How to cre­ate some­thing spe­cial for home­front

Make sure to add some bling to your planters

Annapolis Valley Register - - EVENTS - Out­door de­sign and life­style ex­pert Car­son Arthur has be­come the voice of en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly land­scape de­sign and loves to help peo­ple max­i­mize their out­door spa­ces.

It’s of­fi­cially time to start build­ing your hol­i­day planters. Even just writ­ing that state­ment made me ques­tion my own in­san­ity. Where has the year gone? How can the hol­i­days be just around the cor­ner al­ready?

All that aside, maybe the hol­i­days are what we need to bring a lit­tle joy back into a world that seems full of strife. A pair of planters at the front door may seem in­con­se­quen­tial, but a lit­tle bit of colour and fes­tiv­ity al­ways makes me feel bet­ter com­ing home af­ter a long day at work.

Here are my simple steps to cre­at­ing some­thing spe­cial out front this year.

First, you have to start with the fill. I per­son­ally avoid the florist foam be­cause of the costs and the fact that when it freezes, ev­ery­thing is locked into place and you can’t make any ad­just­ments.

I had a year when the wind and the cold worked against me and blew just half of my boughs side­ways and then they froze in that spot for the en­tire sea­son. Soil is an easy choice but be care­ful us­ing soil in a planter that might split.

Soil ex­pands and con­tracts in ar­eas that get cold fol­lowed by warm fol­lowed by more cold. In­stead, I go with mulch. It has enough com­paction to hold ev­ery­thing in place, will freeze and lock ev­ery­thing where it needs to be and I can throw it in the gar­den next spring.

Next, start with your boughs in the cen­tre. Now, a lot of peo­ple I know pre­fer to start with the height in the mid­dle, but I’ve learned the se­cret from a pro­fes- sional florist that this is a mis­take. In­stead, start by build­ing up the mid­dle sec­tion with all of the generic greens, like spruce and fir, so that you can lock your tall pieces down into them. This gives the whole struc­ture more sta­bil­ity and makes ev­ery­thing look fuller.

When it comes to adding height, I al­ways try to work with a con­trast­ing colour to the rest of the planter. Whites are clas­sic, even tall reeds that are tan stand out against the greens and blues of the boughs.

By adding the colour in the cen­tre, it im­me­di­ately draws the eye to your dec­o­ra­tions be­cause of the vis­ual drama.

Once you’ve added your height in the mid­dle, then you can start adding the spillers — the pieces that hang over the edge and add more vis­ual drama be­cause they work op­po­site to all of the parts go­ing ver­ti­cal.

Make sure to add some bling as well. I am a fan of the sparkly covered branches or the bulbs be­cause they catch the light at night and twin­kle. Such a small de­tail is so easy to over­look as we of­ten build our planters dur­ing the day.

Fi­nally, add just one piece of whimsy. Just some­thing small that makes you smile. Even if no one else no­tices it, put some­thing unique in your planter to say ‘I did this.’

In my case, I love adding my lit­tle red car­di­nal. I found them at a dol­lar store and ev­ery year they come out and sit by my front door to say hello.

Car­son Arthur is an in­ter­na­tional land­scape de­signer and me­dia per­son­al­ity with a focus on en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly de­sign and low main­te­nance out­door rooms.

A pair of planters at the front door may seem in­con­se­quen­tial, but a lit­tle bit of colour and fes­tiv­ity al­ways makes Car­son feel bet­ter com­ing home af­ter a long day at work.

Car­son Arthur Rather Be Out­doors

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