5 Questions to ask before planting a flower bed

5 Tasks before planting

5 Tasks before planting

Have you ever visited your local plant nursery at the beginning of spring when all of their bright and colorful plants are out, and suddenly you have a trunk full of flowers and no idea what happened or where you are going to put them? It’s okay, we’ve all been there. Before the nursery tempts you with their bright beauties ask yourself these 5 questions.

5 questions to ask before planting a flower bed

What is the purpose of this bed?

What do you want out of the flowers in this bed? Do you want flowers you can cut and bring inside for arrangements? Do you want to add some curb appeal to the front of your home? Or is it to simply make you smile when you look at it? All are valid answers, but they will influence which flowers you need.

What is my time availability to care for the bed?

Flower range in their neediness. Ask yourself how much time you want to spend watering, pruning, weeding etc.. A perennial garden with low maintenance plants will require much less time than other growing options. Pick your flowers according to the time you can give them.

What is my budget for this project?

There, I’ve gone and mentioned the “B” word. Now it is out in the open. Realistically, what do you want to spend on the bed? This not only includes the cost of the flowers, but also, fertilizer, mulch, and any necessary tools. You can spread the costs out over a couple seasons if you like. If you plant perennials, you may have a higher starting cost, but they will be around for multiple seasons. If you prefer annuals, your money is only for one season of flowers.

That can add up after a while, but  a bed can be built up over a couple seasons to spread out costs. You can buy anchor plants first and fill in at a later time. Also try asking your gardening friends if they have any flowers they are dividing at the end of the season. Plants like day lilies, iris and hostas can be divided as they mature and can be shared with friends.

How much sun does the bed receive?

When choosing flowers a key piece of information on the tag is the amount of sunlight it requires. Placing a plant in the wrong spot can kill it before its time. I learned this the hard way after frying my hosta plants in the Kansas sun. Pick a day where you can observe the bed at different times to gauge how much sun it received throughout the day. If you are doing this in winter and you have trees in the yard. Be aware that plants may receive less light when the leaves grow back on the trees.

What flowers do I love?

Finally after taking in all your other answers, pick flowers you love that fit those criteria. What are your favorite varieties? What colors do you love? If you need some help identifying what your favorite flowers need, I frequently use http://www.perennialresource.com/encyclopedia/ or http://www.bhg.com/gardening/plant-dictionary/ to help me out.  Combine that with your knowledge from above, and you can now visit the local nursery with confidence to choose flowers that you love and will live happily in your garden.
What lessons have you learned planting flower beds?

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Painting The Ugly Brick Backsplash

Before and After

Before and After

How I brought our ugly brick backsplash into the 21st century with a little paint.

I’m not sure who thought it would be a good idea to use red brick facade as a kitchen backsplash. Maybe in the early ’90s it paired well with the oak cabinets and yellow walls, but today we’re bringing the kitchen into this century and giving it a crisp clean look. Eventually I’ll paint the kitchen a light airy blue/green color and painting the backsplash in a light gray will complement that nicely. Here is how I tackled this project!

Before Kitchen


  • Masking tape
  • Old paint brush
  • Cardboard
  • Damp towel or paper towels (for drips)
  • Primer
  • Satin latex paint (or glossier finish)
  • Paint can opener or screwdriver
  • Shop Vac or vacuum with brush attachment

Clean the brick

Preparing the brick is key to this project! Brick and mortar have such a rough texture all the dust and grime get caught really easily in all the nooks and crannies. Use a shop vac or vacuum hose with the brush attachment and work across the entire surface. If yours was greasy like mine near the stove use a grease cutting cleaner and rag to remove all the residue.

Remove hardware

Remove any light or electrical faceplates for easy painting. This will ensure complete coverage incase you want to change faceplates at a later date.

Remove faceplates

For projects like this I put all the plates and screws in a zip bag so those tiny screws don’t get away from me. Plus if your project takes an extended amount of time you can label the bag so you know exactly where they go back to.

Bag the pieces

Masking tape

Protect the surrounding areas with tape. No matter how precise of a painter I think I am, I always get paint where I don’t mean to. For this project, I took the time to protect all the cabinetry with tape.

