Upgrade a Basic Bookcase

Put a personal spin on an off-the-shelf bookcase with these easy DIY makeover ideas.

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Pretty and Practical Garden Bench Ideas

A garden bench is a useful, versatile, and beautiful addition to nearly every type of landscape. Here's how to integrate a bench into your outdoor space for seating, storage, serving, and more.

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Outdoor Oasis Quiz

Whether you dream of sunning by a state-of-the-art pool or strolling through a simple cottage garden, there's an outdoor oasis with your name written all over it. Take this quiz to find out where you really belong.

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TV Armoire Makeover

Your old tube TV may have gone to the curb, but that bulky armoire it used to sit in still has plenty of road miles. Here's how to give the old piece of furniture new life.

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DIY Outdoor and Garden Projects

Sprucing up your outdoor space doesn't need to be a massive undertaking. Use these inspirational small projects -- including painting rocks to hanging new house numbers -- to instantly improve the look of a garden, patio, deck, or backyard.

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No-Fail Curb Appeal Updates (On a Budget)

Be the best home on the block for less. These budget curb appeal updates will show you how.

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Popular in Home Improvement

Walls That Work

The following examples of garden-variety room dividers all use an inspiring combination of hard and soft elements to form attractive and functional walls, screens, boundaries, and passageways.

A Formal Entry

This white gate is a stylish example of a formal garden-room divider.

Elaborate woodwork and a pergola-style top make this crisp white gate a stylish example of a formal garden-room divider. The arch in the middle suggests an entry door; the flanking trelliswork resembles muntined sidelights. Brick hardscaping is softened by restrained greenery, and potted plants add color.

Shrub Seclusion

Here, the use of shrubs creates a living wall.

Shrubs can perform as living walls; their fullness screens and encloses while their flowers and foliage provide visual interest. In this garden, a purple butterfly bush (Buddleia spp.), a golden arborvitae (Thuja spp.), and a dwarf Siberian spruce (Picea spp.) surround a sitting area. The bamboo lattice provides only a token physical barrier but acts as a linear boundary in contrast to the shrubs' roundness.

Screen Function

The cedar panels which make up this screen enclose to make a minature piazza.

Salvaged ironwork aged with a verdigris finish works with prefabricated cedar lattice panels to enclose a miniature piazza. Climbing vines and spiky foliage reinforce the lattice's strong vertical statement. Classical statuary tucked into overgrown greenery creates the look of a formal garden gone wild.

Creative Combo

This combination provides both a place to sit and a view to enjoy.

Like a window seat indoors, a bench-trellis combination offers both a place to sit and a view to enjoy. The natural wood tones of the trellis set off the rose garden as it supports 'Constance Spry,' a vigorously growing shrub rose. The trellis' diagonal weave combines with the roses to form a romantic, wallpaperlike effect.

Arbor Connection

This trellis acts as a hallway to and from the vegetable garden.

Interior floor plans usually include hallways to connect rooms. You can apply the same principle outdoors. A trellis creates a mini corridor one must pass through on the way to and from the vegetable garden. The vibrant colors of Clematis 'Ville de Lyon' beg you to stop and admire them for a minute or two as you make your way through the garden rooms. A simple bench and small birdbath encourage longer stays.

Fragrant Wall

The Rosa multiflora 'Carnea,' dangles from the wall filling the pathway with fragrances.

A sweeping arch of Rosa multiflora 'Carnea' spreads across the vaulted arbor separating the rose garden from the backyard. The waves of blooms spilling over the path call to mind the soft look of an older garden in which one area flows gently into another.

Corner Haven

Hidden behind the flowers, enjoy this quiet haven for reading, relaxing, or drinking a spot of tea.

A solid wall with lattice on top creates a safe, quiet haven in a corner of the garden. The wall ensures privacy and security below, while the lattice admits light and air above and allows views of the surroundings. The rose arbor above the bench rounds off the room's square corner and produces a fragrant, cottage-style bower.

Fencing Funk

Painting your fence a different color, such as lavender or blue, can add some funk to your garden.

Who says fences must always be cloaked in drab and neutral shades? An iron version salvaged from an apartment complex takes on new life under a coat of lavender paint. The colorful fence perks up the entry to a woodland garden, as a fountain of Clematis cascades over the gate's simple arch.


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