As a home-based editor, writer and designer, I spend lots of time in my yard -- I'm the sole landscaper, gardener and maintenance person for the front and back yards, not to mention two decks, one very long balcony and three patio areas. Oh, and a pool. So, it's nice to have someplace to sit in each of these areas to rest for a moment, survey the landscape and contemplate it, or set down some succulents I'm propagating and don't want to lose.
That's where a garden bench comes in. It doesn't have to be huge, nor does it have to necessarily have a backrest -- but its location and placement is integral. Of course, it's nice when the bench ties in with your landscape style or the architectural design of your home. Check out this photo gallery of benches -- some are works of art, while others are modest and serve a strictly utilitarian purpose. If you have a bench in your garden that you'd like to share, post it on the Pool and Patio Facebook page.
Photo © Lisa Hallett Taylor
As a powerful rainstorm is pounding Southern California, it's a good time to acquaint or refresh yourself on swimming pool and yard safety, no matter where you live. If you have a friend or relative who lives in an area that may be affected by a current or impending storm, or who live in a region prone to hurricanes or tornadoes, send them a link to this list of helpful articles on preparing your pool and yard before a hurricane or storm.
There's also information on what to do after the storm hits.
What Causes Hurricanes?
Planning a DIY outdoor project, hopefully with free designs? Thinking about switching over to a saltwater chlorinator for your pool? As February comes to an over-saturated (make that floods and freak tornadoes) end in my region, you can get those burning questions answered through one of my latest articles as your expert for About.com Pool and Patio:
I have a banana tree growing right beside my swimming pool that's been there for at least a decade. Actually, the original one I planted produced bananas several years ago, then died - as they are predestined to do. Long before Mama Banana Tree started to show signs of aging, lovely young daughters, one or two at a time, sprouted near her trunk, ready to carry the torch.
Sometime late last summer, the largest of the trees produced that flowery protuberance that looks like Audrey from Little Shop of Horrors. Within a few weeks, the flowers had formed into fruits. Then started the months-long ripening process.
So, this morning, after a
deluge rainstorm, I looked out the window and noticed their time had come. Sorry, but it was nothing scientific or spiritual. The banana "stalk" was leaning over more than usual, and the bananas were yellow. Some were split. I clipped them with a pair of loppers and we now have our bumper crop of four homegrown bananas. Small, sweet, perfectly ripe. No bruises; no Dole or Chiquita labels.
Now we have to find a way to enjoy them all at once - maybe Bananas Oscar for the Academy Awards on Sunday night? Got a great banana recipe (other than banana bread)? Let me know - on the Pool and Patio Facebook page!
Photo of our poolside bananas during a more prolific year by Lisa Hallett Taylor
Photo of our poolside bananas one week ago by Lisa Hallett Taylor
More photos of poolside plants.
More about banana trees.