Mask edges

I did not tape off the counter ledge. I struggled to get the tape down under the edge of the brick and onto of the counter. Instead I cut up a thin cardboard box and used it to stop the paint and it worked pretty effectively.

Cardboard paint catcher

Just move it along the edge as you paint.


The brick was so porous and bright, I opted for BEHR all in one primer. Use an old paint brush for this project. To get into all the crevices, I found I had to almost scrub the brush back and forth at different angles to get good coverage.

Prime the brick


Once the primer has dried you can jump right into painting! I used BEHR Ultra Satin Enamel in Dolphin Fin. Because the kitchen has a high potential for spaghetti sauce to fly and the need to be able to wipe down the brick is high, I chose a glossier paint than maybe what you’d put on the wall. The satin was a good compromise between ease of cleaning as shininess.

When painting be sure to hold your brush at different angles to get complete coverage.

All angles

Change your perspective frequently as you paint. It is easy to think you have covered an area to only get lower or shift to the side and see missed sections.

Finishing Touches

Once the paint dries, look for missed spots and touch up. Remove the masking tape and install any faceplates.


The change to our kitchen is immense! It is bright and fresh now.

Before Kitchen
Finished backsplash

We are transforming our kitchen one project at a time. Can you spot all the changes? We moved the refrigerator across the room and put a dishwasher in its place with a cabinet we built and a counter top from Habitat Restore. We tore out the range hood and replaced it with an over the range microwave. Now we don’t hit our heads anymore while cooking! The random blue glass and florescent light over the sink is gone and replaced with LED strip lights above the sink and under the cabinets. Soon all the walls will have a new skim coat and they will be ready to paint.

Have you painted brick before? What did you learn from that project?

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How To – Make a Two Ribbon Bow

How To – Make a Two Ribbon Bow

There are many projects where you need a beautiful bow as a finishing touch. Below are written and video instructions so you can make a show stopping bow for yourself!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8z5UzokUPh8]


-Sharp pair of scissors

-1 chenille stem (pipe cleaner)

-12 feet of 1 1/2 inch wired ribbon

-12 feet of 2 1/2 inch wired ribbon

Large Loops

Start by laying your smaller ribbon (green) on top of the larger one (red). Make a large loop by taking about 12 inches of ribbon and folding it over. It is important to keep the smaller ribbon always facing out.

Once you have a loop, twist your ribbon 180 degrees so the back of the ribbon is facing up. Do this right where your center point will be. Hold the twist in place with your thumb.

Make a second loop by taking 12 more inches and folding it over. The 12 inches should end in the center where your thumb is holding the twist. Now make another 180 degree twist in the ribbon. You should again be looking at the back side of the large ribbon. This is the rhythm of making the bow – Loop, Twist, Loop, Twist…

With your first two loops in hand, bend your bow in half to make sure your loops are even. Once you know they are the same length, they can be used as a guide for following loops.

Repeat your loops rhythm (loop, twist, loop, twist) until there are six loops. Three on each side.

Small Loops

The next loop will be about 4 inches shorter (8 inch length). Twist and make a total of 4 small loops.

Finish off with an even smaller loop by twisting the ribbon so the small ribbon is facing out and wrap a loop over your thumb that is holding everything. Then cross the ribbon under your thumb. It will look like this.

Chenille Stem

Take your chenille stem and thread it through the smallest loop. Hold it in place with your thumb and turn the whole bow upside down.

Fold the chenille stem up and twist it tightly around the center of the bow where your thumb had been applying pressure. Not only does the chenille hold the bow together, but you can use the ends to fasten it to other projects like a package or wreath.

Trim Tails

Trim both tails to your desired length with an angle or “V” cut. Tails can be left long for dramatic effect of cut shorter to match the round shape of the finished bow.

Shaping the Bow

Lay the bow flat on the table and spread out each loop so they are evenly dispersed in a circle. Don’t worry if the loops are flat.

Insert your fingers inside a loop and lift the top of the loop, curving it and adding volume.

