November 25, 2012

Tutorial......Winter Urns

Hi everyone, how was your Thanksgiving? Getting a jump on Christmas? Am I ever glad we have an extra week in between this year!
We are busy going to clients homes and decorating their exterior. 
Source: via Kathryn on Pinterest
 I thought I would share some of our work so far followed by a tutorial. This is fun and easy, even for beginners. Let's take a may want to grab a coffee, this is long
When we designed this garden the intent was to make these massive urns on pedestals, on either side of the front door, a focal point, changing the contents with each new seasson
The Why:   Look for elements in the garden and pay close attention to your homes colors. 
The Materials: 
  -Boxwood (already in the garden, repeat, repeat, repeat)
-Tree toppers, for height
-Birch sticks, pick up the brown tones in the home
-Eucalyptus, has a blue/silver cast (great contrast to the brown)
-Blue Spruce, same reason as above
-Pine cones, extra large (compliments the browns)
-Faux fruit and berries, for color and textural contrast. Faux lasts year after year, IF YOU USE SOLID PLASTIC,  n e v e r  styrofoam coated berries, they will burst in the freeze/thaw of winter. How can you tell? Try to puncture the fruit/berries with a finger nail, if you reach foam, take a pass
Consider leaving the obelisk from summer in place. In this case Robyn and Donna wrapped it in a mixed garland. Love their choice of faux pomegranate's wired to the top.
Another creation by Robyn and Donna.
The materials;
-tree topper for height
-spruce boughs
-oregonia, looks like a variegated boxwood
-coned cedar (minute pine cones dangling from the ends) a great weeper
-faux berries
-non-breakable ornaments on a stick
Outside my Chicago shop, SG Grand. 
The Why; Red is not a stand-out against terra-cotta colored brick, it can actually clash
The Materials;
-tree toppers for height
-yellow twig dogwood for pop
-eucalyptus pods, the strong blue cast is complimentary to the brick
-weeping cedar in the front and sides
-blue spruce, the backside is even bluer
-white kale. creates a center focal point, does not clash and will last all winter
The why's;  take a look at the various greens. A successful composition will have varying shapes and colors. Have you ever seen those with one variety, say long needle pine with a cone and a berry branch? Yes, not as interesting, dare I say boring!
The materials;
-a boxwood wreath around the rim, great for nestling the bunny plus the rich dark green leaf glows
-pine needle spruce; the underside for the blue
-long needle pine
-cedar incense for draping and visual interest with the yellow seeded tips
-red twig dogwood for height
-faux berries
-a concrete rabbit

I NEVER use or sell fresh winter berry or holly. The berries turn black and drop, quickly, in our cold climate
The Why's;
The blue cedar siding was my guide. It's cool tones could take the same in material choices
The materials;
-Tree topper for height
-blue needled pine, the underside again
-blue berried juniper, great texture and long lasting berries
-Seeded eucalyptus for the leaf shape, seeds for texture and the color
-purple kale for pizzaz
-birch tubes, same as above
Easy; a boxwood wreath at the rim, obelisk left over from summer. A mass of plastic berries. This can be repeated year after year with little effort

A window box with some of the same except for faux holly leaves and berry

Another terra-cotta colored home, so no red. (my personal taste only)
The materials;
-toppers for height (yes, i really like these!)
-long needle pine
-blue berried juniper
-eucalyptus; leaves and silver/blue pods
-faux berries
NOTE:  I recommend leaving the Eucalyptus pods for outdoor decorating. When brought in, the heat warms the pods which releasing the scent of cat urine!

If local, we can come to your home or we sell all of the components at the Geneva, Il. shop. Feeling creative? Between the samples above and the tutorial below, I hope I have empowered you!

The following urn from last year has been all over pinterest. Let's use this as our tutorial
To begin, use any type of urn except for terra-cotta (in the north) as that will freeze and crack. I use last seasons soil or refresh. Another medium you could use is finely ground mulch.
Tree toppers, insert these upright and as with all materials insert deeply into the soil
Red Twig Dogwood

Long needle pine used upright and spilling sideways
Coned cedar as another spiller

Extra large pinecones, wire these at the base and wrap around something strong, in this case the red twig
Step back repeatedly and scan your shape, is it even all around? Go back and add more of all the above. Plan on using twice as much as you think you will need. Over time the branches will diminish in size, keep it full.
Faux red berries, looks good doesn't it? 

 Your final step is to spray with 'Wilt-Pruf', an anti-dessicant to keep fresh. 


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