …


turning off the lights.

Over the weekend, James and I celebrated Earth Hour. Maybe celebrate is too joyous of a term. Perhaps I should be saying that we <i>observed</i> Earth Hour …


Martha's Flower-Arranging Secrets

Bouquet of the Week: Splurge on Black and White Anemones

The first apartment my husband and I shared had a tiny white and black kitchen. A huge white porcelain sink sloped gracefully into a black tiled counter top, and black-and-white checked tiles formed a tall backsplash beneath white shelves. Where the walls were bare, our landlord had painted them a …