I have a black thumb and generally stick to fake plants. In fact, if you saw on Snap Chat (@avestyles) yesterday you would have seen that I killed my purple fig cactus. A cactus!!! Lord, help me! So, when it came time to pick plants for our yard I thought to myself, "Oh no. I don't know if I want to spend money on things that are going to die a couple months later." Haha! But, I can't put fake plants in my yard, so John Harper from Harper's Landscape came to my rescue!

I went to Harper's Nursery to select plants for my Hayneedle outdoor makeover (click here to see how it turned out), and I said, "John, you gotta help me. Please show me some plants that are hard to kill." I don't think it was his first time running into the likes of me. He was really knowledgable and showed me exactly what to buy. Here's what I bought:

Sky Flower - this plant is so beautiful (shown above). It has berries and purple flowers. It also grows like a weed and look pretty in big planters. It definitely needs a good amount of water every day, but that's really it.

Mexican Fence Post - It's a hearty cactus that seems to be doing just fine. The hot, hot summer and direct sunlight haven't killed it yet. 

Agave - Another hearty desert dwelling plant that needs hardly any water. That's my kind of plant. It really thrives in the sun and warm temperatures. It's nice to know we can leave on a weekend trip and know that this plant will be a-okay.

Sour Orange- If you want a plant that can grow sky high, give a lot of shade and have it create a hedge then you might want to buy a sour orange bush. John told me that these are just as good as oleanders, but they aren't poisonous to animals. They do have huge thorns on them though.


Bottle Palm - Nothing says paradise like a palm tree. I wanted to fill these cool Hayneedle planters with a substantial plant, and so John suggested a Bottle Palm Tree. They just need good drainage and clean water. 

My yard feels like such an oasis now. I highly recommend Harper's Landscape for all of your landscaping and gardening needs. Their customer service served me well, and I know that would do the same for you too.

Photos by Rennai Hoefer

Pallet Project Reveal


A couple of weeks ago I shared some pictures of my Father-in-law, Rich, doing some handy work on some pallets (see post), and now I'm ready to reveal our little Pinterest-inspired project. pweb2

Ryan and I have spent a lot of time and money this past year redesigning our backyard. It's still a work in progress, but completing little DIY projects one at a time gives me enough fuel to keep going. All I can say is that we are starting love being outside more and more, and this little garden wall is my favorite spot right now.


After sanding the pallets, staining them with a clear water-proof stain and mounting them on the stucco wall we fastened metal brackets that you can find at your local Home Depot. I bought 14 small metal pots from Ikea so that the metal bracket would blend in a bit more.


Trader Joe's has the most affordable plants. So, I bought some herbs ($2.49) and some mini roses ($1.99) to put in the pots.


Now we're ready for spring and the next DIY project. I'm thinking it will be a picnic table of some sort.