Exterior Lovin’ Posts

The Plants of Balance Design

By: Danielle Clockel

Nothing breathes life into a space quite like plants. They’re colorful, lively, and many of them improve the quality of air in your home. At our studio, we have really embraced this concept! Let us introduce you to some of the plants we share our workspace with, and see if any of them might be a good fit for your home.

Phalaenopsis Orchid

Ah, orchids. So beautiful, so inspirational. Phalaenopsis is a pretty simple plant to keep happy. Make sure it gets good light, but not direct sun, as it will burn. Set this orchid on a windowsill with a view of trees or one that is covered by a sheer curtain; it loves soft, filtered light. Most importantly, stick to a routine. Most orchids do well with a shot or so of warm water once a week. And don’t be alarmed when its blooms fall, it’s simply done with that bloom cycle! Stick to the watering schedule and keep an eye on the leaves. If they’re healthy looking, your orchid should bloom again when it’s ready. Your patience will be greatly rewarded!

Sansevieria Cylindrica

Sansevieria is a succulent, which means it isn’t very high maintenance. It loves sunlight, but even if you don’t have a full sun window it should do pretty well. Just try to keep it out of a dark shady corner, that will make it sad. Its watering schedule is every other week at most, so you don’t have to panic if you realize you haven’t given it a drink in a little bit.

Pilea Involucrata

Aka the friendship plant. Aww! This is a great plant for beginners because it’s resilient and low maintenance. Water about once a week, or when the soil looks dry, and it’ll be a happy camper. It likes a bit of light but not direct sun, so it can go almost anywhere in your home that isn’t totally shady and dark (ours have been happy on desks, in bathrooms, and in the middle of the room). Also, you can take a cutting and submerge the stem in water for a while and you’ll see it begin to root. Once you see roots, you can plant this new friend in soil and watch it grow.

Bromelia

The Bromelia is a newcomer to our studio, but it’s definitely a favorite with its tall, lively red flower. Ours is in the storefront window, which gets a good bit of light but not full, direct sun (which would be too intense). It lets you know when it needs water, as the water collects in a cup at the base of the plant. When you see that it’s empty, fill it up a bit! Enjoy all this beauty while you can, the Bro is a love ’em and leave ’em type of plant, only flowering once. Luckily you’ll get a good four to six months of prime flower time from one of these, and once the bloom starts to die, the plant will begin producing “pups” or clones of itself. So you can pluck one of the babies and grow it into a new flowering Bromelia! The gift that keeps on giving.

More than just being beautiful, plants have their own personalities and quirks that help personalize a space. While not every plant is ideal for every room (or every person), there’s certainly one out there that’s a perfect match for you. Do a little research and a bit of hunting at local nurseries and you’re sure to find your soul plant!

Hello, Spring!

Primavera: a beautiful Italian word that translates to “spring!” With this beautiful season beginning to blossom, we’ve got some eye candy that is sure to motivate you to get outside and enjoy it!

Photos Courtesy of AlmanacWhats Gaby CookingJanus et CieElle Decor500pxLonny, and Love This Pic

Serene and Strong: Zen Gardens

By: Danielle Clockel

Everyone needs a place they can go to be still and quiet, and unwind from the stress of the day. For some, that place is a comfy chair nestled within a room in the home. For others, it’s a luxurious bath. And still others find their peace in nature. The garden has long been a place to go to reflect and regroup, and none is more up to this task than Japanese zen gardens. (I mean, it’s in the name!)

zen1

Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

While they are called “rock gardens,” don’t think you have to completely forsake your beloved plants. Most zen gardens heavily feature stonework and pebbles, but mossy patches and petite trees are also right at home here.

zen2

Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

Maybe you just don’t have a green thumb. Hey, we’re not judging you. Immerse yourself in the meditative process of raking intricate swirls (symbolizing ripples on water) into the pebble gravel of your rock garden. It may be neutral in color, but this garden has visual interest galore!

Minimalism may be a common theme in these kinds of gardens, but don’t fret, maximalists — you can still go big! Shapely trees, peaceful ponds, meandering bridges, different levels…this garden has it all.

zen3

Photo courtesy of Damien Douxchamps.

You can still feature color even if you’re more into rocks than roses. Different stones have different hues, and arranging them in a geometric patchwork creates a fun, modern look.

Because of Atlanta’s climate, it’s easy for us to get wrapped up in landscapes full of lush greenery and bright flowers. But that’s not the only way to turn your outdoor space into a personal paradise! Just picture yourself in the quiet serenity of these zen gardens, and find your inner peace.

Our Picks: The Ideal Poolside Chill Spot.

