This morning I attended the Coast Mental Health fundraising breakfast at the Hyatt in Vancouver.  It was wonderful to hear how Coast has helped people get their lives back, save them from suicide, give them training and provide a home.

This good work, which doesn’t just help individuals but all of society, costs money.  I haven’t yet heard how much was raised but I hope it was bags full.

Please give generously to help those with mental illness.

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Outer Vision Design

I have launched my new company (to replace Potted Garden Designs) – it is called Outer Vision Design.

OuterVision Design will make your outdoor room stylish & comfortable.

We customize the look to suit your lifestyle. From luxurious comfort to casual dining – we will create a look that is right for you. Updating or starting with a clean slate – we decorate outdoor rooms for living, special events and home staging. Invest in an outdoor room to expand your space, improve you lifestyle and add value to your home.

Home Staging – outdoors. Increase the “wow factor” of your properties with an outdoor space makeover.  Open house . . . do you need help to improve the curb appeal? Even in the fall and winter, staging the outdoor space will increase appeal.

Teamwork. Our team is innovative, experienced and resourceful.

Nature’s way. We are focus on sustainable, organic and recycled materials when available.  Mother Nature approves – you will too.

Credibility. OuterVision Design is a full-service studio with accredited training and experience.

  • Interior Decorator
  • Ecological Landscape Designer
  • Graphic Designer
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Beat the heat

There has been a heat wave in Vancouver that has broken weather records that stood for over 125 years!  One of the reasons Vancouver is a popular place to live is due to the not-too-hot summers.  Well, not this year.  Not only has the heat made us all less productive, but it has greatly increased the risk of forest fires (over 700 burning right now in the province!), but has been a drain on our electric power and water supplies.  The domino effect has resulted in lower water levels preventing fish fry trying from moving along the streams to the open water.  The electricity supplier stoked up some ancient coal-fired generators that polute our skies, contributing to climate change which may be partly to blame for this heat wave in the first place.

We couldn’t take the heat upstairs in our house so we moved to the basement which stays nice n’ cool.  We have to close all the windows on the south face as the hot air was blowing in.  Our furnace is rigged up with a manual fan switch so we can turn on the blower to circulate air without running the furnace.  This is a fantastic benefit as it brings the overall temperature in the house down by about 3 degrees.

There have been a few positive outcomes of the heat wave for us:  we relaxed more as we just could not focus enough to do any work, my face sweat so much that my skin looks as though I’ve had a facial every week, and our garden has been growing like mad.  We’ll have a great crop of figs for the first time in years, our tomatoes are turning red, the cauliflower is huge, and we have fantastic corn – sweet and delicious.

This is the first cool day in weeks and I have a pile of work to do, and I’m keen to get started on it.

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Something fishy

Something fishy

IMG_2786Lorin and I built a pond in the backyard near the patio.  I’ve always wanted one especially because I want to learn how to make them for clients. It is hard work but in a weekend we got it done.  It is beautiful – and quite natural looking (ignoring the unnatural concrete wall around it!). This is an early photo – it has more plants around it now and many in the water.

It is a still pond so I have a special ring that gives off a bacteria to kill the mosquito larvae that were very quickly growing in the still water.  We also have to grow certain plants in there to filter the water and fish to provide food for other plants.  I hadn’t wanted fish but now I’m so excited to have them.

First I bought three gold fish each at 99 cents.  Two died.  So, I bought five more and in two weeks none have died.  I am learning to balance the ecosystem in the pond to keep the water suitable for the fish.

I also plan to get a solar-powered filter system for it but it is too expensive right now.  I’m hoping a local company will begin carrying them so I can buy locally.  Shipping from New York costs more than the item itself.

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Heat wave

Burnin’ in the heat wave!

Whew – glad that has passed.  I find it very difficult to function in the heat.  Lorin and I had so much work to do around here but it was like being in a labour camp or chain gang (well, not really but you know what I mean!).

Cool down!

The rain has come and cooled things down. Also takes away one of our many jobs – watering the garden.  We have sprinklers to get here n’ there but lots of areas are missed so we do it manually.  Takes time, lots of time.

Takin’ it easy!

This evening we can do nothing – we’re reading magazines and resting.

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Patio design

I have created two beautiful garden designs for a downtown penthouse that has two 800 sq ft patios. Right plant right place is our motto so I paid careful attention to the conditions: one patio is cool/warm and shady while the other is super hot and sunny.  Being up on the 30th floor and full exposed, there are limited types of plants that can withstand the wind, heat and cold – especially since they will be in pots.

Fibreglass pots and planter have a great insulation property (as well as being light weight) so I designed the garden with only modern, sleek, stylish planters – stunning!

Fortunately, the client and I had similar ideas of the type of plants that would look great and fulfil her requirements for screening, privacy, low maintenance and, of course, plants that would look great.

The logistics are a nightmare but I figured it all out.  Since the patios are on the 30th floor of a condo complex, I’d have to have all materials delivered to the street level on the same day and get it up the elevator without making a mess: 3 yards of soil, 46 huge planters, 11 large cedar, 36 boxwood, 24 bamboo, 6 flats of blood grass, etc – you get the idea.  We were also asked to design and install a semi-circular raised garden bed constructed of allen blocks – lots of heavy allen blocks!

I’m very proud of the designs and I think that after this project, I can tackle anything!

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