Take the wide ribbon and narrow ribbon and pull them horizontally away from each other. This doubles the loops your bow has and quickly adds volume. Rotate your bow and repeat these two steps with every loop. I did not separate the smallest center loop because I liked the look of it together, but feel free to experiment until you achieve a look you like.

Once all the loops have been fluffed up, tweak the placement of them until you are satisfied with the final look.

There you go! A beautiful two tone bow perfect for your next project.

Have any questions or tips about the bow? Leave them in the description box below so others can learn too!

Posted by Morgan in Crafts, DIY, Gifts, 0 comments

DIY Tropical Leaf Wall

Bring the island vibe to your next party with this Leaf Wall!

First you will need to cut out about 100 leaves for the wall. Below I have provided my own leaf patterns as pdf and svg. Cut them from either 12×12″ or 11×17″ 65lb card stock.

Once you have all the leaves fold them down the center and curl the edges. Then pin the leaves in a random fashion to the foam backdrop.

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DIY Saddle Sand Bag

When you need to hold something in place this portable saddle sand bag is a great solution. Make one for yourself in 15 minutes!

Supplies & Tools

  • 1 yard duck canvas
  • 1″ wide belting/strapping
  • 2 – 1 gallon zip bags
  • 10 lbs play sand
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors or rotary cutter
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Scale
  • scoop or cup

Watch Instructions

Written Instructions

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DIY PVC Pipe Backdrop

Today I am making a PVC pipe background for a party and I wanted to share with you how easy it is.

How to Build a PVC Pipe Backdrop

What You’ll Need

Pipe cutter
Tape measure
Permanent marker
4 – 10’ PVC pipes 1” diameter
2 – 90 degree PVC elbows
4 – PVC Tee joint
Cut lengths
2 – 8’
2 – 4’
2 – 3’
4 – 2’
2 – 1’

The 2’ and 1’ lengths are interchangeable as feet for the backdrop. If you are in a tight location, the 2’ and 1’ lengths can be combine to make a shorter foot as illustrated to the right. If more stability is needed use all 4, 2’ lengths. There will be two extra pieces of pipe. This is to give options.


Printable Plans

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DIY Japanese Style Shoji Lantern

How to Make a Shoji Lantern

Hi all, follow along today as I make a Japanese inspired Shoji Lantern from foamcore!

You’ll need:

  • Black foamcore
  • White vellum
  • 1/4″ black washi tape or pin-striping tape
  • Printable template
  • Battery LED light and batteries
  • X-acto knife and new blades
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Cutting mat
  • Ruler
  • Pencil

Download the template and craft along with me!

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DIY Peppermint Candy Holiday Decoration

Bring the holly jolly to your next holiday party with this peppermint candy decoration! Follow along or watch the video and make one for yourself.



Lay out the insulation foam sheet and draw three circles on it.

1 – 12″, 1 – 18″, 1 – 24″

I used the string method and a permanent marker, but tracing around plates or platters would also work.

Using a box knife, I roughly cut out the circles so the foam would fit in the band saw. I then cut all three circles using the band saw. If you don’t have one, a jig saw or hot knife would work just as well.

Down the center of each circle I routed a 1″ deep by 2″ wide channel into the back side. This will snuggly fit the 1×2″ board that will be the spine of the display. I used a straight router bit and made 3 passes to reach the finished size.

Before the next step, thoroughly remove the pink snow from routing the channel. I used a shop vac and a damp towel because the pink bits stick to EVERYTHING!

Once you and the pieces are clean, lay out the circles on the ground for a test fitting. Space the circles 5″ apart from each other with the smallest circle flush with the end of the board. Mark the edge of each circle on the wood then remove the wood from the channel. The marks will make realigning the circles after glueing a snap!

Apply a generous amount of expanding glue on all three sides of the channel. The glue will expand to fill any gaps between the foam and wood giving it a great bond. This glue requires one surface to be sprayed with water, and I did that to the wood.

Place the wood back into the channel taking note of the marks to realign the circles. Press firmly on the wood, then add weights until the glue dries.

Apply two coats of latex or acrylic paint to all sides of the foam and wood. DO NOT use spray paint directly on the foam as the solvents in the paint will eat the foam.