By: The Balance Design Team

Things are heating up here in Atlanta. Summer is just around the corner, and in our neck of the woods that is one long season! How do we plan to beat the heat? Dive right in!

Stephanie’s pick:

PoolSA

Photo courtesy of Home Designing.

I feel very inspired by Japanese zen gardens, like this one in Kyoto, Japan. My dream includes a natural pool with Koi, moss, pavers and boulders, wonderful Dr. Seuss-like trees and zen temples. Every place I look would be a place for my eye to rest and marvel.

Elisabeth’s pick:

PoolEP

Photo courtesy of Stylish Eve.

I imagine a scene where an architect, landscape designer, electrician, and pool installer held hands and sung “Kumbaya” when they designed this perfectly transitional poolscape. Always on the search for such cooperative examples of indoor-outdoor space, this patio has it all: outstretching architecture, multiple hang-out levels, sultry lighting, tropical foliage, even an impressive outdoor shower. Let’s throw some Moroccan tiles on the side of that hot tub and call it a day (or night), folks.

Shelby’s pick:

PoolShA

Photo courtesy of My Design Chic.

The foliage, the loungers, the incredible and beautifully set table — this pool area incorporates my two favorite ideas: hostessing and relaxing. This photo screams summer garden and pool party to me. Who wouldn’t want to sip on some bubbly rose at this beautiful pool?  Swoon worthy!

Danielle’s pick:

PoolDC

Photo courtesy of Life With a View.

Look, I’m just gonna say it: I hate hot weather. But I love water. How do I reconcile these two extremes? Natural hot springs, of course! This geothermal pool is nature’s hot tub, surrounded by a sturdy yet beautiful rock ledge and the delightfully gritty Icelandic fields beyond. Be still, my icy heart.

Melody’s pick:

Melody Pool

Photo courtesy of Decoist.

When I think of relaxing poolside my mind immediately goes to my childhood summers, where I would spend several weeks in Turkey. To bring that feeling home requires special touches of the mediterranean. In my ideal poolside setting there is beautiful blue tile work to channel the feeling of the crystal clear waters. It is also incredibly important to me to have a space to entertain and/or lounge from day to night and still interact with people in the pool. This setting gives me just about everything I could hope for; there is space to comfortably lay out and tan, swim, entertain, and even build a fire in the evenings. It is my ultimate mediterranean oasis.

Deirdre’s pick (our newest team member!):

PoolDF

Photo courtesy of Ritz Carlton.

I love the greenery surrounding this pool, the lines and dropoff of the infinity pool, the wood deck, and the water feature gargoyle spouting water into the pool. Total eye candy. And the most beautiful and spa like pool I’ve been in! Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico.

However you choose to kick it poolside, we hope our favorites have given you the get-up-and-go to head outside.

Proud Plants: Five Foliage Choices For a Modern Sculptural Landscape

By: Elisabeth Paulson

Here in the southeast, the spring flower power of azaleas, redbuds, and dogwoods have bloomed and left us in awe, but ultimately shed their petals. Now what?! Let’s consider a smattering of sculpture, texture, and sheen to complement our homesteads. Here are five plants that add a force of form to your modern landscape.

Photo courtesy of Plant Zone.

Photo courtesy of Plant Zone.

Trachycarpus wagnerianus. While we may not be beachside, we can still enjoy a palm. This dwarf windmill palm adds immense sculpture to any modern structure. Give it some space and let it swank up your garden.

Photo courtesy of Buchanan's Native Plants.

Photo courtesy of Buchanan’s Native Plants.

Farfugium japonicum ‘Gigantea.’ We’ve been admirers of the leopard plant’s glossy saucers since seeing them at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. While they will bloom a tall spike in late summer, we appreciate these round clumps sans flower as well.

Photo courtesy of K. Bourgondien & Sons.

Photo courtesy of K. Bourgondien & Sons.

Muhlenbergia capillaris. Cotton candy grass! Need we say more? Plant several of these together to get this dreamy pink cloud.

Photo courtesy of K. Bourgondien & Sons.

Photo courtesy of K. Bourgondien & Sons.

Colocasia esculenta ‘Tea Cup.’ The teacup elephant ear has an upright form that holds water. Well shucks, we’ve got these guys coming our way next week…fingers crossed for greatness!

Photo courtesy of Gardenista.

Photo courtesy of Gardenista.

Allium, allium, allium. What flower could be more shapely than this onion relative? Loving this combination with the delicate texture of fern fronds. Depending on the type, these can bloom early spring to mid-summer, and range from 8″ to over 4′. The allium millenium can even be planted this spring for those of us who can’t wait.

Get out there, take some risks, and bask in the stately/feathery/proud beauty of mother nature.