I made a template of the peppermint swirl so I could spray on the red. You could also paint the swirls by hand if you prefer. The template was 25″ across with 6 swirls cut out. Be sure to use a rigid material like poster board or cardboard.

The base coats of latex paint protects the foam from the solvents in the spray paint. It is important to use light coats of red because a pool of paint could eat through the latex. I aligned the template on each circle and used scrap pieces of foam underneath to support the template so it didn’t sag. To be sure no paint got under the template I held down areas with a popsicle stick.

I drilled two pocket holes into the 1×2 and attached it to a 12×12″ square of plywood. Later I added a small “L” bracket to reinforce the joint.

Next I made two large bows and attached them with a chenille stem to the wood. You can find my tutorial on how to make these bows here: http://beautifullyinspiredhome.com/how-to-make-a-two-ribbon-bow/

There we go!This is easily accomplished in a weekend and the results are a six foot tall holiday decoration for your next party.

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May Garden Tour, a Vision and Adding Annuals

It is the very end of May, and I wanted to give you an update on whats been going on with the flowerbeds. Spring brought gorgeous blooms from my bulbs and early perennials, but right now there is a bit of a lul between spring and summer blooms so I added some annuals to brighten up the beds between the perennials last weekend. I want to share our garden with you and the plans we have for them!

May garden tour

I am a sucker at flower nurseries when all the spring and summer flowers are in bloom. It is such a colorful place and sometimes reason and bed planning go out the window while I’m there. If you are alsoovercome with these feelings you should check out 5 Questions to ask before planting a flowerbed. I reviewed those tips before visiting the nursery last week. It saved me money and headaches when I got back home. This time I did stay pretty on track and already had some varieties in mind to try.

I have two flower beds I’m working on around the yard. The first gets a lot of sun in the back yard and the other is a shade garden in front of the house. The shade garden needs a lot of work so I’ll show you what we’re doing there another day.

Last fall I started the rear flowerbed with perennials and I think it is developing nicely.

Digging the flowerbed

We removed all the grass and amended the soil before planting the perennials and bulbs last fall.

The plan is to add an arbor in the center with climbing flowers like roses or Columbine. I haven’t decided which, but I shouldn’t get the cart before the horse. First I need to refinish our arbor with a fresh coat of paint. We bought it for our wedding with the intention of using it in the garden later.

wedding arbor

Photo by Josh Junghans

The arbor is on the summer project list along with refurbishing a park bench we rescued from Habitat ReStore and edging the bed with stone.


I made a diagram for the rear flowerbed to help keep track of what is in the bed. The plan is to add a rotation of annuals tucked in between all the perennials for more color.

Flowerbed plan

I drew this up last fall to give me some idea of placement and spacing when the perennials are full grown. It gives me a good idea of which flowers will be blooming when, general coloring, and the mature size of all the plants. I’ll be updating this as more flowerbeds are added and I can spread out all the Daylilies and Iris.

New Plants

All of my flowers are shades of white, pink and purple. This is what I added around the yard!

Sunny Plants

  • Petunias
  • Geraniums
  • Snapdragons
  • Verbena
  • Dusty Miller
  • Garden Mum – Chelsey Pink (this will be great come fall!)
  • Vinca
  • Lavender
  • Yarrow – Summer Berries
  • Foxglove
  • Alyssum

Shade Plants

  • Heucheras – also sometimes called coral bells
  • Impatients
  • Wax Begonia
  • Dichondra – Silver Falls
  • Coleus

New Annuals

I’m a perennial gal, but annuals do such a lovely job of offering continuous color as the perennials come and go. Plus they liven up the patio in pots.

The bulbs came up nicely this spring, but I’m left waiting on the perennials as they are building up for summer blooms. The bright pops of color from the petunias and Snapdragons are already brightening up the garden!

I am so eager to see how all the summer blooms fair. The daylilies and alliums are about to open for quite the show!

What plans do you have for your garden? Have you planted anything new this spring?


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Easy Spring Wreath Tutorial


This is a quick and easy spring wreath project to spruce up your front door! It will also make a great mother’s day gift that will last all season long. Continue reading →

Posted by Morgan in Crafts, DIY, Gifts, Home Decor, 0 comments